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The Setting Forth of Egotism or Pride. 29. That man is truly born great whose white skull is worn by Śiva (the enemy of Kâma) as an ornament lifted up on high. What means, then, this unequalled burden of pride which kings now display, who are worshipped by other men, intent solely on saving their royal lives?
30. Thou art the lord of wealth; I of speech : thou art a hero in war; my skill is shown in subduing the proud by the power of my eloquence: men bow down before thee, but they listen to me that their minds may be purified. If, O king! thou hast no desire for me, still less is my desire for thee.
31. When I was possessed of a small amount of knowledge, my mind was filled with pride, even as an elephant is blinded by passion, and I thought within myself that I knew everything. When I had learnt many things from wise men, I discovered my foolishness, and my mad excitement left me.
Condition of Indifference. 32. Time has gone by, passed without difficulty through the pleasing society of beautiful women. We are wearied through our long wanderings in the path of transmigrations. We lie on the banks of Siva's own river, and we invoke him with piercing cries, calling “ Śiva ! Śiva ! Śiva!”
33. When honour has fled, when wealth is lost, when one's desire has departed and one has gained nothing; when one's relations are dead, one's friends have vanished, one's youth has faded by degrees: then there is only one thing left for a wise man -a dwelling in a mountain cave, whose rocks are purified by the stream of the Ganges.
34. Why, O my heart, dost thou attempt day by day to conciliate the favour of others, bringing forth no fruit of thy toil? Surely, if a purified will were in thee, all thy desires would be fulfilled, and there would be no need to
pay court to other men, for thou wouldst be at rest inwardly.
The Path of Enjoyment. 35. In health there is the fear of disease; in pride of family the fear of a fall; in wealth the fear of the king; in honour the fear of abasement; in power the fear of enemies; in beauty the fear of old age; in the scriptures the fear of controversy; in virtue the fear of evil ; in the body the fear of death. Everything on earth is beset by fear; the only freedom from fear is in the renunciation of desire.
36. What have we not attempted for the sake of those lives of ours which are as unstable as the drop of water on the lotus-leaf? Even we commit sin by boasting of our own virtues shamelessly before those rich men whose minds are senseless through the intoxicating power of wealth.
37. Homage be to time! The delights of the city, the great king with his crowds of courtiers, the counsellors which stand before him, the women with faces beautiful as the moon, the assembly of haughty princes, the bards, the reciters—these are all borne away by time, and become but a memory.
Setting Forth of Kala. 38. Those from whom we were born have long since departed; they also with whom we grew up exist only in memory: we too, through the approach of death, become, as it were, trees growing on the sandy bank of a river.
39. In the house where there were many, now there is but one; where there was but one, there were many, and then again but one. So Kala and Kâli toss day and night backward and forward as though they were dice, and play with men on the chessboard of this world as if they were chessmen.
40. Shall we dwell beside the divine river in a life of penance ? or shall we desire the society of virtuous women ? or shall we study the multitude of the scriptures, whose poetry is even as nectar ? We know not. what we shall do, seeing the life of man endures but the twinkling of an eye.
41. Surely the retreats amid the Himalayas, where the Vidyâdharas dwell among the rocks cooled by the spray of the Ganges, must have ceased to exist, since men enjoy that sustenance which they have gained from others to their own disgrace.
42. When may we sit at peace on the banks of the heavenly river, whose banks of sand are dazzling white in the moonlight ? and when shall we, when the nights are perfectly still, wearied with the satiety of the world, utter cries of Śiva! Śiva ! Śiva !” while the tears flow from our eyes ?
43. Mahadeva is the god we worship, and this river is the heavenly river; these caves are the dwelling, the abode of Hari. Kâla, moreover, is our friend, and the rule of life which we observe has freedom from humiliation. What more need I say on this matter ?
44. The Ganges falls from heaven on the head of Śiva; from the head of Siva on to the mountain ; from the top of the mountain to the earth, always falling lower and lower: even in so many ways is the fall of one whose judgment has departed from him.
45. Desire is like a river. Its waters are men's wishes, agitated by the waves of desire; love takes the place of crocodiles; the birds that fly about it are the doubts which haunt the mind. The tree of firmness growing on the bank is washed away by the flood; the whirlpools of error are very difficult to cross : the lofty banks are the cares of life. The ascetics who, pure in heart, have succeeded in crossing it successfully, are filled with joy.
46. As we look at the ever-changing three worlds, the desire hidden with us, violently attracted towards objects
of sense, ceases to cross the path of our eyes or to enter into the way of our ears; for we have subdued the objects of sense which produce desire in us, and hold them bound by devotion, as an elephant attracted by his mate is kept from her by being tied to a post.
47. My days once seemed long when I used to suffer pain through asking favours from rich men, and they seemed too short for me to carry out all my aims, filled as they were with the desire for earthly objects. Now I sit on a stone in a mountain cave, and in the intervals of my meditation I am filled with laughter at the recollection of my former life.
48. Wisdom has not been gained free from spot; wealth has not been acquired; reverence towards our elders has not been practised by us; we have not even dreamt of love. If this has been our existence, then have we lived a life even like the life of a crow, which hungers for the food of others.
49. When all our wealth is gone, then with hearts full of tenderness, recollecting how the path of action in the world leads to evil, we in a sacred grove, with the rays of the autumn moon shining on us, will pass our nights occupied alone in meditation, at the feet of Siva.
50. I am satisfied with bark clothing; thou takest pleasure in thy magnificence: there is no difference between the contentment of both of us. The man whose desires are unlimited is poor indeed; who that is satisfied with what he has can be either rich or poor?
51. Relaxation from toil at one's own will, food gained without degradation, friendship with noble-minded men, a mind not agitated by contact with external thingsthis is the result of the highest vow of tranquillity. I know not, though I have carefully thought thereupon, by what strict penance this perfect state may be gained.
52. The hand serves for a cup; food is gained by begging; the sky with its pure expanse serves for a garment; the earth is a couch. Those whose freedom from attrac
tion to objects of sense has been brought to such perfection as this are fortunate, contented in their own minds, and they uproot action, casting away all the many forms of pain which attend upon it.
53. Masters are difficult to please; kings change from one thing to another in their minds with the swiftness of horses; our desires are great, and our minds aim at high things. Old age consumes our bodies; death puts an end to our lives. O my friends! there is no glory in this world for a wise man but that which he gains by penance.
54. Pleasure is like the lightning that flashes in the canopy of cloud; life is like the fleeting clouds that are torn asunder by the storm; the ardent desires of the young are transitory. O wise men ! you who know the uncertainty of human affairs, gain wisdom by meditation on the Supreme Spirit; for perfection is easily gained by means of constant contemplation,
55. A man who is wise and understanding, being pained by hunger, will go from door to door throughout the huts of a sacred village, and will beg alms where he sees the door-post blackened by the smoke of the sacrifices offered by the learned priests who dwell within; and he will bear before him his pot covered with a white cloth: he will not live in misery from day to day among families as wretched as himself.
56. "Are you a Chandâla ? are you a Brâhman? are you a Sûdra, or an ascetic, or a lord of devotion whose mind is skilled in meditating on the truth?” Ascetics, when men ask them such questions as these with loud voices, feel neither pleasure nor anger, but pursue their course in quietness.
57. O my friend ! fortunate are those who have cast off the many bonds of this world, and from within whose minds desire for earthly objects, like the poison of a serpent, has departed. They spend the night, bright with the clear shining of the autumn moon, in the border of the forest, thinking on nothing but the greatness of their good fortune.