The purpose of Life – a short story!

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This post tells you a short story putting light over the main purpose of life. Do read and comment if you like the artice.

There once lived a very wise man in a small village. He was the head of the local administration and was respected by all for his views and opinions on varied subjects.

People came to him in times of need or just to seek some good advice on the different aspects of life. But ironically, his only son was a lazy lad who spent his time eating, sleeping, or enjoying with his friends outside.

No amount of advice or even threat made any difference to his attitude. As the years passed and the wise man grew old, he became more and more worried about his son’s future and realized he needed to give something to his son to take care of himself and the family. So one day, he called his only son and said, “My son, you are grown up now. You need to understand life and your responsibilities by yourself now.”

Amazed by his father’s sudden anxiety, his son said, “Father, you have always been by my side to guide me. How will I ever manage without you…I will be so lost without you…..” His father drew him close, hugged him, and said, “I want you to find the real purpose of your life, and when you find it, remember it always, and you will lead a life full of happiness and joy.”

The son was greatly amused. What could be this important lesson that could cure all his problems in the future, he wondered!

The next day, his father gave him a bag. The son was greatly surprised when he opened the bag, which contained four pairs of clothes, one for each season, some raw food, grains, lentils, money, and a map.

As he wondered what he was supposed to do with the stock, his father declared….” I want you to go find a treasure.” I have drawn a map of the place where the treasure is hidden. You need to go and find it.”

Aha, so this is what Father was referring to earlier. The real purpose of my life is to find this treasure that will solve all my problems in the future, the son thought to himself, greatly pleased at the idea. The next day, he set out early on his journey, eager to find the mystical treasure.

The place described in the map was far far away, and he had to cross many rivers, forests, plateaus, and mountains to reach his destination. He prayed he would meet his father when he returned to show him his findings.

He set out on his travels, and days, weeks, and months passed. As he traveled, he met many people on the way. Some helped him with food, some gave him shelter, and he also met thieves and robbers who tried to cheat him and rob him of his belongings. As he moved through landscapes, slowly, the seasons changed. Fall gave way to winter, and spring led to summer.

When the weather got harsh, he would pause his journey for some time and then set out again, continuously moving towards his destination. He wanted to find the treasure before anyone else did.

Finally, after a long year, he reached the cliff below where his father had told him he would find his life’s treasure. He spotted the tree his father had described on the map and started looking around it. He searched and searched but found nothing.

He spent two days looking and digging for the treasure around that tree. Exhausted, he decided to go back on the third day.

Tired and devastated by his father’s lie, he headed back home. On his way back, he experienced the same changing landscapes and seasons. But this time, he stopped to wonder about the blooming of flowers when spring came and the birds dancing in the falling rain. He witnessed glorious sunsets and reveled in peaceful summer evenings.

He learned to hunt for his own food, sew his own clothes, and protect himself from harsh weather. He learned to calculate the time of day based on the sun’s position and plan his journey accordingly. He also learned how to protect himself from wild animals, harmful plants, and shrubs.

He met the same people who had helped him on his way. This time, he stopped and spent some days with them, helping them with their chores to show his gratitude. He realized how wonderful they were in their effort to help the passers-by on that route without any expectations in return.

When he reached home, he realized he had been out of his house for two years. He went straight to his father’s room and was relieved to see him resting. He walked up to him and slowly whispered to him, “Father, be careful not to disturb him in his sleep.” The wise man opened his eyes, got up, saw his son, and embraced him.

He asked, “So how was your journey, my son? Did you find the treasure”. The son quipped, “The journey was fascinating, Father, but forgive me father, as I have disappointed you. I could not find any treasure at the place described on the map.”

Maybe somebody took it before I reached.” He was surprised at his own answer that instead of getting angry, he asked for his father’s forgiveness. His father smiled and signaled him to sit down in a chair next to him.

“That is because there was no treasure at that place, my son,” he answered, smiling. “But why did you send me to find it then,” he asked. “I will surely tell you why, but first you tell me, how was your journey when you were going to find the treasure? Did you enjoy the varying landscapes you experienced living in the wilderness on your own amidst new people and changing seasons? Did you make good friends on the way?”

Of course not, Father; I did not get distracted for a second. I had no time to do all that since I was always focused on reaching my destination as soon as possible before anybody else and finding the treasure. I had no time to experience the landscape or the weather or make friends. But yes, I did all this on my way back. I must admit I really enjoyed my journey back. I learned many new skills and mastered the art of survival, so much so that I forgot the pain of not finding the treasure.

His father held his hand and said, “Exactly, my son. You wanted to know how to lead life and find your goals…but if you lead your life going after a goal on this journey called life, you miss out the real treasures on the way because you are so focused on finding the goal. When the truth is that life has no goal at all, other than to just live it and grow with it each day.”

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