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Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) :: Conto 11

Forbearance: the Song of the Avanti Brahmana.

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Srimad Bhagavatam » Conto 11   

 Forbearance: the Song of the Avanti Brahmana.

(1) The son of Vyâsa said: 'Thus respectfully being requested by Uddhava, the greatest of the devotees, began the chief of the Dâs'ârhas whose heroism is so worthy to be discussed, to speak, praising the words of His servant. (2) The Supreme Lord said: 'O disciple of Brihaspati, there is virtually no pious soul in this world capable of keeping his mind in check when it is disturbed by the insulting words of a bad person. (3) A person is not as much pained when pierced by arrows that go through the heart as he is hurt by a load of arrows in the form of the harsh words of untruthful people. (4) In this regard Uddhava, is a most pious story told. Please listen carefuly, I shall now describe it to you. (5) It was related by a mendicant who, upon being insulted by bad people, kept his composure reminding himself that it happened as a consequence of his past deeds. (6) In Avantî [in the district of Malwa] there once lived a certain brahmin very rich with opulences who earned his livelihood doing business; but he was a miser, full of lust, greed and prone to anger [see also B.G. 2: 49]. (7) He had no respect for his relatives and guests, not even in words. Nor catered he, devoid of religiosity, at the right time to his own needs. (8) With him so ill-behaved his sons, in-laws, his wife, daughters and servants turned against the miser. Full of enmity they withheld their affection. (9) This way lacking in dharma as well as in pleasure, the five claimants of sacrifice [the deities, see pañca-bhâga] became angry with that obsessive treasurer who failed for both the worlds [this and the next]. (10) With his neglecting them depleted his stock of piety, o magnanimous one, and thus he lost all the wealth he so painstakingly had troubled himself for. (11) Because he was only in name a brahmin Uddhava, some of his wealth was seized by his relatives, some by thieves, some by providence, some by time, some by common people and some by higher authorities [see also 10.49: 22]. (12) When he thus bereft of religiosity and love had lost his wealth, arose in him being neglected by his family members, a hard to endure anxiety. (13) For a long time he, choked with tears, lamented in pain over his lost riches, whereupon a great feeling of disgust for worldly affairs came over him. (14) He then said to himself: 'Alas, how painful to trouble myself that much with all this toiling that brings me no pleasure, nor the love of God. (15) Generally the wealth of misers never ever results in any happiness: in this life it becomes a torment and when one dies one ends up in hell with it. (16) Whatever the good call of the famous might be or however praiseworthy the qualities of the virtuous are, a little bit of greed is enough to see it all destroyed, the same as what white leprosy does with an enchanting physical beauty. (17) In the building, protecting, spending, losing and rejoicing about capital, man must toil, fear, worry and live with uncertainty. (18-19) Theft, violence, lies, duplicity, lust, anger, perplexity, pride, discord, enmity, lack of faith, competition and [the three] dangers [of intoxication, promiscuity and gambling, see also 1.17: 24] are the fifteen unwanted things man knows as the consequence of fostering riches. For that reason he who wishes the ultimate benefit in life should keep at a great distance the undesirable which poses itself as wealth. (20) The brothers, wife, parents and friends who are unified in love, all from one moment to the other turn into enemies over a single penny. (21) For the smallest amount of money they give, agitated and inflamed, in to anger and forget as an adversary out for destruction just like that, in the wink of an eye, their goodwill. (22) Having attained the human birth the immortals pray for and in that life having achieved the status of the best of the twice-born, they, destructive to their own best interest, have no appreciation for it. And thus they gradually slide down [see also B.G. 16: 19-20]. (23) What person achieving this human life, which is the gateway to heaven and liberation, would become attached to property and would choose to remain in the realm of meaninglessness where he is subject to death? (24) Like a moneyminded Yaksha not sharing with the shareholders, viz. the greater family of the gods, the seers, the forefathers, one's relatives, the living entities and oneself, one falls down. (25) Maddened by my youth, strength and wealth, the means by which a smart man settles for his perfection, I wasted my life endeavoring for money. What can I, as an old man, achieve that way [see B.G. 3: 35]? (26) Why would a man of intelligence constantly have to suffer in the vain pursuit of wealth? For certain someone in this world gets most bewildered because of her illusory power. (27) What is the use of the goods or the ones providing them, or what would be the use of the objects of desire or the people who give satisfaction? Or, differently stated, of what use would it be for someone in the grip of death to be of the fruitive action which only leads to yet another birth? (28) The Supreme Lord, the Supreme Personality who comprises all the gods and who, satisfied with me, led me to this condition of detachment, constitutes assuredly the boat to carry the soul [see also 11.17: 44]. (29) With the time remaining I will, in order to live in peace with myself, not [longer] being bewildered about my real interest, restrict my body to the minimum. (30) May the gods, the controllers of the three worlds be pleased with this. Was it not Khathvânga who achieved the spiritual abode in a single moment?'

