Woman is the source of constant vexation and greatest bondage. The figure or form of woman is nothing but a network of bones coated with fat and flesh. This observation also applies to man.
Woman is the source of all misery. She is an embodiment of passion. She sucks your vitality. You do many vicious actions just to please her. You have to reap the fruits of these actions and suffer. What happiness is there to be derived from the string-tossed puppets of female bodies? Where is the beauty in a female? Do Vichara and analyze. Will any Viveki think of this illusory figure? The beauty you see in the form of a woman is the emanation from the Atman within. Look at the condition of the eyes, face and body of a woman after an attack of seven days' illness! Where has the beauty gone? Look at the wrinkled face of an old woman? Analyze the parts of a woman, realize their illusory nature and abandon these totally. If you begin to analyze this body into flesh, blood, bone, sweat, etc., the attraction towards woman will perish in a short time. Love and attachment to a woman destroy Buddhi, Mukti and virtuous deeds and cause contraction of heart.
If lust for woman which is the source of all enjoyments ceases, then all worldly bondage which has its root or substratum in the mind will automatically cease. Even the most virulent poison is no poison at all when compared to sensual objects. The former defiles one body only whereas the latter adulterates many bodies in successive births.
This body is certainly not meant for the satisfaction of petty ends. It is for rigorous penance here and infinite happiness hereafter. It is an instrument for achieving the goal of human life i. e., the attainment of Brahma Jnana. It serves the purpose of a boat to cross this ocean of Samsara to the other side.
This body is the source of infinite miseries. It is full of impurities. It brings disrespect, censure, pain, etc. It passes away without a moment's notice. It is subject to disease, decay and old age. Therefore think of Atma which is eternal, pure and all-pervading.
The physical body appears only in the present. A thing that has neither past nor future must be considered as non-existent in the present also. If you think over this matter more deeply with Suddha-Buddhi, you will find Atyanta-abhav (complete nonexistence) of the world.
This body which is full of impurities, urine, fecal matter, pus, etc., is perishable. It is like froth or bubble or mirage. It is despised by your enemies. It remains like a useless log of wood on the ground when the Prana departs from the body. It is the cause of the pain and suffering. It is your real enemy. You should treat this body with extreme contempt as dung. Why should you cling to it (Abhinivesa) and worship it with scents, powders, and flowers? Do not be foolish and silly in adorning it with fine silks and ornaments. It is dire Ajnana only.
Nothing on this earth belongs to me. This body even is not mine. This is true wisdom. "He is my son. She is my daughter. She is my wife. That bungalow is mine. I am rich. I am a kshatriya. I am a' Brahmin. I am lean. I am fat." This is foolishness of a superior order. This physical body is the rightful property of fishes, jackals and vultures. How can you call this as yours?
Application of soap to the body, oil to the hair, powder to the face, looking into the mirror thousand and one times a day, wearing rings on the fingers, these and many as these will intensify your attachment to the body. Therefore give up all these things ruthlessly.
A big boil is washed with lotion. Then boric ointment is applied. Then bandage is put on. Even so this nasty body is a very big boil. It is washed daily. Food is thrust into it. This is the ointment. Cloth is worn. This is the bandage. Sadhus treat this body as a very big boil or wound with an oozing discharge. But the body is worshipped by worldly-minded persons on account of delusion and infatuation.
Wearing cloth is not for enhancing the beauty of the body. This body is a dirty leather-bag filled with various sorts of impurities. Cloth is meant to cover up this impure body. Wear simple clothing. Have sublime thinking. Virtuous life in God or Atman can give you real beauty.
The "beauty" of this body is only superficial (apata-ramaniya). The beauty of the skin is also superficial. You can have undecaying, infinite beauty in God alone.
O man! Are you not ashamed to call this filthy body as "I" and to say "this is mine," "'he is my son," when everything is perishable? Even jackals, vultures and fishes say : "These bodies of human beings are ours." This world or Samsara is Asara or Virasa (essenceless). Give up identification with this feeble, perishable and impure body of five elements whereof the bones are the pillars, which is strung by the nerves, coated over with flesh and blood, covered up by the skin, is of bad odour, full of urine and feces, is ever haunted by dotage and miseries and is the seat of all ills. This identification with the body is the seat of Raurava hell. What is the difference between the worms and men that rejoice in this ill-smelling body?
Maya, the great juggler, prepares a skeleton, covers it with flesh, and hides the various impurities with a shining skin. O deluded man! How long are you going to call this body as yours? How long are you going to cling to this perishable body? Give up this identification with the body and identify yourself with your real nature the Satchitananda Swaroop.
When this body is free from disease and decrepitude, when old age is still far off, when the powers of the senses are not affected and life is not decaying, the man of discrimination should exert for God-Realization? It is useless to dig a well when the house is on fire.
Marriage is a curse and a life-long imprisonment. It is the greatest bondage. A bachelor, who is full of passion, imagines that he is miserable because he has no wife. The bachelor who was once free is now tied to the yoke of family and his hands and feet are chained. This is the experience of all married people. They weep after marriage. More beggars are brought forth into this world through lust. He who has understood the magnitude of human sufferings will not dare to bring forth a child.
Woman (wherever woman is represented from the view-point of man, with a view to induce Vairagya in him, the reader will do well to remember that a similar representation of man from the view-point of woman is implied therein) is the source of constant vexation and sorrow and is the greatest bondage. One cannot sacrifice a noble and sublime ideal, Self-Realization, for the sake of pleasing a bewitching woman.
Wife is only a luxury. It is not an absolute necessity. Every householder weeps after marriage. He says : "My son is ailing from typhoid. My second daughter is to be married. I have debts to clear. My wife is worrying me to purchase for her a gold necklace. My eldest son-in-law died recently." Indeed such miseries are not uncommon to all.
Wife is a sharp knife to cut the life of the husband, and vice versa. Anasuya and Savitri are very, very rare. If the gold necklace and Benares silk saries are not supplied, at the proper time, the wife frowns at the husband. The husband cannot get his food at the proper time. The wife lies down in the bed under pretext of acute abdominal colic. You can see for yourself this pitious spectacle in your own house or in the house of your friend and in daily experience. Indeed I need not tell you much. Therefore be wedded to Santi and have Vairagya, the worthy son and Viveka the magnanimous daughter. Eat the delicious fruit of Atma Jnana which can make you immortal.
When your wife is young and beautiful, you admire her curly hair, rosy cheeks, fine nose, shining skin and silvery teeth. When she loses her beauty on account of some chronic incurable malady, you have no attraction for her. You marry a second wife. Had you loved your first wife with Atma Bhav, had you a comprehensive understanding that the Self in you and in your wife is the same, your love for her would have been pure, unselfish, lasting, undecaying and unchanging. Just as you love old sugar candy or old rice the more, so also you would love your wife more and more, even when she becomes old, as you have Atma-Bhav through Jnana. Jnana will only intensify Prem and make it lasting.
He who is attached to his wife, children and wealth., will not derive even an iota of benefit in the spiritual path. By indiscriminate clinging to wife, children, house, wealth and objects, you have forgotten your essential divine nature. Even the old needles without eyes will not follow you, when you die. Only your actions, good and bad, will follow you. And God will judge you according to your motives and deeds.
A passionate bachelor is ever thinking "When can I live with my young wife?" A dispassionate householder in whom Viveka has dawned is ever thinking: "When can I disentangle myself from the clutches of my wife and retire into the forests for contemplation on Atma?" The mind alone is the cause of bondage and freedom. Kill this mind and rest in the Atman.
You have become the sporting lap-dog of the caprice of woman. You have become a slave of countless desires, emotions and passions. When are you going to rise up from this miserable state? In the Yoga Vasishtha you will find: "Those persons, in spite of the knowledge of the non-existence of happiness both in the past and the present in the baneful objects of the world, do yet entangle themselves in them with their thoughts clinging to them, deserve the appellation of an ass, if not a worse one."
Human love is all hollow. It is mere animal attraction. It is passion only. It is carnal love. It is selfish love. It is ever-changing. It is all hypocrisy and sheer show. The wife does not care for her husband, if he happens to be on the roll of- unemployment. The husband dislikes his wife, when she loses her beauty on account of some chronic disease. Dear man, you can find real, lasting love in God and God alone. His Love knows no change.
