Why man is mortal? Suppose one person is very religious and very responsible family person as well.He is very much dedicated/ respectful to god and he loves his family very much and he don't want to leave the world.Then what is the logic behind the death of that person.What is the reason behind dying people irrespective of good or bad activity?

Edit: There are lot of wise person/ scholar posted their valuable analysis and opinions against my questing and I'm really thankful to each of them, but there are still few discursive thought/confusions in my mind that's why I still remaining this question unanswered.Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  • Who set this eternal law? Second query is why Atman move body to body? What is the problem of Atman staying in a particular body? Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 5:52
  • @Gopal: dharmam tu sakshad bhagavad pranitam - Krishna set these laws which are being carried out by maya devi. Atma moves body to body Due to it's desires. Just as a person unable to afford the credits to stay in a particular apartment has to change it so is atma kicked out of the body eventually due to aging/dying body or due to it's desires. The permanent residence anyways is in the spiritual world, the non-changing body. So intelligent person aspires for that. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 10:53
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    Mortality is optional. You can live forever (with your physical body) if you're perfect in yoga/samadhi. The 7 chiranjeevis (hanuman, parashurama...) are evidence for this. There are also recent accounts of babas living for hundreds of years in India. But there is an eternal law that says any created being must die. So isn't there a conflict ? No. Because even though mortality is optional, everyone will choose to die eventually. Even if you can live for a thousand years, you won't want to cos you will be bored, and leaving this physical body (dying) will be more pleasurable.
    – ram
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 18:05
  • 2
    Good question. This is the question you need to ask yourself. As you keep questioning like this you will realize that 'Am I really mortal or am I immortal? Who Am I? Am I the senses, the intellect or mind? NEITHER. I am Immortal'. The reason why body is mortal is so that you can go beyond it and realize who you really are - The Atman or Brahman. All the best!
    – Sai
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 16:12
  • 1
    @GopalBiswas Good question! That's the right approach. As you question like this 'What is the need to keep changing the body? What is the need to keep changing the dress? What is the need to keep changing the thoughts? What is the need to keep changing the desires?', as you keep reasoning like this you will lead to 'What is changeless in this world'. Finally you will realize 'Nothing is changeless', and then 'I am only changeless' and finally 'I am He' (Soham). That is the reason why everything in this world is temporary and ephemeral. ALl the best!
    – Sai
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 16:47

5 Answers 5


Why is man mortal?

We are not mortal. In fact no living being in true sense is mortal. it is only owing to our ignorance that we think that we are being born, growing, dying etc.

in Bhagavad Geeta Krishna Says:

As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.

It is only body that dies at the time of death but soul is imperishable(BG 2.20). Our body is constantly changing at every moment. At some point we had a body of infant; than a boy, .... So in this process we can see that our body is changing but we feel like same person.

So what is it that has not changed? What is that which animates this body?

A simple logic may be applied. No machine in this world works without a touch of living entity so how can this machine of body work independently? ex If some one thinks that the aeroplane flies on its own; then such a person will be called fool. that is because we know that aeroplane is simply made out of dead matter and so is our body; and we know that dead matter cannot move. But intelligent man will think; just like a pilot in aeroplane; there must be some one inside that moves this body and when that 'some one'(Soul) leaves the body; this body becomes useless.

Where Does the soul go after quitting current body?

krishna says in BG 8.6

Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kuntī, that state he will attain without fail.

So whatever desires a person has at the time of death; soul gets a body that is fit to fulfill those desires. Just like how air carries aroma so does subtle body(mind and intelligence) take the soul to another body. So in this way soul transmigrates from one body to another untill he comes to the true knowledge and is freed from all desires and duality of this world.

What is the reason for desires?

Krishna says in BG 3.37

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.

So it is lust only that gives rise to unlimited desires. Lust here means mentality to enjoy selfishly or to simply engage in sense gratification out of ignorance.

Why We have to take birth inspite of doing good Karma?

