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Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) :: Conto 3b

Lord Kapila's Instructions on the Wanderings of the Living Entities

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Srimad Bhagavatam » Conto 3b   

 Lord Kapila's Instructions on the Wanderings of the Living Entities

(1) The Supreme Lord said: 'Because of its karma the living entity as ordained by God through the particle of semen of a man enters the womb of a woman in order  to dwell there for obtaining a body. (2) On the first night the sperm and ovum mix, at the fifth night there is a bubble and in about ten days it is thereafter like a plum, lump of flesh or an egg. (3) Within a month a head appears and within two months limbs like arms and feet form. The nails, [the beginnings of] hair, bones, skin, reproductive organs and the apertures appear within three months. (4) In about four months the seven ingredients separate [body-fluids and other elements], in five months feelings like hunger and thirst occur and in six months the fetus starts to move around at the right in the amnion [males at the right, females at the left so one says]. (5) From the nutrition taken from the mother the body of the fetus grows as it stays in that impossible hollow whereabout stool and urine form a breeding place for germs. (6) All the time aching for food, it is, being so tender, affected by infestations ['worms'] and thus all over its body has to suffer a great deal residing there, moment after moment lapsing into unconsciousness. (7) The living being because of the excessive bitterness, heat, pungency, saltiness, dryness, the sour etc. of the food taken by the mother, is affected in every limb and thus feels pain. (8) Enclosed by the amnion in that place surrounded by the intestines it lies with a bent neck and back arched with its head in its belly. (9) Like a bird in a cage with no freedom of movement, it [the soul] still remembers - when it is lucky - what has happened in all its hundreds of births. Remembering such a long history it may sigh over them, for what peace of mind can it then achieve? (10) From the seventh month on it is endowed with consciousness, but at the same time pushed down by the pressure of the womb where it cannot stay, just like the worm stemming from the same belly.

(11) The fearful living entity bound to its seven constituents [nails, skin, fat, flesh, blood, bone, marrow], then in its disgust, with folded hands and words of prayer, appeals to the Lord who placed him in that womb. (12) The human soul says: 'May He protect me who protects the entire universe and who with assuming His  different forms walks the earth with His lotus feet. Let me take refuge in that shelter that will take my fears away, in Him who decided that I deserved this untrue condition. (13) I, the pure soul covered by the grossness of matter which consists of the elements, the senses and the mind, have because of my being bound to activities, fallen into this delusional state [mâyâ]. Let me offer my obeisances so that I may hold on to the completely pure Changeless One of unlimited knowledge who resides in the heart of the repentant one. (14) I am, contrary to what it should be, [as a spiritual soul] separated by the covering of this material body that is made of the five elements and based upon senses, material preferences [gunas], interests and cognitions, and so I offer my obeisances to You, the Supreme Person transcendental to material nature and its living entities, whose glories are not obscured by such a material body. (15) By the deluding quality of Your outer appearance this body that by the modes and its karma is bound to wander on the path of repeated birth and death, has to suffer considerably with a spoilt memory. May again this entity realize Your true nature. How else would one find Your divine mercy? (16) What else but Your divinity, that as a partial representation [the Paramâtmâ] dwells in as well the animate as the inanimate, would give us the knowledge of the threefold of Time, of past, present and future? In order to be freed from the threefold misery [as caused by oneself, nature and others] we as individual souls engaged on the path of fruitive activities have to surrender to that divinity. (17) Embodied within the abdomen of another body, having fallen into a pool of blood, stool and urine and strongly scorched by gastric fire, this [individual soul with its] body desiring to leave that place, counts his months when it as a miser will be released o Lord. (18) You granted me, [not even] ten months old o Lord,  [the light of] Your incomparable, supreme mercy. What else can I do but to pray in return with folded hands in gratitude for that incomparable and unique grace of You who are the refuge of the fallen ones? (19) This living being can, from its bondage to the seven layers of matter [3.29: 40-45], only understand what is agreeable and disagreeable, but by You endowed with another body of self-control within myself, I am really able to recognize inside of me You, the original person who constitutes the inner guidance, as residing within my heart as well as outside of me. (20) O Almighty One, even though I who has to live with all the miseries outside of this abdomen, rather not depart from here to land in that pitfall, I [just as everyone] who enters this world at once will be captured by Your mâyâ and be entangled in the false identification [of the ego] that is fundamental to the eternal cycle of birth and death. (21) Therefore I will, well-disposed to the soul no longer being agitated, deliver myself quickly again from that darkness, by placing the feet of Lord Vishnu in my heart and thus spare me this fate of having to enter so many wombs.'

