Eknath Easwaran's Commentary
When the first grey hair appears on our head, it is a critical juncture in life. We go to the mirror with a sinking feeling of dread and try to pluck out the evidence – one here, two there. But the more we pull out, the more seem to come in.
I tease my friends by asking which of them would like to relive their adolescence. It always brings a groan. Youth has a lot to offer, but so does the experience of age. In India we have a joke about a man going to a barber and asking, “Do you have anything for grey hair?” “Yes,” the barber says, “respect.” Just because we don’t have wrinkles or a grey hair, we are not necessarily alive in the fullest sense of the word. Real living comes from making a contribution to life.
This is the paradox of life: when we cling to the body, it loses its beauty. But when we do not cling to the body – and use it as an instrument given us to serve others – it glows with a special beauty, as we can see from the lives of many great saints and mystics. When our consciousness becomes pure, even the body begins to reflect its light.