Friday, September 24, 2010



What is Life?
We know with near absolute certainty what Human life is. 
In a very simple way, Human life is our journey from birth to death.
Life takes us through birth, childhood, adolescence, youth, adulthood, Middle age, old age and death.
Diseases, accidents, wars etc can cut short our life at any of these points and deprive us of the remaining points of our life.
But, no power can take away the last point, that is, death, from us.
Death is therefore the most certain event of our life. Just consider the following.
You can die as a sperm or as an egg. You can die as an embryo. This means, even birth is not as certain an event in life as death. You can die as a child. You can die as an adolescent, as youth, as adult, as middle-aged person or as an old person. But, die you must. Your prophets died. Your incarnations of God died. The best Doctors who boasted that they saved a number of people from death also died. And, people whom they saved also died. So, die you must.
Other things are uncertain.
There is a manufacturing date and an expiry date stamped on you – as in the case of drugs we manufacture. Your choice is to expire earlier or on the expiry date. Most people consciously or unconsciously choose the earlier option.
Suppose you know the expiry date. Will that be a great discovery for you? Even for Medicines, the expiry date is not really exact. It is a few months this way or that way of the expiry date mentioned on the label. So, it is for us. Give or take a few years. The expiry date is around 100 years. We always bless people to live for a hundred years. “Satha maanam Bhavathi, Satha Aayuh Purushasya..” says the Sanskrit blessing given by elders to youngsters in India, which means, may you live for hundred years.
Suppose you want to live for more? No one will bless you. You will be a nuisance at hundred itself. So, please…
Where is this hundred years stamped in us?
It is probably in our heart beats. Or, it is in our breath cycles. Ultimately, these are the only two indicators we look at to determine whether we are alive or expired. Pulse and breath.
Your heart is a machine and is made for a certain number of beats. Your lungs too are made for a certain number of cycles. I am almost sure that this stamping – either as 100 years, or this many beats or cycles - is there on them. Though, we can’t see them with our present knowledge.
Ancient Indian Yogis regulated their breathing systems and slowed the breathing down into slower rhythmic cycles – in the hope that – since the number of breath cycles are fixed, the slower an individual breath cycle, the longer in terms of number of years is the life that they could live. There is a claim that many such Yogis are alive for several hundreds of years in the Himalayan caves.
The Indian Yogis could also stop or slow down their heart beat and most other life processes. This particular fact was tested in modern scientific laboratories on some yogis and it was found that they could do that.
In recent past, one person in India is found to be living without food, water, urination and defecation for several decades now– and he claims it as due to yoga and some divine blessing. His name is Prahlad Jani. But then, he also could not avoid the other processes of life, like childhood to old age, we have mentioned earlier.
If we forget the Indian Yogis and make them an exception, what is life for all the rest of us?
We all breathe – and the breathing process is constant, reasonably consistent and automatic, till the Expiry date and moment. You can try to stop breathing for a few seconds or a few minutes. You will get enough proof instantly that your breathing process is automatic and not much under your control.
You are not even allowed to try that with your heartbeat.
You eat. Just think of what happens after the food travels beyond your mouth towards your stomach. Lots of things are happening inside you. Your stomach, pancreas, kidneys, intestines, etc are at work, in a totally automated process, free from your intervention. When you drink, the same automated processes happen. None of these processes are given to you to control.
I shudder to think of the day, these processes happening in your lungs, heart and stomach (and its allies) are all given to your free will – without automating them. Your expiry date – is that very moment of exercise of your FREE WILL!
Well. What about other life processes?
You can turn your eyes on any object. Rest of the process (of seeing) happening inside you is automatic. You can turn your ears towards a sound. Rest of the processes happening inside you (of hearing) are automatic. You can touch an object. Rest of the processes inside you are automatic. You can put an item on your tongue. Rest of the processes inside you are automatic.
Ah, what a free, robotic life you are living!! Guaranteed for a hundred years – unless you misuse it.
Yes. This one thing is given to you. You can misuse it. And reduce your life.
Every moment, lots of living cells in you are dying and getting replaced by new living cells. Your skin cells, bone cells, muscle cells, blood cells, nerve cells and every thing else in you is getting replaced. Your life is being renewed by this process. As you can see, this renewal is also an automated process.
