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How Rotten Physical Beauty is

by Swami Sivananda

The body has a tendency to rot. Egoism lives in this body as the master with avarice as the mistress. The body is in reality a pot of filth. It will breath at any moment. The shining skin is subject to wrinkles in old age. Fie and shame on them who have mistaken this body for the Immortal Pure Soul and rely on it for their happiness and peace! He who has faith in the stability of the lightning of the city of the clouds will cling to this body as true.

The infant child is in a helpless condition. He cannot convey his ideas. He is mute. He eats dust and offal. He cries for nothing. He is ignorant. This period is ever attended with danger from fire,. water, etc. He is easily irritated. How can sense less childhood be said to be happy state of life?

In youth man is a slave of lust. His mind is filled with evil thoughts. He commits various sorts of vices in delusion. His face is disfigured by passion.

Even at the best the charm of youth fades away like lightning, very rapidly. The foolish man who ignorantly rejoices at his transient youth, is considered as a human beast. He comes to repent of his folly in a short time. It is very rare to find a young man who is humble, who spends his time in the company and service of sages, who is sympathetic and merciful and who is endowed with virtuous qualities. He who has overcome all obstacles of youth and has attained knowledge of the Self while young is fit to be adored by all.

Sit down and think calmly and honestly what beauty is there in a woman whose body is composed of flesh, bones, nerves, fat, marrow and blood?

Where is the beauty in the same woman when she becomes old? Look at the condition of the eyes, the body, of a woman after an attack of fever for seven days! What is the state of her beauty? Where is the beauty if she does not take bath for a week? The stink is abominable. Look at the senile woman aged 85 who is sitting at the corner, with rotten eyes, shrunken cheeks and skin! Analyse the parts of a woman, realise their true nature. Woman is the greatest cause of delusion. Women are the flames of vice. They are burning fire which destroys man like a dry straw. They burn from a long distance, so they are more dangerous than fire. The lovely damsel is like a poisonous drug that destroys life by causing lustful intoxication and clouding the power of discrimination. This mysterious world began with woman and has woman for its sustenance. How, without renunciation of woman is it possible to attain the eternal Bliss of Brahman? The bodies of those handsome damsels who are so much fond led by foolish men are taken to cemetery after their Pranas depart. Beasts and worms feed upon their flesh. Jackals and kites tear off their skin. Without renunciation of woman, it is impossible to have Self-realisation.

Old age withers the body and drives away its beauty. The old man is treated with contempt by the members of his own family. He is in a helpless condition. His senses become powerless. He cannot gratify his desires. His memory is gone. He suffers from various incurable diseases. But the desire for enjoyments he has no capacity to enjoy, is insatiable. Desires burn his heart but he is powerless to gratify them. Old age is inescapable in this world in spite of all gland-graftings. What is the good of this miserable mundane life which is subject to such changes and decay?

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