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Chapter 177

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘If any person, desiring to accomplish acts (ofcharity and sacrifices), fails to find (the necessary) wealth, and thirstof wealth overwhelms him, what is that which he must do for obtaininghappiness?’

“Bhishma said, ‘He that regards everything (viz., joy and sorrow, honourand insult, etc.,) with an equal eye, that never exerts himself (forgratifying his desire for earthly possessions), that practisestruthfulness of speech, that is freed from all kinds of attachment, andthat has no desire for action, is, O Bharata, a happy man. These five,the ancients say, are the means for the acquisition of perfecttranquillity or emancipation. These are called Heaven. These areReligion. These constitute the highest happiness. In this connection iscited the old narrative of what Manki had sung, when freed fromattachments, Listen to it, O Yudhishthira! Desirous of wealth, Mankifound that he was repeatedly doomed to disappointments. At last with alittle remnant of his property he purchased a couple of young bulls witha yoke for training them (to agricultural labour). One day the two bullsproperly tied to the yoke, were taken out for training (in the fields).Shying at the sight of a camel that was lying down on the road, theanimals suddenly ran towards the camel, and fell upon its neck. Enragedat finding the bulls fall upon its neck, the camel, endued with greatspeed, rose up and ran at a quick pace, bearing away the two helplesscreatures dangling on either side of its neck. Beholding his two bullsthus borne away by that strong camel, and seeing that they were at thepoint of death, Manki began to say, ‘If wealth be not ordained bydestiny, it can never be acquired by even a clever man exerting himselfwith attention and confidence and accomplishing with skill all that isnecessary towards that end. I had, before this, endeavoured by diversemeans and devotion to earn wealth. Behold this misfortune brought aboutby destiny to the property I had! My bulls are borne away, rising andfalling, as the camel is running in an uneven course. This occurrenceseems to be an accident.[523] Alas, those dear bulls of mine are danglingon the camel’s neck like a couple of gems! This is only the result ofDestiny. Exertion is futile in what is due to Chance. Or, if theexistence of anything like Exertion (as an agent in the production ofresults) be admitted, a deeper search would discover Destiny to be at thebottom.[524] Hence, the person that desires happiness should renounce allattachment. The man without attachments, no longer cherishing any desirefor earning wealth, can sleep happily. Ho, it was well said by Suka whilegoing to the great forest from his father’s abode, renouncingeverything![525]–Amongst these two, viz., one who obtains the fruitionof all his wishes, and one who casts off every wish, the latter, whorenounces all, is superior to the former who obtains the fruition of all.No one could ever attain to the end of desire.[526] Only he that isdestitute of knowledge and judgments feels an avidity for protecting hisbody and life.–Forbear from every desire for action. O my Soul that artpossessed by cupidity, adopt tranquillity by freeing thyself from allattachments! Repeatedly hast thou been deceived (by desire and hope). Howis it that thou dost not still free thyself from attachments? If I am notone that deserves destruction at thy hands, if I am one with whom thoushouldst sport in delight, then, O my wealth-coveting Soul, do not induceme towards cupidity. Thou hast repeatedly lost thy hoarded wealth. O mywealth-coveting and foolish Soul, when wilt thou succeed in emancipatingthyself from the desire of wealth? Shame on my foolishness! I have becomea toy of thine! It is thus that one becomes a slave of others. No oneborn on earth did ever attain to the end of desire, and to one that willtake birth will succeed in attaining to it. Casting off all acts, I haveat last been roused from sleep. I am now awake. Without doubt, O Desire,thy heart is as hard as adamant, since though affected by a hundreddistresses, thou does not break into a hundred pieces! I know thee, ODesire, and all those things that are dear to thee! Seeking what is dearto thee, I shall feel happiness in my own Self.[527] O Desire, I know thyroot. Thou springest from Will.[528]–I shall, therefore, avoid Will.Thou shalt then be destroyed with thy roots. The desire for wealth cannever be fraught with happiness. If acquired, great is the anxiety thatthe acquirer feels. If lost after acquisition, that is felt as death.Lastly, respecting acquisition itself, it is very uncertain. Wealthcannot be got by even the surrender of one’s person. What can be morepainful than this? When acquired, one is never gratified with itsmeasure, but one continues to seek it. Like the sweet water of theGanges, wealth only increases one’s hankering. It is my destruction. I amnow awakened. Do thou, O Desire, leave me! Let that Desire which hastaken refuge in this my body,–this compound of (five) elements,–gowhithersoever it chooses and live happily whithersoever it likes.