Is death just a snag in our biological hardware?


Some people believe that humanity can attain immortality if we just understand what causes the aging process and then reprogram the genes that cause that process. Underlying this vision of immortality is the notion of death as simply a technical snag in our biological hardware. 

Gita wisdom would consider such an idea of death as both arrogant and ignorant. 

Arrogant because the attempt to achieve immortality has been the pipe dream since time immemorial of demons who tried various strange and devious ways to extend their lifespans infinitely. The epics are filled with narrations of how these demons were ultimately frustrated. Just as they were baffled, so too will we be. No matter how creative and powerful our technology becomes, the aging process is as inexorable as the movement of the cosmic bodies. Even if we understand the underlying mechanism, we will still be far away from controlling it and changing the way it worked. 

Ignorant because it tragically overlooks the reality that we are already immortal. We just need to realize that we are at our core souls, and the soul by nature is indestructible (02.23). Because of our ill-conceived and misdirected attachment to worldly things, we are presently misidentifying with our temporary material bodies. 

If we learn to raise our consciousness to the spiritual level by appropriate practices, we start glimpsing our indestructibility even while living in this body. And eventually, after the destruction of our body at death, we will be transported to the spiritual level for life eternal.

That opportunity for immortality is the privilege of humanity — a privilege that can be cashed not by technological advancement, but by spiritual advancement. 

One-sentence summary:

To treat death as a technical snag in our biological hardware is a notion that is both arrogant and ignorant. 

Think it over:

  • Why is the notion of death as a technical snag arrogant?
  • Why is that notion ignorant?
  • How can we transcend death?

***

02.23: The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.

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6 Comments

  1. Materialistic vision of life will never bring out the true satisfaction for the soul.

    In real essence, what we long for is not merely an eternal existence, but an eternal life completely fulfilling and satisfying.

    The only real practical aspect of nature is spirit; the external arrangements are just the agency for communication.

    I would like to draw upon an interesting analogy that pictures the above point quite lucidly:

    Wood is a physical thing; And fire is a subtle element. Wood is ignited only by fire. Wood in itself cannot ignite and burn.

    Similarly, the senses in itself are not capable to reveal things as they are; only the soul which is of self-luminous nature reveals the world.

    Thank you very much for a wonderful article.

    Post a Reply
  2. Materialistic vision of life will never bring out the true satisfaction for the soul.

    In real essence, what we long for is not merely an eternal existence, but an eternal life completely fulfilling and satisfying.

    The only real practical aspect of nature is spirit; the external arrangements are just the agency for communication.

    I would like to draw upon an interesting analogy that pictures the above point quite lucidly:

    Wood is a physical thing; And fire is a subtle element. Wood is ignited only by fire. Wood in itself cannot ignite and burn.

    Similarly, the senses in itself are not capable to reveal things as they are; only the soul which is of self-luminous nature reveals the world.

    Thank you very much for a wonderful article.

    Post a Reply
  3. Thank you very kindly for this installment. Of course, I appreciate all that you write and clarify about the Bhagavad Gita. But between personal experiences with death lately along with anxieties and concerns about the direction and state of technology… Well, suffice to say, this entry was particularly comforting and relatable and gives me a much needed renewal of faith and strength.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your personal experience – best wishes that the Gita’s wisdom help you more and more to face life’s challenges.

      Post a Reply

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