What Is Our Purpose in Life?


Dear Friend,

I want to find out who do we really live for on Earth? for Divine, for our physical self, or for the society? We are always trying to please people/society and we become someone else (forget our true self) based on their acceptance and rejections. How do live that life then?

We are told to follow our heart and put human before materialistic world, then how is it practical? People think you are insane if have too much desire to help people in need. How do you survive?

—Deepika, USA


Dear Friend,

Yes, this life is very confusing as we are subjected to so many influences: family, culture, country plus our own inner promptings, interests, desires, fears and ambitions!

As a yogi, it is easiest for me to say that we should go by our own conscience and inner guidance. The problem with that easy answer is, how do we know and trust inner guidance? How do we know we aren’t being influenced by others, our upbringing, by our own likes and dislikes?

Trouble is, this is very difficult to know. This is one (of many) reasons meditation can be so helpful. By daily calming the mind, opening the heart, and praying for guidance we gradually get clearer and clearer (almost by instinct, as it were) as to what is right to do, to say, to think, to feel!

But, well, it’s not necessarily that complex: What is in front of you today? Do you need a job? Do you have a sick child? Do you need to finish your education? For most people, what we need to do is RIGHT IN FRONT OF US! If someone we respect and trust (perhaps a parent, a spouse, a friend, a spiritual guide) suggests this or that and if we don’t have any stronger inclinations, why not try it?

Understand this: we can NEVER do anything really WRONG if we are sincere, intelligent, have common sense, and are trying to do the RIGHT THING! We learn the best from our mistakes. And no one: I repeat, NO ONE! is free from mistakes.

Another important point: it is better to do SOMETHING rather than NOTHING! Krishna states this, in effect, in the Bhagavad Gita. My teacher, Swami Kriyananda, puts it this way: “Action is clarifying.” By taking action now, at least some steps in given direction, our very action will clarify for us whether it is the right direction.

By this last practical principle, I don’t mean that any obstacle at all means “it wasn’t meant to be.” It just means that we often receive guidance as a consequence of putting out a practical, tangible commitment to right action.

It almost never works just to sit “cross-legged and cross-eyed” on a cushion and expect answers to fall in your lap!!!!

So, be honest with yourself; be sincere as to your intentions; and from there, simply do what circumstances and your duty require of you. Bit by bit, step by step, you will strengthen your magnetism to attract to you that which is best for you spiritually. (Material success, too, if it is best for you.) Meditate and pray each day; each night before bed, review the day’s actions and words and examine how well you did to live from the highest place you feel you can at this time.


Sincerely and with blessings,
Nayaswami Hriman