Page images

torn, or ample and magnificent: what then ? You may have but one servant, or an endless number:, what then? You may have but one elephant, or you may be encircled by thousands of horses and elephants : what then ?

30. I can gain food by begging; the cow of plenty supplies me with milk; my rags keep off the cold; I worship Siva unceasingly. What care I for possessions ?

31. The great ascetics declare that a life passed as a mendicant is not miserable; for the mendicant has no fear of loss; he has no envy, pride, or arrogance; he is free from the mass of evils which beset mankind; he gains his food day by day without difficulty. The mendicant life is a means of purification beloved by the gods; it lays up treasure that will last for ever; it increases devotion to Śiva.

32. The mendicant who has the earth for his couch, the sky as his canopy, the moon as his lamp, rejoicing in the union which he has attained with peace, fanned by the winds of heaven which blow from all quarters, is even as a prince, although he has cast off all desire for earthly possessions.

33. Pleasures are as fleeting as the changing ripples of the mighty river: life flees away in a moment; our days are few; the joys of youth pass away; the love of one's friends fails. Let the wise man, therefore, who knows that all this world is vain, and whose mind truly perceives the evil of worldly attractions, direct his efforts towards indifference.

34. Thou dost not regard the face of the rich; thou dost not speak flattering words; thou dost not listen to the utterances of pride; thou dost not go here and there for the hope of profit; but thou eatest in their season the fresh shoots of grass, and sleepest peacefully at the time of sleep. Tell me, I pray thee, O deer, what penance hast thou practised ?

35. Vide Nîti Šataka, Miscellaneous, sloka 15. 36. Vide Nîti Sataka, sloka 2.

37. Vide Nîti Šataka, Miscellaneous, sloka 16.

38. Women who are young avoid the man whose head is grey with age and the man who is enfeebled by years. They flee far from him, avoiding him like the well frequented by Chandâlas, which has a piece of bone hanging over it.

39. How often are thy enterprises destroyed ! how often, O senseless man! hast thou not desired, filled as thou art with folly, to drink water from the vain mirage of this world! Since thy confidence is not abated, and since thy mind, though torn, is not subdued, surely thy heart must be made of adamantine rock.

40. The eyes of a woman will softly enter a man's heart and fill it with infatuation, with intoxication, with deception, with menaces, with delights. What will not the eyes of a woman accomplish ?

41. The mighty lion, which eats the flesh of boars and elephants, enjoys love but once in a year; the dove, picking up only pieces of hard rock, is a lover every day. Tell me what is the Teason for this ?

42. A dwelling in a sacred forest, with the deer alone as companions ; a life nourished on the fruits of the earth on the banks of every stream, the flat rock surface for a couch: such is the life of peaceful calm that the ascetic lives who desires contact with Hara; his mind is fixed upon one object; the forest or the dwelling are the same to him.

43. The goddess pours forth words of sweet sound, more pleasing than honey or butter: at the utterances of her ambrosial body we are filled with delight. As long as we can gain barley grain by begging, so long we will not desire to amass wealth gained in a state of slavery.


The third collection of Satakas ascribed to Bhartřihari, called the Vairâgya Sataka, treats of the renunciation of all worldly objects and desires. Vairágya, meaning absence from passion, is an abstract substantive formed from vi-râga ; râga meaning mental feelings or affections, passion in general; vi, the particle which, affixed to words, gives them the opposite sense which they originally possessed. Vairágya, however, means more than a mere negative state: not only must there be absence from passion, freedom from the desire for all worldly objects, but there must also be devotion shown by a solitary and ascetic life, a life of worship and penance.

2. Three classes of men exist : learned men, who are envious of the knowledge that others possess ; mighty men, who care nothing for learning, through pride in their own greatness; and men who are too ignorant to take any interest in learning. Therefore, between these three, learning and science gains no hearing in the world.