Inspite of doing pious activities such as charity etc; still person has to take birth and die again and again. This is because good karma gives you pious credits and hence you have to come in this world again to enjoy the good karma you have earned and in case a person commits sinful activities he has to come to suffer the reactions.

Nevertheless both type of activities bind the doer to this material world unless he cuts the thread of attachment with the sword of knowledge and engage himself in service of Supreme Lord.


Why does the soul Come to this mortal world?

originally we are all the spiritual energy of God(souls). Soul is by nature full of eternal bliss and knowledge. The spirit soul however has minute degree of independence. When this indepence is properly used. it is used in service of Supreme lord.

However sometimes due to this minute independence soul wishes to lord it over the things. i.e. he becomes envious of God. We can see that all around. people drowned in ignorance wants to become the master of their family, state country etc. Originally Krishna(or Vishnu) is the master of everything(BG 5.29).

A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.

So for such envious souls; they are put in this world. This world is just like a prison house for such envious souls. Anyone(as you state in your question) who doesnt want to get out of this prison house is under the spell of illusion and hence must transmigrate from one body to another. This world is actually very miserable but owing to our ignorance we find it very nice. Even in Geeta Krishna says(BG 8.15) that it is a miserable place for living entities.

After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.


What is the reason for repeated birth and death in this material world?

It is only desire for personal sense Gratification that binds the soul to a chain of repeated birth and death.

Basically God respects our free will; and if out of sheer ignorance , someone wants to carry on in this world then that wish is fulfilled.i.e. whatever wish a person has at the time of quitting current body; he gets the next body based on that. This is the reason Krishna says at the end of Geeta

Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more confidential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.

He doesn't force Arjuna to fight the battle.Instead it leaves it fully up to him.If God did not respect the free will of us He would not have said that.

How to get out of this world?

krishna makes it very clear in Bhagavad Geeta.

He Says:

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.

Lord makes it clear that by surrendering unto Him ; we will be delivered from this samsara. When a person is fully situated in Knowledge of supreme and has transcended all the dualities of this world; he finally comes to the point of total surrender to God.

  • 2
    I like this answer, except for the section where you say No machine in this world works without a touch of living entity. There are many machines that work without the "touch of a living entity". Windmills, watermills, Clocks, dozens of automatic solar-powered machines. In fact, some aeroplanes fly with autonomous computer controls.
    – Kyeotic
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 21:26
  • 1
    @tyrsius here by 'touch' i dnt mean physical touch. I meant that without involvment of living being nok machine wrks. Just like, a clock goes on its own but who places battery in it? Similarly other thngs such as drones, they are some how or other operated by humans or other nachine operated by human. Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 1:37
  • @Vishal prabhu lawande Very nice analysis of each section. Just a query to you, if our soul made from "spiritual energy of God" then how could it become "envious of God"? Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 12:12
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    @GopalBiswas Even though we are part and parcel of God; we have minute degree of independence. just like a boy; he has come from his father; but sometimes he becomes envious of his father. why? it is only because of lust. basically everyone wants pleasure. we are pleasure seeking entities(souls). But when we want to enjoy independently or selfishly without acknowledging God. It becomes envy at some point. Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 12:17
  • "BG 8.6 - Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kuntī, that state he will attain without fail." -- Why waste 18 years of life growing up, going to school and trying to become an adult? Why not have a head start in next life from previous life? Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 22:03

Why man is mortal?

Conception of man, woman, Indian, American, etc. is not real, they are in relation to the body. The body however is not the real self as already described in the above answer with proper shlokas.

In Srimad Bhagavatam 10.84.12, it is stated that anyone who identifies oneself with the body or considers particular land to be worshipable due to one's birth (mera bharat mahan, etc.) , he is an ass, because human birth is meant to understand "I am not this body" but an active principle or spirit soul, beyond all these temporary designations. The soul is immortal. The body is dying however at every moment. So depends whom we are identifying ourselves currently with.

