Chapter 331

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“‘Narada said, By listening to such scriptures as are blessed, as bringabout tranquillity, as dispel grief, and as are productive of happiness,one attains to (a pure) understanding, and having attained to it obtainsto high ‘felicity. A thousand causes of sorrow, a hundred causes of fear,from day to day, afflict one that is destitute of understanding, but notone that is possessed of wisdom and learning. Do thou, therefore, listento some old narratives as I recite them to you, for the object ofdispelling thy griefs. If one can subjugate one’s understanding, one issure to attain to happiness. By association of what is undesirable anddissociation from what is agreeable, only men of little intelligence,become subject to mental sorrow of every kind. When things have becomepast, one should not grieve, thinking of their merits. He that thinks ofsuch past things with affection can never emancipate himself. One shouldalways seek to find out the faults of those things to which one begins tobecome attached. One should always regard such things to be fraught withmuch evil. By doing so, one should soon free oneself therefrom. The manwho grieves for what is past fails to acquire either wealth or religiousmerit or fame. That which exists no longer cannot be obtained. When suchthings pass away, they do not return (however keen the regret one mayindulge in for their sake). Creatures sometimes acquire and sometimeslose worldly object. No man in this world can be grieved by all theevents that fall upon him. Dead or lost, he who grieves for what is past,only gets sorrow for sorrow. Instead of one sorrow, he gets two.[1763]Those men who, beholding the course of life and death in the world withthe aid of their intelligence, do not shed tears, are said to beholdproperly. Such persons have never to shed tears, (at anything that mayhappen). When any such calamity comes, productive of either physical ormental grief, as is incapable of being warded off by even one’s bestefforts, one should cease to reflect on it with sorrow. This is themedicine for sorrow, viz., not to think of it. By thinking of it, one cannever dispel it; on the other hand, by thinking upon sorrow, one onlyenhances it. Mental griefs should be killed by wisdom; while physicalgrief should be dispelled by medicines. This is the power of knowledge.One should not, in such matters, behave like men of littleunderstandings. Youth, beauty, life, stored wealth, health, associationwith those that are loved,–these all are exceedingly transitory. Onepossessed of wisdom should never covet them. One should not lamentindividually for a sorrowful occurrence that concerns an entirecommunity. Instead of indulgence in it when grief comes, one should seekto avert it and apply a remedy as soon as one sees the opportunity fordoing it. There is no doubt that in this life the measure of misery ismuch greater than that of happiness. There is no doubt in this that allmen show attachment for objects of the senses and that death is regardedas disagreeable. That man who casts off both joy and sorrow, is said toattain to Brahma. When such a man departs from this world, men of wisdomnever indulge in any sorrow on his account. In spending wealth there ispain. In protecting it there is pain. In acquiring it there is pain.Hence, when one’s wealth meets with destruction, one should not indulgein any sorrow for it. Men of little understanding, attaining to differentgrades of wealth, fail to win contentment and at last perish in misery.Men of wisdom, however, are always contented. All combinations aredestined to end in dissolution. All things that are high are destined tofall down and become low. Union is sure to end in disunion anti life iscertain to end in death. Thirst is unquenchable. Contentment is thehighest happiness. Hence, persons of wisdom regard contentment to be themost precious wealth. One’s allotted period of life is runningcontinually. It stops not in its course for even a single moment. Whenone’s body itself is not durable, what other thing is there (in thisworld) that one should reckon as durable? Those persons who, reflectingon the nature of all creatures and concluding that it is beyond the graspof the mind, turn their attention to the highest path, and, setting out,achieve a fair progress in it, have not to indulge in sorrow.[1764] Likea tiger seizing and running away with its prey, Death seizes and runsaway with the man that is employed in such (unprofitable) occupation andthat is still unsatiated with objects of desire and enjoyment. One shouldalways seek to emancipate oneself from sorrow. One should seek to dispelsorrow by beginning one’s operations with cheerfulness, that is, withoutindulging in sorrow the while, having freed oneself from a particularsorrow, one should act in such a way as to keep sorrow at a distance byabstaining from all faults of conduct.[1765] The rich and the poor alikefind nothing in sound and touch and form and scent and taste, after theimmediate enjoyment thereof.[1766] Before union, creatures are neversubject to sorrow. Hence, one that has not fallen off from one’s originalnature, never indulges in sorrow when that union comes to an end.[1767]One should restrain one’s sexual appetite and the stomach with the aid ofpatience. One should protect one’s hands and feet with the aid of theeye. One’s eyes and ears and the other senses should be protected by themind. One’s mind and speech should be ruled with the aid of wisdom.Casting off love and affection for persons that are known as well as forthose that are unknown, one should conduct oneself with humility. Such aperson is said to be possessed of wisdom, and such a one surely findshappiness. That man who is pleased with his own Soul[1768] who is devotedto Yoga, who depends upon nothing out of self, who is without cupidity,and who conducts himself without the assistance of anything but his self,succeeds in attaining to felicity.'”

Chapter 54