“Dying is no way to live. That humans can die is a greater miracle than physical immortality itself,” Says Leonard Orr, California-based founder of ‘Rebirthing-MahaYoga’. “The belief that death is inevitable has probably killed more people than all other causes combined,” he writes in his book “Breaking the Death Habit: The Science of Everlasting Life”.
Immortality (or eternal life) is the concept of existing for a potentially infinite or indeterminate length of time. What form an unending or indefinitely long human life would take, or whether it is even possible, has been the subject of much speculation, fantasy, and debate. Immortality or Deathlessness has always been and still is the most profound urge of the man. From Gods to Demons, From Saints to Scientists, From Kag Bhushundi (the oldest mortal turned immortal as per Hindu Mythology) to Ramalingar Swamigal (the recent most immortal who disappeared in thin air, in presence of hundreds of people, leaving no traces of his physical body in 1872 which has been confirmed and recorded by English Officials then in Madras) and from Ravan (in the Ramayana) to Valdermort (in Harry Potter Novel).
LIFE MEANS MORE: Man has an eternal craving for more and death is the biggest hurdle to it as it puts a full stop to everything we acquire in a lifetime. In the next birth we have to again start from the very beginning and by the time we re-acquire all we had in prior births, (though quite early and easily this time due to former experiences which remain with us even in subtle body) it’s too late. In spite of this its difficult for most of us to understand that life becomes sheer nonsense if it was meant to end in death. Once we realize this we can understand the concept of immortality.
There is a common concept of immortality as a continued spiritual existence, after bodily death. Many intellectuals and scientists are skeptical of this concept of human immortality. Though, it must be stated that there are also many leading scientists and scholars who do believe that consciousness continues after physical death. Not only spiritualists or religious people but researchers and scientists in the areas of quantum physics, psychology, and all kinds of other areas of science have also found enough evidences that suggest to them that life does not simply come to an end at the point of physical death.
The similar idea of immortality has always been all around us in form of art, science, literature, social work and certainly spirituality. People think that by doing something extra-ordinary they would become immortal in the memory of people or at least in the records of history. But the reality is very different, we bear different name each time we change our body and all such tasks are attached to the bodily name, not to our true self. I have always wondered that Einstein in his next birth must have been forced to read Einstein theory and he too would have taken it on the chin and cursed the theorist, at least in school.
IMMORTALITY VS. PHYSICAL IMMORTALITY: Vedas, the ancient most text of knowledge, have called the humans “अमृतस्य पुत्राः” the immortal beings. In fact the core philosophy of all the religions bears similar idea. The purpose of all the scriptures is to teach us how death was created in human history, how to get rid of it and the practical realization of eternal life. Even Bible says, “God hath put eternity into the heart of man.” It is true, though, that we don’t and can’t die as we have been made of pure consciousness, but what else is our physical body made of. The human body or any other material body for that sake is nothing but an energy system, manifestation of the supreme consciousness.
Sri Aurobindo, whose philosophy is all about physical immortality, makes it very clear when he says, “Immortality does not mean survival of the self or the ego after dissolution of the body. The Self always survives the dissolution of the body, because it always pre-existed before the birth of the body. The self is unborn and undying. The survival of the ego is only the first condition by which the individual soul is able to continue and link together its experiences in Avidhya (unawareness about our true self) so as to pursue with an increasing self-possession and mastery that process of self-enlargement which culminates in Vidya (recognition of our true nature).”
Moksha or salvation, which is total freedom from physical, mental and any other kind of possible limitation, is synonymous to self-realization or God-realization. Beware; realization is not a thought but a reality. If one acclaims enlightenment but still slips into the darkness of death, he has definitely missed the train. The experience is incomplete unless until it spreads at all the levels, the physical, the vital, the mental and the causal.
“By immortality is meant the consciousness which is beyond birth and death, beyond the chain of cause and effect, beyond all bondage and limitation, free, blissful, self-existent in conscious-being, the consciousness of the Lord, of the Supreme Being, of Sachchidananda.”
By saying so Aurobindo declares that immortality in essence has to be physical because one can go beyond the cycle of birth and death only by conquering the death; one could break the chain of cause and effect only by controlling the cause; one could go beyond all the bondage and limitation only by flouting the limit of the body which is the basis of all our actions; the ultimate freedom one ought to attain is from death. But remember, conquering death doesn’t mean merely deathlessness. Immortality doesn’t mean retaining our consciousness in the physical body but descent of super-consciousness into it.
