Our Life Is A Series Of Choices: As You Choose So You Become: Part 1
From birth till death our journey of life is full of adventure and wonder. The more we live in the moment the more we are happier. But in the pathway of life we all seek something out of our life. We constantly set goals in our life according to our inclinations, our desires, our wishes and move on the path. When one goal is achieved we seek and set forth for another.
Santosha never comes. Santosha or contentment is a contradictory word,. Some ambitious persons will tell you when we feel contented with what we have, we stop our growth. Others will tell you the more you are contented with what God has given you will find peace and happiness. So our goals are infinite and innumerable, of different variety and it changes with time and age. We always choose our goals from a platter of options available to us.
THE FOUR TYPES OF GOALS
In Sanskrit, these human goals are called purusartha. Artha means a goal. That which is desired is called artha. And therefore, the word purusartha means ‘ the end or goal which is desired or sought after by human beings (purusah)’.Now in our shastras they have categorized human goals in to four types.
1.Dharma or Punyam (To do religious acts to draw favour of punyam for our next birth)
2. Artha ( Wealth)
4. Moksha.(Inner Freedom)
Most of us in this world are always after the first three goals. We study in the childhood, and what we teach our children, you have to earn your living. Become engineer, doctor…. Whatever but ultimate goal is Artha and Kama. That is wealth and Entertainment, a happy life. After that in priority comes dharma. Some pursue this goal along with the others also, ie to live a righteous path, to do daan ie sharing of wealth among needy ad poor, living with compassion. There is a belief in rebirth in Indian culture. There is an acceptance of past birth, and there is a belief in future birth, even though one does not know the details. And a believer in future birth is interested in the wellbeing of the next birth also. All these three goals are dependent on external factors ie something outside our body , mind complex, in the region of sensory pleasures. Majority of people are after the pursuit of these three goals Dharma Artha Kama. This is required for our practical life. So all this three goals fall broadly under the category of Preyas or worldly ie the apparent goal.
The fourth one is Moksha ie Mukti or Freedom. Freedom from dependence on external factors. That is being immersed in self and looking within for security ,pleasure , peace and fulfillment. The happiness and security does not depend on external factors, anything or anybody. This inner freedom is called moksha and this is the highest purusartha, the paramapurusartha. This is called parama-purusartha, because there is no further pursuit once this is fulfilled. This falls under the category of Sreyas or Spiritual which is The Real Goal.
TWO CATEGORIES OF GOALS
So we have a choice as to what should be the primary goal of our life Sreyas (Spiritual) or Preyas (Worldly). Each moment we choose between these two options and thus pave our destiny.
Lets see at the time of death what happens. Our scriptures say artha grhe nivartante, that is, all the wealth I have acquired is left behind at home. Smasane mitrabandhavah friends and relatives are left behind at the cremation ground. Then the question is who follows the jiva (the individual) after death? Neither money nor relatives. Then what follows ? Sukrtam duskrtam caiva gacchantam anugacchati. Only the punyam and papam, which one acquires during one’s life, follow one to determine the next janma. And, those who believe in these punyam and papam naturally want to accumulate sukrtam or punyam.
In our pathway of life we realize that in the pursuit of the first three goals falling under preyas we have some side effects. The side effects are pain, dissatisfaction and dependence. Then few of us slowly turn to the sreyas.
CHOICE OF LIVING A DEPENDENT OR INDEPENDENT LIFE
The Vedas ask us whether we want to lead a life of dependence or one of independence. We seem to love dependence because we have got used to it. The Vedas never impose anything; it is for us to decide and choose. Based on this, the Vedas are broadly classified into two portions: Veda purva and Vedaanta. Veda purva deals with the fulfillment of the first three purusarthas that leads to a dependent life. Security and entertainment are dealt with in Veda purva. It talks about earning wealth and becoming prosperous; about having a large family; about traveling all over; about material education, and so on. In other words Vedapurva talks about preyas. Once a person becomes mature, he/she wants to become independent and it is at this time that Vedaanta comes to be of help. Vedanta helps in discovering independence, moksha, sreyas.
Thus our scriptures shows us the path for both ways. It is up to us what we choose. This depends on our inclinations which depends on many factors like birth, character , profession , time and age, circumstances.
So we see that our life is a series of choices….
To be continued…..please share your views.
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