Like a flash of lightning in a mass of clouds unstable are all worldly enjoyments. Life is also like a drop of water upon a piece of heated iron – liable to disappear any moment.
Like a frog hanging in a serpent’s throat being yet desirous of eating the serpent’s flesh with his teeth, men of the world are desirous of enjoyment of unstable worldly objects, even though they are being swallowed up by the serpent of time.
Fickle like a shadow is fortune, unstable like the waves of the ocean is youth, the pleasure derived from the company of women is like a dream, life is short and yet embodied beings have so much attachment to these.
I am this body. The notion is called avidya. I am not this body but the intelligent self. This is called knowledge.
Avidya is the cause of the world, knowledge of self destroys impressions created by Avidya. Those desirous of emancipation should, therefore, always strive for the acquirement of knowledge of self.
These advices were given by Bhagvan Sri Ram to Lakshman when an angry Lakshman wanted Sri Ram to give him permission to defeat Bharata and his mother Kaikayi. These incidents happened when Lakshman heard that Sri Ram was asked to go into exile.