The Imperial Goal of Human Life

Tanushree SrivastavaThere lived a king who ruled over the biggest kingdom of his country. He was an intelligent man and always looked after his people. One day while walking through the kingdom he came across a saint who was sitting beneath a tree. The saint was very famous was for his wisdom and the king couldn’t stop himself from talking with him. The saint asked the king a simple question, he said- “Imagine you are travelling in a desert for days and you haven’t had even a drop of water. Along your journey you meet a man who is ready to provide you with a glass of water in return of half of your kingdom, then say king what will you do?” The king replied- “Of course I will give him half of my kingdom. What is the value of this kingdom to me if I am not alive?” The saint smiled and asked another question- “So after this if you meet another man after 10 days who offers you a loaf of bread in return of the other half of your kingdom, what will you do?” The king said- “I will give him the remaining part of my kingdom, nothing is worth more than my life!” The saint smiled and left the king thinking.

I love this story because it teaches so much about life. So what is life all about? A glass of water and a loaf of bread is all that really matters in the end? I read countless books on spirituality which all teach me that what we are running after is nothing but a mere trap which ultimately leaves us with a void. A very famous Hindi saying defines my life and it goes like this- “What did you bring to this world that you are crying over something that you have lost? What did you produce that turned to dust? You did not bring anything to this world, whatever you have, you have taken from this world, whatever you gave, you gave from this world! You came to this world empty handed and you will leave it the same way! What you possess today was somebody else’s yesterday and will be with someone else tomorrow! You are happy with what you have right now thinking that it will stay with you forever but this is the main reason of all your miseries.

For me the question always stays the same and that is- “what should be my ultimate aim in life?” I keep asking myself the same question over and over again. Being in possession of a good job and a loving family is something that everyone aspires for. Then what will make my goals different from these shallow goals of life? The everyday problems I have today are not relevant to my life in the long run. I am happy with the fact that I am conscious enough to understand that. Life has a million shades and just when you think you know it all, it proves you wrong.

Expectations kill people. While people expect too much out of the other person they are resistant in doing even half of that much for others. I have learnt the hard way of never keeping expectations. In a way that has made me a happier person. If someone does even something as small as offering a smile, I am happy, if not, well I don’t care. Life is so complicated sometimes that I think that the only way to untangle the mess of life is to set certain standards for ourselves. That only something as big as “this” can affect me because today something new always crops up to upset us.

So from now for me, life is all about knowing me. Knowing how much I can do for others, knowing how evil I can be or knowing to what length I can go someone I love. There are a million things that we don’t know about the person that resides within us. We are astonished countless number of times after incidents that happen in our life that how we pulled off something like that. We fail to surprise our own soul each time. No matter how much wealth we have, in the end we are not allowed to take it to heaven (if at all we are allowed there). So I for one would like to end this life time by knowing myself inside out. THAT is my imperial goal of life. I don’t want to stand in front of God and tell him that I couldn’t even know myself completely in all these years that he gave me to live this divine life.

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28 thoughts on “The Imperial Goal of Human Life

  1. Reminds me (in the Christian tradition) of Genesis 25:32-34: “And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die; and what shall this birthright do to me?” He sold his birthright (his inheritance, his station and purpose in life) to live. As I always say, you are wise behold your years and even traditions. You speak of universal truths. I always read your thoughts here expecting food for the journey. Thank you for never disappointing.

    • Christianity is so much similar to Hinduism. I am not surprised though. I am always so overwhelmed after reading those words of appreciation from your side. Thank you is the least I can say for those precious words of encouragement!


  2. This is so true! It is so hard to not fall into the “life traps”. I try to avoid them but somehow I keep ending up there. My personal theory is that ‘the collective consciousness” is waking us up to a new way of looking at things. Maybe it’s not so new, just previously ignored.

  3. Well done, I enjoyed this thoroughly. Hard for a lot of people to realize not to covet the physical things of this world which fade to dust but rather cherish the spiritual gifts, which last forever. And lowering expectation is so vital but yet to hard to do some times. Great piece!

  4. From the way i look at life. Life somehow is ready to teach you. It teaches you one thing after another. During the course, you experience Pain. It goes on and on. You can name it hard work. You can name it “non-attachment” etc. I realized life has nothing more to offer other than Pain. So living with one emotion all the time makes it lot easier.

    • That’s a sad take of life. I don’t agree with you completely. Pain is just one emotion out of of the hundreds that we experience each day. I really think you should talk to somebody who is always cheerful and infectiously happy all the time, it always changes perspectives :)

      • Ha ha. Wish things would be as simple as that. The whole world would be a better place to live in. But the reality is there are wars. There are enemies. There are fights. A world were everyone is happy is a bit too much to dream i say!

        • If there are wars then there are friendships and if there are enemies then there are friends and people who love you. I am not telling you to live in a make believe world. Face the reality and change your life at least. I am not expecting the whole world to be happy with me. Imagine a world where there is only happiness, it will become dead boring. Being sad and happy is a part of life. Choosing the right path and taking intelligent decisions is up to us.
          So be an optimistic person so that you don’t lose precious time experiencing only pain when there are a million other emotions which are truly amazing :)

  5. I remember a very nice story from school, possibly biblical, I don’t remember and it doesn’t really matter…

    A traveller stopped at a busy village and liked it so much that he wanted to stay, so he asked the permission of the village council who were angered by the question. They told the traveller that their village was already full and could not accommodate any more people. The traveller asked again and said how much he liked the place and how he thought he would fit in. Finally the elder of the village filled a bowl to the brim with milk and told the traveller that if he could add to the bowl without the milk spilling, he would be allowed to stay. The traveller thought for a while and added a spoonful of sugar making the milk taste sweet and not spilling a drop.

  6. True.. A glass of water and a piece of bread is what we need to be alive.. Rest all is just to satisfy our ego.. Nice one :-)

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  8. This is how I have felt about life for a while. My depression is triggered by wanting something and not being able to have it. People need to understand that all they need is their health and a caring attitude. This will bring happiness. Life is too short to mourn for the things that we cannot have

  9. Thanks for the great post — part of what you talk about I think of as “letting go,” especially of expectations and outcomes. It’s not easy because part of me believes if I think and worry enough I can actually *control* outcomes and make sure things go my way. Giving up that fantasy makes it a lot easier to let go and try to enjoy the (sometimes bumpy) ride :)

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