How does Utnapishtim attain immortality?

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Following Enkidu's death, Gilgamesh mourns his friend and decides to journey to the ends of the earth to find Utnapishtim, who was blessed with eternal life from the gods after surviving the "deluge." Gilgamesh persuades Ur-Shanabi to ferry him across the waters of death to meet Utnapishtim, who resides in the land of Dilmun, in the garden of the sun. When Gilgamesh initially meets Utnapishtim, he tells him about Enkidu's friendship and death before he petitions Utnapishtim for the secret to eternal life. Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh the story of the Great Flood and how he built an ark in preparation for the deluge. Utnapishtim, his family, and many animals survived in the ark during the Great Flood and the god Ea blessed him and his wife with eternal life when the waters subsided. After Utnapishtim explains that everlasting life is only reserved for the gods, he advises Gilgamesh to travel home. Before Gilgamesh leaves, Utnapishtim ends up giving him the solution to eternal life, which is a magic plant that grows at the bottom of the waters of death. Unfortunately, a serpent steals the magic plant from Gilgamesh on his journey back to Uruk and Gilgamesh is forced to accept his mortality by the end of the epic.

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According to the Epic of Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim was the only man to escape death and receive immortality from the gods (his wife was also granted immortality). Many years before the events in the story, the gods had sent a flood to punish humanity. Similarly to the story of Noah's ark, the gods told Utnapishtim to build a boat which would preserve both human and animal life. Utnapishtim obeyed, and all who sailed on The Preserver of Life were saved from the flood. Once the waters receded, Utnapishtim made a sacrifice to the gods and then released the animals back into nature to repopulate the earth. The gods rewarded Utnapishtim for his faith and obedience by deifying him and granting him immorality.

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