--> Skip to main content

Body Is Short Lived; Wealth Does Not Last Long; So Cling On To God, The Unchanging Universal Force – Hindu Wisdom

In Hindu philosophy, the transient nature of physical existence and material wealth is a recurring theme. This teaching urges individuals to recognize the impermanence of worldly possessions and the human body, and instead, to focus on the eternal and unchanging divine essence.

The Transience of the Body

The human body, as per Hindu wisdom, is a temporary vessel. It undergoes birth, growth, decay, and eventually death. This cycle of life and death is called samsara, the cycle of reincarnation. The Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Hindu text, highlights this concept in Chapter 2, Verse 22:

"Just as a person discards old clothes and puts on new clothes, the soul discards worn-out bodies and wears new ones."

This metaphor illustrates the idea that while the body is mortal and perishable, the soul (atman) is eternal and unchanging. Thus, clinging to the physical body is considered futile because it is bound to perish.

The Impermanence of Wealth

Similarly, material wealth is viewed as fleeting and unstable. Wealth can provide comfort and security but is also subject to loss through various means such as economic downturns, theft, natural disasters, and personal misfortune. The pursuit of wealth, while necessary to a degree, can lead to greed and attachment, which are seen as obstacles to spiritual growth.

In Hindu teachings, this is often emphasized through stories and parables. For example, the story of King Harishchandra, who loses his kingdom, wealth, and family but remains steadfast in truth and devotion, underscores the transient nature of material wealth.

Clinging to the Eternal

Given the impermanence of the body and wealth, Hindu wisdom advises individuals to seek refuge in God (Brahman), the unchanging universal force. Brahman is the ultimate reality, beyond the physical and transient world. In the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9, Verse 22, Lord Krishna assures:

"To those who are constantly devoted and who worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me."

This verse encourages devotees to develop a constant connection with the divine through devotion (bhakti), wisdom (jnana), and righteous actions (karma). By focusing on the eternal divine, individuals can transcend the ephemeral nature of the material world and attain spiritual liberation (moksha).

Practical Application

  • Detachment and Balance: While living in the world, it is important to maintain a balance. Engage in worldly duties but practice detachment, understanding that neither the body nor wealth can be possessed forever.
  • Spiritual Practices: Cultivate spiritual practices such as meditation, prayer, and selfless service. These practices help in developing a deeper connection with the divine and realizing the eternal nature of the soul.
  • Wisdom and Knowledge: Study sacred texts and seek knowledge from enlightened teachers. Understanding the philosophical teachings can guide one to live a life aligned with spiritual truths.
  • Inner Peace: By focusing on the unchanging divine, individuals can attain inner peace and stability amidst the inevitable changes of life.

The wisdom of Hindu philosophy gently reminds us that while the body and material wealth are transient, the divine presence is eternal. Clinging to God, the unchanging universal force, provides a source of true and everlasting security, peace, and fulfillment. This teaching encourages a shift from the external to the internal, from the temporary to the eternal, guiding individuals on a path of spiritual enlightenment and liberation.