Life’s Purpose

No, I haven’t figured that out. Far from it, actually. I mean, obviously it’s to learn from life experiences and progress toward an eventual state of detachment and enlightenment, but that’s the macro version of the answer. On a micro level, I really have no clue.

I talked to my mother about this (she’s my ever-patient sounding board) and she helped me make sense of the frustration I feel at times about not knowing. Basically, when I was younger I was possessed of the opinion that above all, I was successful if I got someone to be accepted into the Episcopal church. This actually happened once, about a year before I left the church and started following Sanatana Dharma, and I recall feeling very proud, even if the person was already Christian. The pride really came from the sense that I had to teach people about the “best” path or the “best” philosophy in order to be a “good” Christian.

After I stopped going to Church and acknowledged that I didn’t really believe in Christ the way the Christian church teaches me to (Jesus and Buddha and Mohammed are kind of similar figures, as far as I’m concerned), I went through a period of feeling deeply guilty and confused about my “duty,” both to the Church and to humanity in general. I felt as though I’d let someone down, because I had considered it to be my duty to show others that Christians could be really awesome people, and that we weren’t all crazy bigots like the most vocal people out there tend to be. Now that I didn’t consider myself to be a Christian any longer, I tried to fit Sanatana Dharma into that sense of duty. I tried to reconcile the fact that I’d abandoned the Church with the new, deeper, truer spiritual path I’d adopted, and it was seriously stressing me out.

That’s where the conversation with my mom came in. I explained this to her. I said, “Mom, what do I do? I felt that my duty was to teach people that Christians can be kind and accepting, and now I’m not a Christian any more. What do I do now? Am I supposed to show them that Hindus can be anybody? To teach them the truth?” And she said something very wise. “That’s not the point,” she told me, “You can’t worry about what other think of you and your path. You’re getting sidetracked.”

And she is right. The point of all of this is to learn to live with each other and treat each other as God, regardless of faiths or cultures or backgrounds. It doesn’t matter if someone sees me as a good Hindu or good Christian. As long as they see me as a good person, that’s really what matters.

Thanks, Mom.

 

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About HappyGoth

By day, I'm a graphic designer. By night, I'm a knitter. I'm doing my part to keep Hotlanta stylish. I imagine that if you don't already understand the title of the blog, you're probably confused and perhaps slightly annoyed, but never fear - I do have a reason (and it's a good one). Having gone to hear Stephanie Pearl McPhee, and then having been inspired to blog about knitting, I found myself wondering what to call the blog. I recalled a conversation I had with Mouse and the Chicken Goddess about why it is a Bad Idea to anger knitters - this conversation was following SPM, aka the Yarn Harlot telling the assembled throng about Those Who Do Not Understand Knitting and Therefore Belittle It Much to the Chagrin of Others, or TWDNUKTBMCO, which is not the acronym she used but is the one I'm using because I forgot hers - that is, we are numerous and we all have very pointy sticks, easily transforming into an angry mob. Therefore, knitters = angry mob.
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11 Responses to Life’s Purpose

  1. Lalitaditya says:

    Nice post. Humanity and being a good person comes above all else and that is essentially built into ALL religions. But you mention that Hinduism is a “truer” path to spirituality. How can that be? Per most Hindus all religions are a way to God a.k.a the eternal truth. Hindus do not take any pleasure in demeaning another religion or trying to prove that the “other” is inferior to “ours”. Alas, Hindus are however subject to a lot of insulting comments and comparisons with other Abrahammic religions, not that it matters but it shows that Hindus are very tolerant and forgiving. Jesus was a good person and the Xtianity of today is nowhere near what his beliefs were. No religion is “truer” or “better” or “worse”. All have in them, a way of life which is suitable to that particular region and people. Ultimately all lead to the eternal truth and that should not be doubted. Hope I am not being offensive and I am sure you will take this in the right spirit.

