Life has a high and noble purpose

Flora Teckie

Flora Teckie

Published Apr 3, 2024


Flora Teckie

We often reflect on the purpose of life and wonder whether there is a higher and nobler purpose then devoting it fully to pursuit of material aspirations.

A fundamental purpose of our lives, in the Bahá’í view, is to contribute to the progress of the world civilization – as Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith – states: “All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization”. Thus, every individual, every community, and every nation must play a role in building a peaceful and prosperous civilization.

Living a purposeful life, with nobility, would have two aspects: our individual intellectual and spiritual development, as well as contributing towards the betterment of society.

A powerful tool that can contribute towards the fulfilment of our life’s purpose is education.

However, we need to examine the currently-practiced educational approach in the light of its contribution to individual growth, as well as bringing about transformation in society – both necessary for the creation of just, peaceful, and harmonious communities.

Bahá’u’lláh compares human beings to a mine containing many hidden jewels, waiting to be discovered. He says: “Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom”.

The purpose of education should, therefore, be the discovery and perfection of the potential capacities we all inherently have, and to instil in us a commitment and discipline to serve the best interests of our communities and of humanity. Motivation and willingness to get involved in activities intended to benefit the whole human family is one of the most pressing needs of today.

Furthermore, through an adequate education our children can develop the capacity to participate in their own development and be collaborators in the development of our communities. They can learn from young ages to follow universal values, including an ethic of service to the common good, and to focus on needs and aspirations of their local communities.

They can also be taught that the advancement of civilization – prosperous in both its material and spiritual dimensions – will require the spiritual and practical aspects of life to progress together. As the Baháí Writings state: “material civilization is one of the means for the progress of the world of mankind, yet until it becomes combined with Divine civilisation, the desired result, which is the felicity of mankind, will not be attained”.

A noble and purposeful life, therefore, is a result of progressing materially and spiritually, together and simultaneously.

Serving others must be part of education – education should not be book learning alone. Once we see service to others as an arena in which knowledge is applied, and through which the intellect is developed, then we will consider service to humanity not only as part of education, but central to any preparation children would make for a noble and purposeful future.

An important element of serving humanity is promoting peace and unity at a global level.

Civilization, Bahá’u’lláh says, has evolved to the point where the unity of mankind has become of paramount necessity. Therefore, it should be an important goal or purpose in our own lives and the lives of our children, to work towards unity for humanity, upon which depends our well-being, peace and security. As Bahá’u’lláh says: “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established”.

Thus, a high and noble purpose in life – in addition to our intellectual and spiritual development – is to contribute to betterment of society and advancement of civilization.

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