SVR Murthy

There are two questions here.

  1. Why is our life limited?
  2. Why cannot we be young forever?

Life is not limited according to Hindu mythology. Hindu philosophy is correctly founded on the Metaphysic that One Infinite Absolute Ageless / Eternal thing Exists and connects the world together (Brahman). One of the most striking and central of Upanishad doctrines is the further assertion that Brahman and Atman (the true Soul or Self Identity) are in some sense the same. Thus the Soul, Atman, is also immortal.

The Buddhist doctrine (which contains a great deal of Truth) importantly differs from Hinduism in regard to our immortality.According to Hinduism, a soul reincarnates again and again on earth until it becomes perfect and reunites with it Source. During this process the soul enters into many bodies, assumes many forms and passes through many births and deaths. This concept is summarily described in the following verse of the Bhagavad gita:

"Just as a man discards worn out clothes and puts on new clothes, the soul discards worn out bodies and wears new ones." (2.22)

According to Hinduism, a being has to live many lives and under go many experiences before it attains perfection and becomes one with the Divine. The Hindu theory of creation suggests that creation begins when the individual souls become separated from the undifferentiated One. It continues as the evolution of life and consciousness in matter progresses upon earth in phases. During this process some souls manage to return to God, their source, through the transformation of matter or Prakriti in which they remain hidden and bound.

The remaining souls continue their existence and return to Him in the end, not through transformation but through the great destruction that happens at the end of each time cycle. Thus the great cycle of creation, stretching over millions of years, comes to its logical end.

Once the creative process begins, each individual soul is drawn and bound to a false personality called jiva (living being). This jiva, which stands for all living forms, not just humans, is also known as the embodied self or the elemental self. It has an inner subtle body and an outer gross body. The soul remains encased within the subtle body. The subtle body (linga sarira) is made up of the subtle senses, the subtle mind, breath, ego and intelligence. The gross body is made up of the gross mind (animal mind) the elemental body and its organs. Each jiva (being) has an ego-sense (anava) or self-sense arising from perceptions.

knowledge, memories, desires, attachments and the notion of diversity and separation. Because of the ego-sense, the jiva remains ignorant about its true identity and experiences delusion (moha), duality (dvanda) and attraction (raga) and aversion (dvesa) to the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, or pain and pleasure. As a result of attachments (pasas) and delusion, the jivas acts selfishly as if they are different from the rest of creation. Due to egoism, desire-ridden actions and selfishness, they end up suffering, caught hopelessly in the phenomenal world.

In answer to your second question, the body is just like a machine so we cannot stay young physically, but you can stay mentally young and enjoy life by doing these simple things:

  1. Do not hurt others verbally
  2. Respect elders
  3. Focus on good things
  4. Eat healthy - a healthy body means healthy mind
  5. Maintain/cut down your weight with exercise
  6. Help the needy.