Sri Ramakrishna had a wonderful way of explaining the evanescent nature of this world. He used to impress upon people that they should have a proper understanding of the true nature of existence. He conveyed this idea though a beautiful story.
There was a farmer who lived a very simple and contended life. He had a wonderful perception about the transient nature of the world. He was married and after several years a son was born to him whom he named Haru. The parents loved the boy dearly. One day when the farmer was working in the field, one of his neighbors came running to inform him that Haru had a severe attack of Cholera and within a matter of hours had died. The farmer at once returned home. Haru’s mother was weeping inconsolably. But, the farmer was calm and behaved as if nothing had happened. His wife said to the farmer, “You are really heartless. You have not shed a drop of tear although your only child has passed away”. The farmer replied calmly, “Do you know why I am not weeping? I had a very wonderful dream last night. I dreamt that I had become a king and was the father of eight sons. I was living happily. Then my dream broke and I got up and realized that all that I had enjoyed in the dream were lost once and for all. Now I am greatly perplexed. Should I weep for those eight sons or for this Haru”?
The farmer was a true Gyani and had realized that the waking state was as unreal as the dream state. He was firmly convinced that the true nature of Man was the eternal undying spirit called the Atman and that one should not identify oneself with this transitory existence.