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Concerning Renunciation. 1. SALUTATION to the deity who is not definable in time or space, infinite, pure intelligence in incarnate form; who is peace and glory; whose sole essence is self-knowledge.
The Evil Qualities of Desire. 2. Learned men are eaten up with jealousy; mighty men are spoiled through pride; the minds of some men are obscured through ignorance: therefore the eloquent teachings of science are neglected.
3. When I look through the world, I see no profit in any action. The result of good actions makes me afraid when I reflect on them; for the great enjoyments gained after long continuance in the practice of great virtues hinder men from perfect liberation, since they are attracted to objects of sense.
4. I have dug up the earth to find treasure; I have smelted minerals; I have crossed the sea; I have conciliated kings with great effort; I have spent my nights in a cemetery; I have laboured to acquire religious knowledge; but my efforts are all in vain. Desire! wilt thou not leave me?
5. I have wandered over lands crossed with difficulty, but I have gained no fruit; I have put away from me my pride of family; I have performed services that have profited me nothing; I have cast off my self-respect, and
have eaten like a crow in a stranger's house. But yet, desire! thou dost still increase, ever given to evil, and art never satisfied.
6. I have suffered the abuse of evil men in hope of gain; I have repressed my tears and forced laughter, though my heart was void; I have restrained my feelings; I have bowed myself before fools. O desire, foolish desire! wilt thou lead me yet further ?
7. Day by day our life slips away from us, while the sun rises and sets : our business is so great and weighty that the flight of time escapes us.
We behold birth, pain, old age, ending in death, and yet we are not afraid. We are, as it were, intoxicated : we have drunk of the wine of infatuation.
8. If one were to see his wife overcome by hunger, her garments old and torn, her children hanging round her, crying with pinched, unhappy faces; though he might fear refusal and stammer in his speech, yet would he ask alms; but he would not beg to satisfy his own wants.
9. Our desire for pleasure fails; respect is no longer paid us by the world; our equals in age have gone to Svarga; our friends whom we love even as ourselves will soon follow; we walk slowly, supported by a stick; our eyes are dim. Alas! our body is subdued; it trembles at the approach of death.
10. It has been ordained by the Creator that the serpents shall gain their livelihood on air, without effort and without injury to others; the cattle have been created eating shoots of grass and lying on the ground. The same mode of living has been appointed for men who pass over the ocean of this world with subdued senses: men who seek to live in such a way as this continually go on to perfection.
11. We have not meditated on the Supreme Being bringing future births to an end: we have not, through the energy of our righteousness, been able to open for ourselves the door of Svarga: we have not embraced a
woman even in imagination. We have only (if our life has been spent thus) destroyed the tree of youth which our mother gave us, as though we had cut it down with an axe.
12. We have gained no pleasure, but pleasure has taken us captive; we have not practised penance, but we have suffered pain in the pursuit of earthly joys. Time never grows old, but our life passes away.
13. We have pardoned injuries, but not for the sake of showing forgiveness; we have abandoned the pleasures of home, but not because we were willing to cast them aside; we have suffered pain from cold winds, but we have shrunk from penance because of its painfulness; we have thought night and day on the acquisition of wealth, but we have given no thought to the Supreme Being; we have performed all the acts which the sages have prescribed for us, but we have gained no fruits.
14. My face is covered with wrinkles, my head is grey, my
limbs are feeble, but desire alone is ever strong in me.
15. The same piece of sky which encircles the moon by night, that encircles the sun by day. Ah ! how great is the labour of both !
16. Objects of sense, however long they may be with us, must one day depart; but there is this difference between separating oneself from them and not giving them up. If they forsake us, we shall suffer unequalled pain and grief; but if we forsake them of our own accord, we shall gain unending peace and happiness.
The Mighty Power of Desire. 17. Desire ceases in a man when self-restraint, developed by means of true discrimination, shines forth in him; but the end of desire increases yet more and more in the lofty contact (with royal objects): by this means even Indra himself, the king of the winds, is the prey of desire, inasmuch as he is wretched because of the appetite which he feels for his royal position-a position decrepit through age.
The Great Distress caused by Love. 18. A dog, wretched, worn out, lame, deaf, without a tail, and covered with sores, overcome with hunger, and with a piece of broken pot tied round his neck, still runs after his mate. Love destroys even that which is already dead.
The Mighty Power of Objects of Sense. 19. A man may live by begging; his food may be tasteless, only enough for one meal; his bed may be the bare earth; he may have no attendant but himself; his clothes may be in a thousand pieces through age, hardly able to hold together. Alas! even then objects of sense do not quit their hold over him!
Dispraise of Beauty. 20. The beauties of a woman are praised by the elegant poets ; her breast is compared to two pots of gold, her face to the moon, her hips to the forehead of an elephant; but yet the beauty of a woman does not merit praise..
21. A moth may fall into the flame of a candle through ignorance; a fish may take a piece of meat fastened to a hook, not knowing what it is; but we who know perfectly the many entanglements of fortune yet do not give up our desire. Ah! in what a thicket of error do we wander!
The Setting Forth of Evil Men. 22. Lotus fibre is enough for our food; water suffices for us to drink; we may lie on the bare earth; we may be clothed in bark raiment. I approve not the evil behaviour of bad men, whose senses are led astray through the thirst
Setting Forth the States of Honour. 23. This created world was ruled in former times by great sages; by others afterwards it was cast away like
straw, after they had conquered it: even now heroes rule fourteen divisions of the world, Whence then is the feverish desire that men have for a few cities?
24. Thou art a king: I am of the number of the spiritual teachers, honoured for my wisdom by the world. Thy riches are celebrated: my fame is celebrated by poets. Thus, O giver of blessings ! there is not a great interval between us. Thou hast thy face averted from me, but yet I have no desire for thy favour.
The Setting Forth of Freedom from Desire. 25. Hundreds of princes always have been, and always are, incessantly disputing for the possession of earthly enjoyments, and still kings do not abandon pride in their possessions. Owners of the earth in their folly display delight in the acquirement of even the very smallest particle, while, on the contrary, they ought to manifest sorrow.
26. This earth is but an atom of clay surrounded by the line of ocean. Kings have subdued it in hundreds of battles, and have divided it among themselves. These wicked, contemptible men might give or they might not: there is no wonder in that! But shame on those lowminded persons who beg alms from them.
The Description of Evil Servitude.
27. I am not an actor; I am not a courtesan; I am not a singer; I am not a buffoon; I am not a beautiful woman : what have I to do with king's palaces ?
28. Once wisdom was employed to gain relief from pain; afterwards it began to be used for the attainment of pleasure. Now, alas! men who dwell on the earth plainly care nothing for the sacred wisdom, therefore day by day it goes farther from them.