Should we be worrying about the purpose of life?

“Don’t worry about your purpose in life. When you’re dead, you would have fulfilled it.”

Written by Anuradha Varma | New Delhi | Published:June 5, 2017 8:08 pm
life purpose, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Patrick Sanfrancesco When teenagers can go to a rock concert and get blown up, as we saw happen in Manchester. It makes every day of being alive feel like a miracle. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

The other day, as I lay on my couch, enjoying an episode of Gotham and its deliciously evil villains, I suddenly wondered at my purpose in life. I pictured myself crossing over and on the day of reckoning, just saying that one of my greatest joys was watching a lot of TV (and now Netflix and Hotstar, etc). Is it enough to say, you know, that I was basically just chilling?

I’m not a bad person and may have even done some random acts of kindness, but is that enough? A healer and extremely cool guru, Patrick Sanfrancesco, based in Goa (one of the reasons that make him cool!) shoots down such existential dilemmas that pop up during his talks in south Delhi with “Don’t worry about your purpose in life. When you’re dead, you would have fulfilled it.” His motto, of course, is to learn to “just be”. Till you stop being one fine day, I guess, and by then, you would have hopefully fulfilled your purpose. Whatever that may have been. Which doesn’t leave me any wiser.

A friend has turned healer and as she goes about being a Good Samaritan, the rest of us friends beam with delight. It’s as if she is collecting good karma for all of us. As she goes about stacking up her spiritual karma, it sort of feels like a back-bencher being friends with a front-bencher.

I read an article online on habits to cultivate that can prove emergency life-saving measures one day. These included memorising three exits whenever you enter a crowded hall; remembering that if your car is sinking underwater, it’s better to smash open a car window than trying to (unsuccessfully) open a door; strengthening your wrist in case you need to clamber down a fire escape or just hang on for dear life in an emergency, and some other stuff I can’t remember now, but hope to remember when an emergency strikes! I was tempted to term the article paranoia, but the threats are all too real today. When teenagers can go to a rock concert and get blown up, as we saw happen in Manchester. It makes every day of being alive feel like a miracle. Which brings us back to making it want to count. Makes one wonder if it’s just simple vanity, wanting to leave our footprints on the shifting sands of time.

It may seem so, if we go by what Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev writes on his blog for Isha Foundation, “You don’t have to do anything. Just being alive is grand enough.” As he explains, “You have not experienced the magnificent nature of your being. That is why you are asking, ‘What is the purpose? What should I do to make this life meaningful?’”

Even so, I make a note to self about not asking my maid to return the small loan I gave her so she could buy her daughter a laptop. I feel a warm glow, till I recall that I spent an equal amount, maybe more, shopping for chikan kurtas recently.

Well, I’ll continue to add to my roster of good deeds, just in case, so that it all stacks up when the day of reckoning arrives, if it does at all. Till then, there’s a new episode of Sarabhai vs Sarabhai to be seen!

(The writer is an editorial consultant and co-founder of The Goodwill Project. She tweets @anuvee) Views expressed are personal.

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