At whose desire and by whom impelled does the mind alight on its objects? By whom impelled does the chief prana – vital force – proceed to its function? By whom impelled do men utter this speech? What deva or god directs the eyes and the ears?
It – the atman – is the ear of the ear, the mind of the mind, the speech of the speech, the prana of the prana, and the eye of the eye. Wise men separating the atman from these – sense functions – rise out of sense life and attain to immortality.
Life is not there at its maximum when you are born; it is at its minimum. If you do stick at that, you will have a life which is just near death – just a borderline life. By birth, only an opportunity is given, only an opening is made.
Life has to be achieved. Birth is just a beginning, not the end. But normally we stay at the point of birth. That is why death happens. If you stay at the point of birth you will die. If you can grow beyond birth you can grow beyond death. Remember this very deeply: death is not against life; death is against birth. Life is something else. In death only birth ends and in birth only death begins. Life is something totally different. You have to attain it, achieve it, actualize it. It is given to you as a seed, just as a potentiality – something which can be, but which is not already there.
You have every chance of missing it. You can be alive because you are born, but that is not synonymous with really being in life. Life is your effort to actualize the potentiality. Hence, the meaning of religion; otherwise there is no meaning in religion. If life begins with birth and ends in death, then there is no meaning for religion. Then religion is futile, nonsense. If life does not begin with birth, then religion has some meaning. Then it becomes the science of how to evolve life out of birth. And the more you move away from birth in life, the more you move away from death also because death and birth are parallel, similar, the same – two ends of one process. If you move away from the one, you are simultaneously moving away from the other.
Religion is a science to achieve life. Life is beyond death. Birth dies; life, never. To achieve this life you have to do something. Birth is given to you. Your parents have done something: they have loved each other, they have been melting into each other, and out of their life force, melting into each other, a new phenomenon, a new seed – you – is born. But you have not done anything for it: it is a gift. Remember, birth is a gift. That is why all the cultures pay so much respect to parents – it is a gift, and you cannot repay it. The debt cannot be repaid. What can you do to repay it? Life has been given to you, but you have not done anything for it.