“Why Do We Exist?”
Sankarshan Das: The other day I had a wonderful meeting with a gentleman named Danny, who is writing a paper on “faith and reason.” I explained to him purely from the standpoint of logic how we can understand what is sometimes called by theologians “the ground of our being.”
That we exist is, of course, self-evident. Otherwise, how could we be reading this lesson? Consciousness or awareness is the symptom by which we can understand that we do indeed exist.
But the question we are raising today is “Why do we exist?”. To deal with this question we must first understand the principle that everything comes from something, that nothing comes out of nothing. Have you ever had a practical experience that something came out of nothing? No. Has any scientist ever produced something out of nothing? No. We can understand, therefore, that we indeed do come from something. We are not talking about our bodies here. We are talking about the non-material self that exists beyond our body, that is the witness and manipulator of those things occurring on the platform of the body. Of course, our material bodies also emanate from that original source along with all the other material elements in the universe.
Since everything comes from something and we are part of everything we can understand that we do indeed have a source. Everything we see is caused by something else that preceded it. If we could trace the chain of causality back far enough for anything we would eventually reach the original Cause of all Causes.
Some philosophers argue that there could be a chain of cause and effect going on forever into infinity with no beginning point. Let’s consider if this is a logical proposal by studying what is known as the domino effect. The domino is a small rectangular wooden block. If you line up a whole row of dominos next to each other and push one of them over, then with a ripple wave-like effect the entire row will collapse one after another. The first domino pushes over the second domino, that pushes over the third domino, that pushes over the fourth domino, etc. Imagine lining up an infinite row of dominos. Even with that infinite row of dominos if there is not one domino that somehow falls over without being pushed by another domino, the domino effect cannot take place. The entire row of dominos will remain standing erect.
So the point is that there must be an original Cause of all Causes; otherwise nothing can happen. There must be an origin that has no origin. Our existence and the existence of everything and everyone can all be traced back to that one original source. Everything is coming from it, but why? To answer this question we must delve a little deeper to understand what is the nature of the original source.
Within the Totality we see that there are so many personalities, ourselves included. What does this tell us? Just image if I presented you with a sack of gold nuggets and you asked me where I got them. I told you that I got them out of my gold mine. When you asked me how much gold I have in my mine I answered you that my goldmine if gold-less; that it’s a gold mine that has never and will never have any gold in it. You would naturally consider me crazy or a liar. How can a goldmine have no gold and yet yield an entire bag of gold nuggets?
The point I’m making is this. If so many personalities are being emanated from the original source then that original source cannot be devoid of personality. It indeed must have personality, and should therefore be referred to as he or she, not it. So the original source is a person. Why is that person emanating us out of himself or herself?
Since we are the emanations or energy of the original energetic source we possess the same nature as the original source, just as a drop of ocean water has the same chemical composition as the entire ocean. We can observe that our nature is that we do not like to be totally alone. We prefer to exchange loving dealings with other persons. There is a popular saying that love makes the world go around. So this is actually a fact. The original person is emanating us for the purpose of enjoying a loving relationship with us. This indeed is the very purpose of our existence. In order to become self-realized we must re-establish our long-forgotten loving relationship with the Supreme Person. When we do so we will be become completely full of all knowledge and completely free of anxiety in all times, places, and circumstances, even death.
This is that state of consciousness we will attain when we reach the ultimate platform of self-realization, pure love of the supreme original person. That Supreme Person directly reveals Himself to us in the Bhagavad-gita:
aham sarvasya prabhavo
mattah sarvam pravartate
iti matva bhajante mam
“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.”