Purpose of Human Life. Meaning of Life.
Also perfecting of one's life.

Life is passing by. Time waits for none. Worth observing is the purpose for which life is being spent. (...) Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 231.

To merge one's long separated consciousness with the Lord is the aim of human birth. If one does not pay attention to this task, or is careless about his spiritual advancement, he wastes this precious and golden opportunity in return for mere cowries and shells. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 2131.

Each separate being in the universe returns to the common source. Returning to the source is serenity. If you don't realize the source, you stumble in confusion and sorrow. When you realize where you come from, you naturally become tolerant, disinterested, amused, kindhearted as a grandmother, dignified as a king. Immersed in the wonder of the Tao, you can deal with whatever life brings you, and when the death comes, you are ready. Tao te Ching 16, quoted after Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom, P.150.

I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at his moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth. There is none other than Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-subsisting. Baha'u'llah

(...) they finally realized that there is no escape from God, except to Him. God then redeemed them, that they may repent. God is redeemer, the merciful. Quran 9:118

You shall force yourself to stay with those who worship their Lord day and night, seeking only Him, and do not divert your eyes from them, seeking the vanities of this life. Quran 18:28

It is Love that demands purification, before man can be ready for that union with God, which is his ultimate vocation and destiny. John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, P.187

() You will discover the meaning of life when you discover God in prayer. () Our Lady of Medjugorie, July 25, 1997. Words from Heaven, supplement.

If you are really wise, you will place all your joy, all your hope, in no one but me, because none is good except God only (Luke 18:19), and he is above all things to be praised, and in all things blessed. Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ, III.9.3

You know, Lord, everything I have is yours, even the very tools of my service. But really it's the other way about; you serve me rather than I you. Heaven and earth, which you made for the use of man, stand ready to be of service, fulfilling day in, day out, whatever commands you give them. Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ, III.10.3

"Yes", Jesus said to them, "and I assure you that anyone who leaves home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God will receive much more in this, present age and eternal life in the age to come." Luke 18:29-30

But those who devote themselves steadfastly to Me, meditating on My transcendental form, receive all bounties and securities from Me. Gita 9:22

That person who, having been blessed with this precious human birth, devoted himself to the Lord earnestly, imbibed humility and deserved the Lord's pleasure; is indeed blessed. Blessed are also his parents as well as those who follow in his footsteps. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 406.

Arise! Awake! Move ahead, cease not until you attain your destination. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1190.

Always be conscious of your aim and remember that time once gone can never be regained. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1756.

The devotee has only one aim in life i.e. to win the Lord's pleasure. For this he faces all hardships with a smile. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1883.

Instead of pleasing people, please the Lord who has bestowed this human body on you. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 2004.

A person who possesses firm determination, one day wins the race. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 2066.

Every object of Nature is there to give you a lesson. Learn as an onlooker with subtle intellect. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 2124.

For thirty years I went in search of God, and when at the end of that time I opened my eyes, I discovered that it was he who had been looking for me. Bayezid Bistami, Sufi Mystic, 9th century. In: Buber, Ecstatic Confessions, P.17.

So when by this exercise of the presence of God we are with Him who is our end, it is then useless to return to the means; but we may continue with Him our commerce of love, persevering in His holy presence, (...). Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, P.48-49.

(...) In this union, I recognized the purpose and destiny of my life. My purpose is to become closely united to God through love, and my destiny is to praise and glorify God's mercy. Faustina Kowalska, The Diary, 729.

The inner recesses of our conscience, where the image of God is branded in the very depths of our being, ceaselessly remind us that we are born for a higher freedom and for a far more spiritual fulfillment. Although there is no "natural" bridge between the natural and the supernatural, the concrete situation in which man finds himself, as a nature created for a supernatural end, makes anguish inevitable. He cannot rest unless he rests in God: not merely the God of nature, but the Living God (...). Not the God of a mere notional or moral union, but the God who becomes One Spirit with our own soul! This alone is the reality for which we are made. (...) Thomas Merton, The New Man, P. 113-114. (Submitted by Gary Horn <ghorn@uswest.com> to Center-L Discussion Group <center-L@maelstrom.stjohns.edu>)

(...) I know why I was created. (...) I know that God is my ultimate goal and so, in whatever I undertake, I take God into account. Faustina Kowalska, The Diary, 1329.