(22) Kapila said: 'Thus desiring from within the womb, the [almost] ten months old living entity extols the Lord at the time of being pushed downwards by the pressure of labor to take birth. (23) Because of that pressure the child with its head turned downwards suddenly, with great difficulty and bereft of all memory, comes out breathless. (24) Like a worm falling down to earth it smeared with blood moves its limbs and cries loudly now it has lost the wisdom in reaching the opposite [material] position. (25) Being maintained by its folks who do not understand what it wants it, not being able to refuse, has fallen into circumstances it didn't desire. (26) Laying down in fouled linen [dirty diapers etc.] the child is pestered by germs [suffering rashes on its body] it cannot scratch away from its limbs, for it is not able to sit, stand or move around. (27) Flies, mosquitos, bugs and other creatures bite the baby its tender skin and being just like vermin pestered by other vermin, it, deprived of wisdom, cries. (28) This way undergoing infancy in distress and even in its childhood out of its ignorance not achieving what it wants, it gets angry and sad. (29) As a lusty person being destructive towards other lusty people it with the pride of its developing body, because of that anger, then develops enmity at the cost of the soul. (30) The embodied soul in ignorance holding on to non-permanent things then constantly reasons from the physical reality made of the five elements and thus thinks foolishly in terms of 'I' and 'mine'. (31) Engaged in actions in the service of the body he because of his bondage to the dark motives of fruitive labor is followed by trouble [consisting of the so-called kles'as] and time and again moves in the direction of yet another birth in the material world. (32) When he on the materialistic path again [only] is interested in human association for the sake of the pleasure of his genitals and his stomach, the living entity lands in darkness as before. (33) For associated thus he loses his sense of truth, purity, compassion and gravity, his spiritual intelligence, prosperity, modesty and his good name, as also his mercy, the control over his mind and senses and his fortune. (34) One should not seek association with coarse and immoral fools bereft of self-realization who like pitiable dogs dance to the tune of the ladies. (35) Nothing in the world makes a man as infatuated and dependent as the association with a man who is attached to women or with a fellowship of men fond of women. (36) The father of man [Brahmâ] bewildered at the sight of his own daughter as a stag shamelessly ran after her when he saw her in the form of a deer [compare 3.12: 28]. (37) Except for sage Nârâyana, among all the living entities born from Brahmâ there is not a single man whose intelligence is not distracted by mâyâ in the form of a woman.

(38) Behold the strength of My mâyâ in the shape of a woman that even makes the conquerors of the world follow closely behind her by the mere movement of an eyebrow. (39) One who aspires to reach the culmination of yoga should never develop worldly attachment to a [young, attractive] woman; they say that to someone who arrived at self-realization in My service, thus associating with her is the gateway to hell. (40) The woman created by God is as an overgrown well [one falls into when one is inattentive], she represents the slowly encroaching mâyâ, the illusory power of the material world which one must regard as death to the soul. (41) She who from being attached to women [in his previous life] became a woman, due to illusion in regard of My mâyâ thinks that aiming at the form of a man [her husband] will bring her wealth, progeny and a house. (42) She [on her turn] should consider His mâyâ consisting of her husband, children and house, as death brought about by the authority of God alike the call of a hunter [*]. (43) Because the person incessantly delights in working for the fruit of his actions, the embodied individual soul wanders from one world to the other. (44) Thus he gets a suitable body composed of the material elements, the senses and the mind. When that comes to an end it is called death but when it manifests one speaks of birth. (45-46) When one [staring in meditation] cannot perceive the fixed position of an object that implies the death of one's sense perception, and when one regards the body as being oneself that implies one's birth [in a material sense]. He who perceives cannot at the same time regard an object as well as the witness of the perception himself, just as the eyes aren't capable either to see at once all the different parts of a single object. (47) One must not be horrified about death, one must not stingily cherish poverty nor be concerned about any material gain; when one understands the true nature of the living being one should on this planet move about steadfast and free from attachment. (48) When one relegates one's body to this world composed of mâyâ one should, endowed with the right vision, move around therein in detachment basing oneself upon reason in being connected in the science of the [three forms of] yoga.'


*: Compare this passage to the verse in the Bhakti-rasâmrita-sindhu 1.2: 255 that allows association of the sexes in a devotional setting: 'Man and woman should live together as householders relating to Krishna, only for the purpose of discharging duties in the service of Krishna. Engage the children, engage the wife and engage the husband, all in Krishna conscious duties, and then all these bodily or material attachments will disappear. Since the mediating medium is Krishna, the consciousness is pure, and there is no possibility of degradation at any time.' (Rûpa Gosvâmî in: Bhakti-rasâmrita-sindhu 1.2: 255.)

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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/