13.09: Reclaiming Immortality: The Concern is the Lack of Concern

by December 19, 2011

The Bhagavad-gita (13.9) states that an essential characteristic of wisdom is sustained contemplation on the intrinsic mortality of our present existence. The Gita integrates this pessimistic-seeming contemplation into an optimistic worldview that explains how all of us being eternal spiritual beings have a right to immortality. We have lost that right due to being covered by materialistic passions and pursuits, just as people lose the right to see due to being covered by blindfolds.

Just as blindfolded people find blindness unnatural, all of us find our vulnerability to death unnatural, even though death is natural to material existence. This conflict between our aspiration for immortality and our perception of mortality – like the conflict between the blindfolded people’s longing to see and inability to see – has the potential to spur us into spiritual action and thereby reclaim our immortality.

However, when we neglect this conflict by subconsciously denying our perceptions and imagining that we won’t die – at least not soon, this lack of concern perpetuates our imprisonment in mortality. That’s why this lack of concern is a matter of concern: it is a sign of our self-imposed death sentence. 

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