Monday, September 25, 2006

W h a t I s L i f e ?

"You look troubled, Jaya. What is on your mind ?", kindly says Dheesára - the chieftian of Vaiśáli.

"Áchárya, why is it difficult to absolve oneself from attachments ? ", asks Jaya.

"Ask a simpler question, Jaya ", says Dheesára.

Jaya thinks for a few minutes and asks - "What is the relationship of oneself with the world, Áchárya ?"

"Ask a simpler question, Jaya", Dheesára repeats.

Jaya thinks for a few more minutes and asks - "What is the common aspect between the world and oneself, Áchárya ? "

"The answer is evident, Jaya. It is called life. "

'Then what is life, Áchárya ? "

"If you want to understand life, you have to first understand death. Death is the total absence of life. It is the consummate negation."

"Yes Áchárya. But what is life ? "

"But Jaya, do you understand what death is ? "

"Yes Áchárya. I do understand. "

"Life is the convolution of life and death."

"How is that possible Áchárya ? If death be the negation of life, how can life be composed of death ? "

"Have you studied arithmetic, Jaya ? "

"Yes Áchárya."

"Take the number zero. Isn't it the consummate negation of any kind of existence ? "

"Yes Áchárya."

"Now take the number one. It signifies existence."

"Yes Áchárya."

"A one is composed of a one and a zero. Moreover, if you want to look for higher numbers, you can compose them with ones and zeros by changing the place value of one."

"Yes Áchárya. But how does it relate to the question of life ?"

"Jaya, when you want to look for the existence of higher forms of life, death is an inevitable part in one of the places. You can choose to ignore it, but it is always there. When you look at the joy in the world, there is always suffering behind it. So do not make aversion to the suffering in the world. It is always an invitation to higher joy. "

"I am glad with your answer Áchárya. But there is still a doubt in my mind. What is the reason for the origin of life ? When does the equation end - the equation of infinite recursion of life and death ? "

"I am sorry Jaya. The mathematics required for answering that question is neither within your reach, nor within mine."

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