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Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) :: Conto 5

The Material World as the Great Forest of Enjoyment

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Srimad Bhagavatam » Conto 5   

 The Material World as the Great Forest of Enjoyment

(1) The wise [S'ukadeva] said: 'Those who take the body for the real self, being different with the mode of goodness and such, consider matters from the wrong perspective. Basing themselves on the six gateways of their senses and their mind, they alternatively operating favorably, unfavorably or with a mixed approach, have to deal with a never ending process of transmigration through different series of physical frames they time and again have to forsake and pick up again. In relation to Vishnu, the Transcendental Personality who is the Lord, the bound soul who acting under the control of mâyâ, the illusory of matter, moves on the difficult path of the hard to cross forest of material existence, is engaged like a merchant who wants to make money with things desired by the people. He who engages his body for the sake of the profit experiences the material world in which he landed as a cemetery [a dead-end street for his self-realization] where he meets with a lot of resistance for as long as he doesn't succeed to progress in following the example of the bumblebees, the ones devoted to the lotus feet of the Lord and His representatives, who put an end to the trouble of reaching His jewel [His glory]. (2) In that forest he guaranteed is faced with the six senses and the mind whom one because of their activities may call his plunderers. They steal away from the wanton soul, who as someone lacking in self-control is walking the wrong path, every little bit of hard-won wealth which is so perfect for performing sacrifices. The acquired wealth that one at home for the purpose of gratifying one's senses cherishes in one's determination to see, touch, hear, taste and smell, leads, so say the sages, only to a better life in the hereafter when one directly uses it for the religious [varnâs'rama] practice according to the principles which is characterized by the worship of the Supreme Personality. (3) In this respect the members of his family, beginning with those whom one calls his wife and children, are tigers and jackals in their actions; they seize, despite of his resistance against it, the wealth he miserly doesn't want to share, just like a lamb that [by predators] by force  from the midst of the herd is seized before the eyes of the herdsman. (4) Just as in a field that is plowed every year the seeds of the bushes, grasses and creepers that didn't burn are kept and come up again with the plants sown like in any garden, so too in the field of activities of one's family life karmic [fruitive] activities do not disappear. Therefore this world is called the storehouse of desires. (5) Lost in that life, sometimes on this material path of existence wandering in the spheres of wealth, he [the follower of falsehood] is disturbed by low-class characters, who are like gadflies and mosquitos, and by thieves [who are like] rats, locusts and birds of prey. Because of a lusty mind being ignorant in his fruitive motives, he looks at this human world in which one never reaches one's goal, with a wrong vision: he sees castles in the air. (6) There [in that human world] he who sometimes is engaged in chasing a fata morgana in his eagerness to drink and eat and to have sex and such, as a consequence is a libertine addicted to his senses. (7) Sometimes when he looks for gold, he, obsessed by that particular type of yellowish rubbish that is also an unlimited source of wickedness, is just like someone who [in the dark] going for a fire follows a phosphorescent fathom light. (8) A person is thus in this material forest at times fully engaged in running hither and thither for the sake of the various items of a dwelling place, water and wealth that are deemed necessary for subsistence. (9) Sometimes also, in the dark of night driven by a momentary whirlwind of passion, he copulates with an alluring woman. In total neglect of  the rules [a higher vision] he then, blinded