s we grow up, some of the things that we are told when we were younger can turn out to be false. Generally, we tend to aim towards happiness. We are told that this is achieved by having things like cars, money, status, a good job, etc. Then, when we have those things, we often wonder where is the accompanying happiness that I was promised? Then we start to think, What is the purpose of life? What is the truth about life? What is the truth about happiness? In this blog post, we will answer these questions and more.
Who Are You?
I turned to the Sikh Gurus, and I asked, what is the point of life? They said, before answering this you must understand, who are you? We are human beings, so we have a mind, body, and soul. Guru Sahib Ji says that before we talk about what the point of life is, we need to understand what the soul is. There are three main points about our soul which we should understand,
- First, this soul is free from all the distinctions we place upon ourselves. It has no sex, religion, caste, or creed. Essentially, it is free from all the things that we think apply to ourselves right now.
- Secondly, Guru Sahib says that the soul comes through reincarnations. This is not the first time we have lived a life. It previously could have been an animal life, plant life, or human life, but this is not the first time. The essential teaching of reincarnation is that this human life is extremely valuable. The following quote explains that you are very lucky to be born as a human being.
ਇਹੁ ਮਾਣਸ ਜਨਮੁ ਦੁਲੰਭੁ ਹੈ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨਾ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਸਭੁ ਜਾਏ ॥
This is like walking around with a winning lottery ticket in your back pocket, and you think “well I’ve got this winning lottery ticket here, but I’m not going to cash it in.” Guru Sahib Ji says, “No, no, no! Don’t waste this life! It’s really valuable.” You are so lucky to have this life, so let us make use of it.
- Lastly, Guru Sahib Ji says that this soul is a part of God. Similar to a glass of water taken from the ocean, the glass of water is separate from the ocean but is truly just water. Imagine the water has come out of the ocean and starts thinking, “I’m a glass of water and that’s all I am, I’ve never been a part of a bigger ocean.” That is simply not true, but the glass of water has deluded itself. Guru Sahib Ji is saying that this is the human condition.
What is the purpose of life according to Guru Sahib?
Let us look at two Shabads (hymns) from Gurbani which speak on this, the first one is from Rehraas Sahib which is the evening prayer for all Sikhs. This prayer is done in every single Sikh place of worship across the world and every Sikh is supposed to do it in their own time as well. This is a very straightforward explanation about the point of life,
ਭਈ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹੁਰੀਆ ॥ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ ਕੀ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥
ਅਵਰਿ ਕਾਜ ਤੇਰੈ ਕਿਤੈ ਨ ਕਾਮ ॥ ਮਿਲੁ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਭਜੁ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮ ॥੧॥
This human body has been given to you. This is your chance to meet the Lord of the Universe. Nothing else will work. Join the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy; vibrate and meditate on the Jewel of the Naam. ||1||
Guru Sahib Ji is saying here that you have achieved this body of a human being, and this is your chance now, not just your chance but your turn, to meet Vaheguru. To meet this being that has made you, your Creator, is truly the point of life. Guru Sahib Ji further says that other things are of no use to you. In this life, the only thing that is going to be of use to you is to meet with the holy congregation, the people who are trying to meet with the Creator and meditate upon the Naam.
What is Naam?
Naam can mean many things, but to simplify we will just call it 'connect', meaning to connect to the divine. When chanting Naam, put all of your strength into doing this, don't just give up and say, “oh, it doesn't work.” Use all your strength in this life to connect to the Divine who will help you across these worldly waters. Get across this ocean (the world) that separates you from your Divine. Otherwise, this beautiful Janam (life) you have will go to waste. Following Shabad by Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji tells us that our aim in life is to merge back with our Creator.
ਨਾਨਕ ਲੀਨ ਭਇਓ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿਉ ਜਿਉ ਪਾਨੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਪਾਨੀ ॥੩॥੧੧॥
To learn more about Naam check out Why Chant Vaheguru Mantra
Why should I worship God? Can’t I just live my life the way I want to?
This is a story of love, not a story about worshiping the One. Worship is the path, but the result is the merging back with God. The reality is that you are a soul who is separated from the One. In this life, you may not realize you are separated, but once you connect to that beautiful Creator who made you, your soul is going to fall in love instantly. You will fall into love and you intrinsically know this love because you have been there before. Furthermore, you have been in love with that One Vaheguru, but right now you are separated. It kind of feels like waking up from a dream where you thought you were something that you are not. Once you are awake, you realize that I'm a part of this ocean and the intense desire to go back home grows. Home is like an evocative thing, anybody who is living somewhere they did not grow up will understand this. Home is where you came from and in fact, your soul has come out from the One. Now the soul is deluded into thinking that it is no longer part of the One. It has convinced itself that the One does not exist or maybe the One is there, but I am not meant to connect. Once the soul connects a bit, it realizes that the point of life is to merge and goes into a state of distress at being separated. Once you go through that state of distress called Bairaag, then you will do everything you can to get back.
The Science of Connecting to God
Guru Sahib Ji not only says that I can teach you the truth about life, but there is also a science to this connection. Essentially, this is no longer a story about a person bowing down to the Divine, it is a story of love. This is the game of love that we are playing and it is played by getting rid of this sense of separation. Guru Sahib uses the word Haumai (ego) which is your sense of separation from that One. It can be the sense of saying me, me, me, I, I, and I exist. When you break Haumai down by understanding how the world was made, how you were created and what is the purpose of your life, you no longer feel that you are the important part. The important part is the One from which you originated who is inside you and that you can connect to it.
The Path of Sikhi
This path that Sikhs are trying to walk is not just a path of the Sikh Gurus. There are 30 other people whose writings are inside the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. They are concurring with everything our Guru is saying and that's why they're inside Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. We can take strength from the fact that this is a way of Truth. The two words that are commonly used to describe this path are Sant Ka Marag (the road of the saints) and Sacha Marag (the true way). This is a beautiful path of truth and we need a Sat (true) Guru, who has been there and comes back to teach us. For the Sikhs, everything is inside the Shabad which are the words and teachings of the Gurus.
In summary, when we ask Guru Sahib Ji “What's the point of life?” Guru Sahib says you're here to connect to your Creator, your true love. You want to get back to the creator and that is what you truly came here to do. For me, the thing that helps me understand this is the experience of that connection happening. Before that, this is all just theory. The real step happens when you start connecting and putting that theory into practice and this is why the Guru came here. This theory did exist before Guru Sahib Ji but the practices and the way that Guru Sahib Ji gave us are unmatched. This technology to connect is really why we say "Wow" (Vaah) to our Guru. Guru Sahib Ji has given such an amazingly clear and simple way of connecting. Let us pray to our Creator to give us the strength to listen and follow this path.
This article is a transcribed version of the video.