Question: How can man live forever?

Sri Chinmoy: How can man live forever? We have to know what we mean by “man”. If we mean the flesh and blood and earthly limbs that we have, then with this body it is impossible to live forever. The five elements that constitute the physical body cannot last. If an individual identifies himself only with the physical body, which remains alive for sixty, seventy or eighty years, naturally there is no immortality. When the body is not aspiring — and in most cases it is not aspiring — then it is not worthwhile to stay on earth where there is so much suffering, so much frustration, weakness, limitation and bondage.

People may live on earth for eighty or ninety years, but if they have not given up their ordinary human life or, let us say, their animal life, there is no purpose in it. Only if one wants to act divinely and live in a divine way is there a reason for him to live eternally. But if one wants to live a divine life, then right now he has to develop inside himself a divine consciousness. Each individual has the animal consciousness, the human consciousness and the divine consciousness. From the animal consciousness we have gradually entered into the human consciousness, and from the human we are now trying to grow into the divine. This consciousness with our ordinary human eyes, we do not see; but with our inner vision we see it.

In the world of consciousness each individual is immortal. An individual identifies himself either with the soul or with the body. If he identifies himself with the body, which is far from perfection, then naturally he feels he cannot live forever. But if he identifies himself with the soul, then he knows that he is immortal. The body will die, but when it is a matter of consciousness — which every man has and which he inwardly is — man is eternal, man is immortal.

Again, it is our hope that there will come a time when the physical body, like the soul, will be able to establish its inseparable oneness with the divine. We have an inner life and an outer life. The inner life is aspiration, whereas the outer life is right now full of desire; it is earthbound. But a day will come when the desire-life will be transformed by the inner life, and aspiration will shine even in the so called physical. At that time, the transformed and illumined physical body will be able to last permanently. But right now the physical is half animal, manifesting only an iota of the divine Light. There shall come a time when the physical will receive boundless Light from Above and will be illumined. Once it is illumined, like the soul, it can remain permanently on earth, if such is the Will of God. But right now, at the present stage of human consciousness, it is impossible for the physical level of man to be immortal.