Remembrance or image of a woman disturbs the mind. Lust is very powerful. It carries a flowery bow equipped with five soft arrows, viz., mohana, stambhana, unmadana, soshana and tapana(fascination, stupefaction, maddening, emaciation and inflaming). Viveka, Vichara, devotion and contemplation will eradicate this dire malady. If lust is conquered, anger, greed, etc., which are all auxiliary weapons, will become ineffective. Love's principal weapon is woman. If this is destroyed, its followers or retinue can be quite easily conquered. If the commander is killed, then it becomes easy to conquer the soldiers. Conquer passion first. It will then be easy to subdue anger, who is only one of his followers.
When a tiger has once tasted human blood, it always runs after human beings. It becomes a man-eater. Even so, when the mind has once tasted the sexual pleasure, it always runs after that pleasure. It is through constant Vichara and Brahma-Bhavana that the mind has to be weaned out from lustful thoughts and tendencies. Make the mind understand by repeated auto-suggestions and hammering that sexual pleasure is false, worthless, illusory and full of pains. Place before the mind the advantages of a life in the Atman-bliss, power, and knowledge. Make it understand fully that the exalted, eternal life is in the immortal Atma, not certainly in sensual pleasures. When it hears constantly these suggestions, it will slowly leave off its old habits.
In the Bhagavad Gita you will find "Humility, unpretentiousness, harmlessness, forgiveness, rectitude, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self-control, dispassion towards the objects of the senses, and also absence of egoism, insight into the pain and evil of birth, death, old age and sickness, unattachment, absence of self-identification with son, wife, or home, and constant balance of mind in wished-for and unwished-for events, unflinching devotion to Me by Yoga, without other objects, resort to sequestered places, absence of enjoyment in the company of men, constancy in the wisdom of the Self, understanding of the object of essential wisdom; that is declared to be the Wisdom; all against it is ignorance (Ch. XIII-8-12).
"Demoniacal men know neither right energy, nor right abstinence; nor purity, nor even propriety, nor truth is in them." "The whole universe is without truth, without basis," they say, "without a God; brought about by mutual union, and caused by lust and nothing else." Holding this view these ruined selves of small understanding, of fierce deeds, come forth as enemies for the destruction of the world surrendering themselves to insatiable desires, possessed with vanity, conceit and arrogance, holding evil ideas through delusion, they engage in action with impure resolves. Giving themselves over to unmeasured thought whose end is death, regarding the gratification of desires as the highest, feeling sure that this is all, held in bondage by a hundred ties of expectation, given over to lust and anger, they strive to obtain by unlawful means hoards of wealth for sensual enjoyments"(Ch. XVI-7-12).
In the Vishnupurana, it is said: "If the deluded fool loves the body, a mere collection of flesh, blood, pus, feces, urine, muscles, fat and bones, he will verily love hell itself! To him who is not disgusted with the nasty smell from his own body, what other argument need be adduced for detachment?"
Sage Vasishtha says to Sri Rama "What is there of an auspicious nature in the cage like automation of a woman-a veritable doll of flesh, joined with knots made of muscles and bones? Scrutinize her eyes closely and see, after an analysis, if there is, after all, anything charmingly beautiful about the membraneous sheaths muscles, blood and tears composing them. Why, then, are you enamoured of them in vain? Her breast, whereon the movements, hither and thither, of the pearl necklace, are comparable, in point of elegance, to the swift waters of the Ganga rolling down the summits of mount Meru, the self-same breast, of a damsel is, however, voraciously devoured, when occasion arises, by dogs, on the cremation ground situated in some out-of-the-way spots, even like a small ball of rice. Wearing the soot-like locks of hair and therefore best left untouched, though attractive to the eye, women, who are the veriest flame of the fire of sin, consume men like so much straw. It is women who, though appearing all juicy and green, are verily devoid of grace and who, by their attractive looks, allure men to their destruction and feed the fires of hell raging on a far off region. They are verily traps laid by the bird catcher Cupid, to catch his bevy of birds, viz., unsophisticated men. Woman is the treacherous bait, attached to the line of impure latent desires, to catch men, who are, so to say, so many fish in the pond of birth and death, wallowing in the mire of the mind. Enough with woman-the treasure chest, wherein the serene gems of the deadliest sins are kept and the endless chain of torturing misery. Made up of flesh here, blood there and bones in a third place, this female form, O Brahman! After all disintegrates in a few days. He feels the desire for intercourse, who has a woman about him. Where is the scope for such enjoyment to the womanless? Abandon her and you abandon the whole world; by abandoning the whole world, you find Supreme Bliss." *
* Lust is a potent force, very difficult to get rid of. Hence I have to place such a mental picture before the minds of the vast majority of persons. Really, women should be adored, as Mother-Shakti. She is the creatress, generatrix and nourisher of the universe. She must be revered. In India, religion is being preserved and maintained only through the devotional element of women. Devotion is a fundamental characteristic of Hindu ladies. Hate lust, but not women.
"Yatra naryastu pujvante ramante tatra devatah, Yatraitastu ne puiyante sarvastraphalah kriyah."
"Where women are honoured, there the gods are pleased; but where they are not honoured, no sacred rite is fruitful" (Manusmiriti)
This is a strange world indeed. This is a very big museum or a wonderful show. The flowers and the Himalayan landscape, the Niagara waterfalls and the blue seas, the sky and the Taj Mahal are all very beautiful and charming. But the earthquakes, Volcanic eruptions, lightnings, cyclones and epidemics of influenza and plague are frightfully awful and threatening.
A beautiful wife is very charming. She is very sweet, when she is young, when she smiles, when she puts on beautiful dress, when she sings and plays on the piano or violin, when she dances in the ballroom. But she is horrible to look at when she loses her temper, when she quarrels with her husband for not getting silk saries and gold necklace, when she is suffering from acute abdominal colic or some such disease and when she becomes old.
The spring is very lovely. The trees arc adorned with flowers and fruits. The cool gentle breeze is really exhilarating but the summer is scorching. The winter is bitingly cold.
Man laughs when he gets a son, when he gets married, when he gets some sudden fortune or increase in salary, but he weeps when his wife dies, when he loses his money, when he is thrown out of employment, or when he suffers from some acute disease.
Now, tell me, friend! what do you really find in this illusory world-happiness or pain, joy or sorrow? Have you now understood the illusory nature of Mayaic creation? This world is a mere appearance. Mind and the senses are deceiving you every moment. You have mistaken pain for pleasure. There is not even an iota of happiness in this sense universe. Abandon these selfish struggles and schemes for amassing wealth. March directly to that wire-puller who is moving these toys of fleshy human bodies, who is keeping up this big show, who is behind this show. In Him only you will find lasting happiness and perennial joy. Merge in Him by practicing daily meditation and Japa.
This world is as unreal as the shadow, bubble or froth. Why then do you run after the toys of name and fame?
How uncertain is sensual life in this world! How transitory and fleeting is sensual pleasure! Mark how many thousands of people were carried away in the recent Bihar and Quetta earthquakes! (refers to incidents occurred long ago before this book was written) How many big palatial mansions were destroyed! This is Adhidaivika Tapa. Yet people want to build bungalows in Simla and Mussoorie and attain immortality there! How foolish these people are! Poor self-deluded souls! Pitiable is their lot! They are earth-worms only as they revel in filth. I pray for them. May God bestow on them Viveka, Vairagya and Bhakti!
Go wherever you may, to Gulmarg or Pahalgaon in Kashmir, to Darjeeling or Simla, to Vienna or Alps. It is all the same.
You will not find any real rest. The charming scenery may soothe the retina for a second. Raga, Dvesha, jealousy, passion and greed are everywhere. You will find the same earth, the same sky, the same air, and the same water. And you carry with you the same mind. Imagination and change of places have deceived not a few. O man! Be contented. Live where you may. But discipline the mind and the senses. Meditate on the inner Self (Antar-Atma) ceaselessly. Here you will find the everlasting peace. Mind will stop deceiving you now.
To me the whole world appears as a ball of fire. To me the whole world appears as a huge furnace wherein all living creatures are being roasted.
