Setting the Right Goal in Life

– By Swami Abhedananda: Chinmaya Mission South Africa

We all are running, huffing and puffing our way from one place to another. But the irony is that we do not know the starting and culminating points of our illusory races! Our running is on beaten tracks to enjoy and hoard, but alas! The end of this race never comes! The more we run, the further appears our goal. The body gets old, mind gets exhausted and intellect feels frustrated. Many co-runners have perished without touching the winning ribbon, many have fainted on their way and others have given up in despair.

Can’t we sit for some time and introspect where is our victory point? What would be the final destination or goal? How could this mad race be transformed into a beautiful journey of love and service? How can the tiring run be made a joyous ride to illumination and enlightenment? Do we want to pause and contemplate on these ideas?

Most of us squander our precious time and energy in just thinking what to do. It is so because we do not have the right goal in life and hence we are not able to be our own inspiration centre. Something else, someone other than me is required to prompt me, to flog me, to exhort me. More the external factors required to bring out the contributory aspect in one’s personality, more weak is the person. This weakness of ours is nothing but a sign of goal-less life and purpose-less endeavors.

Bhagavad Gita says, “Let a man lift himself by his Self alone, and let him not lower himself; for, this Self alone is the friend of oneself, and this Self is the enemy of oneself.”

Nobody from outside can inspire us for a very long time; we have to be our own source of inspiration.

A goal has to be all-pervasive. There is nothing wrong in having material goals. However, when we pursue only material gains with the conviction that this life of lucre and luxury alone is the source of joy, then we have blindfolded ourselves with delusion; and consequently sadness will envelop us. We forget that misery in our life is the outcome of lower pursuits and goals. The goal of today’s youngsters is only to satisfy the demands of the flesh! We have forgotten that unless material goal is purified by emotional and intellectual goals, we would never experience the joy of higher spiritual pursuits.

We have to define our own goals and find the means to fulfill them. Get set and go; but first, get on the mark! Being clear of the necessity to be on the higher path, being convinced about the devoted mind and dedicated intellect is to be ‘on the mark’. When we are not on the mark, we are groping in the dark!

Unless we put a target for our mental upliftment, how can mind leave its smallness and bitterness that haunts it day and night? Let us mark our ‘ideal mind’ and whip the ‘present mind’ to attain those qualities that makes it respectful and qualified to surrender to the higher!

The beauty of intellect is its right thinking and it’s ugliness is in its wrong convictions. Intellect is the instrument of thinking with logic and this logic should be trained to be aligned with the thought of scriptures. We have to chisel our intellect on the anvil of sacrifice and dedication to make it strong and subtle. Hence the importance of having an intellectual goal!

Today, our intellect is developed only in our respective academic faculties. Unless it is trained to dive into the ocean of scriptures, life does not get an ultimate purpose and the real joy of living. The scriptures alone can give us the vision about all aspects of living and steer us to the pinnacle of perfection.

We don’t realise that the human being is the only creation that can have a goal in life; that can change its own nature! We don’t push the boundaries to explore the possibilities of a human life. Stuck with a material goal, we fail to realise that material goals can never inspire a person for a long time. The moment you attain one, you feel that it was too low. Then we move to another, and then another, and so on. We belittle our own goals as small and useless after sometime because they gave us misery instead of happiness.

Assert your Godhood! Claim the best in life! Go ahead with a smile on your face! Face the world! Don’t think of success and failure! Success and failure has nothing to do for a confident person; he will use both as stepping stones. Use the successes for higher success! When tired, smile! When exhausted, rest! When disgusted, surrender to God! When nothing strikes, strike your head at His feet. When nothing works, just look into the eyes of the Lord, the spark of hope in His eyes, remember your Master, remember Gurudev, go ahead!

Keep the emotional goal much higher than the material goal. Keep the intellectual goal much higher than the material goal. Let the spiritual goal stand tall above all other goals. That should be the guiding factor in our lives. Go as a master in this flow of time and discover the Timeless. In this world, discover That which is beyond the world. That is the purpose of living; that is the fulfillment of life.


About the Author:

Swami Abhedananda is presently the Acharya-in-Charge of Chinmaya Mission South Africa. Swamiji exudes a vibrant and dynamic personality, deep rooted in Vedantic erudition since his childhood days of association with Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda which resulted in his induction to Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in 1993. Swami Abhedananda is a gifted and versatile speaker, appealing to all sections of the audience with excellent command on both English and Hindi. His immense depth of knowledge in Vedantic as well as devotional texts makes him a rare and powerful combination, earning equal popularity among audiences in India and abroad.

In the past three decades, Swami Abhedananda has travelled across the world, conducting several discourses, seminars, spiritual retreat camps for elders, youth as well as children. In his vast public interactions, Swami Abhedananda has been spreading the potent message of Hindu texts in a simple and practical manner.  He commands a reputation for his distinct ability to convey the most profound principles of Vedanta in a lucid and extremely comprehensible manner; leaving every sincere seeker yearning for more.

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