The Self’s Fleeting and Fading Universe

Oh, what a fleeting world we live in. How terribly fleeting.

I gaze at the numerous books that line the shelves at my office. Stories of world leaders, business leaders and industry leaders.

I quietly note that half of these great leaders are no longer alive. The cities, empires and ideologies that they created and built continue to live on as a living legacy; but they–the creators of that legacy–are gone.

Or are they?

We credit the creation of a country, the birth of a business and the enormity of an empire to one man–when there are so many others, their stories untold, their songs unsung.

Are the stories in those books true? Or are they simply written by the victors?

The women who supported these men–if they are lucky, they receive a footnote in history. At least their names are remembered. But most of them were unlucky. Their names forgotten, their memories discarded, their very existence unknown and unknowable.

If women did rule and govern, they did so quietly–wielding a soft power that only existed within the harem–a world where the best you could do with your life is to wield power over a man. If not your husband, then at least, your son.

But is that what really happened?

In the absence of any records–written or otherwise–how can we ever know the stories of the misfits, the renegades and the excluded ones?

Who hears their stories? Who hears their cries? And if someone is listening, do they even care? Why care for the forgotten ones when you can focus your energy on the ‘greats’, take their side and retell their stories?

What will become of the legacies of these great leaders? The buildings they built will perhaps be struck by lightening, perhaps taken down by the unscrupulous, or perhaps they will just naturally decay with the annals of time.

The biggest fear of all is not the fear of starvation or scarcity–but rather, the fear of meaninglessness. That even if you are the great leader that everyone says you are, and even if your achievements are larger-than-life, everything you did, ultimately, has no meaning and turns to dust.

In the natural cycle of the world, everything has a beginning and an end.

So why do the ancient texts, seers and masters speak of an immortal universe–a universe without a beginning and an end?

The very existence of this universe is questioned. Its veracity negated, downplayed and ridiculed by those who dare to claim that they have ventured there are lived to the tell the tale.

We look for evidence; find it and render it inconclusive. The ones who have peeked into that other world are sent to the asylums. They become the madmen, the prophesiers, the ones who wander the world without a home.

They are shunned by society and sent to live in the margins. We worry about these people–these misfits–who have nowhere to go and nowhere to call home.

But is it society that has shunned them or is it they who have shunned society?

Why look for impermanence in an impermanent world?

Because it exists.

But if the Great I, the Great Self, the Great Ego is the one who is looking for it–it will slip through your fingers, like grains of sand that are held far too tightly in a fist full of crevices from which it will eventually slip through.

Each empire is born with these crevices. Crevices which renders it mortal, finite and fleeting.

My real question is–is immortality a quest of the human ego? Or is it a natural state of affairs that is beyond the human ego?

If life is nothing but a school, then what are we here to learn? To transcend the ego? To build empires? To be a good mother? To excel in your chosen vocation? To get married, buy a house and make babies who will make babies?

We think we have subjugated nature with the marvels of the human intellect, but we never seem to be able to do that for long enough to assert our unrivalled supremacy.

Who can defy the laws of nature for all eternity? Who has that power?

The tsunamis come, the earth quakes, the resources we relied on run out and ‘things happen’ that force us to face the unyielding impermanence of our material, physical existence.

Can we realise the immortal and the infinite while inhabiting the human body?


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