Beyond Death: the Attainment of Immortality

When we generally think about conquering death or attaining immortality, we have a vague notion, an imagination really, that we will be embodied in our current human body, but in a form that is young, fit, healthy and powerfully active.  Who, after all, would want to experience life in the body eternally in a state of pain and suffering?  Even those who believe in the resurrection of the body after death, another “form” of immortality belief, imagine that it will be their young, vibrant time of life that gets resurrected.  The entire process of aging, the degradation of the body through disease and injury is wished away in this imaginary scenario.  Yet, humanity does have a consistent aspiration for immortality, and somewhere deep inside, there is a connection that assures us that there is some truth to this aspiration.

Sri Aurobindo clarifies the issue:  “The attainment of the Brahman is our escape from the mortal status into Immortality, by which we understand not the survival of death, but the finding of our true self of eternal being and bliss beyond the dual symbols of birth and death.  By immortality we mean the absolute life of the soul as opposed to the transient and mutable life in the body which it assumes by birth and death and rebirth and superior also to its life as the mere mental being who dwells in the world subjected helplessly to this law of death and birth or seems at least by his ignorance to be subjected to this and to other laws of the lower Nature.  To know and possess its true nature, free, absolute, master of itself and its embodiments is the soul’s means of transcendence, and to know and possess this is to know and possess the Brahman.  It is also to rise out of mortal world into immortal world, out of world of bondage into world of largeness, out of finite world into infinite world.  It is to ascend out of earthly joy and sorrow into a transcendent Beatitude.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Kena Upanishad and analysis, pp. 184-185

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