The essence of Vedanta is to not bother much about the happenings in the world as everything is just like a film image, changing all the time. Sri Adi Sankaracharya explains that beginning from the physical body, the breath, the feelings, the thoughts and the core desires born of our natural temperaments will all disintegrate some day.
He says these are all like bubbles in the foam of the ocean. They manifest and merge. From a gross perspective, it seems like we are living a very long time. The reality is that in comparison to infinite existence, our manifestation is not even a microscopic dot.
In the whole scheme of the Atma Bodha, when we focus on the 31st verse alone, we will get a deep understanding that what we consider to be very permanent is indeed temporary. How does this knowledge help us? When a relationship seems permanent, we will be extremely excited and joyful when everything is going on very well. But the truth is: it is not permanent. So when the relationship becomes sour or when the person himself or herself is no more, there is a lot of grief.
The grief is not because of the happy relationship or the demise of the individual, but because we have invested our energies in the temporary thought of the body of the person. When the body is gone, we feel extreme sorrow on account of the imaginary absence. So instead of suffering in the end, Atma Bodha helps us to understand the truth. This helps us to make fewer errors of perception and have more clarity in our relationships with objects, people and situations.
This particular knowledge of the transitory nature of all that we see, taste, smell, touch, feel and think about in this world has to be pointed out through the books of knowledge and the Guru. There is no other way we will ever get to know it. It is not clearly visible to the senses or available by conjecture. The reality that your nature is infinite can be realised only through constant practice of the Maha Vakya of the Vedas—Aham Brahmasmi. ‘Aham’ means I. ‘Brahma’ is that which is big—Brihatwat Brahma. ‘Asmi’ means Am. ‘I am Brahman’ is the line for repeated contemplation.
What is the result of constantly thinking in this manner? The mind becomes pure sans thoughts of desire, anger, hatred, arrogance and jealousy. Before the scene collapses in front of our eyes—and rather than worrying, crying and fretting over it—Vedanta teaches us that when we are in a happy frame of mind, we should look through our dreams into reality.