Suppose one person is very religious and very responsible family person as well.He is very much dedicated/ respectful to god and he loves his family so much and he don't want to leave the world.

That cannot be understood without accessing Vedas under a bonafide guru whether one is religious. People challenge - "Why take to spirituality or God? Do good, that's sufficient". But people generally do not even know what's good. They think of good in terms of the body, not the soul. It is just like cleaning the cage instead of feeding the dying bird inside the cage.

A person may be charitable to beggars. This is pious. But according to the 17th chapter of Bhagavad Gita, there are various divisions of charity: Goodness, passion and ignorance. So from the prespective of a spiritually educated person, charity to poors may be religious or good, but if that beggar instead utilizes that money to get intoxicated, such charity comes under the category of ignorance and what others may consider to be a very religious act, turned out to be an ignorant act due to lack of proper knowledge. Rather, Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gta 3rd chapter, any food that is not offered to Him, is sin only. So faithless people cannot understand this and shall consider they are sinless while at every moment of their breath they are killing million bacterias and sinning every moment.

Then what is the logic behind the death of that person.What is the reason behind dying people irrespective of good or bad activity?

So point is not to disgust/scare you but to make realize - as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami says - "This world is fool's paradise." And Krishna says this material world is "dukhalayam ashashvatam". Just like toilets are called "shauchalyaya" this world is called "dukha-alyaya". This is not meant for wise men. The reason behind people's dying has hence been explained that this material world is martyaloka - place of isery and death. You may not know but you are changing body at this very moment and hence dying every second.

Therefore Krishna speaks of the transcendental world beyond birth,death, old age and disease. And Krishna says the goal of human birth is athato brahma jigyasa - to inquire about the Absolute Truth and not for sense enjoyment.

Lastly, the good and bad of this world ultimately is still tinged with bad, even good, because it is connected in relation to bodily identification. The qualities in relation to serving Krishna or God are transcendental and actual qualities.

So all the pains and difficulties are for a sincere soul to realize that this is not my real identity or existence and I must inquire - who am I? How can I understand? What will the results be? And follow it. You can begin so by reading the Bhagavad Gita As It Is


I also now wish to add this point for readers in general although it may read out something else but is a fact. The self realized men who see all living entities as equal due to seeing everything on the platform of atma or Brahman are called panditah. This means that they see even animals on equal platform and do not slaughter them. They see the same soul inside the animal and plant as well. Unfortunately, we see so many missionaries and organizations that are advertising on humanitarianism, etc. to serve humans and "do good" but on the other hand slaughter animals to satisfy their tongues. So this is another aspect how someone may look externally to be very religious or "good" or "social servant" but is still a loser having not known that he is a spirit soul and so are all the living entities.


In Hinduism, we believe in rebirth (पुनर्जन्म, punarjanma) and reincarnation of souls. The soul is immortal and non-perishable. The soul is indistinguishable part of the jīva, or living being, who is subjected to impurities of attachment, delusion, and law of Karma. Death is therefore not a great calamity, not an end at all but a natural process in the existence of living being or jīva.

In Hinduism unless the soul is liberated, no life or afterlife are permanent, they are both parts of "The Grand illusion" or Māyā Death is a temporary cessation of physical activity, a necessary means of recycling the resources, re-energize itself, review its programs and policies and plans for the next phase of life.

In Each rebirth, the soul is offered an opportunity to learn and overcome its inconsistencies and blemishing so that it (the soul) can return to its original form at the time of liberation and thus completing its cycle. our good or bad deeds are our actions which only serves the purpose to get one step closer or further from knowing the truth and merging with divinity.

In this process for a living being or jīva who have served his purpose, or when are too weary or exhausted by suffering to bear the burden of physical existence any longer. The jīva who is suffering, death is a resurrection from the painful tortures of flesh into awakened peace and calmness.

