What is the purpose of our lives?
What is my Purpose?
The purpose of life is to acquire qualities and virtues so that we can carry ourselves into the next world as spiritual giants. But this is not the end purpose of life. The end purpose is something far greater. Again look at nature and the Writings. Everything that begins an organic life begins with a seed. A tree begins its life with a seed. The same with a child. Look at a tree, it grows and grows then it reaches a point where it fulfils itself when it produces its own seed. It has produced its child. It has reached the purpose of its existence if it produces its fruit, its seed. Our soul is the same thing also. It has to produce a fruit. Remember, it begins at the time of conception, if grows spiritually and acquires virtures and perfections, but it has to eventually produce a fruit. Now we look at the tree again, we notice that the tree cannot produce a fruit by itself. It cannot become pregnant unless there is a relationship with another factor, the male and female factor. The tree is the female, it produces its fruit, but it has to be pollenated from another source. Our soul is the same thing, the soul is female in the same sense. If it has to produce a fruit it has to establish a spiritual, a mystical relationship with another agency. So then our soul becomes fertilized, becomes pregnant. Here again we see in nature this relationship is involuntary, we see the tree is pollenated in a certain way, but with the soul has a free will, it is like a marriage, it has to find a partner, it has to choose. Who will it find. Most people give their souls to this physical, material world. Then the child of that partnership is not worthy, that child is materialism. It is a lower partnership.
Many people come into the world and they die and they have nothing to show for their life but materialism, this is the fruit that their soul has produced. Because the soul has a free will, it has a choice. But let us see what God wants to do, which partner He has chosen for us. Where is the partner for our soul that we can establish a spiritual, a higher relationship. We are told in this day that agency is Baha'u'llah. He is the Manifestation of God for this age. Our soul must give itself to Him, establish a mystical intercourse, a spiritual relationship with the influences of His revelation. So that this may fertilize our souls, then our soul becomes the mother of something very precious, and gives birth to it. Then you look at that child which our soul has given birth to. It is known as the spirit of faith. This is the final purpose of our lives. It comes into being as soon as you say ` I believe' in Baha'u'llah. In the beginning it is very small, just a little flicker of light. This is very precious, you must look after it, help it to grow. Just like a mother who gives birth to a child, it is difficult, and it takes a lot of hard work to bring it up and train it and protect and perserve it and help it grow. This is the most important work.
When we leave this world we bring with us all our virtues and qualities and perfections to the next world. When death takes place, it is the law of physics that everything returns to its origins. The body returns to its origins which is dust, and the soul returns to its origins also. Where is the origin of the soul? Where did it come from. It came from the spiritual worlds of God. But look at the difference. When it first came it had nothing, but now look what it has acquired. First of all it has an identity. Baha'u'llah says that you keep your identity in the next life. You are what you are, and you will come across other identities, other human beings and you associate with them. You have now got an identity which you didn't have before you were born. The soul carries with it everything good which it has. It cannot take with it anything which is bad. Bad has no existance of its own. It is simply a lack of good. When you are talking of existance either something exists or it does not exist. For example, darkness has no existence. Darkness is the lack of light. Light exists. For instance if someone asks you to get some light, you can take a candle from one room to another. But is someone asks you to bring some darkness you cannot because it doesn't exist. Poverty does not exist. It is the lack of riches. You cannot say I am a poor person and I have a lot of poverty. Its nothing. When you are poor you have one little coin. When you are full of hatred you cannot take it to the next world with you, it is just a lack of love. You cannot take bad things with you, they don't exist. If you are a murderer that means that you have very little good, you have destroyed all the good you carried with you.
It is the same law of nature that the childbrings everything it has with it, and it cannot bring something that it has not got. The same with us. You can only take love, generosity, forgiveness with you.
You will see another similarity. Look at theWritings and at nature. When the child is growing in the womb of the mother, most of the limbs are not useful, it cannot use its legs and run in the womb of the mother. Those limbs and organs are useful for this life. He acquires them in the womb of the mother for the next life. So the purpose of our soul acquiring divine virtues are really not for this life, but for the next life. You have to love each other, this is a marvelous spiritual teaching. This love is meant really for the next life. You have to carry it to the next world. Although you use it here too in this world, and it is very good, and you benefit from it, but I can assure you that there are millions of people in this world today who don't love anything, and yet they live. People are full of hate, they kill, they destroy, and yet they live. You see these qualities and virtures are aimed for the next life. Yet we benefit from them here.
What happens in the next life? Let us look atnature again. You will notice that when a child is in the womb of the mother, towards the end, it has perfect eyes. But it cannot see anything, because there is no light there. There, that instrument of the eye is useless. Its not meant for the womb of the mother. It is meant for the next life. So what happens when it is born. The combination of light in this world, which did not exist in the womb, and the eye, the combination of the two, makes that eye a useful instrument. The same thing is with the virtures which you take with you to the next life. These qualities and virtues are instruments. In the next world, these qualities become like our limbs and organs. Whatever is in the next world similar to the light, which is the counterpart of the light, that thing whatever it is, and I personally think that it is the Word of God, that combines with all the virtues of love, unity, justice, generosity, brotherhood, these combined together makes our spiritual beings progress. It becomes part of us, it becomes our useful limbs and organs. What will you do with love in the next world, we don't really know, but whatever happens to the love that you have in your heart and you take with you to the next world, combined with whatever it is in the next life, becomes part of our being.
