The goal we should strive for is moksha, and we must understand the journey we have to take to reach this goal. The journey can begin only when we understand that nothing in this world is permanent, said Kidambi Narayanan, in a discourse.
Every joy is temporary, and yet it is these fast-disappearing attractions that, unfortunately, entice us in life.
A story illustrates our futile quests in life. A man once ran to escape a tiger that was chasing him. He slipped and began to roll down a cliff. Fortunately, he grabbed a vine that was just above him and managed to keep from falling. But when he looked down, hoping he could climb down, he noticed a serpent below. So he could not move down.
He looked up and saw the tiger waiting to attack him. And as for the vine he was clinging to, it was being gnawed at by rodents. And yet, when a few drops of honey dripped from a beehive above him, he put out his tongue to savour the honey! That is exactly how we run after little pleasures in life. Life is so full of day-to-day difficulties and serious problems.
But in the midst of this, we seek worldly pleasures, which will not last. If we realise what life is all about, we will also slowly come to realise that we must do our duty in life, but must never be drawn by the glamour of life.
To be aloof from worldly matters is not to be misinterpreted as shirking one’s duties or not doing what is required of one in one’s many roles as father, mother, sister, son etc. We must do our duty, but remain unattached to the outcome.
The body is perishable, and the atma is not. Our concern must be about the atma, and how to keep from being repeatedly born in this world. We must take our atma to the Lord.
When our life on this earth ends, if the atma is to remain at the feet of the Lord, we must start contemplating on the nature of the atma and on the impermanence of life itself, even while we have the physical strength to do so.
We must have bhakti towards Lord Narayana, the Supreme One, and surrender at His feet.