Will your son or daughter or friend or relative help you, when you are about to die? Have you got one sincere, unselfish friend in all this world? All are selfish. There is no pure love. But that Lord, your real Friend of friends, Father of fathers, who dwells in your heart, will never forsake you, though you may forget Him. Adore Him in silence, that God of gods, that Divinity of divinities, Highest of the highest. May He bless you with His Love, Wisdom, Power and peace.
As everything is unreal in this world, treat love and respect as poison. Be indifferent. Be reserved and reticent. Give up mixing with others. Live alone and enjoy the Atmic Bliss in your heart. You don't want any company, when you can live in the Soul.
You must show extreme contempt towards worldly objects. Treat all earthly possessions and sensuous enjoyments as dung, poison, dust, and straw. Turn the mind away from them. Then only you will get Jnana.
Give up clinging to this illusory life. Be fearless. Take refuge in Vairagya. All fears will melt away. Cling to the Feet of the Lord. Cling to the indivisible, unseen, unknown, unknowable Atman or Brahman of the Upanishads.
By indiscriminate clinging to wife, children, house, wealth, and objects, you have forgotten all about your essential divine nature. You have become an atheist. Wife, children and money have become your gods, whereas in reality they are your enemies.
If you develop keen Vairagya, if you subdue your senses, and shun all enjoyments and pleasures of this worthless world, mixed as they are with pain, sin, fear, craving, miseries, disease, old age and death then nothing can really tempt you in this world. You will become proof against all temptations. You will have eternal peace, and infinite joy. You will have no attraction for women and other worldly objects. Lust cannot possess you then.
If you really want God and God alone, kick this world mercilessly. Enough, enough of your tea and coffee, enough of soda and lemonade, enough of father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister and relations. You have had countless fathers and mothers, wives and children in the past. You came alone. You will go alone. None will follow you save your own actions. Realize God. All miseries will come to an end.
He who indiscriminately clings to wife, son and daughter and the objects of the world has no other alternative but to forget all about his divine nature.
The company of worldly-minded people is as dangerous, if not more, as the company of a woman to an aspirant.
Worldly men think they are quite happy because they get a few ginger biscuits, some money and a woman. O, if they would just taste the nectar of immortality, what should be the intensity of happiness they should feel!
Dear friend! The past now appears to you as a dream. Then why do you not believe that the present also will appear as a dream in the near future?
All worldly pleasures appear as nectar in the beginning, but become virulent poison in the end. This world is a Mela (a congregational performance as a diversion or sport) for two days, and this body is a mere appearance for two seconds. Even if you become the sole monarch of the whole world, you can hardly be in the enjoyment of real Bliss and Peace.
Life of man on earth is nothing but a life of temptations and tribulations. Those who have real and intense Vairagya and strong Viveka can hardly be tempted by worldly objects, by Mara and Satan.
Being much hemmed in on all sides and whirling in, different conditions in this ever fluctuating world, you are ever whirling with delusion and afflicted with pains like dusts of sand floating on a large stone. Now, reflecting upon Time which is eternal in its true nature, you cannot but term as a moment the 100 years of your life. While so, how is that you estimate your life so greatly and fall into all sorts of despondencies through the insatiable desires? Who is there so debased in life as you who are spoiled through the gross-mind? Fie on-your uneven life, which cannot be considered as of any moment.
Comparing this life to the countless universes, you cannot but consider it as an atom. It is really surprising that you should rate high this universe full of pains.
Even the greatest of persons will in course of time become the lowest of the low. All enjoyments, great men, and their kindred have appeared in former times. Where then is the certitude of existence of all objects now? The innumerable earths with their countless rulers and wealth have all perished like fine sands; the Devalokas (celestial realms) with their Indras and wealth have all disappeared: no limit can be imposed upon the number of universes, Brahmas and Jivas that have come and gone. Where then are all the objects that have vanished out of sight? Where then is the permanency of earthly life? It is only by bestowing your desires on the illusion of the long dream of bodily delusion in the sable night of the unreal Maya that you have debased yourself to this ignorant state.
Enough, enough with all the deaths you had in previous times. Not one beneficent object exists on this earth either in the beginning, middle or end. Are not all created objects coated over with the varnish of destruction? You enact in your daily life with your body dire sinful acts, painful deeds and illimitable vices.
In youth you are enveloped in ignorance, in adult age you are entangled in the meshes of women; in old age you groan under the burden of Samsara and debility. You eventually die. Being thus always occupied, when will you find time to devote yourself to the commission of virtuous deeds? How came this Maya to play and dance in this world? This ghost of your mind dances in the theatre of this universe to the music of the organs. If in the opening and closing of the eyelids many Brahmas are created and destroyed, what are you, a puny self, before them?
You cannot please the world, your wife and children. Remember the story of the old man, his son and the donkey. In the Sastras it is said "The pure man is looked upon as a devil, the clever man as presumptuous, the man of forbearance as weak, the strong man as cruel, the absent-minded man as a thief, and the handsome man as lewd. Who can then please the world? There is no means within knowledge wherewith one can satisfy all people. One's own good should, by all possible means, be looked to. What can the myriad-tongued world do?"
The Blessed Lord says : "He, O Pandava, who hates not radiance, nor outgoing energy, nor even delusion, when present; nor longs after them, absent; he, who, seated as a neutral, is unshaken by the properties; who, saying: 'The properties revolve,' stands apart immovable, balanced in pleasure and pain: self-reliant; to whom a lump of earth, a rock and gold are alike; the same to loved and unloved; the same in censure and in praise the same in honour and in ignominy; the same to friend and foe, abandoning all undertakings, he is said to have crossed over the properties. And he who serves Me exclusively by the Yoga of Devotion, he, crossing beyond the properties, is fit to become the Eternal" (Gita : Ch. XIV-22-26).
To attain to this exalted state of spirituality, you should, in the first instance, fully realize the glory of life in the Spirit, or the Soul. Then only you will have the requisite strength to kick and spurn this world mercilessly and take to a life of meditation on the Atman and the path of renunciation. Constant remembrance, and meditation on the following verses of the Bhagavad-Gita will help you not a little in the attainment of your goal.
"He, whose self is unattached to external contacts, and finds joy in the Self, having the self harmonised with the Eternal by Yoga, enjoys happiness exempt from decay." (Ch. V-21)
"That in which he finds the supreme delight which the Reason can grasp beyond the senses, wherein established, he moves not from the Reality; which, having obtained, he thinks there is no greater gain beyond it; wherein established, he is not shaken even by heavy sorrow." (Ch. VI-21, 22).
"The Yogi who thus, ever harmonizing the self, has put away sin, he easily enjoys the infinite bliss of contact with the Eternal." (Ch. VI-28).
"I shall declare that which ought to be known, that which being known immortality is enjoyed; the beginningless supreme Eternal, is called neither being nor non-being." (Ch. VIII-12)
"When the dweller in the body has crossed over these three qualities, whence all bodies have been produced, liberated from birth, death, old age and sorrow, he drinks the nectar of immortality." (Ch. XIV-20).
Dear friends! Do not relax your efforts. Keep the Divine Flame burning steadily. You are nearing the goal now. Thy Light has come. There is Brahmic aura in your face. You have crossed many peaks and insurmountable summits in the spiritual path by dint of untiring and patient Sadhana. It is highly creditable indeed. You have indeed made remarkable progress. I am highly pleased with you, O Yogindra! But you will have still to ascend one more peak and go through one more narrow pass. This demands still more patient efforts and strength. You will have to melt your Sattwic egoism also. The Brahmakara-Vritti also should die. Then alone you will attain the Bhuma, the highest goal of life. You can do this. I am quite confident.
Essence Of Vairagya-Satakam
The Vairagya-Satakam, or the Hundred Verses on Renunciation, of Bhartrihari (for particulars about Bhartrihari's life see Chapter 8), are generally grouped into ten divisions, viz., condemnation of desire, futile attempts to abandon sense-objects, condemnation of poverty of a supplicant attitude, delineation of the evanescence of enjoyments, description of the working of Time, comparison of a king to an ascetic, control of mind by stimulating wisdom in it, discrimination of the immutable reality from the mutable, worship of Lord Siva and the ways of a Self-realized ascetic.
