We carry out so many actions and indulge in so many activities. But what exactly is the real purpose of our life? A lot of prophets and saints have attempted an answer for this. But none have given a more logical and satisfying answer than the Indian Rishis by way of their theoretical exposition of soul, karma and rebirths in umpteen works of Sanatana Dharma. The concepts of soul and rebirth form part of the core ideology of Sanatana Dharma that stands on very solid foundations. No other religion or ism has given a better answer as to the purpose of life than Sanatana Dharma. Rishis in India have never craved for political power and that is why their Dharma is Sanatana (eternal) that could offer such an unquestionable answer regarding purpose of life. Any ideology designed for seeking power and conquering lands cannot provide answers to eternal questions.
Attaining paradise and redemption for sinners are the unquestioned objectives of two contemporary isms dominating the world today. But a mere pointer to the objective will not provide a satiable answer to our questions about the purpose of everyday life. Voluntarily and involuntarily we are carrying out so many activities in the entire span of our lives. Many a time we do understand the immediate purpose only in the case of our voluntary actions eg. we walk or run when we want to reach a destination. But why do you want to reach that particular destination at all? For that matter, why do you want to reach any destination? Why is our heart working tirelessly or shutting down suddenly without our control? Why do we tend to love something and hate something else? There is no end to such questions and no answer either. Only Sanatana Dharma provides a simple satisfying answer as to the overall purpose of life of each and every human being.
Almost all religious isms accept the existence of a body and soul for each human being and Sanatana Dharma is no exception. But the similarity ends there. We are considered alive only until our body and soul are together. When the soul decides to leave, it leaves behind a dead body. But what is this soul and what is its role? Indian Rishis considered these souls as nothing but indestructible microcosms (jeevatma) of the larger universal force of Ishwar (paramatma). We know Ishwar is present in everything, but what is special about the soul? If Ishwar is present in everything, why is soul not present in everything? The answer is simple and straight forward. It is true that Ishwar is present in everything, but soul is present only in living beings. And that is what differentiates between living and dead bodies. Each soul comes with a partly defined purpose based on accumulated karma from previous lives (which also determines when, where and how it is born), but leaves with the karma accumulated by the actions of the body that carried it.
Presence of life in it makes all souls inherently insatiable. The prime purpose of bodies carrying them gets defined here. It is the solemn duty of each living body to carry its soul to a more elevated plane in the cycle of evolution. Refinement of the soul it carries is thus the solemn duty of each living individual in this universe. And the only tool available at our disposal for achieving this is our action. Each and every one of our actions is important here. Each thought and each movement is vital. Application of the dharma tool, another unique aspect of Sanatana Dharma, becomes unavoidable in this regard. Each dharmic action (including thoughts) refines our soul and each adharmic action will taint it further. And finally when your body’s turn to carry that soul is over, it leaves and may or may not be reborn depending upon the accumulated karma so far. In a way it is the insatiability of the soul inside us that force us through each moment of our life.
It is clear and evident that we are all born with souls of different characteristics which in turn depend on the intensity of refinement they have gone through in the past lives. Since none of us have any role in our birth that carries along with it the associated fortunes (and misfortunes), the vast differences that exist among us at birth is also something beyond our control. All of us are uniquely different at birth and our actions start to count only after we come of age. And beyond that point whatever we think or say or act will definitely affect our principal task of refining the souls in our custody. That is why it is always stressed by various religious leaders that success or failure of our births is largely in our own hands. One’s life is a success if he or she has managed to refine the soul and it is a failure if it gets more and more tainted in your custody.
And finally what happens after so many cycles of births and deaths. Nature of accumulated karma would carry the soul forward. If the latest one holding it has done well enough, the soul (jeevatma) shall merge completely into Ishwar (paramatma) and shall be relieved of further trials and tribulations associated with births and re-births. Complete liberation or emancipation (moksha) of the soul happens at this point. In rarest of rare cases we have also seen individuals amongst us achieving emancipation (moksha) even during their lifetimes. Ramana Mahirshi of yesteryears and Mata Amritanandamayi Devi in contemporary times are cases of such jeevanmukta. Their actions are so very noble that refinement of the souls they carried outpaced their own lives. It will be a rare honour to interact and be associated with such noble souls.
Purpose of our life and what we all should aim for in the course of our lives is explicitly clear now. Reference material available in Sananata Dharma for finer clarifications and research on this topic is literarily monumental. The logic of soul refinement and rebirths is so unambiguous that all our doubts will evaporate when we dig deeper and deeper into the works of Indian Rishis. No other religious ideology can claim such a credible and convincing repertoire of coherent works and their innumerable commentaries. Genuine followers of Sanatana Dharma have no reasons to be in doubt as to the purpose of their lives. Perhaps the days are not very far when the whole world would realize their mistake of not noticing the truth of their lives that always existed in the cradle of culture that is Sanatana Dharma.