“Whether in a greatly expanding opulence or a most miserable distress, invincible time drags a person, as if they were bound by ropes.” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 37.3)
aiśvarye vā suvistīrṇe vyasane vā sudāruṇe |
rajjvā iva puruṣam baddhvā kṛta antaḥ parikarṣati ||
An ever-changing body. A constant factor within. Another identity of the same properties residing adjacent, but playing a different role. One situation today, another tomorrow, and always shifting until the end. After the end another beginning.
These are different descriptions of the life experience provided by Vedic literature. A similar term is Vedanta, which means the end of knowledge. Take every piece of information, stack them together, study, and in the end you should reach an important conclusion.
Vedanta kindly provides the conclusion at the beginning. That is to say a person saves valuable time by approaching the Vedas at the outset, instead of insisting on experiencing everything for themselves.
The conclusion is that the individual is spirit soul. Everything else is matter, either gross or subtle. Matter shifts and the external cause is time. Sita Devi, the wife of Shri Rama, describes that force to be invincible. It is synonymous with death, and it goes to work on people of all situations and predicaments.
1. The rich person
Enjoying in the backyard pool. It is an in-ground version, custom built to the specifications of the owner. The weather is ideal, as this location for a home was intentionally chosen based on the climate. Plenty of money in the bank, enough to pay for servants to take care of practically everything. No need to even drive to the grocery store. The chef surprises with each meal, hoping to meet the satisfaction of the owner.
2. The poor person
Barely making ends meet. Forget saving for a rainy day, the daily experience is bitter, damp and cold. Credit card debt is the only way to pay the bills. The expenses seem to only grow. No one is happy. The wife complains about having to live in a tiny apartment. She grew up in much more opulent facilities. What did she get by marrying you, she asks. Life would have been better at her paternal home.
The children struggle. They don’t have as much as their friends. It pains you to go through life this way, but what other choice is there? This is the way of the world. Some people are rich and others are not.
3. The young person
So much potential. Many years ahead of them. Ready to make a splash in the world, to shake things up, to avoid the mistakes of the past generations, to really move forward the plight of the human condition. Loads of energy to get up every day and go out there to make a mark.
4. The old person
You used to be able to eat whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. An entire pizza at one in the morning? No problem. Running for miles and miles after little to no sleep the night before? A breeze. What could go wrong?
Suddenly, just eating a sandwich causes discomfort. You have to carefully monitor your diet. You can’t exercise as much, either, as the body becomes sore quickly thereafter. A mountain of pills to take every morning to control everything from blood pressure to bowel movement. The machine that is the body is breaking down, and not many miles are on the horizon.
In each case time operates. That is to say it plays no favorites. Sita Devi compares it to a person who is bound by ropes and dragged along. There is no choice in the matter. Nothing can be done. The analogy to being bound implies that the pull forward is not desired. After all, who actually prefers to be closer to death? Even the person in great distress wishing for the life to end didn’t intentionally choose to reach the point of wanting out.
As the end is the same for every person, what is the point to living? Why take birth at all? What can be done to stop the process going forward? The wise person asks these questions, and the only place they get meaningful answers is the Vedic culture, wherein there is instruction at the outset about the difference between matter and spirit, the changing bodies, and the amazing nature of the soul.
“Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.29)
Death cannot kill the soul. It is simply not possible. The soul continues to live, and actions taken while in the human form shape that future destination. The purusha, person, who is conscious of God the person assumes His nature after death. They become deathless in the sense of body and spirit becoming one, where invincible time no longer has a negative influence.
The simplest way to become conscious of the Almighty is to chant His names. Being married to the personal form, Sita Devi always thinks of Him. Her husband Rama is her life and soul, and that name is included in the maha-mantra, the sound vibration to deliver mankind: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The rich or singing blues song,
Time dragging them both along.
Even the young with energy abound,
Or old creeping deathward bound.
Way of the world existing,
But inside something persisting.
The spirit soul imperishable indeed,
Sita-Rama towards liberation to lead.
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