    • HappyGoth says:

      Ah, sorry – I realize I totally didn’t explain that. “Truer” to me. It’s totally not a superlative, just what resonates most deeply with me. I fully acknowledge that everyone’s path is their own, and we’ve all got to figure that out for ourselves. If you’re practicing a religion in the spirit of tolerance and love, then that’s where you should be! Doesn’t matter if you’re Hindu, Christian, or a follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

      One of the reasons I love Hinduism so much (and also one of the reasons it’s been so hard to move past the “one right way” mindset, which I acknowledge is an artifact of my upbringing) is that it is very tolerant and accepting. You’re not likely to hear a Hindu tell you that you’re going to hell because you don’t believe in Brahman. Or tell you that you’re going to hell, period. Which is really awesome.

      That’s really what I was getting at. (Thanks for asking for clarification, though; I don’t always explain everything.)

  2. Ambaa says:

    Aw shucks, I was hoping for the answer. 😛 I know that desire for a sense a purpose, to be teaching, to be doing, to be making a difference. But really all that is required of us is to be.

    • HappyGoth says:

      Exactly! I haven’t gotten over that desire, but I’m slowly learning the lesson of detachment, and not worrying about not knowing what it is. Or worrying that I know and am not doing anything about it. Or worrying, period. It’s the hardest lesson ever, but I have a feeling that it’s really worth it.

  3. surya says:

    THE guilt is from the indoctrination rammed in all along from birth. So long as one doesn’t see and judge people and put them in boxes in accordance with their faith/belief system, then one is already a hindu. (read the 2009 Newsweek piece ‘we are all hindus now’ by Lisa Miller (google).The obsessive compulsive need to convert everyone into an abrahamics faith must be abandoned, the poor and gullible shouldn’t be given false promises. Then after that there is a much more important journey laid out for all of us. The self realization path through free self inquiry. Can anyone get any concessions for non abrahamic adherents from the proponents of the abrahamics. Say, is there a chance for hindus NOT to get tossed in eternal hell without conversion? The exclusivist mindset is the 50 foot wall the abrahamics cant climb out of. They are imprisoned there and willingly so, sadly they don’t want to undo it.
    Its perfectly OK to meet any one at social level, but it is best to avoid engaging in a religious debate( I mean with abrahamics). I feel they are living in their own world, which seems to me a bubble.

    • Anuj says:

      A lot of people found that “we are all hindus now” article by lisa miller offensive. Hinduism’s image outside of india is that of poverty, caste system, dalits, hindu-muslims riots etc. That article acts as adding salt to the wound. So I wouldn’t circulate that link if I were you.

      • Ambaa says:

        Better to change the image that Hinduism has rather than hide a great article that points out one of the best things about Hinduism.

      • HappyGoth says:

        Pretty much anything is going to be offensive to somebody out there. How does that saying go?

        “You can please some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.”

        I have to remind myself of that pretty frequently.

  4. Anuj says:

    Applauds!!

    Yes, regardless of religion and beliefs, there are only two kinds of people; good people and bad people.

    If you really understood indic philosophies, then you’d realise that a large spectrum of planet earth’s population is technically “hindu”. Though many people would not like to hear that. In fact, they might find this offending.

    If you have the ability to understand the fact that humans do not have the capability to prove that god exists, that basically makes you a “hindu”. It’s this thought that provokes people to go in search of new gods or philosophies. In pure abrahamic context, this is blasphemy. But by now, that person has already acquired this vital piece of wisdom. He/she may still acknowledge and pray to christ but technically, he/she is a “hindu” just because her views are “open” for change.

    Though, all that should not matter. What matter is whether a person is good or not. Just because a person is hindu, it does not automatically make him/her good. This person can be bad too.

  5. Sarojini says:

    “The point of all of this is to learn to live with each other and treat each other as God, regardless of faiths or cultures or backgrounds.”

    She couldn’t have put it any better.

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