"Self-realization is meant to ensure fulfilment for one’s own self. It is not reaching somewhere or getting at something external, like going to the peak of a mountain. The attainment is in dissolving the mind and intelligence, and getting into the very core of oneself. In other words, it is like multiplying everything with zero."

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Every day life is seen reducing and youthfulness decaying. Days that are gone never come back. Time is devourer of the world. Wealth is as fickle as the breaking of the waves of water, and life as transient as lightning. Therefore, you who gives refuge to all, protect me now who has come to you for refuge.

Audio

28 - आयुर्नश्यति

Life is Transcient

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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-kṣamāpana-stotram

Translation:

Every day life is seen reducing and youthfulness decaying. Days that are gone never come back. Time is devourer of the world. Wealth is as fickle as the breaking of the waves of water, and life as transient as lightning. Therefore, you who gives refuge to all, protect me now who has come to you for refuge.

Points for Introspection:

People rarely introspect about the transitoriness and perishable nature of life. Everybody wants to enjoy life by possessing more and more of material objects – wealth, property, family, name and fame. Man believes that happiness lies in acquiring these. He fails to see that the happiness acquired from the possessions is short-lived. He remains deluded and forgets the fact that with the passing of each day he is approaching death, and that however much he is gifted with possessions, nothing he can take with him 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 disappointment and even jealousy and competition. He has no peace of mind.

Very rarely, by the grace of ‘viveka’ (discrimination) a seeker / devotee realizes the perishable nature of life. In this shloka, the devotee in such a realization cries out to the Lord: “O Lord, in this life I find that the 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 them, even if we try our best to do so. Whatever we acquire, simply slips off. I find that Time is continuously eating away our life on the earth.

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

“Similarly, life itself is short-lived and uncertain like lightning. Any time one may die. As lightning strikes suddenly, death may also strike. Nobody knows when and how.”

Having had this realization, the devotee says: “Realizing how everything in this life is transitory, 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 lack of discrimination that leads him to falsehood, transitoriness and consequent misery. He prays and seeks Lord’s grace to gain wholesome dispassion towards worldly objects – the attraction to and the desire to acquire which is the cause of all sorrow. 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 shloka, which generates intense dispassion when chanted again and again. We become aware of the futility and transitoriness of 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) = 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; न (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 transient/perishable as lightning; जीवितम् - (jīvitam) = life; तस्मात् (tasmāt) = therefore; माम् (mām) = me; शरणागतम् (śaraṇāgatam) = one who has come for refuge or protection; शरणद (śaraṇada) = one who gives refuge; त्वम् ( tvam) = you; रक्ष (rakṣa) = protect; रक्ष अधुना (rakṣa adhunā) = protect right now;

अन्वयः

प्रतिदिनं आयुः नश्यति पश्यतां; यौवनं क्षयं याति । गताः दिवसाः पुनः न प्रत्यायान्ति । कालः जगद्भक्षकः । लक्ष्मीः तोयतरङ्गभङ्गचपला, जीवितं विद्युत् चलं । तस्मात् शरणद त्वं शरणागतं मां रक्ष, अधुना रक्ष ।
pratidinaṁ āyuḥ naśyati paśyatāṁ; yauvanaṁ kṣayaṁ yāti. gatāḥ divasāḥ punaḥ na pratyāyānti. kālaḥ jagadbhakṣakaḥ. lakṣmīḥ toyataraṅgabhaṅgacapalā, jīvitaṁ vidyut calaṁ. tasmāt śaraṇada tvaṁ śaraṇāgataṁ māṁ rakṣa, adhunā rakṣa.

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