Even though you may roam about heaven and earth with a view to obtain riches at the sacrifice of dignity of birth, rank in life and self-respect, your efforts will not be attended with success; and even if perchance you do succeed, your desires will never be satiated. O ignoble man! What horrible sins and crimes have you not committed just to fill the cavity of your stomach and cover this body with a piece of cloth?
Hope is a flowing river. Desires are its water. Longings are its waves. Attachments for objects are the animals of prey living therein. One cannot cross this river because of the countless whirlpools of ignorance in the waters and the precipitous nature of the river banks. Only Yogis of pure mind can cross this river and enjoy the highest Bliss.
When you know fully well that all objects of enjoyments in this world are perishable and would leave you some day, why should you not voluntarily renounce them right now and enjoy eternal Bliss?
There is no miracle more wonderful to accomplish than that of a man of discrimination arising from knowledge of Brahman to wholly discard the wealth which has been giving him enjoyment!
The lives of ascetics living in mountain caves and meditating upon the Supreme Light are indeed blessed, not of those who live in mansions and indulge in sensual pleasures and vain imagination. The lives of ascetics living on alms, sleeping on the bare ground, self-reliant, and having but a worn-out blanket made up of a hundred patches is indeed the most exalted and blessed, not of those eating rich dishes, sleeping on royal beds and wearing excellent costly attire.
While the insects jump into the blazing fire and the fish sizes the bait attached to the hook through sheer ignorance, man who is supposed to have discrimination, and a knowledge of right and wrong does not abandon sensual pleasures that are attended with various defects! How inscrutable is the power of delusion!
Ignorant are those that think that possessing tall buildings, learned sons, tons of gold, a young beautiful lady as wife, and vigorous health constitute real blessedness, for they are deluded to run into the prison house of worldliness, whereas the truly blessed are those that renounce the world with all its joys and pleasures on account of its transitoriness.
Is it that those Himalayan valleys and the celestial Ganga banks are all engulfed in ruin that shameless men hanker after wealth, women and wine? Ts it that roots and herbs are no more available in those mountain-caves or that fruit-bearing trees are all destroyed that these men always want to revel in filth of worldliness?
Arise, O ignorant man, come with me. Let us go to solitary caves where even the name of that ignoble rich man is not heard. Let us live on roots and herbs and forest fruits; drink the cool, refreshing water of the holy Ganga and lie on soft beds of tender twigs and creepers. Let us repose on stone-beds in mountain-caves, meditate deeply day and night upon the All-merciful Siva, and lead a contented and peaceful life. Let us be happy, let the greedy and the avaricious be miserable. Even if gold equal to the Maha-Meru in weight were conferred upon me, I will not accept it.
Worldly life is always attended with fear, whereas renunciation alone makes man absolutely fearless.
Birth is eaten by death, blooming youth by old age, contentment by greed, happiness of self-control by the dangerous wiles of young women, virtues by jealous men, kings by the wicked ministers and power itself by transitoriness. Tell me what on earth is not eaten away by something else?
Health of men is subjected to various physical and mental ailments, wealth to peril of robbers, and whatever is born is carried away by death again and again. Enjoyments are fleeting, life is short and youthful happiness too little to quench one's thirst. Oh, this world is unreal. God alone is real. Renounce desires for worldly enjoyments and attain knowledge of the Self.
How dare you say there is happiness in this world, when you have come forth from within an impure womb, when in youth you are polluted by sensual pleasures and mental distraction, and in old age you become the laughing stock of lustful women?
How wonderful that man goes on doing sinful and vicious acts as usual regardless of everything when he knows that old age is waiting like a vulture to devour him, when diseases afflict his body and mind in various ways, and when days are wasted in useless pursuits!
O little man of little faith! Believe me, this world with all its enjoyments and sensual pleasures, is evanescent and fleeting. Why do you vainly search for happiness in these worldly objects and break your legs? If you really want happiness, do as I tell you. Concentrate. Meditate. Realize. Then you will enjoy the highest happiness.
Where are those lovely cities, powerful kings, their feudatory kings or vassals, their cabinet of shrewd ministers, those beautiful women with moon-like faces, those princes and lords of illimitable wealth and fame, those ministrels and their songs of praise and flattery that once flourished?
How strange again that man wants to enjoy the same pleasures of the senses, eat the same delicious foods, drink the same wine, enjoy the same women, pass the same day and night again, and that disgust for these have not yet arisen!
The span of man's life is very short-only a hundred years. Half of it is spent in sleep, and out of the rest, half is passed away in childhood and old age. Then there are periods of illnesses, bereavements and troubles, and serving others. What happiness can there be for a man in this world?
Who is great-a king or an ascetic? If you are a king of wealth and lands, I too am the king of the highest wisdom. If you are a king of great repute, my reputation resounds in all the four quarters of the globe and is envied greatly by all learned men. If you are cold and indifferent towards me, I too am perfectly indifferent towards you and your riches. If you exercise your kingly powers over riches I do the same over words. If you are a great warrior in the battlefield, I have the skill and the faculty to humble down the proudest of disputants.
O king, if you are rich in royal garment, I am perfectly contented with the bark of trees. He is verily poor whose desires are boundless, while he is truly rich who is contented with his lot.
O let us eat begged food, let the sky be our clothing, let the earth be our bed. We have absolutely nothing to do with the riches.
What a great fool you are to set thyself to winning good graces, so difficult to secure? O mind, wander not hither and thither. Rest in peace. Let things happen, if happen they must. Brood not over the past, nor plan about your future.
O mind, be calm and never desire for sensual enjoyments. Expel delusion and cultivate devotion unto Lord Siva, the Lord of lords, the God of gods, the Yogi of Yogis. Choose to live on the banks of the Ganga, the celestial river.
O mind, never again think of the frail Goddess of Fortune. Plunge thyself into deep and profound meditation on the Atma.
When there is devotion to Lord Siva, and fear of birth and death, when there is not the least attachment for family and excitement for sexual passions, when there is the solitude of the forests where the air breathed by worldly men does not exist, what better life is to be wished for?
Meditate on the supreme, infinite, ageless, effulgent Brahman, bereft of all imperfections and attain supreme Knowledge and Bliss.
When this body is free from disease and old age, when the senses are yet unaffected and life is still young, wise people should leave no stone unturned for the sake of their own supreme good, for it is of little avail to dig a well when the house is already on fire.
In our quest through the nook and corner of the three worlds ever since the beginning of creation, none has come within sight or hearing of a means to control the elephant of his mind, when maddened by the mysterious, deep-rooted infatuation for the female elephant of sense-object.
Sitting in the meditative posture at nights, when all sounds are stilled into silence, somewhere on the banks of the Ganga, and fearful of the horrible miseries of birth and death, crying aloud, "Siva, Siva, Siva" when shall we attain to that ecstatic state which is characterized by copious tears of joy :
If there is a loin-cloth worn out and shredded a hundred times, if one is free from all disquieting thoughts, if there is food, obtained from begging, and sleep on the cremation ground or in the forest, if one is at perfect liberty to wander about alone without any let or hindrance, and if one is steadfast in the festive joy of Yoga, what then is worth the rulership of the three worlds?
Story of a Prince
Once a young prince saw a beautiful princess on the banks of a river, when he was on a hunting excursion. The princess had a philosophical bent of mind. She had mastered several Vedantic books. She was practicing deep meditation on the Atman. The prince approached and wanted her to marry him. She flatly refused. The prince again and again entreated her in various ways. She finally told him: "Please come and see me in my residence after ten days. I shall marry you." The prince also was a student of Vedanta but he had no real sustained Vairagya. He spent sleepless nights and on the morning of the tenth day eagerly proceeded to the palace of the princess.
The young princess had already devised a means to escape from the clutches of marriage. She took a drastic purgative of crouton oil continually for ten days and collected all the motions in ten separate enamel commodes and arranged them all nicely with numbers I to X in a big room covering all the commodes with beautiful silk clothes. She now looked all skin and bones. Her eyes were sunken and she lay down on her bed.