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि |
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा- l न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ।। Bhagavad Gita 2.22

Vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya, Navani grhnati naro ‘parani
Tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany, Anyani samyati navani dehi

2.22 As after rejecting worn-out clothes a man takes up other new ones,
likewise after rejecting worn-out bodies the embodied one unites with other new ones.

In this cycle, everyone good or bad gets one step closer or further to merging with divinity. Everyone good or bad has to undergo through this cycle, which starts with birth and ends with death. No matter good, bad or ugly we encounter death. In order to born again till libration.

जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च।
तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे न त्वं शोचितुमहर्सि।। Bhagavad Gita 2.27

jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca
tasmād aparihārye ’rthena tvaṁ śocitum arhasi

 For to the one that is born - death is certain - and certain is birth for the one that has died. The events of death and re-birth are thus unavoidable, and one should not grieve for them.


Irrespective of the knowledge that one possesses, respect that one commands, kindness one shows towards one's fellow beings, death is inevitable (B.G.2.27).

It is quite waste of time in trying to understand/fathom the Natural Laws set by the Almighty. Understanding the origin of this world, the life and Death, etc, come under this category.

Seers of Vedic Age, with so much of determination, wisdom, etc, could not fathom the Natural Laws. That was why they proclaimed in Nasadiya Sukata (10.129.6), as follows:

को अद्धा वेद क इह प्र वोचत्कुत आजाता कुत इयं विसृष्टिः |

अर्वाग्देवा अस्य विसर्जनेनाथा को वेद यत आबभूव ॥६॥

Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation? The Gods are later than this world's production. Who knows then whence it first came into being?

Coming to the practical aspect of death, let us consider the following issues:

  • if the same persons with their respective spouses, children continue to live forever, with continuous procreation of their families, can the Earth sustain them all and nourish them all?

  • If the same persons continue to do wicked activities due to immortality and in view of their respective political/physical/group power, riches, where will be an end to their atrocities?

  • If the same persons hold the post/power for long due to immortality, how can their junior enjoy the same without getting elevation?

So death of individuals and some times mass extinction of humans will solve many problems and pave way for development.

Further, immortality in physical sense is a MYTH. What we find immortality in scriptures is attaining of SELF REALISATION or ABSORPTION IN THE DIVINE.

Coming to the aspect of the death/Samadhi of good or very religious person like Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa or Sri Ramana Maharshi, etc, we have to remember that every one has to strive for and get SELF REALISATION for oneself, taking inspiration from those great personalities.

Association with sages for longer periods, will lead to deterioration of respect towards that sages - FAMILIARITY BREADS CONTEMPT.

After drawing inspiration, one should move out of the presence of the sage and strive for oneself in attaining SELF REALISATION.

  • Very practical answer.
    – user16581
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 20:33

Answers to such questions can be received only through Sannyasa/renunciation. Similar question was asked to Yagyavalkya by his wife Maitri, before he was taking Sannyasa.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: Section IV - Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi (I)

  1. ‘Maitreyī, my dear,’ said Yājñavalkya, ‘I am going to renounce this life.’ Allow me to finish between you and Kātyāyanī.

  2. Thereupon Maitreyī said, ‘Sir, if indeed this whole earth full of wealth be mine, shall I be immortal through that?’ ‘No,’ replied Yājñavalkya, ‘your life will be just like that of people who have plenty of things, but there is no hope of immortality through wealth.’

  3. Then Maitreyī said, ‘What shall I do with that which will not make me immortal? Tell me, sir, of that alone which you know (to be the only means of immortality).’

  4. Yājñavalkya said, ‘My dear, you have been my beloved (even before), and you say what is after my heart. Come, take your seat, I will explain it to you. As I explain it, meditate (on its meaning).

