We make plans like our existence on earth is eternal, whether it's buying the best house that our means can afford us, or adorning our bodies with luxurious jewellery. And yet our daily existence is sprinkled with reminders of our mortality, be it news of the latest tragedy streaming in through our televisions or the latest crime headline jostling for a place in our mobile phone notification panels.
Life, like most things in nature, is cyclical, starting with a helpless bundle of joy who can only communicate through crying, to the exuberance of youth, the maturity of middle age, and then back again to being a dependent bundle of flesh and bones. We take much pride in the 40-50 years of being self-sufficient, whilst mainly choosing to turn a blind eye to the eventuality that awaits.
We are often so in love with our own identities, that the mere thought of mortality can be upsetting, leaving a bad taste in the mouth. Like the elephant in the room, it remains largely unaddressed, until suddenly without warning someone in the extended family passes over, and you feel the full force of the finality, like a punch in the gut.
We would all love to be immortal, like King Satyavrata, who was promised ascent to the Heavens in his physical form. But that requires dropping of this temporary form that we are identified with, this one permutation that came about through the combination of this transient body and our true selves, the eternal soul. And if we insist like the petulant king, then we remain suspended between the earth and the heavens, a la Trishanku, even when he had the power of Rishi Vishwamitra behind him.
Time is largely a function of planetary movement, and as a new Hindu solar year has just started on Mesha Sankranti, we have successfully completed another revolution around the Sun. We give thanks to a year of enriching experiences and welcome a new year of learning. And even though it may seem like a part of us changed, when we look deep within, there is a part that is immune to the passage of time, and remains as vital, no matter the physical age. And the recognition of this is the first step in the pursuit of immortality.