The prince came to meet her with great joy. The maid-servant conducted him to the room, where the princess lay. He could not recognize her. He asked the maid-servant : "Where is the young, beautiful lady? She is not the lady whom I met the other day!" To which the princess replied: "O dear prince, I am the very same lady. I have carefully stored up my beauty in the yonder room. Kindly go with me and see the accumulated beauty there. Come along with me now. I shall show it to you." So saying she took the prince to the room, removed the silk piece and asked the prince to look at her beauty: She added "This is the beauty of my skin and flesh. "The prince was simply stunned. He did not speak a word to the lady. He prostrated himself at her feet and took her as his mother. He threw off his princely robes and retired into the forests. Now his heart was filled with intense Vairagya. He sought the protection of a sage, got instructions from him, practiced rigorous meditation and attained Knowledge of Self.
Story of Yogi Vemanna
Vemanna was born in the year 1820, in a small village, in the district of Godavari (Andhradesa). He had a brother by name Ramanna. His parents died, when he was quite a young boy. He was born in a rich family. He was a Reddy by caste.
Vemanna was sent to a primary school. He was not able to prosecute his studies. He fell into evil company and became a rowdy boy. But he was very handsome and active. Ramanna and his wife Jagadishvari liked Vemanna very much. At the age of fifteen, Vemanna became debaucherous. He spent much money for the sake of women. Yet his brother and sister-in-law liked him very much.
Ramanna and his wife wanted to correct the ways of Vemanna. They stopped giving him any money. So Vemanna stole at night the ornaments of his sister-in-law and gave them to a prostitute. When his sister-in-law came to know of the loss of jewels, she asked Vemanna: "Where are my jewels?" Vemanna replied: "As you did not give me money, I took them and gave away to my beloved." She did not speak a word. She did not even inform her husband of the loss of jewels. She liked Vemanna very much. She locked up all her ornaments in the safe.
The prostitute urged Vemanna to bring some more money or ornaments. So again at the dead of night Vemanna woke up from his bed and tried to remove some of the ornaments from the neck of his sister-in-law. She was wearing only the sacred ornament that was tied round her neck at the time of her marriage. Vemanna wanted to remove at least this ornament. When be was attempting to remove it, she woke up and caught hold of his hand and asked him why he came to her bedroom at mid-night. He replied in a daring manner: "my beloved asked me to bring some ornaments: I came here to take them." She asked Vemanna to get out of the room at once. Then he cried and fell at her feet. Jagadishvari prayed to God to give Vemanna good Buddhi (intellect) and make him a pure, virtuous soul. Then he promised to obey her words. Vemanna fully assured her to do so.
Jagadishvari said : "Vemanna, ask the girl to stand naked in front of you. Let her back be turned towards you. Then ask her to bend down and take the jewels from your hands by passing her hands through her thighs." Vemanna promised to do so and took the ornaments to the prostitute's house.
He asked her to do in the manner his sister-in-law had instructed. While she was bending down, he saw very clearly her private parts. At once Vairagya dawned in his mind. He retraced his steps to his house with the ornaments in his hands and related to his sister-in-law all that had happened. He said: "My dear sister-in-law, thank you so much for all your kind acts. I am a changed man now. There is no real happiness in this world. It is all jugglery of Maya. I am going now in quest of real happiness." He left the house at once and went to a Kali temple near his village and sat near the image of Kali.
Now it so happened that for some years a man named Abhiramayya was praying to Kali for Her Darshan. One day she appeared in his dream and said: "Come tomorrow at midnight. I will give you Darshan." But the unfortunate devotee could not come the next day. When Kali came, Vemanna was there. She asked Vemanna to ask a boon of her. Vemanna said : "O Mother! Give me Brahma-Jnana." Mother Kali then initiated him into the mysteries of Jnana. From that day onwards, Vemanna became a virtuous man with great devotion, Yogic powers and Jnana.
In the course of his wanderings, Vemanna went to Cuddappah. He lived in a forest near Cuddappah. He planted various fruit bearing trees, melons, cucumbers, etc. The cucumbers were all filled with gold. Vemanna built a golden temple in Sri-Sailam with this gold. Even today this golden temple of Sri-Sailam contains the famous Jyotirlinga of Mallikarjuna. It is a famous place of pilgrimage. One day some thieves came to rob the cucumbers containing gold. They all became senseless due to the Yogic powers of Vemanna.
Once, Vemanna entered the cottage of a poor Brahmin at mid-night and was sleeping on his bed. He answered the calls of nature on the bed itself. That portion of the bed that was soiled by the excreta became transmuted into gold.
Vemanna cast off his physical sheath in 1865. He wrote several books in Telugu on Yoga, chief among them being Vemanna-Tattva-Jnanam and Vemanna-Jivamritam.
Story of a Servant
Narendra Singh Bahadur, the Raja of Indrapur, had a servant named Hira Singh. Hira Singh resolved to break open the treasury of the Raja and steal away the ornaments and gold. Accordingly one day at the dead of night, he entered the bed-room of Narendra Singh on his way to the treasury, when he overheard a conversation between the Raja Sahib and the Rani. Lalitakumari, the Rani, asked the king: "When are you going to get our daughter Suratkumari married? She is quite a grown-up girl now. We cannot postpone the marriage any longer." The king replied : "I am trying my level best during the last two years, but I am not able to get a suitable match." The Rani would not accept such an answer, but again and again pressed the Raja to yield to her wish. At last the Raja said : "Lalita, I shall offer Surat in marriage to the first Yogi I would come across in the neighbouring forest along with half of my estate tomorrow morning."
Hira Singh who was all the while keenly over-hearing this conversation thought within himself: "Why this hazardous attempt then? If I am caught, I will be severely punished. Let me go to the forest and sit like a Yogi. I will get the girl and half the estate also quite easily." Immediately he dressed himself as a Yogi, repaired to the forest and sat in Samadhi on Padmasana with closed eyes. He did not shake the body even a bit. The Raja went to the forest the next morning and at last came to the place where this Yogi was sitting. He waited for a long time. The Yogi did not open his eyes. He gave one the impression that he was immersed in Samadhi. After full one hour he opened his eyes. The Raja fell prostrate at his feet and sincerely begged him to visit palace. The Yogi finally condescended to do so.
The Raja took the Yogi to the Durbar hall, seated him on the gaddi, and washed his feet. The Raja was fanning him. Then the Raja with folded hands addressed the Yogi thus : "O mighty Yogi blessed Soul, we have a beautiful girl. Kindly accept her in marriage together with half of my estate." Now real discrimination dawned upon the Yogi. Hira Singh who was wearing the false garb of a saint began to think very seriously and feelingly : "I am now honoured by this Raja and Rani simply because I am wearing the garb of a Yogi. If I were a Yogi and saint with divine virtues and God-Consciousness, how much more should I be held in esteem and honour by not merely this one petty chief but by countless kings, emperors and queens, and how many such princesses and kingdoms should I acquire?" At once he left the gaddi and the palace with a changed heart. God's grace descended upon him now. His heart was burning with intense Vairagya born of discrimination. Tears of joy flooded his eyes. Hair on the body stood on ends. No sensual object of the world could tempt him now. He went back to the dense forests with a heart filled with righteous disgust for the world, did intense and constant meditation and attained Self-Realization.
Story of Lord Buddha
Some 2500 years ago there lived in North India a Raja named Suddhodhana. He had a son named Gautama, a fine and handsome youth. At the age of sixteen he was married to a beautiful wife named Yasodhara and had a little son named Rahula. He lived in fine palace enjoying all the splendours and pleasures befitting a royal prince.
Beyond the bare fact that from the age of sixteen right up to the age of twenty-nine he lived the life of a householder nothing can be said about the early life of Gautama, who was destined in course of time to shine forth as a brilliant pole-star in the spiritual firmament of the world.
Prince Gautama, also called Siddhartha, had always been a wise and thoughtful lad. Gentle in his speech, kind hearted, and full of mercy to all living beings, when one fine morning he accompanied his royal father for a ride on horse-back, he felt quite pleased and happy. But the next moment he saw a plough man beating a poor bullock that had a sore on its back till it dropped down with intense pain and agony. As he rode along a little further he saw a dove being eaten away by a hungry hawk. Then he saw another dove eating some flies. Gautama went back home full of sorrow.
After a few days Gautama had a dream. He saw an old feeble man unable to walk and hardly able to stand and groaning under the burden of old age. And a voice addressed Gautama: "Thou wilt also get old and feeble like this old man, O Gautama!"
