Do Not Run Behind Futile Objects
What a wonder it is that even when old age frightens like a tigress waiting in front, diseases attack (torment) the body like enemies, life flows out like water from a broken pitcher, people still indulge in practices harmful to oneself!
Points for Introspection
If we look into the life of man we find that throughout his life he is continuously running after various objects of his desire thinking that he will get happiness from them. Generally the one aim that everyone has is to earn more and more wealth so that he and his family can live in more comfort and luxury. He runs behind name, fame, prestige and recognition. How hard he toils in order to achieve all these!
His mind always remains agitated and anxious contemplating upon how to acquire the objects of his desire. If he is not able to achieve and fulfill his desire, he is unhappy. When the desired objects are had, he becomes extremely worried not to lose them. Meanwhile, newer and newer desires keep cropping up in the mind. As a result, he is never contented.
Foolish as he is, he fails to see that life in this world is short. Nothing is permanent here. With all our acquisitions, fear of losing them is associated. Not only that all happiness is mixed with unhappiness, the happiness gained at anytime, does not remain for long. Although, man takes up activity after activity in order to gain happiness he fails to see the Truth that he is trying to derive ever-lasting happiness from objects which are themselves impermanent and perishable.
While he runs after objects of pleasure, he never even thinks that however much one may have prosperity, name, fame etc., how long can one keep enjoying! Are not old-age, disease, etc. hiding behind, waiting to pounce upon at any moment? Will the objects, which were a source of joy at one time, produce any more joy in the mind that is overwhelmed with fear and helplessness due to old-age and disease?
Unfortunately, a man without discrimination does not think deeply. Whereas he is the Immortal Soul, he considers himself to be mortal. Even in the face of old age, disease and imminent death, he fails to understand that there is a higher aim in life, that every human being should pursue that auspicious path of ever-lasting courage and confidence. Whereas seeing the transitory nature of life, he should grow dispassion for worldly pleasures, he still runs behind them with great attachment and possessiveness, and suffers in the end.
In this shloka, Bhartrihari says that in this life, when old age is waiting like a ferocious tigress to pounce upon any moment, when diseases also attack the body like enemies, and life flows out every moment (getting shortened) like water from a broken pitcher, how surprising it is that one is not able to keep away from harmful indulgences! Even when one has become old and is suffering from diseases, one is not able to turn away from greed for enjoyment, is not able to leave possessiveness and attachments.
He still remains selfish, clinging to his desires, neglecting his own ultimate good. Instead of trying to attain the ultimate auspicious goal, instead of contemplating on the eternal immortal Self, he still tries to find fulfillment in the transient delights.
Repeated chanting of the shloka generates deep dispassion in the mind.
व्याघ्रीव (vyāghrīva) = like a tigress; तिष्ठति (tiṣṭhati) = waiting; जरा (jarā) = old age; परितर्जयन्ती (paritarjayantī) = threatens; रोगाः (rogā:) = diseases; च (ca) = and; शत्रवः (śatrava:) = enemies; इव (iva) = like; प्रहरन्ति (praharanti) = attacks; देहम् (deham) = the body; आयुः (āyu:) = life; परिस्रवति (parisravati) = flows out; भिन्नघटात् (bhinnaghaṭāt) = from a broken pitcher; इव (iva) = like; अम्भः (ambha:) = water; लोकः (loka:) = people; तथापि (tathāpi) = even then; अहितं (ahitam) = harmful; आचरतीति (ācaratīti) = practices; चित्रम् (citram) = wonderful;
जरा व्याघ्रीव परितर्जयन्ती तिष्ठति । रोगाः शत्रवः इव देहं प्रहरन्ति । आयुः च भिन्नघटात् अम्भः इव परिस्रवति । तथापि लोकः अहितं आचरतीति चित्रम् ।
jarā vyāghrīva paritarjayantī tiṣṭhati. rogā: śatrava iva dehaṃ praharanti. āyu: ca bhinnaghaṭāt ambha: iva parisravati. tathāpi loka: ahitaṃ ācaratīti citram.
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