[529] Yeall that are not of the Soul, I have no joy in you, for ye follow thelead of Msire and Cupidity! Abandoning all of you I shall take refuge inthe quality of Goodness.[530] Beholding all creatures in my own body andmy own mind, and devoting my reason to Yoga, my life to the instructionsof the wise, and soul to Brahma, I shall happily rove through the world,without attachment and without calamities of any kinds, so that thoumayst not be able to plunge me again into such sorrows![531] If Icontinue to be agitated by thee, O Desire, I shall necessarily be withouta path (by which to effect my deliverance). Thou, O Desire, art alwaysthe progenitor of thirst, of grief, and of fatigue and toil. I think thegrief that one feels at the loss of wealth is very keen and far greaterthan what one feels under any other circumstances. Kinsmen and friendsdisregard him that has lost his wealth. With various kinds of humiliationthat number by thousands, there are many faults in property that are morepainful still. On the other hand, the very small happiness that residesin wealth is mingled with pain and sorrow.[532] Robbers slay, in thesight of all, the person that is possessed of wealth, or afflict him withvarious kinds of severity, or always fill him with fear. At last, after along time, I have understood that the desire for wealth is fraught withsorrow. Whatever the object, O Desire, upon which thou settest thy heart,thou forcest me to pursue it! Thou art without judgment. Thou art a fool.Thou art difficult of being contented. Thou canst not be gratified. Thouburnest like fire. Thou dost not enquire (in pursuing an object) whetherit is easy or difficult of attainment. Thou canst not be filled to thebrim, like the nether region. Thou wishest to plunge me into sorrow. Fromthis day, O Desire, I am incapable of living with thee! I who had feltdespair, at first, at the loss of my property, have now attained to thehigh state of perfect freedom from attachments. At this moment I nolonger think of thee and thy train. I had, before this, felt great miseryon thy account. I do not (now) regard myself as destitute ofintelligence. Having adopted Renunciation in consequence of loss of myproperty, I can now rest, freed from every kind of fever. I cast theeoff, O Desire, with all the passions of my heart. Thou shalt not againdwell with me or sport with me. I shall forgive them that will slander orspeak ill of me. I shall not injure even when injured. If anybody fromaversion speaks disagreeable words of me, disregarding those words Ishall address him in agreeable speeches. In contentment of heart and withall my senses at case, I shall always live upon what may be got by me. Ishall not contribute to the gratification of the wishes entertained bythee that art my foe. Freedom from attachment, emancipation from desire,contentment, tranquillity, truth, self-restraint, forgiveness, anduniversal compassion are the qualities that have now I come to me.Therefore, let Desire, cupidity, thirst, miserliness avoid me. I have nowadopted the path of Goodness. Having cast off Desire and Cupidity, greatis my happiness now. I shall no longer yield to the influence of Cupidityand no longer suffer misery like a person of uncleansed soul. One is sureto obtain happiness according to the measure of the desires he may beable to cast off. Truly, he who yields himself up to Desire alwayssuffers misery. Whatever passions connected with Desire are cast off by aperson, all appertain to the quality of Passion. Sorrow and shamelessnessand discontent all arise from Desire and Wealth. Like a person plungingin the hot season into a cool lake, I have now entered into Brahma, Ihave abstained from work. I have freed myself from grief. Pure happinesshas now come to me. The felicity that results from the gratification ofDesire, or that other purer felicity which one enjoys in heaven, does notcome to even a sixteenth part of that which arises upon the abandonmentof all kinds of thirst! Killing the principle of desire, which with thebody makes an aggregate of seven, and which is a bitter foe, I haveentered the immortal city of Brahma and shall pass my days there inhappiness like a king!’ Relying upon such intelligence, Manki freedhimself from attachments, casting off all desires and attaining to Brahmathat abode of the highest felicity. Indeed, in consequence of the loss ofhis two bulls Manki attained to immortality. Indeed, because he cut thevery roots of desire, he attained, through that means, to high felicity.'”

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