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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Immortal in the Mortal

During my walking meditation today amidst tall trees, blue sky, vast space and relative silence except for nature’s sounds, I was able to be mindful of the fact that I was breathing the oxygen given out by those trees around me. They were in turn taking up the carbon dioxide I was breathing out to make energy for themselves. There was the sun looking at all this.

There were leaves on the path. They are younger than me. But they fell from trees older than me. Those leaves grew out of the soil, rain and the sunshine. Now, if no one removes them, they will become food for the next year’s crop. We are all made of things coming from outside of us. We are impermanent.

Standing in a corner with a beautiful view of the horizon, I was thinking what my 13-year-old grand-daughter was asking: “what is there way out in the sky beyond what we see?”. My  earth-evolved brain was thinking about what is up, what is down, what is in front and what is behind. This brain has to function that way to deal with space and time on this earth. If I can break out of this mind which is made to deal with this earth, I may be able to think of space and time without boundaries!

Even with the current constraints, my brain can imagine and visualize space beyond space and time beyond time. But it cannot experience it.

Thinking on these lines, I thought that looking for immortality and moksha or nirvana or liberation are distractions.  Instead, if we can experience this universe of limitless dimensions, it will be bliss. That requires a different kind of mind tuned to the messages of the Universe. Since we do not have it, we can imagine and visualize the universe not constrained by space and time. That is the best we can hope for given this earth-bound brain and mind.

Based on reason, I do not know how humans can be immortal. Prayers seeking immortality makes no sense to me.  Immortality is not escape from death or living after death. Neither is possible. For death is part of life itself. “Prajapati is death (mrtyu)” says Satapata Brahmana.

The only immortality we can hope for are through our physical progeny and consequences of our words and deeds.

Then I found this passage from the Rg Veda. In Book 1 (164:16), Sage Dirgatamas says that “the child is the father’s father.”

कविर्यः पुत्रः ईमा चिकेत यस्ता विजानात पितुष पितासत ||

What does that mean? I understand it to mean that the mortal (grandfather; it could as well be grandmother) passed on his immortal portion to his son. He might have died, but his life continues through in the son, grandson and so on. In other words, the role of us mortals is to carry the immortal in us and pass it on.  This body is mortal. But the immortal in us will live after this body is gone.

1 comment:

Krishnan said...

I tend to agree and understand that the Child is your Father's Father. This continuity that we usually associate in physical terms is also true in it's Eternal sense. This may be the reason for naming the child with that of your Father/mother and so on.