"Then we discover what the spiritual life is...It is the silence of our whole being in compunction and adoration before God, in the habitual realization that He is everything and we are nothing, that He is the Center to which all things tend, and to Whom all our actions must be directed.  That our life and strength proceed from Him, that both in life and in death we depend entirely on Him, that the whole course of our life is foreknown by Him and falls into the plan of His wise and merciful Providence; that it is absurd to live as though without Him, for ourselves, by ourselves; that all our plans and spiritual ambitions are useless unless they come from Him and end in Him and that, in the end, the only thing that matters is his glory." Merton, Thomas. Thoughts In Solitude. PP. 52, 53. Submitted to L-Center Discussion Group by Gary Horn <ghorn@uswest.com>

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may
know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone." Merton, Thomas. Thoughts In Solitude. P. 83. Submitted to L-Center Discussion Group by Gary Horn <ghorn@uswest.com>

A man's origin is from dust and his destiny is back to dust. At risk of his life he earns his bread. He is likened to a broken shard, withering grass, a fading flower, a passing shade, a dissipating cloud, a blowing wind, flying dust and a fleeting dream. Jewish Prayer (unknown origin).

If we surrender completely to God, considered not only as an inscrutable and mysterious Guest within ourselves, but as the Creator and Ruler of the world, the Lord of History and the Conqueror of evil and of death, then we can recover the meaning of existence, we rediscover our sense of direction...Perfect openness, total receptivity, born of complete self-surrender, bring us into uninhibited contact with God. In finding him we find our true selves. We return to the true order He as willed for us. Merton, Thomas. Faith and Violence.  P. 64. Submitted by Gary Horn <ghorn@uswest.com>

I think it is important to see that behind all the diversities of human nature there is a common ground and in that common ground every human being is in search of God, of ultimate meaning and ultimate truth.  It is a solitary search, because it touches the depth of our being and it is something which no one else can give us. (...) All of us human beings have a capacity for God, a capacity to be drawn by God into the depths of our being where we experience the presence of God, of the infinite, eternal reality that sustains the world as the ground and source of our being. Bede Griffiths (1907-93), The New Creation in Christ.

True happiness is not found in any other reward than that of being united with God.  If I seek some other reward besides God Himself, I may get my reward, but I cannot be happy. Merton, Thomas. No Man Is An Island. P. 54. Submitted to L-Center Discussion Group by Gary Horn <ghorn@uswest.com>

The secret of my identity is hidden in the love and mercy of God. But whatever is in God is really identical with Him, for His infinite simplicity admits no division and no distinction.  Therefore I cannot hope to find myself anywhere except in Him.  Ultimately the only way that I can be myself is to become identified with Him in Whom is hidden the reason and fulfillment of my existence. Therefore there is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God.  If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find  Him. Merton, Thomas.  New Seeds of Contemplation. PP. 35-36. Submitted to L-Center Discussion Group by Gary Horn ghorn@uswest.com

One thing above all is important: the "return to the Father." The Son came into the world and died for us, rose and ascended to the Father; sent us His Spirit, that in Him and with Him we might return to the Father. That we might pass clean out of the midst of all that is transitory and inconclusive: return to the Immense, the Primordial, the Source, the Unknown, to Him Who loves and knows, to the Silent, to the Merciful, to the Holy, to Him Who is All. To seek anything, to be concerned with anything but this is only madness and sickness, for this is the whole meaning and heart of all existence, and in this all the affairs of life, all the needs of the world and of men, take on their right significance: all point to this one great return to the Source.

All goals that are not ultimate, all "ends of the line" that we can see and plan as "ends," are simply absurd, because they do not even begin.  The "return" is the end beyond all ends, and the beginning of beginnings. To "return to the Father" is not to "go back" in time, to roll up the scroll of history, or to reverse anything. It is a going forward, a going beyond, for merely to retrace one's steps would be a vanity on top of vanity, a renewal of the same absurdity in reverse. Our destiny is to go on beyond
everything, to leave everything, to press forward to the End and find in the End our Beginning, the ever-new Beginning that has no end.  To obey Him on the way, in order to reach Him in whom I have begun, who is the key and the end - because He is the Beginning. Merton, Thomas. Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. P. 154-155. Submitted to L-Center Discussion Group by Gary Horn ghorn@uswest.com

Love for God is the deepest fulfillment of the powers implanted by God in our human nature which He has destined for union with Himself.  In loving Him, we discover not only the inner meaning of truths which we would otherwise never be able to understand, but we also find our true selves in Him. The charity which is stirred up in our hearts by the Spirit of Christ acting in the depths of our being makes us begin to be the persons He has destined us to be in the inscrutable designs of His Providence.  Moved by the grace of Christ we begin to discover and to know Christ Himself as a friend knows a friend - by the inner sympathy and understanding which friendship alone can impart. Merton, Thomas. The Living Bread. P. 9. Submitted to L-Center Discussion Group by Gary Horn ghorn@uswest.com