DEATH IS A GRAVE MISTAKE: In words of Leonard Orr, “Physical Death is a matter of choice. If you don’t kill yourself in your thoughts no one else will. It may be popular today but it is definitely going to obsolete one fine day, because perpetual longevity is natural, death is unnatural. This is why it takes so much effort to die – most people exert so much effort that it causes illness and pain. I am alive now. Therefore, my life urges must be stronger than my death urges. As long as I strengthen my life urges and weaken my death urges, I will go on living in increased health and youthfulness.”
It’s strange how most discussions on immortality revolve around death. We defy it, valiantly fight against it, rise each time we fall—yet succumb to it only to live again. Call it reincarnation or resurrection. Or even annihilation—to let our body cells disperse in the air to create new saplings of life. Isn’t there immortality all around us? We are son of the Deathless then wouldn’t we be immortal. We all are made of sheer consciousness; the immortal soul is the core and the body is just a cover. But even the cover is made of consciousness then what the need to cast it away.
Mere perpetual existence is obviously not enough. Ultimately, one desires that this existence be of a desirable quality. As the prevalence of suicide suggests, people would often prefer not to exist at all, than exist in a severely unpleasant environment. However, Physical Immortality is not merely prevention of death rather it is expansion of life, not only in terms of time but the quality.
If you are dying – you are unconsciously contributing to the death of everyone around you. You are triggering something called ‘Morphic resonance’ which is a term coined by Rupert Sheldrake in his 1981 book – A New Science of Life. He uses the expression to refer to what he thinks is “the basis of memory in nature….the idea of mysterious telepathy-type interconnections between organisms and of collective memories within species.”
The idea is that there is a kind of memory in nature. Each kind of thing has a collective memory. So, take a squirrel living in New York now, that squirrel is being influenced by all past squirrels. And how that influence moves across time, the collective squirrel-memory both for form and for instincts, is given by the process that is called ‘Morphic Resonance’. It’s a theory of collective memory throughout nature. What the memory is expressed through are the morphic fields, the fields within and around each organism. Basically, morphic fields are fields of habit, and they’ve been set up through habits of thought, through habits of activity, and through habits of speech. Most of our personal life, and most of our cultural life is habitual.
A COLLECTIVE APROACH: If you desire to be of the highest possible benefit to the universe, then you will seek to perfect the art of service. We all have many abilities. Physical Immortality is the pathway that allows us to master and use all of our potential. Death creates limitations in time and space. Immortality expands all possibilities. Physical Immortality gives you time to succeed in life and achieve health and happiness for you and for all.
“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty,” words Albert Einstein.
We may understand that Physical Immortality is not a personal achievement and could not even be possible for a single man unless and until everybody around is affected by this. It is rather a process of revolutionize the earth for making the next phase of evolution possible. It is a concept of a Super Human Race, a race that is capable of exploiting the utter potential of human being.
THREE LEVELS OF THE BEING: There are three levels of every being- Intellectual, Vital & Physical. Each and every action of ours is first established at the intellectual level as an idea thereon it is forwarded to the vital level where it gains energy and then takes form at the physical level. Though, all of these levels are inter-related and dependent on each other. Whatever happens at the physical level leaves its impact on the vital and the intellectual levels and vice versa.
We are all made of the same consciousness and thus we all bear same destiny. But unless and until our efforts are harmonized and synchronized at all the three levels it may not be possible. Since ages the idea of immortality has been subsisting in our mind but it could never travel beyond intellectual level. Even though there are ample of suggestions in scriptures but none could even dare to adopt them. And few chosen ones who did manage to relate to the idea gave their life to it. But to understand their point of view we need to understand the purpose of death.
Sri Aurobindo once said that my whole philosophy may well be stated in few words but for the sake of common man I have written the whole lot. He devoted his whole life for descent of that super consciousness at the physical level that will make us physically immortal. He laid a clear path before us like one which was lead by Swami Ramalingam who disappeared in thin air with very physical body of his. He did leave the world but did not die. He actually conquered the death. He showed us that death is not the destiny of us.
