« PreviousContinue »
poison. Even so men of constant mind do not rest until they have completely accomplished their object.
81. At one time a man may lie on the ground, at another he may sleep on a couch; at one time he may live on herbs, at another on boiled rice; at one time he may wear rags, at another a magnificent robe. The man of constant mind, bent on his purpose, counts neither state as pleasure nor pain.
82. Courtesy is the ornament of a noble man, gentleness of speech that of a hero; calmness the ornament of knowledge, reverence that of sacred learning; liberality towards worthy objects is the ornament of wealth, freedom from wrath that of the ascetic; clemency is the ornament of princes, freedom from corruption that of justice. The natural disposition, which is the parent of the virtues in each, is their highest ornament.
83. The constant man may be blamed or praised by those skilled in discerning character; fortune may come to him or may leave him; he may die to-day or in ten thousand years' time; but for all that he does not turn aside from the path of righteousness.
The Power of Fate.
84. A rat fell by night into the jaws of a serpent whose body had been squeezed into a basket, and who was halfdead with hunger. The serpent, revived by his meal, went forth, and immediately meeting with the same fate as the rat, perished. Be content, O my friends, with your lot! The success or failure of men is in the hands of fate.
85. A ball, though it fall to the ground, flies up again by the strokes of the hand. Even so the misfortunes of good men are not often lasting.
86. Idleness is a great enemy to mankind: there is no friend like energy; for if you cultivate that it will never fail.
87. The tree that is cut down grows again ; the moon that wanes waxes again after a time. Thus do wise men reflect, and, though distressed, are not overwhelmed.
88. Indra, though guided by Vșihaspati, and armed with the thunderbolt; though the deities were his soldiers, and Vishņu his ally; though Svarga was his citadel, and the elephant Airasvata his steed, was defeated. How resistless is the power of fate! How vain are human efforts !
89. Discernment is the fruit of men's actions, and is the result produced by deeds performed in another state: this must be carefully considered by the wise man who gives heed to all things.
90. A bald-headed man was scorched by the rays of the sun on his head, and seeking a shady place, went, under the guidance of fate, to the foot of a palm tree. While resting there, the fruit of the tree fell with a loud noise on his head and broke it. Even so, wherever the unfortunate man goes, he generally meets with disaster.
91. When I see the sun and moon exposed in the eclipse to the assaults of the demon; when I behold the bonds which hold a serpent or an elephant; when I behold the wise man in poverty, then the thought strikes me, "How mighty is the power of fate!”
92. Fate brings forth an excellent man—a very mine of virtue—and in a moment works his ruin. Alas! how unreasoning is the action of fate!
93. It is not the fault of the spring that the leafless tree does not produce leaves; it is not the fault of the sun that the owl cannot see by day; it is not the fault of the raincloud that the drops do not fall into the cuckoo's mouth. Who shall reverse that which fate has written on the forehead of each ?
The Praise of Action. 94. We worship the gods, but are they not in the power of fate ? Destiny must be worshipped, for that is the sole giver of rewards to man proportioned to the acts of their former state. But the fruit of those acts depends upon the
acts themselves; why, then, should we worship either the god or destiny? Let us pay adoration to those works over which fate has no power.
95. By means of destiny Brahma was constrained to work like an artificer in the interior of his egg; by means of destiny Vishņu was compelled to pass through ten incarnations of great difficulty ; by means of destiny Šiva was forced to live as a mendicant, bearing the skull in his hands for a pot; by means of destiny the sun is compelled to travel his daily course in the heaven. Adoration, therefore, be to works.
96. Neither beauty, nor greatness of family, nor force of character, nor learning, nor service, though performed with care, but merit alone, gained from penances in a former state, will bring forth fruit to a man as a tree in its season.
97. A man may be in a forest, or in war, or in the midst of fire, or among a host of enemies, or in the ocean, or upon a high mountain; he may be asleep or mad; or he may be surrounded by difficulties; yet the good actions performed in a former state will profit him.
98. O wise man! cultivate constantly divine virtue ; for that makes evil men good, the foolish wise, enemies well disposed, invisible things visible; in a moment that turns poison into nectar; that will give you the desired fruit of your acts. O virtuous man ! do not vainly spend labour on acquiring mighty gifts with great pain!
99. The wise man, at the beginning of his actions, looks carefully to the end of them, that by their means he may be freed from births in another state. Actions performed with excessive haste are even as an arrow piercing the heart.
100. The man who, placed in the world of action, does not walk piously, regarding his state hereafter, is as one who cooks the lees of sesame over a sandal-wood fire in a caldron of lapis-lazuli, or as one who ploughs with a golden share to cultivate swallow-wort, or as one who cuts down a grove of camphor to fence in a field of kodrava.
101. A man may dive into the sea, he may ascend to the top of Mount Meru, he may be victorious over his enemies, he may devote himself to merchandise, he may plough the earth, he may study all learning and all art, he may travel on the wings of a bird from one end of heaven to the other, but yet he shall suffer that which is fated him on earth, neither shall that fail which is destined for hir.
102. A terrible wood becomes a splendid city, and the whole world is filled with jewels, to that man who has performed righteous acts in his former existence; all men reverence his virtues.
Supplementary Ślokas. 103. What is most profitable ? Fellowship with the good. What is the worst thing in the world ? The society of evil men. What is the greatest loss? Failure in one's duty. Where the greatest peace? In truth and righteousness. Who is the hero ? The man who subdues his senses. Who is best beloved? The faithful wife. What is wealth ? Knowledge. What is the most perfect happiness ? Staying at home. What is royalty ? Command.
104. The man who possesses intelligence, like the jasmin flower, has two courses open to him: he may flourish in the sight of the world, or he may wither away in the desert.
105. The earth is variously adorned in various places ; by poor men whose words are of no account-by rich men whose words are admired—by those contented with their own wives—by men who refrain from passing censure upon others.
106. The constant man loses not his virtue in misfortune. A torch may point towards the ground, but its flame will still point upwards.
107. The mind of the constant man is not pierced by the arrows shot from the glances of love; he is not consumed by the fire of anger: worldly objects do not ensnare him in the net of covetousness; he is the lord of the three worlds.
108. The mighty earth, trodden by the feet of one hero, is lightened up with his exceeding great glory as though by the shining of the sun.
109. Through the power of constancy fire becomes even as water, the ocean becomes but a rivulet, Mount Meru becomes only a small stone, a lion becomes as harmless as an antelope, a savage beast becomes a garland of flowers, poison is turned into nectar. The constant man, by his constancy, turns the savage things in nature into the most gentle.
110. Honourable men may cast aside life and happiness, but inasmuch as they are intent upon truth, they do not cast off their truthfulness, the cause of modesty and of all the virtues, following them wherever they may go, pure in heart, even as dear to them as their own mother.
Miscellaneous Šatakas. 1. A morose heart, a face exalted with inward pride, a nature difficult as an exceedingly narrow mountainpass-this is known as the character of women: their mind is said by the wise to be as changeable as the drop of dew which rests upon the lotus leaf. Faults indeed develop in a woman together with her growth, as the poisonous shoots sprout in the creeper.
2. Whether a brave man who is killed in the foremost of the fight obtain heaven or victory, he will gain great glory from both armies; and this is the aim of one who desires fame.
3. Of all the exceeding marvels which I behold, the Boar and Rahu bear away the palm. The one bore the drowned earth on his tusks, which dripped with water;