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Continued from the previous part-The World changes, the Lord remains
The sight of a diseased man, an old man and a dead man was enough for Prince Siddhartha to realize the impermanence of everything. He was a quick learner — and he became the Buddha. How many diseased men and women we have seen, how many suffering and tottering about in old age, and how many dying everyday! Yet it takes us so long to learn the truth that nothing lasts. Name and fame, power and pelf, friends and foes, health and wealth — all fade away into the limbo of time.
Time does not pass, it is we who pass away. This stinging truth has been highlighted by Bhartrhari in this immortal verse: “The worldly pleasures (of life) have not been enjoyed by us, but we ourselves have been devoured; no religious austerities have been done, but we ourselves have been scorched; time is not gone [being ever-present and infinite], but it is we who are gone [because of approaching death]. Desire is not reduced in force, though we ourselves are reduced to senility" (Bhartrhari, Vairagya Satakam)
When this realization comes (of the pleasures of life, their fleeting nature), life changes for you. No more can you view the world as you did earlier. No more would you deal with people as you did earlier. Some sort of an inner upheaval takes place. It may not be so intense and so thoroughly transforming as the one Buddha experienced. Nevertheless it does bring about certain concrete changes in the personality of the aspirant.
To be continued
About the author
This article is an excerpt from Swami Tyagananda's “The Passing Shadows" which reveals the truth that the pleasures of life is transitory, owing to their fleeting nature.