Maharshi Yagyavalka once said, “The greatest surprise is that man knows that bodily and worldly pleasures and conveniences are not long-lasting, yet he makes a goal of them and continues to achieve them; while in fact our goal should be to know the Atma or soul.”
Gurdjieff, the well-known philosopher and saint, used to tell a story. A bird was flying in the sky; While flying, she saw a white piece of shining cloud to which she got attracted. She endeavored to touch the cloud and for that she began to fly towards it. The cloud moved here and there with the wind and the bird got tired and devoid of energy following it.
Suddenly, she saw that the cloud that she wanted to touch for a long time got disintegrated with a blow of the wind and then disappeared. However, one could see green trees on top of the mountain after the cloud disintegrated. While running aimlessly after the cloud, the bird was tired physically but her inner wisdom had been awakened. She thought, “If one has to make a goal of something it should not be short-lasting like the clouds but it should be long-lasting like the summit of the mount or the trees over there.”
Thus, the saint Gurdjieff commented that man runs after short-lived desires of the world and for that he puts at stake his valuable lifetime and wastes it.
If our tendencies are turned towards devotion to God and good deeds, making them our goal, then we can make our life successful.
Furthermore, the goal has to be one-pointed like Arjun of Mahabharata had while shooting the eye of the bird on the tree.
When guru Dronacharya asked him about things he could see, Arjun said, “the eye of the bird alone,” and he hit it successfully.
Others replied that they are seeing nice food on the table and so on, and none of them could hit the target.
The lesson: We should aim at knowing Atma and Paramatma, without caring much for the objects of the world while dealing with them.