He then saw a man suffering from some dire malady and crying aloud unable to bear the torturing pain. And the voice said to Gautama: "Thou wilt also get ill and full of pain like this, O Gautama." Then he saw another man lying dead on the ground. And the voice again said to Gautama : "You must also die one day, O Gautama."
Supreme Vairagya dawned upon Gautama now. He fully realized the utter transitoriness of life and leaving his home, wife and child and all the pleasures and joys of life, he retired into the forest and became an ascetic. For full seven years he lived in the woods trying to find out some means to put an end to pain, sin and sorrow in the world, to seek something higher and nobler than the things of the sense conditioned in time.
Thus we learn that Siddhartha's reason for renunciation was his profound conviction that all worldly pleasures and happiness were fleeting, and his intense longing to attain to peace and calm which nothing could shake or end. Of course he sought this first for himself only, but afterwards he thought that what had given him peace and calm would be equally beneficial to others as well.
One night as he sat meditating under a Bodhi Tree (the Tree of Buddhahood), Truth dawned upon him. He realized that man's life is full of pain, that desire is the cause of pain that pain can be ended by putting an end to all desires, and that desire can be ended by right thought, word and deed. From this memorable day onwards, he came to be known as Buddha or the "Enlightened."
Buddha was one of the noblest and kindest men who ever lived. His religion is called Buddhism. He taught the world to be good and kind to all beings including animals and crawling creatures and that it was a sin to hurt anyone. He had a large following. Even today Buddhism is considered to be a great religion by all right-thinking men.
Story of Raja Bhartrihari
Once when Raja Bhartrihari was on his throne, a great Tapasvin or Rishi came to his court. Bhartrihari at once got up from his seat, and prostrating himself before the Tapasvin began to serve him in various ways. The sage being extremely pleased with the Raja's demeanour, gave him a fruit that could bestow upon the eater immortality and peace.
Now Raja Bhartrihari had a very beautiful queen of whom he was very enamoured and whom he very dearly loved. He thought that the only person who deserved this fruit was his young queen and none else, and so he took this God-sent gift to her and offered her the same. This young queen, though for all practical purposes the beloved of the Raja, had a paramour in the person of the charioteer who used to take her for drives now and then. She therefore took this fruit to him and gave him the same. Again this charioteer had a prostitute whom also he loved, and, accordingly, he gave the fruit to her.
Now, this prostitute thought that the only person who best deserved this fruit was Raja Bhartrihari himself, and so she took this fruit in her hands went to the Raja's palace and offered it to him. Raja Bhartrihari was simply mystified. He was unable to solve the problem as to how it could be possible for this prostitute to get the fruit that was the rightful possession of his queen.
After deep thought and great deliberation, he was able to solve the problem by himself. Just before this incident, Bhartrihari's brother who came to know of the queen's love for the king's charioteer had told Bhartrihari that the queen was an unchaste lady and that it was a great shame on the fair name of the royal family to keep a woman as queen in the palace when she secretly loved the king's charioteer. But the young queen rose equal to the occasion and brought forth evidences to disprove the validity of the charge against her and was able to prevail upon the king to exile his brother from the kingdom. After due investigation into the whole matter, with all the dexterity that he could command, Bhartrihari came to the conclusion that, after all, the charge brought against his queen by his brother was true and that he had been fooled by a woman to take the extreme step of exiling his own brother who loved him so dearly and who held as high the fair name of the royal family by zealously guarding it from insinuation and blot.
True Vairagya immediately dawned upon the king. He now thought that there was none in the world who was really dear to another, no, not even one's own wife or brother or friend. He became convinced that in fact these are one's real enemies. He felt extreme disgust for the world and its pleasures and at once left his kingdom, wife and children and retired into the forests to lead a life of a Sannyasin. He did profound meditation for many years and finally attained knowledge of Self. He wrote a book generally known as 'Bhartrihari's Vairagya Satakam, or the Hundred Verses of Renunciation' a perusal of which will produce immediate disgust for things mundane and induce one to renounce everything and lead the life of a recluse.
Story of Yayati
There once was a sagely king named Yayati, who lived for 1,000 years, enjoying all the pleasures a king of his position could command. When old age attacked him, and he had still great desire to enjoy all royal pleasures for some more years, he asked his sons one by one to take upon himself this old age and give him his youth in return, assuring him that after another 1,000 years he would return the youth and take back his decrepitude. Not one of them was willing to accept the offer except his youngest son named, Puru.
Puru said with all humility that he was quite willing to do as his father wished him and accordingly gave his youth to his father and got in return old age and its consequent weakness. Yayati, being exceedingly delighted with his new youth, began again to indulge in sensual pleasures. He enjoyed himself to the full extent of his desires and to the full limit of his powers and as much as he desired without violating the precepts of religion. He was very happy, but only one thought troubled him and that was the thought that the one thousand years would soon come to an end.
When the fixed time came to an end, he came to his son Puru and addressed him thus: "O son, I have enjoyed with your youth to the full extent of my desires and to the full limit of my powers and all according to their seasons. But desires never die. They are never satiated by indulgence. By indulgence they flame up like the sacrificial fire with ghee poured into it. If one becomes the sole lord of all the earth with its paddy, oats, gems, beasts and women, still it will not be considered by him enough. Therefore, the thirst for enjoyment should be abandoned. The thirst for enjoyments which is difficult to cast off by the wicked, which does not fail even with failing life, is truly a fatal disease in man. To get rid of this thirst is real happiness. My mind was attached to the pleasures of life for full one thousand years. My thirst for them, however, without being abated, is daily being increased. Therefore, I shall get rid of it.
I shall fix my mind on Brahma, and becoming peaceful and having no attachment, I shall pass the rest of my days in the forest with the innocent deers." So saying he installed Puru on the throne after giving him back his youth and retired into the forest to lead the life of an ascetic.
Story of Hemachuda
There was a king named Muktachuda in olden times. He ruled the kingdom of Dasarna. He had two sons, Hemachuda and Manichuda. They both were very beutiful, and virtuous. They had good behaviour and conduct. They were also very proficient in all arts. They both went to the mountain Sahya with attendants and weapons for hunting. They shot many tigers and wild animals. All of a sudden there was a terrible sand-storm. Immense darkness prevailed. One could not see the other person.
Hemachuda, anyhow, managed to reach the hermitage of a sage which was full of fruit trees. He saw in the ashram a handsome maiden. He was quite astonished to see a fearless girl in that solitary forest. He asked the maiden "Who are you? Who is your father? Why are you alone here? How did you develop this courage?" She replied politely, "Welcome, O Prince. Take your seat. Take a little rest. You seem to be much tired. Kindly take these fruits, and nuts. I shall relate my story." The I Prince ate those fruits and nuts and rested for a while.
The girl then began "O Prince, hearken to my story with rapt attention. I am the God-child of sage Vyaghrapada who is adored by all, whom has conquered the world by his severe austerities, and who has attained liberation. My name is Hemalekha. Vidyutprabha, a celestial nymph of matchless beauty and indescribable splendour one day came to the river Vena for bathing. Sushena, king of the Vengas, also came there. Sushena was captivated by the enchanting beauty of Vidyutprabha. The celestial nymph was also infatuated by the handsome figure of the king. Sushena pleaded his love towards Vidyutprabha. She responded. The king spent some time with her. Afterwards he returned to his capital.
Vidyutprabha soon brought forth a child. She left the child there as she was afraid of her husband, and went to her place. I was that child. Vyaghrapada went to the river for his daily ablutions. He saw me and took pity on me. He brought me up like a mother. I regard him as my father. I serve him with reverence. Through his grace I have become fearless here. My father will return presently. Please wait a little. Pay your respects to him and obtain his blessings." The intelligent girl understood the heart of the Prince and said : "O Prince, do not get disheartened. You can gratify your wish. My father will grant your wish."
Immediately the sage Vyaghrapada entered with flowers for worship. The Prince got up and prostrated himself before the sage. The sage understood that the Prince was in love with the girl. He gave Hemalekha in marriage to the Prince. The Prince returned with her to his city. His father was very much delighted. He celebrated their marriage with pomp and splendour.