There is another similarity here between thechild in the womb of the mother and the soul, and it is this, that the child cannot acquire these limbs and organs in this life, it has to acquire them in the womb world. If we do not acquire eyes and ears and hands and feet, and then we are born, this world is not the place to acquire them. We have to acquire them in the womb world. This is why we are told that we have to acquire these virtues and bring them with us to the next world. We cannot acquire them in the next life.
You can use them in the next life, but youcannot acquire them there. When a child has no hands or no feet, we say he is handicapped. He grows, he lives, yes, but he is handicapped, because he has failed to develop them in the womb of the mother.
There is another thing we can examine. This isnot really examples we are looking at, but principles. We have a principle of life in the physical world, and we apply it to the spiritual world. It is an application of the same principles and laws that are in existence.
Often we wonder where is the next life, where isthe next world? In order to understand you can look at nature and the Writings of Baha'u'llah. Look at the pregnant mother and the child which is growing, where is that child? That child is here. It is not born yet, but still it is very close. It is in fact in this world already, it is walking with its mother. Only a barrier prevents him from seeing and realizing it. But he is here in this world. The next world is so close for the child that it is already in it. What happens with an egg which breaks open and a chicken comes out? Where was the chicken before the egg breaks? It was here. But just a shell prevented it from realizing where it was. It is exactly the same thing with us. The next world is here. It is nowhere else. It is very close to us, but it is hidden from our eyes. Baha'u'llah has made it very clear in His Tablets why it is hidden from our eyes. The same God Who has not not given to the child in the womb of the mother the capacity to understand the next life, to see it, because if the child in the womb of the mother had any conception of the vastness and greatness and beauty of this world in comparision to the womb of the mother, hewould not wish to stay there for one moment. You would have a revolution on your hands. Nobody would want to stay in that dark and narrow and confining place of the womb world if they could see the vastness and beauty of this world. But God did not give it the capacity, as long as it is in the womb of the mother, it is blind and deaf and dumb and doesn't know a thing. This isgood for him, it brings stability to his life, it is a protection for him. The same God has closed our vision to the next world. He says if ever a person could understand to the extent of a needle's eye, the glory and the greatness and the beauty of the next life, then he would take his own life. He would not want to wish to stay here for a moment. If you had any knowledge, if you could percieve something of the next life then our life would be very unstable here, nothing could happen in this world as it is happening now. That is closed to us. Our mind is limited. The soul works within our mind. The mind is the instrument of the soul, as the body is an instrument of the soul. Every limb and organ of the body is an instrument of the soul. Our eyes see because of our soul. When we die we no longer see with our eyes because the soul is no longer attached to the body. Our mind is an instrument of the soul to think, but it is limited. Its spiritual eyes are closed. God has not given us the capacity to understand more than what it has experienced. Baha'u'llah tells us that one of the proofs of the existence of the soul is our dreams. That we are sleeping and yet we are moving around. Yet in our sleep, dreams are always limited. You never can come in the morning and say that I dreamt something that I absolutelysaw and understood the next world, to see exactly what it is because this is impossible. Whatever it is we see is limited to our experiences. We can develop on the level of our experience. We cannot rise above that level. We are limited. Because we are limited our soul stays in this limitation. It is like bringing a bird and putting it in a cage. That bird cannot move out of the cage. If the bird is in a room, and all the doors are closed it cannot see anything outside. Our souls are limited here. It has no capacity to understand even what the next life is like, because the instrument for thinking which is the brain is limited, and we discover things through our brain. So the instrument is limited. The soul cannot work through it beyond its limitations.
So you see the next life is here.
Baha'u'llah tells us another thing. In this life God has created degrees of existence. These degrees of existence are all progressively revealing the attributes of God, but we find the higher levels, or higher kingdoms are dominating the lower levels, and the lower levels are blind to the existence of the higher kingdoms. You find out for example that in the vegetable kingdom does not understand the animal, and the animal does not understand the reality of man. But the opposite is true, man understands the animal and the animal understands the vegetable. But there are degrees of existence. In this life there are infinite varieties. Even amongst human beings each one is distinct, unique. There are not two things the same. But all things are on different levels, humanity is on one level, animals, there are many degrees of animal, many grades of animals, you come across for example a worm which is on the lowest scale, and you come across intelligent animals. Look at all the degrees He has created. It's the same thing in the next life. Humanity will be graded, we will be divided into levels, depending on what we carry to the next world. Whatever capital we take to the next world from there on you start your level. Baha'u'llah tells us that in the next life, those that are on a lower level will not understand those on a higher level. This is the way God likes it, He likes these divisions. We may not like it, we may all like to be in the same place, but God says that we must be divided, just like in the nature, look at all the divisions, could He not just have created man, what's the use of all these silly little mouse and insects? He loves these divisions. Those who are on a higher level will encompass those who are on a lower level. But again on each level the souls will progress and grow.