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Each one of us is fond of certain things in life, and the liking develops into raaga, attachment or affection. When the things or persons we like part from them at the end of life's journey, we are afflicted with grief. Death forcibly separates us from the objects of our attachment, resulting only in grief. Death forcibly separates us from the objects of our attachment, resulting only in grief all round. When we forcibly pluck an unripe mango, there is weeping(flow of a white juice) both from the stem to which the mango had all along been attached, and also from the mango itself. When the same mango is ripe, it gets automatically separated from the stem and no weeping occurs. Similarly we must develop the capacity to leave this world without regret when death knocks at our doors.
How this is to be achieved is the problem of life. I shall illustrate the answer to this question with a story. Once upon a time a wealthy person was living in the French territory of India. For some reason, he apprehended danger both to his person and to his wealth, were he to continue to live in the French territory. Only a hill separated the French territory from the British territory. If he could manage to transport his wealth, which was in the shape of heavy gold and silver coins, to the top of the hill, safety and security awaited him. But he found that the task of transporting all the silver and gold coins was an impossible one, in the circumstances in which he was placed. He was faced with the situation of leaving behind his immense wealth and escaping only with his life. At that critical moment, a person with British currency notes accosted him and offered to exchange those noted for the gold and silver coins. The wealthy man converted his entire stock of coins into portable currency notes and crossed over to safety. Similarly, we should be able to convert all our worldly achievements and resources into the currency Dharma, so that we can carry with us this Dharma, when the call comes to quit this world.
Dharma is acquired through mind, speech and deeds. As both Paapa(sin) and Punya(merit) accompany us after death, we must take care to acquire only Punya. If we nourish in our mind passions like Kaama(desire) and Krodha(anger), we will be acquiring only more and more sins. If we use our speech or power of expression to kindle either Kaama(passion) and Dvesha(hatred), we will be doing harm to others and thereby hindering our own emancipation. The gift of speech should be employed only for doing good to others and repeating the Lord's name. Similarly our physical strength should be utilised for serving others. Our wealth, barring a portion we are obliged to leave to our children, should be utilised for noble and charitable purposes. In this way, we can convert our material resources and the power of our mind, speech, and body, into Dharma, the currency note of Isvara, which is legal tender in all the worlds under His command, and for all times. Dharma alone protects us in this life and accompanies the soul in its onward march, after it casts off its covering we call body.
The process of developing detachment from objects of affection- changing over from raaga to vairaagya - should start when we are still in the full enjoyment of our senses. When a dispute is compromised, not by the judgement of a court, but by agreement, the parties to the dispute part as friends. Similarly, we must mentally become ripe, as the mango I mentioned earlier, and get ourselves detached from our attachments. For that purpose we require the grace of Isvara. Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada, in his Sivananda Lahari prayed to Isvara to save him with His grace or mercy(krpayaa paalaya vibho) without minding his disqualifications. Let each of us pray to Isvara to bless us with His grace, for that alone will accompany the soul and be a source of constant strength.