आघातं नीयमानस्य वध्यस्येव न तुष्टिद: ॥ २० ॥
kāmo vā mṛtyur antike
vadhyasyeva na tuṣṭi-daḥ
kaḥ — what; nu — certainly; arthaḥ — material object; sukhayati — gives happiness; enam — to a person; kāmaḥ — sense gratification derived from material things; vā — or; mṛtyuḥ — death; antike — standing nearby; āghātam — to the place of execution; nīyamānasya — of one who is being led; vadhyasya — of one who is to be killed; iva — like; na — not at all; tuṣṭi-daḥ — gives satisfaction.
Death is not at all pleasing, and since everyone is exactly like a condemned man being led to the place of execution, what possible happiness can people derive from material objects or the gratification they provide?
It is customary throughout the world that a condemned man is offered a sumptuous last meal. For the condemned man, however, such a feast is a chilling reminder of his imminent death, and therefore he cannot enjoy it. Similarly, no sane human being can be satisfied in material life, because death is standing near and may strike at any moment. If one is sitting in one’s living room with a deadly snake at one’s side, knowing that at any moment the poisonous fangs might pierce the flesh, how can one sit peacefully and watch television or read a book? Similarly, unless one is more or less crazy, one cannot be enthusiastic or even peaceful in material life. Knowledge of the inevitability of death should encourage one to become determined in spiritual life.