Step 12

Understand your existence

The entire world is worried about the natural calamities envisioned due to the warnings of the scientists of the deteriorating quickened change in the climate condition by the “green house gas”. This is the man made ‘dilemma’ causing even to the innocents will suffer!

Beyond the vast Existential Quagmire, the greatest tragedy of our modern day materialistic civilization is that in spite of tremendous strides forward in the field of material progress we, its members, are offered by our leaders nothing more than a bleak meaningless existence. The only carrots of meaning that we are thrown are various types of subtle and gross material sense pleasures. But sense pleasure is highly restricted and temporary. And it eventually fades away into oblivion at the time of death. It’s no small wonder then that everywhere throughout the world we find people who are bewildered and confused. There is a very high suicide rate among teenagers, and quite often people become so miserable that they go on shooting sprees to kill as many people as possible before taking their own life.

So how are we to find meaning? How are we to crawl out of this vast existential quagmire? My father taught me what for him for the purpose of existence. He said “Happiness is a job well done”. But my experience was that even after doing a job well I was still bereft of happiness. His answer did not work for me. Then hoping to encourage me, he told me that my college days would be the happiest days of my life. But when I began my college days as a freshman, I discovered much to my disappointment that I was indeed quite miserable. I could then only conclude, “If this is the happiest part of my life, what will the rest of my life be like?

My teachers wanted to know what I planned to major in. But how could I choose a major when I did not even know the purpose of my existence? From deep within my heart was crying, “You are supposed to be educating me. So just tell me the meaning of life. That’s all I really want to know.” But neither they nor my professors could give me this most essential information.

I just had to find out the real meaning of life. I was separate to know. I just knew there had to be some purpose deeper than working hard to make good grades, to get a good job, to work real hard, to maintain a good wife, kids and house, to get old and die, and to be cremated or buried six feet under with flowers on my grave every year until every one forgets about me. This could not be all there is to life. And indeed it is not.

As one songwriter aptly stated “I opened my heart to the whole universe, and I found it was loving”. There is an underlying beautifully wonderful meaning of existence. It’s there just below the surface, like a crystal clear aquifer just below the surface of the desert. So there is no reason to go thirsty. One simply must learn the art of how to tap into that reservoir of unlimitedly sweet nectarean water. That’s all. This is known as the science of self-realization. It has been practiced by great enlightened beings throughout the ages.

So how can we get in on this? How can we learn this self-realization science? This art is revealed in India’s ancient Vedic Wisdom, especially the Bhagawad-Gita and the Upanishads. And it is mastered under the guidance of that most expert person who is the living embodiment of the Vedic wisdom, the bona fide spiritual master.

I was indeed fortunate to come in contact with such a highly qualified and enlightened spiritual master, His Holiness Swamy Chinmayananda. I took full advantage under his expert guidance, I have spent the last 29 years of my life blissfully encaged in diving deeper and deeper into that sweet nectarean ocean in which one fully realizes and relishes the underlying meaning and purpose of existence.

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