by Charles Feldman (Prana)
With death, "The hopes of a lifetime, build up little by little . . . [and] vanish in a second." So we need to ask: What is real? All religions hold that man is a degeneration of what he was, as in the story of the fall of Adam and Eve. Mythology contains nuggets of truth. Evolution seems to contradict the idea of degeneration, yet Hindu mythology reconciles these with the idea of cycles of rising and falling. Whatsoever has form requires something to move it, which is ultimately traced back to the Atman, which, being beyond time, space and causation, must be infinite. We may be happy one moment and unhappy the next, but the infinite spirit never changes. We don't want to give up our individuality, yet the body changes, and we may give up bad habits. The true individuality is beyond all changes - the infinite. The fear of death goes when we realize that we are one with everything. Ethics is based on self-abnegation. Religion cannot be measured in terms of material profit, but it is ultimately practical. We cannot see evil and sin in the world unless we see it in ourselves. Sin is based on weakness, and we need to see ourselves as divine in order to overcome it.