« PreviousContinue »
NOTES TO VAIRAGYA SATAKA.
The third collection of Satakas ascribed to Bhartrihari, called the Vairágya 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
who 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. Vipakah punyânám jayanti bhayam me vimrisataħ. “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
When bodily disguises are dissolved,
“ Indian Wisdom," p. 122.
Kákopi javate 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. Vikramorvaśî, Introductory śloka—“ Antar mumukshubhir niyamitaprânâdibhir mțigyate,” “ (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 pranidhana 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.
6 Intermissa Venus diu
Rursus bella moves ? Parce, precor, precor,
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 (śloka 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 śloka 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. Kala 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 śâra 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."
40. Dwelling beside the divine river, i.e., the Ganges, is equivalent to abandoning the world.
45. Raga-graha-vant, "Love takes the place of crocodiles." Benfey in Lex. (sub Grahavant) translates “Containing love instead of sharks.” The first half of the word relates to men's desires, the second to the river to which they are compared. A man is drowned by the passions which meet him in the river of desire, as a swimmer across the Ganges would be eaten by the crocodiles.
46. Âlana, “The post to which an elephant is tied.” Cf. Mặich., act i. 39–
“Âlâne gřihyate hastî vâjî valgâsu gộihyate
hșidaye gřihyate nârî, yadîdam nâsti gamyatam.” “An elephant is held by a post, a horse is restrained by bridles, a woman by her heart. If these are not secureddepart."
47. The idea to be gained from this stanza is, that the suppliant of the rich thinks the days too long because he has to suffer the trouble of unsuccessful entreaties; the person engaged in worldly objects thinks the time too short to accomplish his numerous ends. On the other hand, the philosopher laughs at both sets of persons for their delusions.
53. Turaga-chala-chittâì. Chala-chitta means fickle, inconstant. Turaga means simply the swift goer; hence a horse; also the mind, from its swiftness of thought (Cf. Dair. s., Śl. 77). Turaga-chala-chitta might mean, therefore, simply "fickle in mind." Telang remarks on the words as expressing an "unusual simile,” suggesting that the mind is compared to a horse for swiftness. Probably a play on the words is meant.
55. The status of the man who thus obtains his livelihood by begging is laid down in Manu, vi. 87, where he is placed as occupying the third order in the Brâhman caste. The Vâna-prastha (the title by which he is designated) is the last stage but one in the Brâhman's life. He is directed, among other duties (Manu, ii, 187), on the morning and evening of each day to go round the villages in his neighbourhood, and
to beg food for himself and his spiritual teacher. The “doorposts blackened by the smoke of the offerings” is referred to, Raghuv., i. 53–
(The hermitage) purifying the guests whose faces were turned towards the hermitage, through the smoke of the oblations, which was scented, borne upon the wind, showing where the fires were rising."
63. This śloka is identical with Niti Sataka, sloka 26.
65. This sloka is literally, “You (are) we, we are) you, thus was the mind of us two: how has it become now that you as you, we (are) we?”
66. Cf. Plato de Rep., Book i. cap. 3—IIūs, ion, à Lopóx2.815, έχεις πρός τάφροδίσια και ότι οδος τ' εί γυναικι συγγίνεσθαι; και ός,
Ευφημει, έφη, άσμενάιτατα μέντοι αυτό απέφυγον, ώσπερ λυττώντά τινα και άγριον δεσπότην αποφυγών.
Supercilious contempt,” “Vasa-pavana-ânartita-bhrûlatâni,” lit. “Creeper-like eyebrows gently moved up and down with the wind of (their own) power (or conceit).”
73. Thy foot may have been placed on the neck of thy enemies," "Nyastam padam sirasi vidvishatâm tataḥ kim." For a parallel idea among other passages, cf. Ps. viii. 8 (Vulg.), “Omnia subjecisti sub pedibus ejus;" also Ps. xlvi. 4. For a collateral notion, cf. Ps. cix. I, “Donec ponam inimicos tuos, scabellum pedum tuorum." This and the following śloka teaches that man may have gained everything to be desired, but yet not have attained to emancipation from worldly things and union with the Supreme Being. This is only to be gained by the methods inculcated in the following stanza.
74. Cf. Miscellaneous Satakas, Vairágya Sataka, sloka 29.
75. Vairágya (the subject of this Sataka) is the sole means of gaining union with the Supreme Soul; and what Vairágya Is this sloka explains.
Contrast with this śloka, Bhagavad., vi. 1—“He who pays no heed to the fruit of his acts, and who performs bis duty, he is both the devotee and the ascetic.”