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What Is The Purpose Of Life? – Hinduism Answers – What Is The Reason For Creation?

What is the purpose of life? – Hinduism answers – What is the reason for creation?  - is an excerpt from an article written by Srimat Swami Tapasyananda Ji Maharaj (1904 to 1991), Vice President of the Ramakrishna Order, in the April 2018 edition of Vedanta Kesari Magazine.

Creation has no purpose or reason as far as God is concerned. As per Hinduism, it is an overflow of His (Brahman - God - Supreme Truth) inherent bliss. As far as the Jiva is concerned, creation is a means to help him attain his inherent perfection through a process of gradual evolution and become a sharer of divine bliss. 

In life, we find men are born with certain original endowments and with advantages or disadvantages in respect of their environment. Life appears like a field to enjoy and to suffer. There must be a cause, in some way justifying all happenings, if life is to be understood as meaningful and not as a mere chance product (as the materialists would have it). Life and its experiences are of the nature of meaningful effect and life must therefore have sprung from an adequate cause. To say it is the will of God is not to explain life in terms of its contents, enjoyments and sufferings. So even while accepting God, Hindu sages have found it necessary to maintain that our present life is a continuation of a previous life and that the quantum of the good and bad activities we have done in the past i.e., our Karma, has necessitated our present embodiment, so that the enjoyments and sufferings pertaining to those activities may accrue to us.

Through such enjoyments and sufferings in repeated embodiments, man comes to a state of maturity when the mere pursuit of self-centred values ceases to be attractive to him, and he turns towards God and develops wisdom. When he has developed true love and wisdom, the individual soul attains union with the Supreme Being.

While the law of Karma thus explains particular embodiments, which are only links in the chain of spiritual evolution, the ultimate source of that evolutionary process is God Himself. But unlike as in Christian thought, this evolutionary process as a whole has no beginning and no total cessation, according to Hindu scriptures. It is cyclic and is part and parcel of God’s nature, being as eternal as He Himself. It is a projection of His power of manifestation. The process cannot be said to be due to any external compulsion because it is an expression of His nature and He is not bound or affected by it. Nor is it for His attaining any unattained end. It is therefore described as Lila or a sportive self-manifestation.

Sportiveness should not be understood to mean an attempt to break boredom. It means that abounding joy and spontaneity are at the basis of it, even as in the music or the dance or the poetry of master artists. There is also no ulterior end for Him to be gained.

The Jiva, an aspect of God’s power of manifestation, is involved in this cyclic process. From the dullness and inertness of materiality he evolves into greater and greater states of perfection through all the travails of repeated births and deaths until he manifests perfect wisdom which consists in an understanding of his intimate relation with the Supreme Being. He may then seek complete mergence in Him, or he may retain his individuality while being established in oneness with Him in His consciousness and bliss. Such a liberated one becomes the participant of the Supreme Being in His sport of creative and redemptive expression, and a sharer of the supreme bliss that forms its source. It is said that life offers us these attainments, and they are what make life meaningful.