The man who wants to deepen his existential awareness has to make a break with ordinary existence, and this break is costly.  It cannot be made without anguish and suffering.  It implies loneliness and the disorientation of one who has to recognize that the old signposts don't show him his way and that, in fact, he has to find the way by himself without a map.  True, the monastic life provides other signposts and other maps: but the trouble is that too often the signposts point merely to a dead end, and the maps are like those curious productions of fourteenth-century cartographers which inform us that "here are many dragons."  The real function of discipline is not to provide us with maps but to sharpen our own sense of direction so that when we really get going we can travel without maps. Merton, Thomas. Contemplation in a World of Action. P. 108. Submitted to L-Center Discussion Group by Gary Horn ghorn@uswest.com

This is the truth: As from a fire aflame thousands of sparks come forth, even so from the Creator an infinity of beings have life and to Him return again. Katha Upanishad, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World Wisdom, P.15.

He is self-luminous and more subtle than the smallest; but in him rest all the worlds and their beings. (...) he is life and word and mind. He is truth and life immortal. He is the goal to be aimed at: attain that goal, O ma son! Katha Upanishad, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World Wisdom, P.15.

Communion with God is the only thing to live for. You will have to come to that understanding eventually, often after much suffering. Why not learn now? Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.50.

The failure of one life is not the measure of whether or not you are a success. (...) Everything the Lord has created is to try us, to bring out the buried soul immortality within us. That is the adventure of life, the one purpose of life. And everyone's adventure is different, unique. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.70-71.

As time is marching on, so must your souls march on to a greater expansion of your life in Spirit. The initiative to undertake your most important duty in life is often buried beneath the accumulated debris of human habits. (...) Life is worthwhile when you are accomplishing the most essential work, which is to find out the meaning and true values of your existence. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.73.

Many people may doubt that finding God is the purpose of life, but everyone can accept the idea that the purpose of life is to find happiness. I say that God is Happiness. He is Bliss. He is Love. He is Joy that will never go away from the soul. So why shouldn't you try to acquire that Happiness? Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.134.

To live without understanding the purpose of life is foolish, a waste of time. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.181.

The one thing necessary is a true interior and spiritual life, true growth, on my own, in depth, in a new direction.  Whatever new direction God opens up for me.  My job is to press forward, to grow interiorly, to pray, to break away from attachments and to defy fears, to grow in faith, which has its own solitude, to seek an entirely new perspective and new dimension in my life. To open up new horizons at any cost, to desire this and let the Holy Spirit take care of the rest.  But really to desire this and work for it."  (Journal entry for September 22, 1959....Taken from The Intimate Merton, p. 144)

Pay attention and work on perfecting yourself,
so that the perfection of others may not grieve you.
Beg of God the removal of envy,
that God may deliver you from externals,
and bestow upon you an inward occupation,
which will absorb you
so that your attention is not drawn away.

Rumi, Mathnawi IV, 2678-2682, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.14.

(...) man first is, and only subsequently is this or that. In a word, man must create his own essence: it is in throwing himself into the world, suffering there, struggling there, that he gradually defines himself. And the definition always remains open ended: we cannot say what this man is before he dies, or what mankind is before it has disappeared. Jean Paul Sartre, A More Precise Characterization of Existentialism, [in] The Writings of Jean-Paul Sartre. Vol.2. P.157.

To remember what needs to be remembered is the secret of success. () What is supremely important is to be free from contradictions: the goal and the way must not be on different levels, life and light must not quarrel; behavior must not betray belief. Call it honesty, integrity, wholeness; you must not go back, undo, uproot, abandon the conquered ground. () Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta. (2005). I am That. P.12-3.


() Devotion to your goal makes you live a clean and orderly life, given to search for truth and to helping people, and realization makes noble virtue easy and spontaneous, by removing for good the obstacles in the shape of desires and fears and wrong ideas. Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta. (2005). I am That. P.31.


The entire purpose of a clean and well-ordered life is to liberate man from the thralldom of chaos and the burden of sorrow. () What is wrong with a life which is free from problems? Personality is merely a reflection of the real. () Once you realize that the person is merely a shadow of the reality, but not reality itself, you cease to fret and worry. You agree to be guided from within and life becomes a journey into the unknown. Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta. (2005). I am That. P.33.


Q: Then why all effort at being good?

M: It keeps you on the move. You go on and on until you find God. Then God takes you into Himself and makes you as He is. Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta. (2005). I am That. P.72.


Last updated: 2013/06/03

See the related subjects: Inspiration, Longing for God, Mystical Union, Paths to God, Salvation, Strive for God, Transcendence, Work.