(31) The Supreme Lord said: 'Thus making up his mind became the most pious brahmin from Avantî, untying the knots in his heart, a peaceful and silent mendicant. (32) He wandered the wide world alone and inconspicuous, and entered, with his self, senses and vital air therewith controlled [see tri-danda], its cities and villages to live on charity. (33) Seeing him appearing as an old, dirty beggar, was he by the low-class people dishonored with many an insult, My dear. (34) Some of them took his triple staff away, his begging bowl, his waterpot and his seat, and some took his prayer beads and his torn rags. Showing them to him they offered them back, and then again took them away from the sage. (35) And when he at the shore of the river wanted to enjoy his share of the food he had acquired by his begging, urinated the grave sinners upon it and spat they on his head. (36) He who in accord with the vow of silence didn't speak, they would beat up and deride with their words saying: 'This one is a thief'; thus speaking they bound him in ropes while some shouted thereto: 'Tie him up, bind him!' (37) Some criticized him committing insults like: 'This one is a religious hypocrite, a cheater who, having lost his wealth after his family threw him out, now has taken to this profession'. (38-39) 'See how this person as powerful and steadfast as a solid mountain, in his silence pursuing his goal, is as firmly determined as a duck'. Some ridiculed him speaking thus, while others passed foul air and, binding him in chains, kept the twice-born one captive like a pet animal. (40) Thus subjected to all that was caused by other living beings, by higher powers and by himself [see kles'a], he understood that whatever came his way befell him because it was his destiny. (41) Being insulted by lowly people who tried to get the better of him, he sang, keeping firm to his duty and fixed in goodness, the following song [see also B.G. 18: 33].

