What is the objective of life? In order to answer this question, let us first understand that life is nothing but an aggregate of experiences. The motive force for each and every experience is craving of happiness, which appears to be of different hues (for e.g. the happiness of eating a delicious food item appears to be different than that of seeing a beautiful picture). It can, therefore, be safely concluded that the objective of our life is nothing but happiness.
None of our actions are undertaken with a view to invite miseries. Rather, it is for experiencing happiness. We do feel happy many a times, though only to have sorrow thereafter. This vicious cycle of happiness and sorrow, thus, goes on. And so keeps moving our seemingly unending quest of acquisition of happiness.
Why then are we dissatisfied? Is there any fundamental problem in our instinctive way of living life? Why is it that our experiences of happiness are always momentary and of fleeting nature?
In order to understand it, let us understand the nature of happiness experienced by us. The happiness experienced by us in our life is broadly and generally a result of contact. A contact between our senses and sense objects. For e.g. the joy of eating is nothing but a contact of tongue and food item. Likewise all experiences.
Now the moment the reason of happiness become contact, it acquires a fundamental characteristic. It becomes a function of space and time. This happiness will arise at a particular moment and will die in another definite moment. The duration will be same as the interval of contact. Thus, it will have a definite time of origin and dissolution. Further, it will leave behind memory which will, in due course, propel the person to experience the same contact-based event again.
Thus, we observe that all happiness in the material aspect of life is a result of contact and is therefore temporary and fleeting in nature.
This brings us to another question regarding reality. Let us ask ourselves as to what is it that we call reality. What do we consider as real? And what do we call as unreal? For e.g. how are our dreams unreal? The general notion of reality involves existence independent of frames of reference. Reality should be existent at all points of time. Dreams have a definite time of origin and dissolution and are hence unreal. Let us now examine our contact based happiness. This too, like dreams, fails on the test of reality. Is it not, therefore, logical to declare our contact based experiences, which we call happiness, as unreal and illusory?
It is because of spatial and temporal nature of contact that our happiness becomes dependent on space and time. And therefore, reduces into mere pleasure. Once we understand that real happiness doesn’t depend on contact, we will stop looking for illusory pleasure based on contact.
As Lord Krishna says in Geeta (5.21 and 5.22), this contact based pleasure is the source of sorrow due to the singular reason of temporality. I have discussed in the Source of happiness that the actual fountainhead of happiness is not contact but our very own Self, which is independent of space and time and is, therefore, real.
By this analysis, we understand that our objective of life, i.e. happiness, cannot be achieved by contact based events. It can only be realized if we turn within and reach our own Self. Question remains, do we really have to do anything for achieving It?