by Abhijit

I recently found out about your Goal of Life. I know! I know! Who am I to talk about your goals? True, I don’t know anything about your goals. But when it comes to your Goal of Life, I just found out about it.

Let’s say your Goal of Life is Goal-A, whatever that may be. Imagine you achieve that. Just imagine. What next? Life continues…What Next? Well, then you would have to have another goal set, say Goal-B. That makes Goal-B the Goal of Your Life (not Goal-A). That too when fulfilled, will have to replaced by Goal-C. And so on, there is no end to it.
So, with this mind-experiment, we figure that “the Goal of Life is the one whose fulfillment leaves nothing else to be desired.” And that definition holds good for me, and you and everyone else. I figured this out in the recent retreat held by our Swami at Ridgely Manor, NY. The title of the retreat, quite meaningfully, was “Stop not till The Goal is reached.”


  1. First and foremost, before one discards the transitory goals, these two conditions about the Goal must be understood:
    (i) Such a goal exists.
    (ii) That goal can be achieved.

    Even if those two conditions for the Goal are understood, one may still say: "That Goal is nice and worthy of pursuit. But all we have is only this life and pursuing that one Goal, which is very difficult, would be like a wild goose chase. So let me be satisfied with the pursuit of these transitory goals in this short life of mine."

    Here, the nature of this unique Goal must be emphasized:

    (i) Until this Goal is achieved, as the desires of the mind are not quenched, there is no escape from seeing oneself as a separate entity leading to rebirths forever. So this Goal is the only goal to be achieved as pursuit of transitory goals leads to endless infinite births.

    (ii) Even achieving a little progress towards this Goal in this life alone, leads to freedom from fear and great contentment.
    Both the above points state that pursuing transitory goals is wasting one's time and pursuing the Goal gives happiness even if the Goal itself has not been achieved yet.

  2. @Srikanth_S: Transitory goals, in my opinion, have a worthy place in the sphere of human psychology and action. They are part of the play of life. For people prone to laziness (which is most of us at least some of the time), setting and working toward transitory goals can build character and self-discipline, such that we can become better workers and devotees. Setting and pursuing transitory goals does not necessarily mean that a person has abandoned pursuit of the Goal of Life or has become misguided or is going to chase after the goal after goal as a sort of distraction from Reality.

    Certainly, when setting a transitory goal, it would be important to determine whether it has any utility in moving one closer to the Goal of Life or might obstruct it; that's important to consider. Or a person could become so attached to achieving a transitory goal that it ceases to become a means of self-improvement and just becomes a big attachment or addiction. Or, as you mentioned, a person could become so satisfied with the pursuit of transitory goals that they lose sight of the big picture of Existence.

    So surely, the purpose for setting transitory goals needs to be kept in mind, and even such a process of self-examining what one is seeking to achieve and why might be useful. I would be happy to hear your and/or Abhijit's thoughts on this — as well as the thoughts of anyone else who would like to comment.

  3. I agree with your point. Yes, for many of us who cannot always have focus on the Goal all the time, transitory goals help us to keep the life going. Even there, we must exercise caution and choose only those transitory goals that are geared towards the Goal or at least that do not hinder our progress towards it (as you have mentioned). The efforts put for achieving these transitory goals must be done in the spirit of yoga. That way, a transitory goal will actually become an accessory towards achieving the Goal itself or at the least will not bar our progress. When I said "pursuing transitory goal is waste of time", I meant it in the sense of pursuing a stand-alone transitory goal devoid of any focus on the Goal (you mentioned this too). Slowly as we go towards the Goal, surely the transitory goals will and should lose their hold on us. At a very mature spiritual state of mind, a transitory goal ceases to exist as everything is seen in the perspective of the Goal.

  4. Participants in the retreat had questions in the retreat about their personal understanding of their path to The Goal. Swamiji pointed out, in many cases, how the mind, with all its understanding of spirituality, still deceives itself by colluding with Maya. He called them "Big Traps," which turns the journey into meaningless wandering.

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