by the strength of that passion, notwithstanding the divinities [of the sun and moon], loses all notion in being overcome by a mind full of lust. (10) Occasionally for an instant he wakes up to the meaninglessness of the bodily conception of his self that destroys his remembrance and because of which he runs after sense objects like after the water of a mirage. (11) At times there is, exactly like it is with the typical penetrating, repeated sounds of owls and crickets, the agitation caused directly or indirectly by enemies and state officials, who by their punitive actions trouble the ear and heart. (12) When the conditioned soul has exhausted [the merit of] his good deeds in his previous life and at that time [in need of financial support] approaches the wealthy ones with their dead souls, he himself is then just as dead within, because they are like the kâraskara, kâkatunda and more of such [fruitless] trees. They are just like fouled wells never capable of making one happy. (13) Occasionally associating with insincere people of a limited understanding, it is as if he's diving in a shallow river [so that he breaks his neck]; seeking the company of atheists will make him very unhappy in both respects [spiritual and physical]. (14) When he fails in [acquiring] the wealth of others, he next gives trouble to his father and son by 'honoring' them as being either a father or son. (15) Burned by the flames of grief getting most disappointed, he sometimes experiences his life at home as a forest fire that brings no good but only more and more sadness. (16) Sometimes, the wealth he holds dear is plundered by a carnivorous government that grew corrupt over time, so that he, bereft of all his good life, remains like a corpse with the life air expired. (17) Then again thinking that his father, grandfather and others who deceased a long time ago, are there again for real [as an incarnation], he experiences the type of happiness one feels in dreams. (18) At other times he as a householder with a mind in hot pursuit of material matters wants to climb the mountain of precepts for [religious sacrifices for the sake of] fruitive activities and then [being frustrated by all the demands] laments like he has entered a field full of thorns and sharp stones. (19) Occasionally [fasting religiously but] unable to bear the fire of hunger and thirst, he runs out of patience and gets angry with his family members. (20) He repeatedly being devoured by the python of sleep is, in the grip of ignorance finding himself in deep darkness, like a corpse which, left behind in the forest, lying there doesn't know a thing any more [see also B.G. 6: 16 & 14: 8]. (21) So now and then with his teeth of honor broken by [the envy of] his serpent-like enemies, he suffers from insomnia and then falls into the blind well of illusion with a consciousness gradually deteriorating because of a disturbed heart [a debilitating rumination]. (22) And then it happens that, searching for the sweet [honey] drops of desire of another man's woman or riches, he appropriates them so that he severely is chastised by the government or the relatives involved and thus ends up in an incomparably hellish life. (23) This now is the reason why the Vedic authority states that the fruitive activity [the karma] of a living entity constitutes the cause of this life and a next one in the ocean of matter. (24) If he manages to stay away from the chastising, a trader such ['Devadatta'] takes his money away and another friend of Vishnu so ['Vishnumitra'] on his turn takes it from him again, and thus the riches [as a part of the Lord His opulence] move from one hand to the other. (25) It also happens that one because of various natural causes like heat and cold, because of other living beings and because of the operation of one's own body and mind [resp. adhidaivika, adhibhautika, adhyâtmika kles'as, see also 2.10: 8] is unable to counter the conditions of life, so that one is severely troubled by remaining anxieties and depressions. (26) Sometimes, when trading with one another, there is about whatever little bit of money or farthing appropriated, however insignificant, a rise of enmity because of dishonesty.

