Metaphysical or Non-Nirvanist Immortality: Plato- Arguments in favor of eternity of soul: 1. Soul is simple- Simple: cannot be decomposedHence, soul being simple is eternal 2. Soul is self-moved- Only that thing will come to rest to which motion is imparted from outside. As coming to rest is called death & as soul can never come to rest, it is eternal.
Criticism- Plato's ideas are a priori. The difficulty is that he considered soul apart from body or "matter, whereasit is always embodied. This dualism of mind-body with mind as an unextended, non-spatial substance & body as extended, spatial substance is seen in Descartes who believes that soul is immortal. Nirvanist Immortality: Once Nirvana is attained, the person is secured from change, i.e. from the endless chain of birth & death. Hence, in this, life is retained and yet transcended. Eg. any great work of art, like the Madonna, must have taken time in which it was produced. But once it has been accomplished, it becomes a thing of beauty. Same is true for a person who makes himself a thing of value. For Newton, Einstein, Gandhi, Shankar; we abstract their discovering from their personality. Yet we know that a man called Newton by becoming a mathematician alone would have established what he actually established. But, it is also true that what made Newton immortal was his discovering & not that he lived at a certain time and place. The letters a, b, c, etc., represent the life circumstances of a particular individual; the arrows represent the causal flow of circumstances from one's previous life to the next. e karmic law of cause and effect Spinoza: By contemplating on things changeless and timeless, we tend to become timeless. By setting our affection on things which don't change, we are diverted from the disturbances of passions. Spinozistic love is beyond personality &becomes a thing of eternity. In religion, one does not tend to find a string of pearls rather one seeks to become a string of pearls, a thing of value by following the right path. Religious truths are made true. Life of eternal values has to be won & actualized here on earth, by on's free decision & commitment. No one can confer Nirvana to anyone. It has to be attained by one's own efforts AppoDipoBhava" are the words of Lord Buddha on this. This Nirvana is neither selfish nor unselfish, but selfless in the most literal sense.