(42) The brahmin said: 'These people are not the cause of my happiness or distress, nor can I blame the demigods, my body, the planets, my karma or the time. It is, according to the standard authorities [the s'ruti] nothing but the mind that is the cause. The mind causes someone to rotate in the cycle of material life. (43) The mind giving evidence of the activity of the modes is very strong because of them and thus gives rise to the different sorts of white [goodness], red [passion] and black [ignorance] activities that lead to the conditions [the societal classes] that correspond with the same colors. (44) The Supersoul not involved and golden [radiating in its own light] exists along with the struggling mind, My friend, and looks down upon the mind that, with the image of the world it carries, embraces the objects of desire. It is in that engagement with the modes of nature that the spark of God that is the individual soul gets entangled in attachment. (45) Charity, doing one's duty, the niyama, the yama and the hearing [from the scripture], pious works and the purification by vows all entail the subduing of the mind. Therewith the supreme of yoga, the absorption of the mind [samâdhi], constitutes the purpose of the activities. (46) Tell me what the use is of rituals and such for someone whose mind has been pacified in the perfectly being fixed in charity and assorted processes? And [inversely] how can one occupy oneself with these processes of charity and such when one has lost one's way with a mind not under control? (47) Since time immemorial everything else, the [senses and their] gods for example, has fallen under the control of the mind and the mind has never fallen under the control of any other [one but the Supreme One]. As fearsome as a god [Aniruddha] it is accordingly stronger than the strongest - indeed is He who can bring that mind under control the God of gods [see also B.G. 6: 35-36, *]. (48) Failing [when one is worldly engaged] to subdue that difficult to conquer enemy [see B.G. 6: 6] who in its urges being so unmanageable is tormenting and striking, do some therefore completely bewildered create useless quarrels and are thus with the mortals in this world friends, neuters and rivals. (49) Having accepted the material body as a part of their mind, in the sense of 'I' and 'mine', wander human beings blinded in darkness in their intelligence bewildered by this hard to overcome illusion of 'this I am' and 'that is someone else'. (50) Asserting that [adhibhautika] these or those people would be the cause of my happiness and distress, one may wonder what room there is for the soul in this conception; happiness and distress belong to the earth [and not to the soul]. With whom is one to be angry when the tongue happens to be bitten by one's own teeth? (51) If one says that [adhidaivika] the gods would be responsible for the suffering, then how would that suffering be related to the soul when that pain is fully subject to change [while the soul is not]. With whom should the living being be angry when a limb of his own body hurts another limb? (52) If the soul itself [adhyâtmika] would be the cause of one's happiness and distress, it is not possible that joy and grief would be caused by another nature apart from one's own. For nothing exists separately from the soul. Such a claim would be false. But can one be angry [with oneself or the soul] when there is no happiness or distress [in the witnessing soul, see B.G. 2: 14]? (53) If the planets would be the cause of happiness and distress, how would that relate to the soul who is unborn? The heavenly bodies relate to that what is born, as they [the astrologers] say. A planet is only troubled by other planets. With whom should the living being, when regarded as distinct from its [heavenly] body, be angry now? (54) If we assume karma to be the cause of happiness and distress, what does that karma then mean to the soul? For sure with the animating person on the one hand and this animated body endowed with consciousness [on itself] not alive on the other hand, neither of the two are the root cause of the karma of course. What is left to be upset about then? (55) If we say that time would be the cause of happiness and distress, then what for the soul in that idea; the soul belongs to time, the way fire doesn't burn the flames or the snow is not [harmed by cold] - with whom to become angry when there is no duality with the supreme [see also B.G. 18: 16 and timequotes]? (56) Not by anyone, anywhere or by any means there is for him, [the spiritual soul] superior of transcendence, the influence of the duality to which the false ego arises that shapes one's material existence. He who awakens to this intelligence has nothing to fear from other living beings. (57) By the worship of the feet of Mukunda I will cross over the hard to overcome ocean of material nescience. I am certain of this thanks to the foregoing great seers [or âcâryas] who are anchored in the worship of the Soul Supreme [see also B.G. 6: 1-2].'

(58) The Supreme Lord said: 'With his wealth destroyed getting detached, leaving home, free from moroseness traveling the earth and still being insulted by rascals, the sage unswerving in his duties sent this song up. (59) As for that what causes happiness or distress to the individual soul there is nothing besides the mind. It is the mind that bewildered out of ignorance created a material life of friends, neuters and enemies [see also 10.32: 17-22, B.G. 9: 29]. (60) Therefore in all respects, My best, bring with an intelligence absorbed in Me the mind under control and thus connected have the complete [the marriage, the comprehension] of yoga [see also S'rî S'rî S'ikshâshthaka-verse 1]. (61) Whosoever with full attention meditates on, makes others listen or listens himself to this [song] based upon the knowledge of the Absolute as sung by the mendicant, will for certain never be overwhelmed by the dualities.'

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SOURCE: Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu, http://bhagavata.org/

Production: the Filognostic Association of The Order of Time, with special thanks to Sakhya Devi Dasi for proofreading and correcting the manuscript. http://theorderoftime.com/info/guests-friends.html

The sourcetexts, illustrations and music to this translation one can find following the links from: http://bhagavata.org/