11. Immortality is not the survival of the mental personality after death, though that also is true, but the waking possession of the unborn and deathless Self of which body is only an instrument and a shadow.
(Thoughts and Aphorisms: Sri Aurobindo)
The human being has a body and a vital being, to be mastered and governed by a mental being. The vital being animates the physical being, and is the source of all passions and emotions and sentiments. But the mental being is able to fully control and govern the body only in rare cases — where the mental being is formed, organized and individualized, having a personality.
Every human being, as he is now, does not necessarily have a personality. In this connection, The Mother says: “In the great mass of human beings the mind is something fluid which has no organization of its own, and therefore it is not a personality. And as long as the mind is like that, fluid, unorganized, with no cohesive of its own and without personality, it cannot survive. ”
A fluid and unorganized mind can not then survive the death of the physical body. The mental being then is dissolved in the mental region, and the physical body gets dissolved in the physical substance.
What our mind generally is?
We may see what Sri Aurobindo says:
Our mind is a house haunted by the slain past,
Ideas soon mummified, ghosts of old truths,
God's spontaneities tied with formal strings
And packed into drawers of reason's trim bureau,
A grave of great lost opportunities,
Or an office for misuse of soul and life
And all the waste man makes of heaven's gifts
And all his squanderings of Nature's store,
A stage for the comedy of Ignorance.
[Savitri : Book II: Canto XIII]
But when there is a mental being with a personality, it can survive the death of the physical body and it can continue life after life, birth after birth.
Let us keep in mind that here the word personality has been used in a special sense — to have a personality, the mental being must have to stand erect without depending on the body and the vital being, with a full control over them.
As The Mother says, in the mental atmosphere on earth, there are independent mental personalities, who have continued their existence, independently, even after the physical existence, the body, is no more there. When the soul re-incarnates, the mental personality also re-incarnates, “carrying with it the memories of the previous lives.”
However, as Sri Aurobindo has stated, the continuity of the mental personality is not really what Immortality is, though it is an effect and an accompaniment of Immortality.
Immortality relates to the essential being of each individual human being, which is not different from the universal Self. To realize and live the conscious existence of that essential individual being, which has no beginning and no end, is what Immortality is.
Let us listen to the Call from Sri Aurobindo :
"Why camest thou to this dumb deathbound earth,
This ignorant life beneath indifferent skies
Tied like a sacrifice on the altar of Time,
O spirit, O immortal energy,
If 'twas to nurse grief in a helpless heart
Or with hard tearless eyes await thy doom?
Arise, O soul, and vanquish Time and Death."
[Savitri: Book VII: Canto II]
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