Life force (prāṇa) rightfully belongs to death and hence death will take it away it one day or the other. Hence vigilance in this matter is extremely important! Different persons have been allotted different life-spans, nevertheless one day or the other everyone will have to be caught by death. We do not have to put in any effort in that direction as death will come on its own and carry us away. In the form of disease, accident or some other form, it will suddenly attack and take us away even before we realize. Do not think that it is liberation. Hence we have to be extremely alert when we are living. There is a Harikatha artist who sings beautifully, “Do not wait till death. Begin to chant ‘Datta, Rama’, now itself!”
A human being is exceptionally attached of his life-force (prāna)! But when death strikes, he has no choice but to part even with it. Thus, when we have no choice but to distance ourselves from even this life-force towards which we are exceptionally attached, why should we worry about wealth, relatives and other worldly attachments which anyway are lesser in importance to it?
Vidura said to Dhritarāṣṭra, “Your fathers, brothers and other relatives are already dead. Your sons died in the battle. Dhritarashtra, why then are you still holding on tightly to this samsara? You have completed the major portion of your life. Due to your arrogance and foolishness, you have lost everyone who was dear to you. What is it that is left for you now? Where is your kingdom? Even that is gone.
Have you observed your body which, due to old age, has become invalid and infirm? Neither can you get up nor can you sit peacefully due to this invalid body. Added to it, you continue to live in the house that belongs to another. Don’t you feel disgusted to live in another’s home? Don’t you feel ashamed? Your attitude surprises me. I have travelled the entire world seeking God but nowhere have I come across a person with a mind-set like that of yours. You are strange. It is not that I disrespect you. I personally hold you in high esteem, but I dislike the fact that you seek to continue to live in another’s home. Why do you still seek to cling to these afflictions and bondages? How long do you think is the longevity of a living being born on earth?
Like a pet dog you live and guard this house surviving the alms that Bhima brings and offers. Do you realize this? Don’t you feel ashamed? These were the people whom you had poisoned earlier. Those whom you had poisoned earlier, feed you today. I fail to understand how you are able to eat such food and live at their mercy.
Previously you had attempted to burn your nephews alive. They were poisoned too. Another time their wife was insulted. Is there any limit to the atrocities that you committed towards them? In order to get rid of them, you experimented upon them every bad thought that arose in your mind. You usurped their kingdom and their wealth in totality. You cheated them in every possible manner. But even then, these compassionate Pandavas, allowed you to live. If these Pandavas had even a trace of your treacherous nature, by now they would have somehow or the other killed you. Their magnanimity is the reason for your existence today.
Although I have attained higher stages in detachment, I am annoyed to see you clinging on to your life. How many more years do you seek to live? You have lived a very long life. You have gone through so much in your life. You assess for yourself the value that is to be given to your life. Frankly, what is it that is left for you now? Yet you seek to cling to that life-force (prana). Does it have any value? What is it that you, who are helpless and invalid, seek to accomplish now in this life?
Life should be free of any burdens. There should be no troubles. One should never be dependent on another. Such life we should aspire to live. Have you ever thought in these lines? Although many times in the past I had explained this you never heeded my advice. In many direct and indirect ways, I have tried to instruct these important principles to you. Is there some anger left behind within you? Living on their food are you trying to harm these Pandavas?
Do you know that, whether you like it or not, this old invalid body of yours is like a tattered, old piece of cloth? It is despicable.
He who attains dispassion giving up infatuation in totality and who without even disclosing his identity gives up this useless body that does not have the capacity to even undertake righteous deeds, is a truly courageous man (dhira)! This is what our elders state”.