Religion, Spirituality

Cluster of 12 blossoms – द्वादशमञ्जरिका (5) – Sankara compares life to a “drop of water on a lotus leaf”

Sankara in this shloka compares the life of a person to that of a trembling droplet of water perched precariously on a lotus petal. It is indeed true that none of us has any control over the two great events in each of our lives – Birth and Death. The moment we are born, Death becomes our Constant Companion (Link to an earlier post here). Sankara by comparing our lives to that of a water droplet on a lotus petal, reminds us of the importance of staying anchored in the moment and doing what needs to be done – NOW and not spending our time dwelling in the dead-past or a dreamy-future. Shouldn’t our mortality remind us of the fact that this life is only a short-term gift given to each one of us?

The shloka, its transliteration, translation, and purport below:

तद्वज्जीवितमतिशयचपलम् ।
विद्धि व्याध्यभिमानग्रस्तं
लोकं शोकहतं च समस्तम् ॥ ४॥
Tadvaj-jivitam atishaya chapalam
Viddhi vyaadhya-abhimana-grastham
Lokam shoka-hatam cha samastham

नलिनी (A lotus plant) दल (Small petal or leaf) गत (Gone forever, dead, deceased, departed) जलम (Water drop) ति (Very) तरलं (Fickle, Transient, Unsteady, Fickle)
तद्व (In that manner, like that) ज्जीवितम (Life) तिशय (Extreme, Very) चपलम् (Wavering, )
विद्धि (To know, to experience) व्याध्य (Sickness, Illness, Ailment) भिमान (Ego, pride, conceit, arrogance) ग्रस्तं (affected, possessed)
लोकं (World) शोकहतं (Immersed in Sorrow, Grief, Lament) चसमस्तम् (Entire, Pervasive)

Your life is as fickle, as uncertain, and as short as that droplet of water perched precariously on the lotus petal. Even in this short sojourn, each one of us is subject to disease, illness, and grief. Our pride and ego however, keeps us immersed in grief and sorrow – This is the strange nature of the world and its people…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s