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Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) :: Conto 11

The Varnâs'rama System: the Withdrawn and the Renounced

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Srimad Bhagavatam » Conto 11   

 The Varnâs'rama System: the Withdrawn and the Renounced

(1) The Supreme Lord said: 'If one in the third phase of life wants to retreat into the forest, one should proceed in peace. For the sake of that peace one must take one's wife along or else entrust her to the sons. (2) One should arrange for the pure [*] sustenance of the bulbs, roots and fruits of the forest, and dress oneself with tree bark, grass, leaves or animal skins. (3) With the hair on one's head and body, the facial hair and the nails carrying dirt, and the teeth not cleaned [at other times], one should three times a day bathe and [at night] sleep on the ground. (4) Ascetically tolerating the five fires during the summer [the sacrificial fires in four directions and the sun above], the torrents of rain during the rainy season and the cold of dipping up to one's neck one's body in water during the winter, one should, as before mentioned engaged, execute one's penance [see also 4.23: 6]. (5) Eating at the right time one should consume what's either prepared on a fire or what's grinded with a mortar, pulverized with a stone or grinded with one's teeth. (6) With a practical approach depending the place, the time and what he is capable of, he personally must collect whatever is needed for his sustenance, and not store anything for another time [see also 7.12: 19]. (7) A vânaprastha may worship Me with oblations [of rice, barley and dâl], may offer rice cakes or offer fruits according to the season, but never, even though it's scripturally defended, be of worship with sacrificing animals. (8) As before [while he was a grihastha] he performs the fire sacrifice, the sacrifice for a new moon and a full moon and he also keeps to what was enjoined for the wise by the vedic experts concerning the four months' sacrifice [of câturmâsya]. (9) Being of that practice the sage will, because of the penance, be as emaciated that one sees his veins, worshiping Me, the Goal of All Penance, reach Me in the world of the seers [see also maharloka]. (10) Is there then a greater fool, than someone who for a long time is of this difficult but glorious penance which awards liberation, but practices it for the purpose of trivial sense gratification [see also vântâs'î]? (11) When he in his regulated activities due to old age with his body trembling is no longer able to carry on [before he reaches sannyâsa], he should, fixed on Me, place the fires within his heart and enter the fire [see also 7.12: 23]. (12) When all that is obtained from the karma, including a higher world, is nothing but hell to him and complete detachment has developed, may he at that point give up the fire of sacrifice and take to the renounced order [see also B.G. 18: 2 and **].

