Humans have always felt perplexed by life’s mystery, its origin, meaning and finality. Especially, origin, meaning and purpose of human life have always remained vital subjects of discussion and analysis from the beginning. Theists and atheists, both, have for thousands of years been discussing these subjects continuously and comprehensively. Scholars have differently presented their respective arguments and conclusions on them. Their arguments, interpretations and conclusions have further been reinterpreted and reanalyzed from time-to-time without failing to deliver new explanations each time. Along with socio-political and economic spheres, spiritual field has also got new dimensions, one after the other in constantly changing situations of space. Even though, i.e., despite constantly changing situations at all levels, from local to global, and in all walks of life the process of discussion and analysis pertaining to life, its origin, meaning and purpose in particular, still continues. It has not lost its significance even through the inevitable process of change.
The Vedic-Hindu philosophy, the most ancient and the best thought that has left impression in one way or the other on all existing philosophies of the world, declares the origin of life to be the divine. This notion could be well observed in the light of the Vedic concept of Hiranyagarbhaa, the golden embryo, as the source of creation of the universe, in which the creation arises out of the dismemberment of a cosmic being, The Purusha. [Rigveda: 10:121]
Karmas [deeds] are natural to all living beings. Despite this, it is only human beings who possess two extraordinary qualities namely intellect and creativity. These two traits render a human being a distinction and superiority over all living beings. With an appropriate co-ordination of intellect and creativity with Karmas, thus, transforming Karmas into Sukarmas [righteous acts] is generally expected from man’s life. In other words, making one’s actions virtuous through an amalgam of intellect and creativity is the highest accomplishment of human life. Life founded on the basis of righteous deeds achieves the highest kind of redemption, the Moksha. In this state soul is fully liberated and beyond the process of death and rebirth. It is considered to be the ultimate purpose of human life to make sense of his life through his actions and thoughts.
The highest stage of Moskha is possible only in the superior human life. A human being is entirely free to act. If he merges his intellect and creativity to make good of his actions, he achieves the highest state, the Moksha. The Vedic-Hindu view of life usually envisions this ultimate state of human life when soul is wholly liberated from the cycle of births and deaths. Thereafter, it remains eternally in the service of God in His abode. It is in other words the realization [of soul] of fundamental [its] nature or obtaining the state of oneness with God.
Almost all theistic philosophies, developed in India and rest of the world, are more or less and in one way or the other, seem near to the Vedic-Hindu concept pertaining to origin, meaning and purpose of human life. Other philosophies like Buddhism and Jainism are also in agreement in toto with Vedic-Hindu notion pertaining to make the life finally meaningful with the attainment of Moksha, Mukti or Vimukti through righteous [virtuous] acts. It is, however, the other matter if they [Buddhism and Jainism] do not agree to Vedic-Hindu view of existence of any Supreme authority, God, on one hand and existence of soul after the liberation on the other.
In Buddhism and Jainism, attaining the highest, the Moksha, is a state. Buddhism, rejecting the theory of a transmigrating permanent soul, states that the state of Moksha it to be free from all passions and desires. One who achieves this is called liberated. It is a state having no origin, and no end. It should have, therefore, no existence thereafter. In Jainism, on the other hand, it is the last step, a state of achieving Amaratva. The liberated [soul] gets abode in the Siddhaloka.
The essence that could be drawn in short from Buddhism and Jainism in context of the Moksha or the Nirvana is that both of them lay emphasis on bringing life within the ambit of virtuous acts [Sadachar]. Both stress on making life pure externally and internally, both. When there is a state of absolute purity, soul realizes extreme bliss and happiness, and then gets the state of permanent peace. It is the highest, the ultimate state, i.e., making life meaningful, ideal and exemplary for others, generations to come.
Dayananda Saraswati, one of the great Vedic-scholars, thinkers, and exponents of the Vedas, despite being in concordance with the Hindu view of origin, purpose and goal of life seems differing in respect of the state of soul after the Moksha. He is of the opinion that after the Moksha soul enjoys extreme [beyond explanation] happiness for a certain period and reappears [in a body] thereafter. The opinion of Dayananda Saraswati is definitely amazing. This view of Dayananda renders another dimension in this regard, to the perception related to the state of soul after liberation.
What I draw as conclusion from the whole discussion, while having the Vedic-Hindu viewpoint in the centre, is: 1-human life is the best and rare rarest one of all living beings; 2-leading it through righteous acts to make the best of it is the duty of man and achieving the state of liberation, the Moksha is the purpose of it. After Moksha, the liberation, the cycle of birth-death comes to an end. Soul reaches the state of Sachchidananda, obtains Paramatatva or merges with Brahamanatva. It is in fact the process to make life worthy and meaningful. It is, to repeat, the ultimate purpose of life.
Man is full of wisdom. He is sharp. He imagines and tries continuously to learn and explore. This is the quality, which separates him from others and to make him superior over all living beings. He may differ partly or fully from all established concepts pertaining to origin, meaning or purpose and goal of life. He may particularly disagree with the theist ones believing in Supreme power, among which is the Vedic Hindu viewpoint, which is the ancient and the best one. It dissension existed in the past also. Man has the right to explore and experiment on the basis of his own wisdom and experiences; it does not matter even if explanations of treatises are great and seem based on reality.
Even though one thing has emerged in the above-mentioned concepts, that is the Vedic-Hindu philosophy in particular, is not only relevant to be conformed to, but also along with giving satisfaction to a great extent leads man to make his life worthy and meaningful. When the purpose and goal of man’s life is discussed, he is called to rise above his own self-interest. He is further urged to endeavour having the welfare of all in the centre. He is expected to step forward by seeing and regulating his own happiness and comfort in the wellbeing of all. If he does so, he performs what we term as the righteous acts. Giving up own self-interest, and working for progress and welfare of others is the process of indulging in righteous acts. It is Sadachar [ethics], necessary for proper conduction of the system, from individual to global, from global to universal. In this context the following message of Gautama Buddha is worthy of mention here:
“After observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reasons and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”