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The Fleeting Nature of Things

by Swami Sivananda

Time is the rat that cuts off the thread of lire in this universe. There is nothing in this world which the all-devouring time will spare. Time spares not even the greatest person for a moment. Time pervades and controls all things. Time dances about with a long chain of the bones of the dead hanging from its neck to its feet. It assumes the formidable form of a burning fire during the dissolution and reduces the whole world to ashes. Nothing can stop its course. Man grieves for his folly at the time of death. The same body which is clothed today in silk and decorated with garlands is to be burnt to ashes tomorrow. Just as the frog that is hanging in a serpent's throat, is yet desirous of eating flies, even so men of the world are desirous of enjoying the worldly objects although they are being swallowed by the serpent of time. You see others dying and growing old, yet you never wake up from your own dream of the vanity of worldly life.

If God has not covered this filthy body with the skin, will it not be eaten away by crows and eagles? The filth that comes out of our nose, mouth, ears, and anus causes extreme disgust in us. Would it be possible for us to take food if we were to see the filth that is inside our body? Will not germs begin to manifest if the filth of the body is not washed for three days? Can this obnoxious smell which has permeated the body from toenail to the top of the head be removed by application of saffron, sandal-paste, refined camphor, scents, etc.? Is he not a fool who takes too much care of the body? Do they not who delighted to look at the body sitting on the throne of kings, shudder to lock at it when life is snatched away by Death?

The three entrances to the city of perdition are lust, wealth and tongue. He who has conquered these three need not be afraid of death. He has no enemies, who ride on the horse of discrimination with the sword of dispassion and the shield of en durance.

Application of soap to the body, oil to the hair, powder to the face, looking into the mirror a thou sand and one times a day, wearing rings on the fingers these and many like these will intensify your attachment to the body. Therefore give up all these things ruthlessly.

A big boil is washed with lotion. Then boric ointment is applied. Then bandage is put on. Even so, this nasty body is a very big boil. It is washed every day. Food is thrust into it. This is the ointment. Cloth is worn. This is the bandage. Sannyasins treat this body as a very big boil or wound with an oozing discharge. But the body is worshipped by worldly-minded persons on account of delusion and infatuation.

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