The Prince loved Hemalekha immensely. He was very much attached to her. But he noticed that she was rather indifferent to sensual pleasures. He asked her one day "O dear Hemalekha: What is the matter with you? I am very much attached to you. Why do you not reciprocate my love? Nothing seems to have any effect on you. You are dispassionate. How can I enjoy when you have such an attitude of mind? You always sit with closed eyes like a statue. You do not laugh, play and joke with me. Kindly speak out your heart. Be frank."
Hemalekha replied respectfully: "O Prince; Hear me. What is love? What is dislike? As this is not clear to my mind, I am always reflecting over it. I have come to no definite conclusion. Please enlighten me on this point. I entreat you."
Hemachuda replied with a smile "it is true that women possess an innocent mind. Even animals understand what is like and dislike. We see that they like pleasing things and dislike unpleasant objects. Beauty gives us pleasure; ugliness gives us pain. Why do you waste your time daily on this?"
Hemalekha replied : "It is true that women have no independent power of thinking. So is it not your duty to clear my doubts? If you throw light, I will leave off thinking and be attached to you always. O Prince, you said that like and dislike or love and hatred arise out of objects which give us pleasure and pain. But the same object gives us pleasure and pain on account of time, circumstances and environments. What is your decision then? Kindly give me your definite answer. Fire is very pleasant in winter but in summer it is very terrible. You cannot go near the fire. The same fire gives pleasure in cold countries and pain in hot countries. The quantity of fire gives us different results. Similar is the case with wealth, wife, son, mother-country and so on. These induce positive sufferings and misery. Why is it that your father Muktachuda, despite his possession of immense wealth, sons and wife, is always sorrowful? Others are very happy even without these. Worldly happiness is mixed with misery, pain, fear and anxiety. So it cannot be called happiness at all. Misery is personal and impersonal or internal and external. The external one is caused by the impact of the elements on the body. The internal one is born out of desire. It has connection with the mind. Of these, the internal one is more formidable. It is the seed or cause for all sufferings. The whole world is drowned in such internal misery. The tree called misery has desire as the strong and never-failing seed. Even Indra and other gods are impelled by this desire. They carry out its instructions day and night. If there is no desire, you cannot experience any pleasure. Such mixture of happiness and misery is enjoyed even by the insects, worms, dogs. Do you think that man's happiness is greater than this? The happiness of the insects is superior to that of man. Because desire is not mixed in their pleasures; it is unalloyed. Whereas in man a little pleasure is found in the midst of thousands of ungratified desires. This cannot be called happiness. Man feels happy by embracing his wife, but by pressing her limbs too much she feels uneasy. After sporting they are exhausted. What happiness have you in these sensual perishable objects. Kindly explain. O Prince! This sort of happiness is enjoyed even by dogs, donkeys and pigs. But if you say that you are happy by looking at my physical beauty, this happiness is imaginary and illusory like the embracing of a lady in dream."
A certain beautiful Prince had a very handsome wife. He was very much attached to her. She on the contrary was in love with the Prince's servant. She was cheating the Prince by foul means. The servant would give some intoxicating drugs in the wine to the Prince. Then he would send an ugly servant-maid to the Prince. He himself would sport with the Prince's wife. The Prince under intoxication was thinking 'I am very fortunate. I have got the most beautiful lady in the world.' Many days passed thus. One day the servant forgot to mix the narcotic in the wine. The Prince also did not drink much that day. He joined the ugly woman when he fell victim to passion. He now found out that she was the servant-maid. He asked her where his dear wife was?
She kept silent at first. Then Prince drew the sword and threatened to kill her if she did not reveal the whole truth. She told him everything and showed the place where his beautiful wife was with the servant. The Prince said "What a fool am I? I have degraded myself by drinking. Whoever places too much love on woman, becomes despicable. Just as a bird is not fixed to any one tree, so also woman is not fixed to one man. She has a fickle, unsteady mind. I have become a beast. I have lost my power of discrimination. I regarded my wife more valuable than my very life itself. A man who is attached to a woman and who yields to a woman is a veritable donkey indeed. Woman's beauty is evanescent like the autumnal sky. I did not know woman's nature till now. She goes to the dirty servant and she has left me who am ever attached to her, and who is faithful to her. She pretended to show love to me like a dramatic actress. I am cheated. The servant is ugly in all his limbs. What beauty does she find in him? The Prince became disgusted with everything. He left the kingdom and went to a forest."
Hemalekha continued: "Therefore O Prince: beauty is a mental creation only. Beauty is mind born. Beauty is the result of mental conception. Just as you behold beauty in me, others find even better charm in an ugly woman. On seeing a woman her reflection is formed in the mirror of his mind if a man thinks of this beauty constantly, desire is stimulated in that part of the body which is subject to impulse. That man in whom the desire is thus stimulated enjoys sensual pleasure, whereas he whose desire is not stimulated does not care to see even the most handsome girl. The cause for this is the constant meditation on beauty or woman. Children and ascetics do not meditate or think this. Therefore they do not have any desire for sensuous pleasures. Those who find pleasure in the company of a particular woman create in their minds beauty according to their ideas, whether the woman is ugly or most beautiful. They project their ideas of beauty in the woman. If you ask how beauty is found in an ugly woman and how there can be joy without beauty I can only say that passionate man in his infatuation is blind. Cupid is painted blind. The passionate man finds the beauty of Rambha in the ugliest woman. There can be no beauty without desire. If beauty be natural like sourness, sweetness, bitterness in substances, then why is it not found in children and small babies? Therefore beauty is created by the mind only."
"People think beautiful this physical body which is composed of flesh; filled with blood, built of nerves, covered with skin, a cage of bones, over-grown with hair, full of bile, phlegm, a box of excreta and urine, created out of blood and semen, born through the urinary passage! How can those persons, who find pleasure in this, be superior to worms born in filth? O Prince, you find my physical body to be handsome. Just analyze this body part by part and think over each part. Think over every part of sweet and delicious things. All things we eat are changed into abdominal dirt. When such is the case what is lovable and delighting?"
Hemachuda heard the nectar-like instructions of Hemalekha with great attention and interest. He developed strong Vairagya and Viveka, meditated on the all pure, iimmortal Atman and became liberated. Manichuda also learnt the truth from his brother; Muktachuda from his son and his wife from her daughter-in-law. The ministers and citizens of that town became wise. Even birds were uttering words of wisdom in that town. Sages Vamadeva and others noticed that all in that town, including animals and birds were learned and wise, and called the city as Vidyanagara, or the town of Wisdom.
PRASNOTTARI of Sri Sankaracharya
Q. 1. Who is really enslaved?
Q. 2. What is freedom (or liberation)?
Q. 3. What is the most horrible hell?
Q. 4. What is the path to heaven?
Q. 5. What is the gate to hell?
Q. 6. What leads to heaven?
Q.7. Who are the enemies?
Q. 8. Who is really poor?
Q. 9. Who is rich?
Q. 10. What is nectar?
Q. 11. What is the real betters?
Q. 12. What is that which intoxicates as if it were wine?
Q. 13. Who is the most blind?
Q. 14. What is the deadliest of all poisons?
Q. 15. Who is miserable for ever?
Q.16. What is beyond the reach of everybody's knowledge?
Q. 17. Who is a beast?
Q. 18. Whose company should we shun off?
Q. 19. What is at the root of degradation?
Q. 20. What is at the root of becoming great?
Q. 21. Who is really born?
Q. 22. Who is really dead?
Q. 23. Who is the greatest of all enemies?
Q. 24. Who is not gratified by (all) objects of (enjoyment)?
Q. 25. What is at the root of all miseries?
Q. 26. Who are the real dacoits?
Q. 27. Who is the beast of all beasts?
Q. 28. What is fleeting like-lightning?
Q. 29. What should be constantly thought of?
Q. 30. What is real action?
Lord Buddha's Advice
Lord Buddha describes the amount of suffering which men endure. "The transmigration (Samsara) of beings, O mendicants", he says "has its beginning in eternity. The opening cannot be found from which, having come forth, being led astray through ignorance, bound by the thirst for existence, stray and wander. What do ye think, O mendicants, which of the two is more, the water which is in the tour great oceans, or the tears which have poured from you and have been shed for you, while ye wandered and went astray in this long transmigration, and sorrowed and wept, because that which ye hated was your portion, and that which ye loved was not your portion? A mother's death, a father's death, a brother's death, a sister's death, a son's death, a daughter's ass death, the loss of relations, the loss of property, all this ye have experienced through long ages. And while ye experienced this through long ages, more tears have poured from you and have been shed from you, while ye strayed and wandered on this long pilgrimage, and sorrowed and wept because that which ye hated was your portion and that which ye loved was not your portion, than all the water which is in the Four Great Oceans".
