Immortality

Legend tells us that the Gods and the Demons together churned the vast ocean of milk- this was the famous Samudra- manthan. Out of this churning came fourteen treasures, the last to appear being Amrut, the nectar of immortality. The pot of Amrut was hidden by the Gods at four places, Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik- where the Kumbh- mela is celebrated four times- once at each place- every twelve years.

The idea of immortality has fascinated people over the centuries resulting in many legends. The Fountain of Youth is one such legend. This is a spring which restores the youth of those who drink from it. There are tales of such fountains in many countries around the world.

A few years ago I saw a movie- Tuck Everlasting – which tells the story of a family- the members of which have drunk the waters of such a youth-restoring spring. However, despite having obtained eternal youth, their lives are far from happy. The father tells Winnie- a young girl in love with the son-that she should not fear death. ‘You do not have to live forever, you just have to live’.
In the end she decides not to drink the water of immortality but to simply live life to the fullest.

So, what do you think? Would you like to live forever?
Do you have some ‘mission’ to fulfil, and would like to live forever to see it completed?

Would you get tired of doing all your favourite things over and over again?

If you could choose one age at which to live forever, which would it be- Twenty? Thirty? Forty? Fifty?

What about health? Suppose you had a choice- between being sick but immortal, and dying young, but being healthy till the end. What would you choose?

It is said- अति सर्वत्र वर्जयेत् l Too much of even a good thing becomes intolerable. Would it be so in the case of eternal life?

Would you choose, as Winnie in ‘Tuck Everlasting’ did, to simply live, not live forever?

What do you think?
.

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23 thoughts on “Immortality”

  1. Tough one. I think the immorality of the amrit variety means freedom from disease and pain too. Yes, it might get very boring if you know time is no constraint anymore. At the same time, possibilities are endless too. On balance,I think most will opt for amrit.Primarily because no one can see what lies beyond death.

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  2. Manju, this one really really makes you think …On a gut feeling, I dont think i will vote for the everlasting amrit life. Imagine the scenario. No one dies, but people continue to breed. Very soon we will have huge populations everywhere, with resources in a crunch. (Its bad enough right now). Then, a lot of knowledge that gets enhanced in science because of the urge to prevent diseases that kill, will actually become stagnant. Learning will rust as it were. I think there will also be a corruption in morals. With guaranteed life and death out of fashion, "sin", "crime" and "hurting others" will have different connotations in life. And interhuman relationshsips will go for a toss. No. Sorry. No Amrit for me.Thank you. I will just have sugarcane juice. Or if you insist on churning, lassi wins …

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  3. Manju, I did contemplate writing on this too! I read a news item the other day about scientists discovering a gene that regulates life span and can lead to immortality. I remember thinking – who wants to live forever! I do not. I would love to play with my grandchildren. But live forever in this modern world. No thanks.

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  4. Vinodji– Yes, you are right- it does mean freedom from pain and disease- 'अजरामर'.Personally, I would not mind discovering what lies beyond death- may be something wonderful!Ugich Konitari– You paint a scary picture!But this would happen if everyone became immortal. What if it were only you/ a few?

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  5. If there is to be a selection process, thats even worse. My assumption was amrit was freely available to whoever wanted it. In both cases , I dont know that I would rush after it. I mean how do you decide that someone should die because they werent smart enough to lay their hands on some amrut ? Must definitely , NO.

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  6. The basic principle..what ha taken birth shall also die.Life on this planet is based on this principle. Immortality is a creation of our mind fascinated with immortality.Life would be so boring if this was the case. What if we had life spans of even 200 – 250 years…unimaginable is it not..Our ancient philosophy says that death is not to be feared but it is time for deep and complete rest between two stage appearances.No amrit for me….I side with U..K..

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  7. Very good question Manju. I would never choose immortality. I intend to live this life to the fullest and I look forward to the experience I have when I leave this body. There are other things in my life that I may wish to change, but then maybe that would take away from me leading my life to the fullest?Questions like this could keep your mind running in circles :). I just have faith that I'll be just fine when my body dies.

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  8. I don't want immortality, period…It would suck the fun out of living and the fun comes from the fact that we have a definite number of years to live…And what would the world come to? No deaths, only births…

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  9. Radha– Yes, a long life is one thing, and eternal life is entirely something else!Ugich Konitari– The decision would be made by whoever gained possession of it!But yes, it would be a terrible choice to make.Mavin– Thoughtful answer, as usual! I agree with you.

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  10. I think I am already late here! Whatever impression I wanted to write here while reading the post, has been written by everyone, esp. Ugichji.In Tamil, there is a proverb 'alavukku minjinaal amuthamum visham', ' अति सर्वत्र वर्जयेत्' means the same.The story of the movie is very good. I would prefer to live a 'quality' life (as far as possible!) and off to heaven or hell, without burdening others!

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  11. Kislay– Nice choice- interesting life and painless death!Weeble– I am certain that you do and will, live life to the fullest, Weeble. I have brought up this question here, but it doesn't really bother me, you know. And I am glad it is not our decision to make!Roshni– Well said!Sraboney– I agree, the fact that our time is limited is partly why we enjoy life!

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  12. Manju, it is a very thought provoking post.First time it has made me think seriously.I too saw,Tuck Everlasting,but that is another story.Frankly,if I had a choice–I would like live so long as I can remain healthy-continue to help someone and till there is a meaning left in life besides one must have the companionship of ones life partner.without which life has no meaning—loneliness can kill.Amrut or no Amrut

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  13. Sandhya– Yes, 'quality' of life is important! And why 'heaven or hell'? You are sure to go to heaven!Chowlaji– Yes, that is true- lonliness may make one lose the will to live.

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  14. What about health? Suppose you had a choice- between being sick but immortal, and dying young, but being healthy till the end. What would you choose?..ofcourse the second one..to me no doubt about this..I dont want to live forever, even live a long life..rather would want to go now when everybody will miss me, not when everyone wishes me to go.

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  15. What a wonderful line on 'living' ! Sometimes i wonder if the strife in the world will come down if only we realise that we arent going to be around 'forever' !Lovely post !

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  16. Oh i was not knowing the rotational fact about kumbh melaToo many questions…i am a person who goes with the wind..so mission etc etc…If i was at 20s, i would have definetly told..yes i want immortality….NOw i am not sure..may be i will reword…if i get the opportunity to live with the person i have in mind..yes i want to live forever….no i wont get tired of doing my fav things again and again..will i ever get tired watching cricket or movies etc etc..Health..no doubt ..we want be healthly….what age i want to live? i havent seen 50s and above…i think i will settle for 40…..if i am healthy, yes i want to live forever…

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  17. Sorry to be so late in responding to comments, but I was not online for a few days.Antarman– To go while everyone will miss us- yes, that is something to be desired!Happy Kitten– I am thankful for that,too- that we do not have the responsibility of making this choice.Rajlakshmi– The movie raises an interesting question- and I found myself agreeing with Winnie's choice. Kavi– Thank you! Perhaps people would get along better if they only remembered their mortality!Sunder– You would like to live forever? Who knows, maybe you will get your wish!

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  18. Manju, to your question, which would be chosen when its 'a choice- between being sick but immortal, and dying young, but being healthy till the end' I would certainly choose the second.I wouldn't want immortality. There must be something better out there. Why miss on that?? 🙂

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