Nalinī dalagata jalamati taralaṃ tadvajjīvita matiśaya capalam |
Viddhi vyādhyabhimāna grastaṃ lokaṃ śokahataṃ ca samastam || 4 ||
Meaning – This life is as unstable and fickle as a drop of water on a lotus leaf. Everyone in this entire world is seized & tormented by diseases (vyādhi), grief, and egoism.
This stanza teaches about time, its value, the nature of this world & its inhabitants. Life has been compared to the drop of water delicately balancing on a lotus leaf. Akin to this drop of water, life is fickle and wobbly and hence this hymn instructs the person to give up the ego that he is permanent. Bhagavad Geeta states- ‘antavanta ime deha’ which means ‘all these bodies are perishable.’
It is imperative that everyone understands this truth that life is impermanent! With this understanding, the person should increase his dedication towards dharma and should abide by it!
If we assume the life span of a person to be 100 years, then 50% of it, i.e. 50 years he spends in sleeping. 12 ½ years is lost in infancy and childhood stage wherein he is ignorant. Another 12 ½ years is lost in old age and its debilities. Ultimately the time span available to the person is a mere 25 years. This time is lost in sickness, sorrows and difficulties. Where then is the scope for any happiness in life?
We should conscientiously and attentively abide by righteousness (dharma) at every minute, believing that the Lord of death is holding us by our hair and pulling us away. We should accelerate and complete our meritorious deeds at the earliest. Procrastination in this aspect is not advisable. Always remember that at times of our difficulties and needs, the Supreme Lord does not procrastinate, but instead rushes to our aid.
Lord Krishna once wanted to teach Arjuna about Karna’s magnanimous, philanthropic attitude. In the garb of a Brahmin, Krishna approached Karna and begged for alms. Exactly at that minute Karna was holding a golden pot full of oil in his left hand and was oiling his hair with his right hand. Without even a second thought, Karna gave away with his left hand, the golden pot full of oil to the Brahmin. The Brahmin refused to accept this gift stating that it was wrong to give charity with left hand. Moreover giving oil with the left hand was absolutely unacceptable.
Karna realized that the Brahmin standing in front of him was none other than Krishna. Immediately he fell at Krishna’s feet and pleaded, “O Krishna! It is not out of arrogance that I have given away the object with my left hand. When you asked for it, I was holding the golden vessel in my left hand. To give it away in charity in the proper procedure, I would have to pour out the oil, wash and clean the pot thoroughly. What if I were to have a change of heart in the meantime? Therefore, even without thinking, I gave it away with my left hand. Please excuse me”. Krishna was overjoyed with this attitude displayed by Karna.
Like the cow that wastes the entire time allocated for grazing in chewing its cud, and later on isremorseful that the other cows have consumed all the grass, what is the use of regretting in the last minute, after having wasted the entire allotted lifespan? Time does not wait for anyone. To move eternally is its duty. Perhaps you may be able to conquer every other thing in this universe, but remember that you can never conquer death. Therefore it is imperative that every person who is desirous of crossing this ocean of samsara, should engage in Bhagavan nama sankeertana.