The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner (Q): I have heard you say that life should be purposeless and aimless. But if we do not aim for anything, then how will we crack our exams? When you were our age, you too prepared for exams like MBA, IIT-JEE, civil services, etc. But now you say having aims is no good. Aren’t you contradicting yourself?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Living an aimless, purposeless life is the ultimate thing. That is the goal. However, given what we are, we cannot realize that goal instantaneously. If that could be done, if instantaneous liberation were possible at this moment, wonderful. Have it, go right away for it.
So, purposelessness is the ultimate state beyond all states that one aspires for. But here is the contradiction. What is the state one aspires for? A state in which there is no purpose, no aim, and therefore no aspiration. So, what is your aspiration? To come to a point of freedom from aspirations. What is the desire you must have, then? To reach a point where you have exceeded all desires. What is the aim that you must carry? To set aims in a way that you come to a point of aimlessness.
There is a difference between ends and means. Purposelessness is the end, purposefulness is the means. Thoughtlessness is the end, thoughtfulness is the means. Desirelessness is the end, right desire is the means. Actionlessness is the end, right action is the means. Silence is the end, the right word is the means. If you do not have the right word, what will take you to silence? Or if you are so tremendously gifted that you can, at the drop of a hat, come to absolute silence all by yourself, then nothing like it.
Unfortunately, that is not possible for most people. Even to come to the silence, most people require the aid of the right word. That right word is also called the holy word. To come to desirelessness, most people will, first of all, require to cultivate the right desires. To come to a point in life where there is no goal left, most people will first require to set the right goals for themselves.
And that is the difference between right and wrong goal, right desire and wrong desire, right word and wrong word; that is the only way you can…