WHY DO WE NEED TO DIE? Aurobindo explains that, “Death is there because the being in the body is not yet developed enough to go on growing in the same body without the need of change and the body itself is not sufficiently conscious. If the mind and vital and the body itself were more conscious and plastic, death would not be necessary.”
We humans are potentially divine but this divinity is latent as of now. There is a hidden force or energy that is guiding this marvelous instrument we call human body. We may call it consciousness, serpent power, divine power or something else. Depending upon the level of its awakening we all vary physically, mentally, and spiritually.
We all know that matter is nothing but the condensed form of the energy. So all we need is more and more of energy because our body in actual lives by energy alone. As of now we are taking this energy mainly from food, water and air but interestingly they are the main culprits for slinging us in deadly jaws of death. Along with the food we take in, we gather more toxins than the energy that causes our body to deteriorate. Science indicates that we age with every breath we take—literally. “It is surprising that oxygen, which is essential for life, can be tremendously damaging in its free radical form,” says Delhi-based Dr. Kalyan Bagchi, President, Society for Gerontological Research.
The cells of our body are fated for collective suicide or so believe science. This internal suicide program is triggered off after a certain age and our system begins to collapse. This, immaterial of whether we have lived an ideal life or existed on junk food, black coffee and cigarettes. There is also considerable debate on which part of our body activates the suicide code. Though some believe that the clock of aging lurks in the thymus, a yellowish triangle located beneath the breastbone, Dr. Caleb Finch of the University of Southern California points his finger at the hypothalamus, a pea-sized area of brain midway behind the ears.
In the present state of body, however, there is a limitation for its growth or sustenance. A human cell can divide and replace itself up to about 50 times (also known as the Hayflick limit). The only exceptions are the cancer cells that have somehow superseded nature’s suicide code. These cells can be kept alive and dividing in the lab till the edge of eternity. In fact, a few cells obtained from Baltimore-based Henrietta Lacks, who died of cancer in 1951, have now gone up to billions and are alive in laboratories around the world, still dividing profusely. A curious kind of immortality! But since none of us would appreciate eternal life as a tumor, we need to find some better way.
POLARITY-THE BASIS OF THIS CREATION: This whole world is running due to the in-built polarity in its very nature. Each and everything in this world does have an opposite. If there is truth, lie is always there. But that lie has its origin in truth; a lie cannot exist without truth. Similarly this mortal world has been originated from the immortal. The separation from true self gives birth to this world and regaining our true self is the ultimate goal of our life.
The scriptures say, अग्नीषोमात्मकं जगत. That means world is made of Agni (fire) and Soma (rasa or bliss). And Yoga (unification) of both is the goal of life. We all know that the Sun (fire) and the Moon (bliss) are guiding life on this planet earth. But the Moon acquires its potential from the Sun itself. Similarly, the fire in our belly is being fed by the food energy. But generally whatsoever food we take in diminishes the fire and causes our body to decay and deteriorate. If we could somehow digest and convert our intake (food, water & air) completely into energy without making any byproduct, we may check the aging process. Another way, as Sri Aurobindo had said, could be to find such a food that is full of energy or is energy itself.
As we know that on our planet the ultimate source of energy is none other than the Sun. All the energy in plants and animals is received from the Sun itself. Thus if we could find a way to directly take in the solar energy, we may not require to depend upon food material. After all, food is an important criterion to observe the evolution of the being in different bodies. As we can clearly see that the food-path in plants is straight but bottom upwards and in animals & birds it’s diagonally downwards while in humans it’s straight again but upwards down. Plants by nature draw their food in purest and digested form so that they live long while animals tax their body by storing the waste of their contaminated food intake and die quite early but the way their body is constructed they have no other option. In case of human beings it is possible to feed upon pure and digested food i.e. energy and avoid the accumulation of waste which causes disease, old age and finally death.
However, transformation of food is not the objective but the transformation of the body. If we somehow develop the ability to draw and digest the food in its purest form it will purify our body too by intensifying the fire in belly. This will produce more of rasa, which in turn will escalate the fire. This will start an inner cycle where Agni will intensify the Soma and Soma in turn will intensify the Agni. Later, we may reach to a state where outside food may not be required at all.
