When I was quite young, I learnt a song whose meaning was a mystery to me. It goes like this:
“The foolish man built his house upon the sand
And the rain came falling down
The rain came down and the flood came up
And the house upon the sand fell down.
The wise man built his house upon the rock
The rain and the flood came
But the house upon the rock stood firm.”
At first sight, the song may seem an ordinary one and indeed it is. Yet it symbolises the truth of the daily life of man. There are so many people whose mental equilibrium is disturbed and hence they are carried away by the current of emotion and frustration caused by desires, some fulfilled and others unfulfilled. Castles built in the air remain castles in the air. Dreams and desires of this fleeting world cannot bring peace of mind or bliss eternal. When desires are fulfilled, man is carried away by the current of arrogance, superiority complex and is so drunk with ignorance that he forgets that the final and unshakable truth of his body and earthly existence is death.
Death in itself is amongst the greatest experience of life, therefore the problem is not that. The real difficulty is that one who has had a life full of pleasure and success finds it extremely difficult to face the exit from the earthly plane. As one becomes older, the fear and trouble start hovering around. It is not so easy to face one’s death while the mind is intensely attached to the world. In the Bible, Jesus says that we should keep our treasure in heaven where it will gather no moss and will be free from being stolen, while on earth it may gather moss and be taken by robbers. He meant that we should not care too much for perishable things like this body and the pleasures of this world, for however great our prosperity here, we will have to lose and leave everything one day.
Let us care for the mind which is eternal because once it is purified, it becomes the door to acquire the eternal treasure of the soul. Let us not be like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand, for the rain of material life, like death, will drown away all our dreams and effort. The wise man should seek that which is permanent and use the impermanent only as a ladder to climb towards the sky of the highest blessing, which is not of this world. One who has achieved the treasure of enlightenment is not disturbed by the wave of material life. He is like the house built upon the rock which stood firm even when embraced by the cyclonic wind.
“Be in the world, but not of it.” The world is a means, not an end. How can eating, drinking, working and sensual pleasure be the end of such a beautiful and precious life? Everyone has the right to dream, but do not move so far in dreams that the real aim of life is forgotten. The wise is the one who knows and is awakened to the fact that life is much more than can meet the eyes and the mind. Foolish is he who takes the earthly and mental world for the be-all and all.