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Monday, August 18, 2014

IMMORTALITY by Gopinadhan Pillai

( Mr. Gopinadhan Pillai has adored this publication with another scholarly essay which is rare to find .New World is blessed with many distinguished writers such as Mr. Gopinadhan Pillai. A must read essay and we will cherish its value for our entire life) New World

Amritattwasya naasasthi vitenetyeva hi Sruti:
Braviti karmano mukther hetutvam spudam yata:“It is clear that liberation is not the effect of good works, for Sruti herself declares that there is no hope for immortality by means of wealth”. Amritattwam or immortality is the goal of a spiritual life as indicated in all Upanishads. Equating 'amritattwam' to immortality, though a common notion, is actually a misreading. In that sense, it is supposed to be gained only after one’s death. Not surprisingly, modern-day living leaves little room for pursuing a knowledge that is deemed implausible or unreachable.
Further reflection on this verse reveals that immortality as promised in Sruti is not a condition that comes to us only after our departure from this world. It is a perfection that can be lived here and now. It is the awareness of a state of continuous existence which experiences no change to any external disturbance. Immortality is not monotonous living in imaginary joy in a distant future. It is the understanding of the perfection within us. One who attains this knowledge maintains a mental equilibrium to live in a tranquility and peace. Immortality is to be understood not as a deathless state, but to get the awareness of the Atman that is beyond birth and death.
However, this knowledge is extremely difficult to attain. As stated in Katha Upanishad:
Uttishttata, jagrata

prapya varan nibodhata!
Kshurasya dhara nishita duratyaya
Durgam pathasthat kavayo vadanthi
One who is determined to attain that knowledge should have an unfaltering determination until he reaches the goal. The meaning of the above verse is:
Arise! Awake! Obtain your boon and understand them! A sharpened edge of a razor, hard to traverse, A difficult path is this” the great Acharyas declare it so.
That awareness is Atman that has no attributes. It is soundless, touchless, tasteless, odorless, formless, imperishable, and constant. This has no beginning and end. This is higher than the great and stable. Obtaining that knowledge is the ultimate liberation from death - immortality. One of the often quoted verses in our prayers is:

Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrityor ma amritam gamaya
Lead me from unreal to real, from darkness to light and from mortality to immortality.
One who attains this mental poise will find it possible for the mind to rise against itself - the temptations of external senses. This endless peace cannot be gained through wealth (vittam). Wealth here means the experience gained by the sense-objects from external world. A continuous and infinite experience of peace and tranquility cannot be derived through wealth. Mere satisfaction of animal urges of procuring, maintaining and enjoying ephemeral sense objects will not lead to experiences of unbroken peace of perfection – immortality.

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