The Upanishads also declare, “न तस्य रोगो न जरा न मृत्युः प्राप्तस्य योगाग्निमयं शरीरम्॥”. Once the ‘Agni’ (fire) in belly awakens and gradually gets transformed into ‘Yogagni’ (spiritual fire) this body is purified and gets rid of diseases, aging and consequently of death. The gross body transforms into a divine one. All the elements of the body leave their grossness and acquire subtleness. Though the body retains same shape and size, the constituent changes in nature. Such a body is called physically immortal.
Nevertheless, one thing should be clear in mind that freedom from food or freedom from death is not the goal. They are but only criterion that will prove the immortality of the physical body. This will happen when the Body Consciousness melts into Super Consciousness. And this is possible only by the divine grace.
GOAL OF ALL RELIGIONS, SECTS & RACES: Physical Immortality is indispensable in any practical spiritual progress. Because whatever we do and how far we go, after all we have to attain the ultimate goal of our life in just one lifetime. We may better say that conquering death is the basic intelligence test in the physical universe. The idea of physical immortality gives us an opportunity to think about life not death, as we are accustomed to since ages.
All the religions and sects trust in a supreme power and believe that “God has made man in his own form.” Just imagine, is it possible for a man to produce a monkey or vice versa? Or is it possible for water to mix-in with fire? A man can produce only man and fire can mix with only fire. So if God has created us then how could we be anything other than God? If we believe in our own mortality then our God is also mortal and then there is no future of man, earth or universe. If one could read the scriptures and listen to mystics without any prejudice, the message is very clear: “v;ekRek czã”- We are that.
In words of Aurobindo – “The body can survive indefinitely only if, in the first place, it becomes fully conscious of this immortal self and unites with it, identifies with it to the extent of having the same capacity, the same faculty of constant transformation which would enable it to follow the universal movement.”
The ‘Yoga’, which is a buzzword in society today, puts the same goal before us. The literal meaning of the word ‘Yoga’ is to unify. As we know only alike things can get unified so the goal of a yoga practitioner is to get unified with the self or the divine. Sewa, Bhakti, Gyan, Dhyan, Hath, Raj all the paths lead to same goal.
CLOSING MESSAGE: No surprises, if the writings have seemed odd and weird to you, rather they ought to be, but the very fact that you have continued reading it until here is again a living proof that deathlessness is indeed your inherent potential, which is only dormant, for it is still compelling you to go on, reading further!
A Superman, a Harry Potter, a Neo, a Krissh all tingle some corner of our heart, rather ought to because something similar to them is indeed our destiny. But let us not dismiss these sensations as childish fantasies and wild imaginations. For there are men and women, rather supermen and superwomen amidst us who have done in real life, what a Christopher Reeve and a Hrithik Roshan accomplished in reel life. Hanuman, Agastya, Milarepa, Mahavtar Babaji, Ramalingam and many more continue to live despite having celebrated more than a thousand birthdays. They can all fly; appear and disappear at will; outlive the attack of bullets, even nuclear bombs; can go in the rain without getting wet; not only do they know E=mc2 but are the masters of the entire universe, rather behind all those intricacies which science aims to grasp; can produce literature, art, music of a quality that would fade all our proud creations; are so very handsome that even a hybrid body created by selecting the best features of our Hollywood and Bollywood stars, would be dimmed by their sparkle and golden light; and amidst all this are so very humble that we had hardly heard of them until now. What greater about them that their only desire remains to help us, alleviate our suffering, rather guide and help us to become nothing less than what they themselves are; and for this have been working tirelessly throughout different millennia, assuming different bodies and forms. And who knows if this article itself is being secretly inspired by them and is meant for someone special whom they regard as prepared to know about them, deathlessness and more… Maybe, that person is YOU!
Well, you needn’t believe a word written here. It mayn’t be your time yet, the only reason being the wall of doubt and disbelief you have created between yourself and their guiding compassion, obstructing their reaching out to you. But, since you have allowed them to penetrate into your mind to this extent, maybe you are the one indeed they meant to reach out and influence a little. They have introduced themselves to you; it’s your time now! See if you have got the longing to become a RAMALINGA. See if you want to become great in the real sense. If you can see these in yourself, they have all assured that their guidance is just a CALL away….
– Swami Suryendu Puri