Purposeful life, or purposeless?

Acharya Prashant
5 min readSep 1, 2021

Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner: You advise us to have a purposeless, aimless life. But if we will not aim for anything, then how will I crack my exams? In your younger days, 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: Living an aimless, purposeless life is the ultimate thing, that’s the goal. However, given we are, we can’t realize that goal instantaneously. If it could be done, if instantaneous liberation is 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’s your aspiration? To come to the point of freedom from aspirations. What’s the desire then you must have? To reach a point where you have exceeded all desires. What is the aim you must carry? To set aims in a way that you come to the 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, and right action is the means. Silence is the end, right words are the means. If you don’t have the right word, what will take you to the Silence? Or if you are so tremendously gifted that you can, at the drop of a hat, come to absolute silence all by yourself, nothing like it.

Unfortunately, that is not possible for most people. Even to come to 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 be required to cultivate the right desires. To come to a point in life where there is no goal left. Most people will first need to set the right goals for themselves, and that’s the difference between the right and wrong goals. Right desire and wrong desire, right word and wrong word, that’s the only way you can differentiate right and wrong.

The right is that which will take you beyond itself. The right will enable you…

Acharya Prashant