In his Prasnottara-Ratnamalika, our Acarya asks: "Samsare kim saram? "(What is the meaning of worldly existence?) He responds to the question himself:" You asked the question thus. Keep asking again and again. That is the meaning of samsara. "("Bahusah abhi vicintyamanam idam eva.")
"What is the purpose of my birth? Why was I born? " You must ask yourself this question again and again. You must also have some concern about whether you will reach the goal of your birth. "Why do you keep sinning?" is a problem that always worries us. "Why do you get angry? And why do we desire this and that? Can't we remain always happy without sinning, without anger and desire?" We do not seem to know the answers to these questions.
The fruit is formed from the flowers, first in the tender unripe form and finally in the mellow form. The flowers smells fragrant to the nose and the ripe fruit tastes sweet to the palate. The mellow or ripe fruit is full of sweetness. How did the fruit taste before it became ripe and sweet? The flower was bitter, the tender fruit was astringent, the unripe fruit was sour and the fruit that is mellow now is sweet. Peace means sweetness. When the heart is all sweetness all attachments disappear. There is attachment only so long as there is sourness. When you pluck an unripe fruit from a tree there is sap in the stem as well as in the fruit. It means that the tree is not willing to part from the fruit and vice versa.
But when the sweetness is full, all the ties will be snapped and the fruit will drop to earth by itself. The tree releases the fruit or the fruit frees itself from the tree. The separation is without any tears and happy [there is no sap]. Similarly, step-step by step, a man must become wholly sweet like a mellow fruit and free himself happily from the tree of samsara, the cycle of births and deaths. Desire, anger, and so on, are necessary stages in out development like bitterness, astrigency, sourness and sweetness in the growth of a fruit.
When we are subiect to urges like desire and anger we will not be to free ourselves fully from them but we must keep asking ourselves why we become subject to these urges and passions. We must constantly wonder whether they serve any purpose. If we do not remain vigilant about them we will become victims of their deception.
There must be astringency when it is time for astringency and sourness when it is time for sourness. But neither astringency nor sourness must remain a permanent state. Just as a tender fruit becomes mellow, we too must become mellow and sweet. If we do so there is no need to seek liberation on our own. If we are as we should be in the different stages of our life, liberation shall come in the natural process. On the other hand, if we make and effort at an inappropriate time [if we force ourselves] it will be like making the fruit prematurely ripe. Such a fruit will not taste sweet.
We should not, however, remain always in the same state as the one in which we find ourselves today, indifferent to everything. At the same time, when our bag of sins still to be emptied, we cannot thirst for the supreme knowledge. Instead, let us keep doing our duty hoping that we will realise the supreme knowledge, if not now, after many a birth. Let us adhere to the dharma prescribed by the Vedas. If we do so, we will proceed gradually to the supreme jnana. Now we are aware only of outward matters and outward disguises. So let us start with the outward rites of our religion and the outward symbols and signs. By degrees then let us go to the inner reality through the different stages from that of the tender fruit to the fruit that is mellow and sweet.
For a general background, please see here