Salutations to all.
We saw in the previous posting that the ultimate goal of human life is ETERNAL BLISS. The first and foremost thing for realization is knowing the goal that has to be achieved. Unless a person knows where to go, he cannot go to that place. Thus Vedanta in its first place puts forth the ultimate goal of life as eternal bliss. This has been put in different ways in the scriptures.
We find the shishya of Shaunaka going to the sage Angiras and asking to be instructed into that by knowing which everything becomes known. Other Upanishads as well speak about the shishya seeking bliss and peace which is further emphasized by the sruthi declaring that he knows the ultimate goal becomes peaceful, blissful and bereft of sorrow-sufferings.
Thus we first have to get clear the goal which has to be achieved in life - this goal alone can give us eternal bliss, peace, contentment, satisfaction - all of which is being sought out each and every moment by each one of us.
Even though many people know the goal, still they dont reach the goal --- why?
The Lord answers this in Gita by telling that "out of thousands of people, few strive to become perfect. Out of those striving thousands, only a few realize me completely (in the right way).
It is not enough to know the goal alone. We have to find out how to reach the goal. It is not enough to know that "I have to go to A" - we have always to find out how to reach A. Thus the second step towards the ultimate goal is trying to find out the path to the goal. It is here where people are getting distracted and diverted from the right path.
Firstly, unless there is the strong desire to attain the goal - there will be no seeking of the goal. Thus a person who is content with worldly pleasure (at least for now) even though he knows worldly pleasure is temporary & eternal bliss is the goal, will not attain the goal because he doesn't seek it. It also happens that many people are shown the wrong path instead of the right path. Today is an era of self-proclaimed saints who through illusory magic attract people and lead them to utter darkness. Knowing this in advance, Sankara proclaimed in Bhaja Govindam that there are many who wear the ochre robe or have renounced everything but still not seeking the ultimate goal because their goal is just "filling the stomach".
Here the atheists would argue that "isn't all actions to fill the stomach alone?" - yes, it is. But is filling the stomach alone the goal of human life? If it is so, then there remains no difference between animals and humans (even though humans may claim that there is difference). Filling of the stomach is just for sustenace of the body which is an instrument to attain the ultimate goal. Filling of the stomach alone doesn't pacify a person - eating food can never pacify the happiness-seeking seeker. It can only lead him to more and more worldly seeking thus making him immerse in the ocean of samsaara for births and deaths.
Thus it is important for a seeker not to get into the hold of self-proclaimed saints - instead he should seek the scriptures and find out who is a real saint. Humans have been given the intellect to analyze the scriptures and imbibe their meaning -- thus able to seek the goal through a right guru.
When a seeker gets to a real Guru, the Guru creates the strong desire to seek the goal in the seeker. Thus the seeker seeks the goal in the right way.
To summarize, the ultimate goal is not accessible to many and thereby not many realize the goal because
1. There is no real desire -- it is like the story of pigs which are happy with filth and hence they dont want heaven if there is no filth in it.
2. The seeking is in the wrong place as they are directed in the wrong path by self-proclaimed saints (who are just doing this to fill their tummy).
As to where is the goal to be sought, we will see this in the next posting.
Salutations to all.