"A wise man should avoid unchastity as if it were a burning pit of live coals; one who is not able to live in a state of celibacy, should not commit adultery".
"Never associate with loved or with unloved objects;
Not to see the loved and to see the unloved is pain.
Therefore hold nothing dear, for the loss of the loved is evil;
No bonds have they to whom nothing is loved or unloved.
From what is loved is born grief, from the loved is born fear;
To the man freed from loving anything there is no grief, much less fear.
From affection is born grief, from affection is born fear;
To the man freed from affection there is no grief, much less fear.
From pleasure is born grief, from pleasure is born fear;
To the man freed from pleasure there is no grief, much less fear."
From desire is born grief, from desire is born fear;
To the man freed from desire there is no grief, much less fear.
"What laughter, what joy is there, since there is always the burning?
Enveloped in darkness, seek ye not a lamp?
Behold the varicoloured figure, the accumulated mass of wounds.
Afflicted full of wishes, to which there is no firmness, no stability.
This form (body) is decrepit, a nest of diseases, decaying:
The putrid body is breaking up, for life ends in death.
These grayish bones, which are cast away gourds in autumn,¾
Having seen them, what pleasure remains?
The preoccupied man while in the act of gathering flowers,
Does death seize and carry off, as a great flood the sleeping village.
The preoccupied man while in the act of gathering flowers,
Does the God of Death get into his power, when unstated with lusts".
Selections From Viveka-Chudamani of Sri Sankaracharya
1. The man who having with difficulties acquired a human births with a male body and knowledge of the scriptures through delusion does not exert for liberation commits suicide, for he destroys himself by clinging to unreal objects.
2. What greater fool is there than the man who having obtained a rare human birth and a male body too, neglects to attain the goal of his life?
3. Vairagya is the desire to abandon all the transitory enjoyments from the physical body up to Brahma, the creator, having already known their defects and shortcomings from observation, hearing, etc.
4. Those fools who are tied to these sense objects by the thick cord of attachment, so very difficult to be broken are forcibly carried along by the messenger, their own Karma, to heaven, earth and hell.
5. The deer, elephant, moth, fish and black bee-these five meet with their death, being bound to one or other of the five senses, viz., sound, etc., through attachment. What then of man who is bound by all the senses jointly.
6. In point of virulence sense-objects are more fatal than the poison of cobra even. Poison kills one who drinks it, but sensuous objects can kill one who even looks at them through the eye's.
7. He who is free from the terrible bondage of the hankering of the sense objects so very difficult to get rid of is alone fit for liberation; none else even though he is well versed in the six systems of philosophy.
8. Those seekers after liberation who are endowed with only an apparent dispassion (Vairagya) and are endeavouring to cross the ocean of Samsara or conditioned existence are seized by the stark of hankering; being caught by the neck and forcibly dragged into the middle and drowned.
9. He who has slain the stark of desire with the sword of supreme or mature dispassion, crosses the ocean of Samsara without obstacles.
10. Know that death rapidly overtakes that stupid man who treads along the dreadful path of sensual pleasure; but whoever treads the right path under the instruction of a Guru who looks after his spiritual welfare, also his own reasoning attains his end-know this to be true.
11. If thou hast really an yearning for liberation, abandon sense-objects from a good distance as if they were poison and always develop carefully the nectar-like virtues of contentment, compassion, forgiveness, sincerity, tranquillity and self-control.
12. Whoever passionately attends to the feeding of his own body which is an object for jackals, fishes and vultures, to enjoy, and ignores what should always be attempted viz., liberation from the bondage of ignorance without beginning commits suicide thereby.
13. Whoever tries to realize the Self by nourishing his body is like one who crosses a river by catching hold of a crocodile, thinking it to be a log of wood.
14. For one desirous of liberation the infatuation over things like the body is dire death. He who is free from such infatuation is alone fit for liberation.
15. Conquer the infatuation over the objects like the body, wife, children, and so on. Having conquered it the sages attain that supreme state of Vishnu.
16. This gross body is to be condemned for it is made up of skin, flesh, blood, arteries, veins, fat, marrow and bones and is filled with filth.
17. The physical body has got various restrictions regarding caste and order of life. It is subject to various diseases. It is worshipped and honoured sometimes. It is censured and insulted at other times.
The Mysterious Palace of Brahman
The mason builds a house out of stones, small bricks, lime and cement. He keeps big pieces of stones in the construction of the main walls and puts small bricks and pebbles to fill up the crevices in the wall, plasters the wall with lime and eventually puts a layer of cement. He polishes the wall with finishing touches and gives a colouring in the end to attract the eyes. Even so, the Divine Architect, God, has constructed this human body with the help of Prakriti. The bones represent the big stones; the muscles represent the pebbles; the fat the bricks; dermis or white skin the lime; the skin or epidermis the cement; the pigment of the skin the colouring matter. Look at the marvellous skill of the Divine Engineer, Engineer of all engineers. The muscles are fixed to the bones by means of tendons. The joints are kept intact by ligaments. Deposition of fat gives good shape to the limbs, trunk and abdomen and gives beauty. The pigment in the skin attracts the eyes of the out lookers and people are deluded by false beauty of the perishable body. They cling to this body and through this clinging they are caught up in the round of births and deaths.
The body is a mysterious moving palace. His Divine Majesty Brahman dwells here. Brahman is the Immortal soul or Atma. Buddhi or intellect is His Prime Minister. Mind is the commander. The ten Indriyas are the soldiers or servants. The eyes are the marvellous windows of the palace. Mouth is the way out. Eyes and ears are the way in. The Devatas who preside over the Indriyas, eyes ears, nose, etc., are the gatekeepers.
The nerves are the wires. Brain is the receivers It receives all messages. It contains a wonderful switch-board also. Prana is the electricity. The bones are the mountains. The veins are the rivers. The bladder is the ocean. The bowels and urethra are the sewers. The heart is the water-works. The arteries are the pipes. The astral heart is the garden of Vrindavan, Susbuma is the Kunjgalli of Vrindavan. Jiva is sweet Radha who wants to unite with Lord Krishna, or Brahman, through Yoga Samadhi. Sahasrara, or the crown of the head, is thplace where Radha and Krishna, the individual soul and Brahman, unite. The different Chakras are the resting places with Kadamba tree.
The body is made up of five elements. Bone is nothing but earth or clay. Blood or flesh is nothing but water. The shining in the skin and the eyes is nothing but fire. The Prana that moves in the nostrils and lungs is nothing but air. This air rests on ether. Ether is the support for all the other four elements. Air, fire, water and earth have emanated from ether. When the body is buried, the bones become one with the earth. They go back to their source. Through the practice of Laya-Chintan if you reduce the earth into water, water into fire, fire into air, and air into ether, the body does not really exist. It dwindles into airy nothing. Through jugglery of Maya you perceive this body. In reality the imperishable soul which is the support for this body and mind really exists.
The body is inert and insentient. It remains as a log of wood as soon as the Prana leaves the body. It appears to be sentient through contact with Prana, mind and reflected intelligence, just as a ball of iron appears to be a ball of fire through contact with fire. The reflected intelligence, or Chaitanya, galvanizes the inert intellect first, as it is very subtle, and as the intellect is in close contact with it, and through intellect this inert body also is galvanized. So the body moves, feels and does various sorts of actions. After all, mortal flesh is clay, bone is only a modification of earth. O Man: Do not cling to this body of flesh and network of bones. Give up infatuation for this body. Destroy ignorance. Realize the Immortal Self and be free.
The Lord is hiding himself in the inner chambers of this mysterious palace. He is playing the game of 'hide and seek' with you. Find Him out. Search Him out. Search Him in the chambers of your heart by withdrawing the mind and the Indriyas from the external objects and practicing concentration and meditation.
How to get Vairagya -- | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
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