"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

What if humans were blessed with such long lives that it 'nearly looked' eternal? What if we didn't have a short lifetime (of just 60-100 years) to worry about? How different would our attitudes be if death was never on our minds?

These were the 'side-effects' of reading the history of Jainism, where it is claimed that each of the early thirthankaras lived for thousands of years at a stretch. Maybe in the ancient days, everyone lived a thousand years - so long that the end of life may never have occurred to their minds. Death was probably looked as a punishment from the Gods rather than a logical end of life.

If we lived such ageless years today, would we still have pursued transitory fancies that last but a few years? Would we have even recognized a time period of years and decades like we remember today? Would the happiness that we get in cherishing memories still be with us? Would we still have celebrated our birthdays and anniversaries every year? Would mobile companies have offered lifetime validity plans or appliances come with lifetime guarantee? Would we have invested in an apartment knowing its structural life is only a few decades? Would there be any sense in 'long term' stock investments? Would anyone sell life insurance plans at all? If each of us were to live a thousand years, would we still rush in our things like we do today? Would traffic be less strenous and rules be more relaxed? Would crime disappear totally? Would life imprisonment make any sense at all? Finally, would we even be interested in daily chores like bathing, cooking, ironing the clothes, etc knowing we have to do it a thousand times over?

'If you look too long into the abyss, the abyss starts staring into you', said Neitzsche.

Maybe the ancients transformed over a period of time. When life does not seem to bend in any direction, it starts bending the sense of time itself. Maybe the ancients gradually got 'bored' of relentless pursuits, and eventually lost the excitement of doing something new or even doing the same repetitive things over and over again. Over time, maybe their natural outlook metamorphosed into a contemplative insight.

At that point, some of the wise ones may have decided to stop doing all action (as it leads nowhere but only to more actions) and just spend time in silent inactivity, riding through the tunnel of a still and endless life, looking for the light of something worthwhile and meaningful.

In this pursuit, they may have sat down in meditation and lost themselves into a trance. Their bodies, subjected to the vagaries of weather, may have gradually changed into shapes that can withstand the harsh climate. Some may have changed into mountains, some into trees, and some into the rocks. Maybe the long-lived ancients are still amongst us today, merged into the landscapes of our world, which however hard we try to shape, still essentially remain the same and far from our humane grasp. Maybe Nature is nothing but humans whose life became long enough for them to go beyond being mere human? Maybe the seemingly static world around us is actually seething with our own ancestors and elders, who have transcended the iniquities and exigencies of time.

My forefathers are surely buried beneath, but maybe, just maybe, my ancestors are still around me, still looking for the light at the end of their tunnel. Well, if a mountain gets up one day and starts talking to you, don't say that you weren't prepared for it.. :)


Addendum (16-Jan): If you have meditated on a mountain and felt voices speaking around you, If you have hugged a tree and felt a warmth touching your heart, If you have slept next to a rock and felt protected, then you know what I am trying to say!