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Verses for Introspection

Shloka 28 aayur-nashyati

Ma Gurupriya

  • Shloka 28 aayur-nashyati

    Ma Gurupriya

The Only Refuge

आयुर्नश्यति पश्यतां प्रतिदिनं याति क्षयं यौवनं
प्रत्यायान्ति गताः पुनर्न दिवसाः कालो जगद्भक्षकः ।
लक्ष्मीस्तोयतरङ्गभङ्गचपला विद्युच्चलं जीवितं
तस्मान्मां शरणागतं शरणद त्वं रक्ष रक्षाधुना ।।
– शिवापराधक्षमापनस्तोत्रम्

āyur-naśyati paśyatāṁ pratidinaṁ yāti kṣayaṁ yauvanaṁ
pratyāyānti gatāḥ punarna divasāḥ kālo jagad-bhakṣakaḥ |
lakṣmīs-toya-taraṅga-bhaṅga-capalā vidyuccalaṁ jīvitaṁ
tasmānmāṁ śaraṇāgataṁ śaraṇada tvaṁ rakṣa rakṣādhunā ||
– Śivāparādha-kṣamāpaṇa-stotram

Translation:

One must see that the remaining life-span diminishes with passage of each day, and so decays youthfulness; also that the days that are gone never come back, time devours the world; wealth is as fickle as the waves of water, and life as transient as lightning. Therefore, You, who give refuge to all, protect me who has come to You for refuge. Protect me now!

Points for Introspection:

People rarely introspect about the transient and perishable nature of life. Everybody wants to enjoy life by possessing more and more – wealth, family, comfort and fame. Man believes that happiness lies in acquiring these. He fails to see that the happiness acquired from the worldly possessions is short-lived. He remains deluded and forgets the fact that with the passage of each day he is approaching death, and that however much he is gifted with possessions, nothing can be taken along when the body falls.

Remaining oblivious of the real nature of life, he spends time in acquiring more and more perishable objects. He does not seek ‘That’ which is immortal. His desires are so strong, and hankering for material objects so intense that when his desires are not fulfilled, he suffers from disappointment and even jealousy and competition. He has no peace of mind.

Very rarely, by the grace of viveka (discrimination), one realizes the perishable nature of life. In this śloka, the devotee in such a realization cries out to the Lord: “O Lord, in this life I find that the remaining life-span is reducing every moment. The youthfulness also decays. The day spent – whether good or bad – never comes back again. Whatever is gone, is gone forever. We cannot hold on to it, even if we try our best. Whatever we acquire, simply slips off. We find that Time is continuously eating away our life.

“O Lord, wealth and property are goddess Lakshmi herself. But I find that wealth is absolutely momentary – like the waves of a sea. We may lose it any moment. Today we may have riches, but tomorrow by some stroke of misfortune we may lose everything.

“Also, life itself is uncertain like lightning. Any time we may die. Nobody knows when and how.”

“Having had this realization,” the devotee says, “O Lord, I surrender at your feet completely, for I see no other refuge. Please protect me. Protect me right now.”

What is this protection the devotee is praying for? Protection does not mean that by God’s grace one’s life span would increase, or he will not die. No! The devotee seeks protection from falsehood and changefulness around. He prays to God for viveka (discrimination) so that he can discriminate between what is momentary and what is eternal, what is perishable and what is imperishable, what is supremely auspicious for him and what is not.

His prayer to God is to protect him from delusion that keeps him constantly holding on to the perishables. He prays and seeks Lord’s grace to gain wholesome dispassion towards worldly objects – the attraction towards which, the desire to acquire which, is the cause of all misery. Understanding that it is futile to rely on the world for happiness, the devotee surrenders at the holy lotus feet of the Lord, seeking refuge in Him, relying on Him completely.

His prayer is to be protected from all attractions towards the perishable world. Instead, he prays to be blessed with an intense yearning for attaining the ultimate Reality – the Imperishable, attaining which one enjoys supreme bliss.

This is a very powerful śloka, which generates intense dispassion when chanted again and again. We become aware of the transient nature of everything in life. The mind spontaneously looks for ‘That’ which is eternal. A sense of surrender and reliance on God dawns in the mind, seeking the grace of the Lord, seeking His protecting hands over our head.

Word Meaning:

आयुः (āyuḥ) = life span; नश्यति (naśyati) = decaying; पश्यताम् (paśyatām) = should be seen; प्रतिदिनम् – (pratidinam) = every day; याति (yāti) = going; क्षयम् (kṣayam) = decay; यौवनम् (yauvanam) = youth; प्रत्यायान्ति (pratyāyānti) = come back; गताः (gatāḥ) = those that are gone; पुनः (punaḥ) = again; (na) = not; दिवसाः (divasāḥ) = days; कालः (kālaḥ) = time; जगद्भक्षकः (jagad-bhakṣakaḥ) = eater of the world; लक्ष्मीः (lakṣmīḥ) = Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi; तोयतरङ्गभङ्गचपला (toya-taraṅga-bhaṅga-capalā) = as fickle as the breaking of the waves of water; विद्युत् चलम् (vidyut calam) = as short-lived as lightning; जीवितम्  (jīvitam) = life; तस्मात् (tasmāt) = therefore; माम् (mām) = me; शरणागतम् (śaraṇāgatam) = one who has come for refuge or protection; शरणद (śaraṇa-da) = one who gives refuge; त्वम् ( tvam) = you; रक्ष (rakṣa) = protect; रक्ष अधुना (rakṣa adhunā) = protect right now;

अन्वयः

प्रतिदिनं आयुः नश्यति (इति) पश्यतां, यौवनं क्षयं याति । गताः दिवसाः पुनः न प्रत्यायान्ति । कालः जगद्भक्षकः । लक्ष्मीः तोय-तरङ्ग-भङ्ग-चपला, जीवितं विद्युत् चलं । शरणद तस्मात् त्वं शरणागतं मां रक्ष, अधुना रक्ष ।

prati-dinaṁ āyuḥ naśyati paśyatāṁ; yauvanaṁ kṣayaṁ yāti. gatāḥ divasāḥ punaḥ na pratyāyānti. kālaḥ jagad-bhakṣakaḥ. lakṣmīḥ toya-taraṅga-bhaṅga-capalā, jīvitaṁ vidyut calaṁ. śaraṇada tasmāt tvaṁ śaraṇāgataṁ māṁ rakṣa, adhunā rakṣa.

Verses for Introspection

Shloka 28 aayur-nashyati

Ma Gurupriya

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