(27) On the path of material existence one meets with these forms of misfortune associated with happiness and unhappiness, attachment, hate, fear, false prestige, illusion, madness, lamentation, bewilderment, greed, envy, enmity, insult, hunger, thirst, tribulations, disease, birth, old age, death, and so on. (28) Somewhere, under the influence of the illusory energy, mâyâ, one is, being firmly embraced by the creepers of the arms of a female companion, deeply embarrassed by finding oneself at a loss void of all intelligence and wisdom. In the wish to please her and find her a suitable place to live, one's heart gets engrossed in the concern and one's consciousness is seized by the talks and nice looks offered by the sons and daughters under the loving care of one's wife. Having lost the command over oneself one is then thrown into the endless darkness of a life in ignorance.

(29) It so happens that because of the cakra of the Controller, the Supreme Lord Vishnu His disc of Time, the influence of which stretches from the first expansion of atoms to the duration of the complete life of Brahmâ, one has to suffer the symptoms of its rotating, with which in due course, swiftly before one's eyes, without a blink, all lives of the entities, from Brahmâ to the simplest blade of grass, are spent. Directly of Him, the Controller whose personal weapon is the disc of Time, one is afraid at heart. Not caring about the Supreme Lord, the Original Person of Sacrifice, one accepts as worshipable that what misses any foundation, preoccupied as one is with one's self-made gods who are like buzzards, vultures, herons and crows and who are denied by the scriptures of our civilization. (30) When one as a conditioned soul by the atheists - who themselves are cheated - is cheated even more, one takes to the school of the brahmins. But with them [as neurotic, difficult people] not finding satisfaction in the good character of engaging with the sacred thread according to principle and scripture, nor in the trusted culture of dutiful worship of the Supreme Lord and Original Person of Sacrifice, one turns to the association of karmis [karma motivated people or s'udras] who are not purified in behaving according to the Vedic injunctions. And with them one, in a materialistic sex life maintaining the family, finds oneself in the company of those who think they descended from monkeys [instead of spiritual masters]. (31) In that condition to one's own judgment without a trace of doubt enjoying [like the monkeys] with a serious lack of knowledge and insight, one forgets how short life is when one, staring into each other's dejected faces, hankers for gratification and material results. (32) Sometimes, exactly like the monkeys in their trees, delighted in one's home in which one always strives for a greater comfort, one spends one's time caring about and having fun with the wife and children. (33) One is as a conditioned soul confined to the sensual path and thus abides, out of fear for the elephant of death, by a darkness as deep as that of a mountain cave. (34-35) In relation to the objects of one's senses one is sometimes [as said] with one's inability to counteract the insurmountable miseries of the heat and cold of nature, other living beings and one's own existence, caught in sadness because of  [the enmity that rose about] whatever little bit of wealth one in mutual transactions happened to acquire by cheating. (36) Now and then running out of money and bereft of accommodations for sleeping, sitting and eating one must endure the derision and such of the people that rose as a consequence of what one by a lack of success in one's desire decided to acquire in a dishonest way. (37) Even though one, because of financially determined relations, more and more relates in enmity, one nevertheless engages in marriages which, based on this desire [to advance materially], consequently end in divorces. (38) On this path through the ocean of matter one is plagued by the different miseries of a material existence, to which anyone himself - or anybody else for that matter - now and then thinks that he has won and then again thinks that he has lost. Thereto one experiences in giving up  [deceased] relatives and welcoming newborn babies in ones bondage at times a lot of sorrow, illusion and fear to which one loudly cries while one at other times is so happy that one starts to sing. Up to the present day save for the saintly souls no one of this entire world of self-interested human beings has ever returned to the one [place of God] where this material course started and of which the defenders of the peace declare that it is also the end station. (39) Materially motivated human beings do not follow the instructions of yoga nor do they attain this [supreme abode] which is easily attained by the wise who naturally living and abiding by peace are in control of their mind and senses. (40) Even when one is the saintliest of kings, victorious in all fields and expert in performing all the sacrifices, one is but an earthly human being who has to lay down his life, has to give up the fight, has to meet his demise because of the self-created enmity with others and has to stop considering things in terms of 'mine' [compare 1.2: 13]. (41) Taking shelter of the creeper of karma [engaging in remedial actions] one somehow or other may be freed from the misfortune of one's hellish position [of being entangled in the material world], but whatever the higher world one thus is promoted to, one again treads that way the worldly path of self-interested activities.

(42) There is not a single king able to follow even in his mind the path that we celebrated here as the way of the great soul Jada Bharata, the son of the great saintly king Rishabhadeva, any more than a fly can follow Garuda, the carrier of Vishnu. (43) It was he who gave up the difficult to forsake wealth of a family, friends and well-wishers and the royal realm. Fond of Uttamas'loka, the Lord praised in the verses, he, only in his prime years, renounced all that occupied his heart like it was stool. (44) To those whose minds are attracted by the loving service unto the killer of Madhu [Krishna] performed by the greatest souls, everything that is so difficult to give up, the world, the children, relatives, riches and a wife, all that is desirable of the goddess of fortune and the best of the demigods their glances of mercy, is of no significance; and that befitted him as a king. (45) 'The Enjoyer of all sacrifices, the Propounder of the Religion, He who teaches by the regulative principles [the vidhi see 1.17: 24], the yoga in person, the teacher of analysis [sânkhya, see Kapila: 3.25], the Controller of the Creation, Nârâyana the shelter of all living beings, unto Lord Hari I offer my obeisances!', was what he prayed aloud with a smile, even when he resided in the body of a deer. (46) He who listens to or describes to others this, by the great devotees highly appreciated, all auspicious narration about the wise king Bharata, so pure in his qualities and actions, will live long, be fortunate, be well thought of, reach the higher worlds or find the path of liberation. Glorifying the character of the devotee and the Lord will bring someone all blessings possible, leaving nothing left to desire from others.'

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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/