As a house that is solidly built ultimately falls into decay, so too are people subject to age and death. The night that has passed does not return, and the bountiful river flows on. The passing days and nights quickly consume the lifetimes of every living thing, just as in the summer the rays of the sun dry up the water in a pool.
Whether you stay at home or depart to another place, your lifetime grows shorter. Death walks with us as we walk and sits with us as we sit. Having traveled a very long distance with us, death returns along with us as we return.
When wrinkles have appeared on the face and the hair has turned grey, how can a man having decayed with age come back to his original splendour? People are delighted when the sun has risen and also when the day ends. But they are not able to perceive the waning in their lifetimes.
Seeing the onset of a season, people rejoice, as though it has come anew. But the succession of the seasons devours life. As pieces of driftwood floating on the ocean come together for a time, so wives, children, kinsmen, wealth and property come together for a while and then depart from us. Their parting is indeed inevitable. Here, no living being can escape its destiny, its birth and death. As a caravan is passing by on a road, one standing at the wayside says, I will follow behind you.
— Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhyakanda Sarga 105