From Desires to Dispassion
Leave the constant indulgence in this body, which is nothing other than bones, flesh and blood. Get rid of the constant fostering of ‘mine-ness’ towards your wife, son and other relations. Always seeing this world to be given to transitoriness alone, revel in the love for dispassion, and be focused on devotion.
Points for Introspection:
For human being, all the sufferings in the world are because of wrong identification with the body, considering the body-mind-intelligence complex to be the Self or ‘I’. Due to this wrong identification, man suffers whenever there is suffering in the body or mind. Because of his extreme attachment to the body, he feels “I can do this; I have done this; I will do that; etc.”.
Apart from being attached to one’s body, mine-ness develops to all that is possessed by the body – wife, children, house, wealth, property, prestige, fame etc. Throughout the day he spends his time looking after his own body, acquiring more and more possessions, and finding means to protect these possessions. He is always afraid of losing whatever he has acquired. Because of the fear of losing, he is always tense and anxious. On one hand, he is fearful of his own death, while on the other he feels miserable thinking about what will happen after his death – who will look after all that he thinks to be ‘his’.
He fails to remember that his life is absolutely transitory and uncertain. That whatever he acquires will decay and perish; that one day he will have to leave his body; that none of his belongings he can take with him. He does not understand that his miseries and unhappiness, his tension and anxiety, are primarily because of his attachment to his own body and all that he considers as ‘his’.
This śloka very strongly points out the root cause of man’s suffering. It suggests how to get rid of the suffering by developing vairāgya (dispassion) towards all worldly objects and attainments, and develop love or devotion to God.
The body to which we are so much attached is nothing but a composition of bones, flesh and blood. However much one is beautiful to look at, however healthy a body one may have, basically the components are only bones, flesh and blood, which nobody would be attracted to. Knowing the true nature of the body, what attachment can we have for it? So, instead of getting attached to the perishable body and its perishable possessions, one should seek the imperishable Self or the real ‘I’, the Lord.
This śloka also emphasizes the fact that one must completely get rid of the mine-ness – and the attachment that results from mine-ness – towards wife, children , house, property etc.
How to get rid of this attachment? The verse points out the fact that this world is क्षणभङ्गनिष्ठं (kṣana-bhaṅga-niṣṭhaṃ): “devoted to transitoriness alone”. One must always, through introspection continuously, dwell upon this momentariness of the world and understand the futility of holding on to things, which are themselves perishable.
Understanding the perishable nature of the world, which includes man and all his possessions, one should develop fondness for vairāgya (dispassion) towards worldly objects. One must repeatedly introspect over the fact that in order to get rid of sufferings in life, cultivation of dispassion is indispensable.
One must do his duty perfectly and well, but in his heart he must always dwell upon the fact that nothing belongs to him; every thing which he thinks as his, including his body, mind and intelligence, is fleeting and perishable.
To develop dispassion for the world, man must develop devotion towards God. All along his devotion has been to the worldly objects – acquiring them and preserving them. To develop dispassion he should now have निष्ठा (niṣṭha, one-pointed dedication) towards devotion. By all means he should cultivate wholesome one-pointed devotion to God, loving Him, relying upon Him entirely, to the exclusion of any other love for any worldly gain. This alone can lead man to supreme felicity.
Chanting this verse again and again generates in the mind strong dispassion to all petty desires and preferences. It makes us aware how we are trapped with ‘I-ness’ and ‘mine-ness’ only to suffer from miseries. When chanted repeatedly, it gives the mind a tremendous power to discard the I-ness and mine-ness immediately, and grow fondness for vairāgya. Also, it fills the mind with a compulsion to achieve supreme devotion to God and none else.
देहे अस्थिमांसरुधिरे (dehe asthi-māṃsa-rudhire) = in the body which is an aggregate of bones, flesh and blood; अभिमतिम् (abhimatim) = longing/indulgence; त्यज (tyaja) = abandon; त्वम् (tvam) = you; जायासुतादिषु (jāyā-sutādiṣu) = in wife and children, etc.; सदा (sadā) = always; ममताम् (mamatām) = feeling of ‘mineness’; विमुञ्च (vimuñca) = get rid of; पश्य (paśya) = see; अनिशम् (aniśam) = incessantly, ceaselessly; जगत् (jagat) = world; इदम् (idam) = this; क्षणभङ्गनिष्ठम् (kṣaṇabhaṅga-niṣṭhaṁ) = dedicated to transience alone; वैराग्यरागरसिकः (vairāgya-rāga-rasikaḥ) = one who revels in the love for dispassion; भव (bhava) = be; भक्तिनिष्ठः ( (bhakti-niṣṭhaḥ) = dedicated to bhakti (devotion);
त्वं अस्थिमांसरुधिरे देहे अभिमतिं त्यज । सदा जायासुतादिषु ममतां विमुञ्च । इदं जगत् अनिशं क्षणभङ्गनिष्ठं पश्य । भक्तिनिष्ठः वैराग्यरागरसिकः भव ।
tvaṃ asthi-māṃsa-rudhire dehe abhimatiṃ tyaja. sadā jāyāsutādiṣu mamatāṃ vimuñca. idaṃ jagat aniśaṃ kṣaṇabhaṅga-niṣṭhaṃ paśya. bhakti-niṣṭhaḥ vairāgya-rāga- rasikaḥ bhava.
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