(13) Having worshiped to the injunctions and having given all he has to the leader of the ceremony, should he, placing the sacrificial fire within his life breath, free from expectations take up sannyâsa [see also 9.6*]. (14) To the learned one who out of respect for the truth takes up sannyâsa appear the demigods in the form of his original wife [and other allurements] forming stumbling blocks; surpassing them the sannyâsî should go for the beyond [see also B.G. 6: 25, 1.19: 2-3, 5.6: 4, 11.4: 7]. (15) As far as a sage wishes to wear clothes, he covers himself with a loincloth [or kaupîna]. Carrying with him nothing but the bare necessities of a waterpot and a staff he forsakes everything else. (16) He should place his foot where his eyes are telling him it is safe [not to step on living beings], he should drink water filtered with his cloth, he should speak truthful words of purity and he should do what his mind says is pure. (17) Taciturnity, disinclination and the arrest of breath constitute the strict disciplines for the voice, the body and the mind. Of him with whom there is no question of these My dearest, one can, despite of his bamboo rods, never say that he is a real sannyâsî [see also tridanda]. (18) When he goes begging with the four varnas he should avoid the impure [sinful, polluted] households, when he at random approaches seven different houses where he must be satisfied with whatever he acquires [see also cakra, compare 1.4: 8]. (19) Somewhere outside going to a reservoir of water he should, cleansed by it, in silence duly distribute what was collected and next after cleaning it eat all that remained. (20) Moving about alone on this earth free from attachment, with his senses fully under control and satisfied within in his realization of the True Self, he is, steady on the spiritual platform, of an equal vision [B.G. 5: 18, see bhajan]. (21) Dwelling in a solitary and safe place and with his consciousness purified in his love for Me, the sage should concentrate on the soul only as being non-different from Me. (22) Meditating on the soul being bound and being liberated [see 11.10] there is, when one steady in the knowledge has tied down the senses that are distracted by sense-gratification, the full control over them and the liberation. (23) With the six divisions [the senses and the mind] fully controlled by the consciousness of Me, the sage who has experienced the greater happiness of the soul, should live therefore detached from the futile matters of lust. (24) He should travel to the pure places of refuge on earth with rivers, mountains and forests. The cities, towns and pasturing grounds he should only enter to beg for alms with those who live to serve the body. (25) The order of life living in the forest should always take the position of begging because by food obtained from gleaning [or living on the dole] one quickly finds perfection, freedom from illusion and a purified existence. (26) Never should one consider the perishable that one sees in direct experience as the ultimate reality; with a consciousness free from attachment one should retire from all materially motivated actions in this world and in the next. (27) Fixed in oneself by the power of reason one must turn away from this universe, which in the Self is all knitted together with the mind, the speech and the life air [see ahankâra]. One should not keep that deluding material energy in mind. (28) Whether it concerns someone who is dedicated to the knowledge of selfrealization and is detached from external manifestations, or whether it is about someone who as My devotee does not desire liberation [as a paramahamsa], in both cases one gives up what is prescribed for rituals and paraphernalia relating to one's phase of life [the âs'rama]; such a one is supposed to be beyond the range of rules and regulations [see also 10.78: 31-32, 3.29: 25 and 5.1*]. (29) Though intelligent he should enjoy life like a child, though most skilled he should act like a stunted person, though being most learned he should speak like an absent-minded person and though very well knowing the injunctions, he should live unrestricted ['wander as a cow']. (30) He should never be strictly attentive to what the Vedas speak of [viz. the fruitive sacrifices], nor should he act against them; he shouldn't be a skeptic nor take sides simply speaking for the sake of the argument. (31) The saintly person should never feel disturbed over what other people are saying. Nor should he disturb others or ever like an animal with anyone create a negative atmosphere to the interest of the body [to be hostile about territory, food and such]. Instead he should tolerate harsh words and never belittle anyone [see also B.G. 12: 15]. (32) The One Supreme is the Soul situated within all living beings and within one's own body. Just like the moon that is reflected in different reservoirs of water are also all material bodies individual sparks [or reflections] of the One [see also B.G. 6: 29 & 13: 34]. (33) Firm in one's determination one [the sannyâsî] should not feel dejected when one at times has no [or not the right] food, nor should one rejoice when there is plenty; both matters are disposed by God. (34) One should endeavor in order to eat and to sustain properly one's personal life force, because by that strength the spiritual truth is contemplated which, being understood, gives liberation [see B.G. 6: 16]. (35) Whatever the food, clothing and bedding a sage finds on his way, he must accept, irrespective its good or poor quality [see also 7.13]. (36) General cleanliness, washing the hands, taking a bath and other regular duties are by the one of spiritual realization to be performed without any compulsion, the same way as I, the Controller, act according to My own will. (37) The notion of leading a seperate life is finished when one has realized Me. Sometimes such a notion lingers till the body dies, but everything will after all turn out to be fine with Me. (38) Unhappy about the consequences of a lusty life the one who has not yet seriously considered Me must, with the aversion that rose in the desire for spiritual perfection, be of the duty to approach a wise [bonafide] person [of proper reference], a guru [see also B.G. 16: 23-24, 4: 34 & 17: 14]. (39) The devotee should with great faith and respect, free from envy serve the spiritual master who embodies Me, for as long as it takes to arrive at a clear realization of the spiritual [see also 11.17: 27]. (40-41) He then who is not in control of the six vices [the anarthas], he who as the charioteer is lead by the senses, he who lacking in detachment is bereft of knowledge, he who uses the three-stick staff for ulterior purposes and he who denies Me, himself and the godly situated within himself, has, because he didn't overcome the contamination and thus spoils the dharma, lost his way in this world as well as in the next.

(42) The nature of a mendicant is to be equable and nonviolent, penance and discrimination characterizes the one living in the forest, the householder offers shelter and performs sacrifices and a celibate novice serves the âcârya. (43) The celibacy, austerity, cleanliness, contentment and being friendly towards all living entities that can be observed with all who worship Me, constitutes just as well the way of the householder who at the appropriate time approaches his wife [see also B.G. 7: 11]. (44) The one who thus according his nature worships Me with no one else as the object of devotion, will come to realize Me in all living entities and achieves unflinching devotional service unto Me. (45) Through his unrelenting devotional service, Uddhava, he comes to Me, the Supreme Controller of all the Worlds, the Absolute Truth and Ultimate Cause who gives rise to and also puts an end to everything. (46) Thus according to his own sense of duty having purified his existence, he will, fully understanding My supreme position and endowed with spiritual knowledge and wisdom, very soon achieve Me. (47) All followers of the varnâs'rama-system are characterized by a traditional code of conduct that settles the dharma. This sense of duty combined with my bhakti awards the highest perfection of life. (48) O saintly soul, with this I have described to you, upon your request, the means by which one as a devotee may be perfectly engaged according to one's own nature and may come to Me, the One Supreme.'

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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

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