Cosmic Cycle Of Life And Death

1 Mar

If you walk continuously along a straight path, you will never be found again. But on a cyclic path, you come back repeatedly at the starting point and eventually cover endless distance, provided the energy and system remain intact. Interestingly, most phenomena occurring in nature favour a cyclic rather than straight path.

In the greater universe, we see planets circling around stars and stars moving, centring around the galaxy. The process has been going on in billions of other galaxies since creation. However, such movement is not without purpose.

Apart from gigantic celestial bodies, it is surprising that microscopic subatomic particles inside matter like electrons are also moving in orbits around the nucleus of the atom. These are all energy particles and are responsible for matter formation and destruction.

Returning to our planet, one of the most important phenomena sustaining the life process is plants’ photosynthesis. It continuously converts carbon dioxide released by life forms to oxygen in the atmosphere through cycles so that there is never any dearth of any component. Apart from this, there are myriad other cycles occurring in nature that protect creation.

Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose wrote in his book, Abyakta, while going to explore the source of the Ganga, albeit philosophically, ‘‘Oh river, where have you come from? Where will you go?’’ The river replied ‘‘From the locks of matted hair of Shiva I originate and go back to the same place yet again.’’

Why does nature prefer the cyclic path so spontaneously all along? Sadi Carnot, French engineer, discovered in 1832 that a reversible engine generates maximum output only when it works in cycles. It is also independent of the working substance used.

If the cyclic path happens to be so desirable both for the material and the living world, then it is highly probable that the most vital phenomenon on earth concerning ‘birth-death’ of human beings should also work in cycles and is very unlikely to be a one-off incident. How does it work then?

According to the Prasnopanishada, at the time of death, the old body being incapable of sustaining the life process any longer perishes along with senses and buddhi or intellect, leaving mind and soul intact to space. While the soul behaves as an onlooker only, mind stores all sanskaras like a computer’s hard disk. This soul-mind system acting as a link then enters a new embryonic body, the matrix of which is determined by the previous mind at the time of death. The soulmind then directs the body as steam drives a steam engine away.

However, evolution from raw mind to enlightened mind is a long journey considering that change in mindset is undoubtedly a slow process. To effect this time-consuming transformation, continuous cycles rather than a single one are the right answer. Had it not been so, all souls should have required the same state of attainment at the end of a one-off cycle…With the path remaining the same and with changed system (new soul-mind), each time at the start, the soul-mind combo can, therefore, repeat its journey afresh through a chain of cycles, which entails continuous cleansing of the fleeting mind from illusory bondage of negativity by selfless karma till it achieves liberation. This has been the purpose as also Divine Will, which the cyclic path delivers uniquely.

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