Your friend is not the same person you saw three years before. He is brand new. So are you. As they say – you don’t bathe in the same river twice!
You don’t even embrace the same spouse twice. You will find lots of changes the second time. Not merely in the cells. But, in many other aspects. The more the time lag, the more the changes. Three years down the marriage, your wife (or husband) isn’t the same one you married. Brand new, really. Not a single cell remained in the person you liked, fell in love with and married.
Brand new spouse – but slightly older!! Three years older now.
He is no more youth. He is Adult. He is becoming middle aged. His reflexes are slowing. One day, he will be as old as your father or grand father. So, will you be. (He or She as it may be).There are many, many such automated processes in you and your life – on which your control is close to zero percent.
Now, from automated processes, we will shift attention to semi-automated processes.
When you became youth, you began falling in love with some one; some one hovering in your vicinity, some one of the opposite sex. You did not fall in such love when you were a child or a small boy. You liked toys as a child and then you liked sports. Now you liked the opposite sex. You say you loved. Don’t you see that there was some semi automated process going on inside you? You were slightly powerless to resist what you were doing. You may say – yours was a divine love, which nobody else ever experienced. Fine. I agree. Many others said the same thing all these thousands of years. I can’t disagree with any of them. But, it is a semi-automated process inside you. That is the only point. That much is a fact of life which I can see. It is not entirely your free will.
You didn’t know when exactly you were going to succeed in having children– and whether it would be a boy or a girl. Not everything was left to you in the process. Come to think of it, You may have had the choice of refusing to beget children – but having children, their timing and other details were not much left to your choice.  
You took care of the children. You wanted your children to grow in some way. But, invariably, they grew differently. No child ever grew in the way the parents wanted. First – the two parents never agreed on how the child should grow. Second - the child never agreed with either of the parents. So, again a semi automatic process was at work. You contributed your free will. Others contributed theirs. Some thing else happened. Your Child grew into adolescence, youth, adulthood, Middle age and so on – much the same way as you did. He also went through the divine love process etc.
Some time during all this, you found your father and mother, growing into middle age, old age and going through the inevitable death. Do you miss them? Many of their generation were and are getting through death into oblivion. You too are approaching the middle age and OLD AGE!
Well. We will stop the story of life here.
Why did we recount this? Just to point out the automated and semi automated facets of life. I haven’t yet told you everything there is. Just enough to convince you to see that your life had many robotic aspects in it. I had written another Blog Post on your physical quotient, emotional quotient and Intellectual quotient a few months earlier, which can show you a few more aspects of what you think you are but you are not.
Can we take more of our life into our hands, into our  FREE WILL, – and lead our lives successfully?
Can we be much more HAPPIER than at present?
Yes, we can. We are exploring these aspects continuously in this Blog and will continue this effort much more vigorously in the days to come.
In the last four Blog Posts, we had however dealt with various aspects of FEAR in human life. Fear probably comes from the stage of the sperm and continues to the stage of death along with us. After death, the next certainty in life is – Fear.
Did you get a sense in reading these previous posts that FEAR was one aspect, where  you had some FREE WILL too? We did suggest that in  matters of fear, you had some free will -  to be afraid or not to be, and to choose a more sensible, effective, agreeable option than you used to adopt in the past.
In this Blog post, a few paragraphs earlier, we have said that you have some option – of dying on your prescribed expiry date or before the expiry date. You can exercise some free will here too – either consciously or unconsciously.
These are the two most important aspects of Life, namely Death and Fear, two constants and certainties of life, in each of which we are all given some free will.  We need to combine these two aspects and the two options of free will. For some reason, fear of death is a universal fear – for human beings, for animals, birds, insects and every living being.
We could die a thousand times in our life, for a thousand different reasons – but ultimately we die only once, for one reason.
And, what are we going to do after death? It is uncharted, unknown territory, as of now. But death casts its shadows deep into the life.
From day one, people are all afraid of Dying! Fear of Death stalks life and makes living difficult.
So, we must deal with the Fear of death. We must get over it. We must live our lives up to the expiry date – happily. Let us therefore see how we can conquer the fear of death in the next few Posts.
PS:  I am placing this Post in both of my blogs –
and – since this is relevant in both. Those interested in Fear of death ( and conquering fear as a whole) may kindly visit for further posts.
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