The Subject of this series of talks is the philosophy of the Upanishads with special reference to death and immortality. Death indeed is a 'dreadful' subject, but the knowledge of immortality should certainly salvage us. But what kind of immortality? Or the knowledge of the Supreme Substratum of All- Existence that makes death a helper and a preparatory factor in its realization? We will deal with the theme as it is developed in the four Upanishads- Isha, Katha, Svetasvatara and Brihadaranyaka. Katha in Sanskrit means a story; Brihadaranyaka means 'the great forest treatise'; Svetasvatarasignifies that its name from the opening word of the Upanishadic text Ishavasya, which essentially deals with the universal nature of the Lord.
There are three terms of existence: the individual, the universal and the transcendent. Only when have a clear idea of these three, their nature as well as their inter-relationship, that is becomes possible to know fully the problem of death and immortality.
Is death a permanent feature of the world we live in? If so, has it any purpose behind it? What is it after all? We see it in some form or another. In the material world it is known as destruction, in the physico-organic world it is seen as decay, decomposition, disintegration and dissolution. Only in the world of life- the animal and the human kingdoms, that we it in its fullest sense. Then, can there be life without death? Can there be re creation without some kind of destruction? Or, whether destruction itself is a form of creation?
If we are familiar with Indian iconography, the figure of Trimurti is hard to miss. It is that of a Person with three heads representing Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, - the aspects of creation, sustenance and Sustenance and destruction. These constitute the triple truth of one Supreme Reality, the three interlinked and integrating planes of one prism- the three poises of one Truth.
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