Part III — Eternity and immortality
Question: What is the difference between immortality and eternity?Sri Chinmoy: Immortality deals with life, life in the form of consciousness, life in the form of reality and life in the form of object, subject or substance. Immortality means immortality of the consciousness, not immortality of the gross physical. One can leave the body at one's own sweet will. But if anything has to last on the physical plane for an indefinite time, it becomes the greatest torture. I tell you, even the most materialistic person on earth, even a pleasure loving person, will be disgusted if he stays on earth for more than one hundred years. Every undivine desire will be fulfilled, but even then he will be disgusted because he is not dealing with the illumining consciousness. When you deal with the illumining consciousness, at that time you do not pay any attention to the senses. You feel that you don't need the satisfaction of the senses, or of anything that belongs to earth, because at that time you see that earth itself is impermanent. The only thing that is permanent is the birthless and deathless Divine.
Now when we think of eternity, at that time we have to know that anything that is created, either on the physical plane, the vital plane, the mental plane or the transcendental plane, can be eternal. It may have had its beginning yesterday, but it can go on, go on for millions and billions and trillions of years.
Immortality deals with life and life came from Silence. We can count eternity, but we cannot count immortality. However, immortality came first, because Silence itself was life. So life comes first, and then only can we start counting. First one is born, then he is one second old, one day old, one year old, and so on.
So in eternity there is a sense of measurement, while there is none in immortality. You can't measure immortality, whereas you can try to calculate Eternity with your imagination. The sense of measurement comes in eternity. It is divine, intuitive and psychic measurement. Then, if you use your third eye, immediately you will know when it started and how it goes on. Immortality is something that is already there.
Let us take eternity as a tree that is growing, growing and growing. Eternity grows and immortality remains the same. Immortality is already there; just use your vision. But eternity is always going upwards. Eternity's conception goes upwards, while Immortality is all around.