3. Vipâkaḥ punyânâm jayanti bhayam me vimpiśataħ. “The consequence (or result) of good deeds produces fear in me when I reflect.” The performance of good actions will gain Svarga ; but Svarga, according to the Vedantic system, is not the highest state. Moksha, the final release of the soul, its exemption from all further separate existence, is the great end to be attained and the pleasures of Svarga operate as a hindrance, and defer the liberation of the soul. Therefore good deeds and the results they produce are to be viewed with apprehension. The object of the devotee must be emancipation from all earthly objects and desires, and absorption into the Supreme Being.

“The saint who has attained to full perfection
Of contemplation sees the universe
Existing in himself, and with the eye
Of knowledge sees the All as the One Soul.

When bodily disguises are dissolved,
The perfect saint becomes completely blended
With the One Soul, as water blends with water,
As air unites with air, fire with fire.”
-Atma-bodha, Mon. Williams' Trans., quoted in

Indian Wisdom," p. 122. 5. “I have eaten like a crow," &c. Cf. Panchatantra, i. 30.

Kâkopi jâvate chiram cha balim chabhuńkte. A crow lives long and enjoys food.” The force of the phrase is intended to convey the idea of living meanly.

11. The distinction must be observed between Samsára vichhitti, “the destruction of future births," and Svarga, which is the paradise of the enjoyment of objects of sense.

13. Neither in the pardoning of injuries nor in the abandonment of home was there any idea of self-abnegation; the first proceeding from want of power to revenge the injuries, the second, because the pleasures of home were unattainable.

We have suffered as much pain in the pursuit of earthly things as if we had practised the acts of self-denial inculcated by the wise, and the result is that we have gained no fruits of righteousness.

For 3d line cf. Vikramorvasi, Introductory śloka—" Antar mumukshubhir niyamitaprâņâdibhir mặigyate,” “ (Siva), who is sought inwardly with suspended breath and other penances by those who desire liberation (from objects of sense).” Also Raghuv., viii. 19–

“ Aparaḥ praạidhâna yogyaya

marutaḥ pancha śarîragocharân.” “ The other (subdued) by the exercise of meditation the five breaths whose abode were in his own body.”

14. “Objects of desire are ever fresh.” Cf. Hor., Car. iv. I

“Intermissa Venus diu

Rursus bella moves ? Parce, precor, precor, Non sum qualis eram bonæ

Sub regno Cinaræ.” Also Car. iv, 10. 23. This śloka is directed against the pride of petty kings. Their position is contrasted with that of the great heroes and sages of fable, who were supposed to have ruled the whole world, and with the position of the great sovereigns of modern times.

Chaturdaśabhuvanâni, the fourteen divisions of the world, is explained by the scholiast to mean “the whole earth,” a figurative way of expressing the greatness of the possessions of the sovereigns referred to.

24. This śloka, and also 27 and 30, may be termed a colloquy between a prince and an ascetic, or rather a monologue in which the ascetic only speaks. The ascetic's chief object apparently is to prove that he is on a level with princes, if not above them.

25. Referring still to the petty princes (sloka 23), patayah, “owners of land,” who feel delight at their possessions, though they ought to feel sorrow and humility when they compare themselves with the great sovereigns, and perceive how small their own dominions are.

27. Cf. Juv. iii. 41—“Quid Romæ faciam ? mentiri nescio.”

28. The idea (as explained by Telang) is, that in the first instance learning was a means to the destruction of worldly troubles, afterwards to the achievement of worldly pleasures, but now, receiving no appreciation at all, it is departing from the earth.

29. Why should princes be filled with pride in their attendants and their possessions, since the only true honour is that which Siva confers upon his followers ? The honour referred to in this sloka is said to be reserved for the liberal, the temperate, those who keep their promises, and those slain in battle.

39. Kâla and Kâlî are taken by Telang to be the male and female personifications of the destructive principle. Kâla is a name of destiny or fate. It is also taken to mean “time that destroys all things.” Kâlî is one of the names given to Parvatî, as the great destroying goddess. These two personified principles are represented as playing with men as though they were chessmen. The word sâra or sâra means a piece at chess or backgammon. Cf. Hor., Car. iii. 29, 50. Cf. also Plautus, Captiv., Prologue, 22—“Nimirum Di nos quasi pilas homines habent.”

« PreviousContinue »