  5. He said: It is not for the sake of the husband, my dear, that he is loved, but for one’s own sake that he is loved. It is not for the sake of the wife, my dear, that she is loved, but for one’s own sake that she is loved. It is not for the sake of the sons, my dear, that they are loved, but for one’s own sake that they are loved. It is not for the sake of wealth, my dear, that it is loved, but for one's own sake that it is loved. It is not for the sake of the Brāhmaṇa, my dear, that he is loved, but for one's own sake that he is loved. It is not for the sake of the Kṣatriya, my dear, that he is loved, but for one’s own sake that he is loved. It is not for the sake of the worlds, my dear, that they are loved, but for one's own sake that they are loved. It is not for the sake of the gods, my dear, that they are loved, but for one's own sake that they are loved. It is not for the sake of the beings, my -dear, that they are loved, but for one's own sake that they are loved. It is not for the sake of all, my dear, that all is loved, but for one's own sake that it is loved. The Self, my dear Maitreyī, should be realised—should be heard of, reflected on and meditated upon. By the realisation of the Self, my dear, through hearing, reflection and meditation, all this is known.

  6. As when a drum is beaten one cannot distinguish its various particular notes, but they are included in the general note of the drum or in the general sound produced by different kinds of strokes.

  7. As from a fire kindled with wet faggot diverse kinds of smoke issue, even so, my dear, the Ṛg-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sāma-Veda, Atharvāṅgirasa, history, mythology, arts, Upaniṣads, verses, aphorisms, elucidations and explanations are (like) the breath of this infinite Reality. They are like the breath of this (Supreme Self).

  8. As the ocean is the one goal of all sorts of water, as the skin is the one goal of all kinds of touch, as the nostrils are the one goal of all odours, as the tongue is the one goal of all savours, as the eye is the one goal of all colours, as the ear is the one goal of all sounds, as the Manas is the one goal of all deliberations, as the intellect is the one goal of all kinds of knowledge, as the hands are the one goal of all sorts of work, as the organ of generation is the one goal of all kinds of enjoyment, as the anus is the one goal of all excretions, as the feet are the one goal of all kinds of walking, as the organ of speech is the one goal of all Vedas.

  9. Because when there is duality, as it were, then one smells something, one sees something, one hears something, one speaks something, one thinks something, one knows something. (But) when to the knower of Brahman everything has become the Self, then what should one smell and through what, what should one see and through what, what should one hear and through what, what should one speak and through what, what should one think and through what, what should one know and through what? Through what should one know That owing to which all this is known—through what, O Maitreyī, should one know the Knower ?

Asura buddhis like Ravana and Hiranayakashyapa tried to make their material bodies immortal through boons but failed, because matter cant be made immortal and spirit is already immortal. To realize spirit alone Vedas, Puranas are revealed to mankind, infact entire temporary ever changing creation has been made. Its only in Kaliyuga that people are Tamas buddhis like Asuras with majority Mleccha and common people dont understand that body is temporary and dont accept sannyasa in old age, rather waste entire life in sense-gratification and body narcissism and die a miserable life, wasting precious rare human birth capable of realization. Sannyasa ashram was never an option, it was compulsion in Aryavarta for every person as per Vedas, its only in Kaliyuga that God is forgiving as people are of low intellect-wisdom and short lived. This is what Buddha(than King Siddhartha) saw and understood that world is full of diseases, old age and death and accepted monkhood and only found peace after enlightenment. Thats why Nachiketa asked for Atma gyan in boon, instead of temporary wealth and luxuries from Yamraja, the God of death.

Kaivalya Upanishad

  1. Then Asvalayana approached the highest Lord (Brahma) and said: teach me O Lord the knowledge of Brahman, the highest, the hidden, which is always venerated by the wise, and by means of which a wise man, cleansing all his sins, reaches the highest.

  2. To him the Great Father (Brahma) said: know (that supreme knowledge) by faith, devotion, meditation and yoga. Neither by works, nor by offspring, nor by wealth, but only by means of renunciation can the life eternal be attained.

  3. Higher than the heaven, hidden in the cave, it shines. Those who make strenuous effort enter into it.

  4. The ascetics who through renunciation and with pure minds strive to affirm the truths of the Vedanta become liberated in the end because of the supreme state of immortality they attain.

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