The Greatest Journey: Life

By Puja Shroff, Charleroi, PA


Puja was born in New Jersey and is a 20-year resident here. With a BA in Psychology from Case Western Reserve, she earned an MS in Counseling & Clinical Health Psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is a counselor in a private group practice providing psychiatric care in Washington County. Along with psychology, she’s had a keen interest in spirituality. “I am grateful,” she acknowledges, “to my family and my Guru in my journey in life.”

“A journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.” — Lao Tzu

Puja Shroff picWe are all travelers who have embarked on this greatest journey, life. Yet, we travel aimlessly without knowing the destination, purpose, and value. From the day we are born till the day we die, we go through numerous experiences. On this journey, we expect to find happiness, peace, and contentment. We may even mistake them to be the destination itself.  While the whole universe lies inside of us, the external world traps us with occasions for instant gratification. Sant Kabirdas puts this nicely in a doha:  “This world is like a flower trapping a bee. Don’t get carried away by the fleeting experience and falsity.” Essentially, we are all in search of eternal bliss.

Time and time again, Spiritual Masters like the Buddha, Jesus Christ, Guru Nanak, Krishna, Rama, Mahavir Swami and others have walked this earth to encourage each of us to ask three crucial questions: 1) Who am I? 2) What is my purpose? and 3) Where am I to go? When we are able to answer these questions, no further questions arise.

Human beings by nature are curious and desirous to know and explore the phenomenal world around them. So curious is man that he has traveled to the moon and back. We have explored the depths of the ocean. However, we fail to search within ourselves. Great philosophers have said “Man, know thyself.”

The true self is the consciousness within us, the silent witness (not spectator). Paradoxically, it is the self, soul, that sustains the body, but we have subdued it and made the mind our master. Holy Scriptures state, “God made man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” Once that breath of life departs, the body becomes useless. Thus, our value is dependent on the soul — the greatest treasure we possess.

Obtaining a human birth is the best boon because it is the only birth in which we have a higher level of consciousness, and are able to obtain spiritual knowledge, and ultimately unite with the Almighty. God created Maya (illusion), this world, and us, and because of Him, we can experience His creation.

The choice is ours: do we want to spend our life indulging in worldly matters only to receive temporary happiness and go through the cycles of birth and death? Or do we want to realize the purpose of our existence and progress towards liberation? We have forgotten our divine nature under the influence of Maya, and live our life in ignorance. Therefore, the purpose of our life is to realize we are spiritual beings and experience the divinity within us. In doing so, we escape from being ensnared by the web of Maya. Our destination is to merge into the Cosmic Energy from which we were created.

Theoretically, the part always desires to merge with the whole: all rivers flow into the ocean; flames of a burning fire always go towards the sky because fire is a result of fuel and oxygen; and a child always runs to his mother. Similarly, we are children of God and are parcels of that Cosmic Energy.

Lastly, Sanatana Dharma in Sanskrit has been referred to “as the path or journey to the light.”  The Bible also states, “The Kingdom of God is within you. “ Thus, the path has always been the path of meditation, through which we can experience the Kingdom of God.

The human life is unique. It is the only birth, in which we can understand and experience our soul. Thus, the human body becomes a vehicle for the soul to return back to its source — Almighty, God, Cosmic Energy, Creator, or however you name It.

Nonetheless, the soul’s journey can only be completed when we recognize and realize our divine nature. Once we recognize that, we cease to suffer and live in darkness. When we experience that energy through meditation, we will see the sameness in all and overcome differences.

We will then realize that it is the same energy that governs the entire universe. Ironically, we go through life searching for happiness without comprehending that the treasure is within us.  Seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you!

“When the road ends, and the goal is reached, the pilgrim finds that he has traveled only from himself to himself.”  — Sri Sai Baba    ♦

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