--> Skip to main content

Fools Crave For Material Things As They Are Yet To Realize the Difference Between Permanent And Impermanent Things – Teachings From Hinduism

In Hinduism, the distinction between permanent (eternal) and impermanent (temporary) things is a fundamental concept, deeply rooted in its philosophy and teachings. This concept is illustrated through various scriptures and teachings that guide individuals towards spiritual growth and enlightenment. Here's an exploration of this idea:

The Nature of Impermanence and Permanence

Impermanent (Anitya) Things:

  • Material Wealth and Possessions: Hinduism teaches that material wealth, possessions, and physical comforts are temporary. They are subject to change, decay, and ultimately, loss.
  • Pleasures and Pains: Sensual pleasures and worldly joys are fleeting. They provide temporary satisfaction but often lead to a cycle of craving and dissatisfaction.
  • Physical Body and Life: The human body and life itself are impermanent. Birth, aging, disease, and death are natural processes that underline the transient nature of physical existence.

Permanent (Nitya) Things:

  • Atman (Soul): The concept of the atman, or the individual soul, is considered eternal. It is beyond birth and death, remaining constant through the cycle of samsara (rebirth).
  • Brahman (Universal Soul): Brahman, the ultimate reality or world soul, is immutable, infinite, and eternal. It is the source and essence of all existence.
  • Spiritual Wisdom and Enlightenment: True knowledge and realization of the self (atman) and its unity with Brahman are seen as eternal. This spiritual wisdom leads to moksha (liberation), freeing one from the cycle of rebirth.

Teachings from Hindu Scriptures

Bhagavad Gita:

Impermanence of the Body: In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to recognize the impermanence of the physical body and focus on the eternal soul. Krishna states, "For the soul, there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain" (Bhagavad Gita 2.20).

Detachment from Material Things: Krishna emphasizes the importance of performing one's duty without attachment to the results. This detachment helps in understanding the transient nature of material outcomes and focusing on spiritual growth.


Eternal Atman: The Upanishads, ancient philosophical texts, often discuss the nature of the atman and its distinction from the physical body and mind. The Chandogya Upanishad states, "This Atman is pure, never born, never dying, never growing, never decaying, unchanging forever" (Chandogya Upanishad 8.1.5).

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:

Discrimination (Viveka): Patanjali's Yoga Sutras stress the importance of viveka, or discrimination between the real (permanent) and the unreal (impermanent). This discrimination is a crucial step in attaining self-realization and liberation.

Practical Implications for Life

Prioritizing Spiritual Goals: Hindu teachings encourage individuals to prioritize spiritual goals over material pursuits. By recognizing the impermanence of worldly gains, one can focus on attaining spiritual wisdom and self-realization.

Developing Detachment: Practicing detachment (vairagya) helps in reducing the grip of material desires and attachments. This detachment is not about renouncing the world but understanding the transient nature of material things and not being enslaved by them.

Living a Balanced Life: Hinduism advocates for a balanced life where one fulfills their worldly duties (dharma) without being overly attached to the material outcomes. This balance leads to inner peace and prepares the mind for spiritual growth.

The teachings from Hinduism highlight the importance of recognizing the difference between permanent and impermanent things. Fools, or those who are spiritually ignorant, crave material things due to their inability to see beyond the temporary nature of worldly possessions and pleasures. Through the wisdom imparted by scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, and the Yoga Sutras, individuals are guided to seek the eternal and unchanging aspects of life, leading to true happiness and liberation.