' Bharata Gita '

The Brahmana continued:

1. Like unto a company of merchants intent on acquisition of wealth, this multitude of Jiva, desirous of and solely devoted to the attainment of pleasure, has been put by Prakrti or Maya on the path (of pravrtti – active worldly life) which is unending and very difficult to traverse. It (the multitude of Jiva) sets its eye (attention) on the activities actuated and dominated by (the attributes of) sattva, rajas and tamas. While wandering (in search of pleasure) in the forest of samsara (worldly existence), it does not find any bliss.

2. In that forest, these six bandits (mind and the five sense-organs) perforce rob the caravan, captained by an evil-minded leader, O King! Just as wolves carry away the sheep, jackals (in the form of relatives), finding entry into their camp, carry away careless members (devoid of spiritual outlook).

3. In the forest, impregnable with the dense growth of a mass of creepers, grass, clumps of trees and bushes, the caravan was harassed by sharp stinging gnats and mosquitoes. (In the householder’s life full of passions and actions, a man is harassed by wicked people.) At some places they find the city of Gandharvas in the sky. (The phenomenon is fictitious; so is one’s body). At other places, they witness fleeting spirits in the form of fire brands.

4. O (King Rahugana!) With their intellect (mind) naturally anxious to find some dwelling-place, water and wealth, the company of merchants ran here and there in the jungle. And at some places, with eyes blinded with dust, they did not distinguish the directions darkened with the dust whipped up by whirl-winds.

(Here the whirl-wind stands for a woman who raises erotic sentiments which blind man to the existence of the deities presiding over the directions, who stand witness to his actions).

5. With their ears acutely pained by the shrill cries of unseen crickets (back-biting by evil-minded persons) and their minds agitated by the hooting of the owls (harsh words, scolding directly addressed by enemies, persons in authority, etc), they resorted to unholy trees (irreligious persons) when tormented with hunger. At some places (when thirsty), they ran after the mirage (fruitless objects of worldly pleasure).

The reference to ‘unholy trees’ is to the superstition that the shade of the vibhitaka tree is inauspicious by day, that of the pippala tree by night and that of the apple tree both by day and night. This is an allegory to approaching irreligious persons for help.

6. At some places they went towards beds of dry rivers (only to get their limbs bruised by falling, instead of getting water); being short of food, they begged for it of one another. At some places, they approached the forest conflagration only to get scorched; at other places, they found to their despair that they were deprived of their life (-like wealth) by Yakshas.

The allegory is to the dry river-beds being the schools of non-believers which lead to misery in the other world. The forest-fire is like the house-hold where the Jiva is tormented with miseries. The Yakshas are like the servants of the king (government) who squeeze out life-like wealth of men.

7. At some other places, they, deprived of their possessions by the local village chiefs, expert in robbery became mentally despondent. Overcome with grief and bewildered, they fainted. At some places, they entered an imaginary city of Gandharvas (the company of loving near relatives) and felt overjoyed for a while.

8. At some places, being desirous of scaling a mountain (attempting a great undertaking) they proceeded with the soles of their feet pierced with thorns and cut with gravel. And they sat down depressed in spirit. Tormented at every step by the inner (gastric) fire (hunger) and with the (unbearable) responsibility of maintaining) a large group, they got angry with themselves.

9. Sometimes, overcome by the boa-constrictor (sleep), they lay like the dead, abandoned in a jungle and were not conscious of anything. Sometimes, bitten by fierce venomous snakes, they became blind and fell into wells with their openings hidden with overgrown grass and plants. They lay immersed in darkness (misery and ignorance).

10. At times (when) they sought honey of low quality, they were harassed and humiliated by bees. If they were successful in their attempt with great difficulty, others robbed of them perforce. While they were engaged in fighting among themselves, others carried off that booty.

The allegory is to one courting another man’s wife. In such attempt, one is insulted and beaten up by the husband of that woman. Even if one is successful temporarily, others seek to rob one of one’s booty.

11. And sometimes, (at some places), they sat down incapable of protecting themselves against (warding off) cold, heat, storm and showers of rain; at some other places, they sold (personal goods) among themselves, and became enemies of each other by fraudulent money-dealings.

12. Now and then, destitute of wealth and devoid of beds, blankets, shelter and conveyance, they begged of one another. Not getting the desired objects, they cast a coveting glance at another man’s property and got insulted.

13. (Though) they developed hostile relations with each other by mutual (fraudulent) monetary transactions, they entered into marital relations with each other. Thus they proceeded along their path, famished, suffering great difficulties, financial losses and other calamities (including feelings of hatred).

14. The caravan of merchants thus proceeded on its journey leaving behind those that were dead at various places, and taking with them the new born babes. Nobody has as yet returned to its starting place. Nor does anyone (howsoever powerful) betake to yoga which lies at the terminus (of the road), O Warrior!

15. All those resolute and high minded warriors who have conquered the great elephants guarding the eight directions and who, claiming the earth as their own, have contracted hostility (with each other), shall lie dead on the battlefield. But they do not attain to the place (the region of Visnu) where the recluse (the sanyasin) who has been free from enmity, reaches.

16. At some places, it (the caravan, as it still continues to move without end,) clings to the arms (tender shoots) of creepers (that is, the men rest on the tender arms of women); it longs to listen to the indistinct chirping of birds which have resorted to the caravan (listen to the sweet indistinct warbling of children clinging to their mothers). And it feels strongly attached to them. Occasionally, at other places, it is afraid of a multitude of lions and makes friends with cranes, herons and vultures (being afraid of death, the people enter the fold of vile, cruel heretics).

17. Being deceived by them, it (the caravan of merchants) tries to enter the flock of swans (knowing the futility of the false faiths, people try to enter brahmanic fold). But not liking their pious way of life (not finding the brahmanic way of life to their liking), it approaches the monkeys (takes to the monkey-like behaviour of depraved people). By the (amorous) sports natural to that species, it (the caravan) gets its senses gratified (with sensual pleasures) and forgets the (approaching) end of life, while looking at the faces of each other.

18. Amusing himself in the trees (worldly objects observed in life), he (a member of the caravan) fondly loves his children and wife. Being powerless in his own bondage, he becomes void of judgment owing to the lust for sexual enjoyment. Some times falling into a valley due to inadvertence, he catches hold of a creeper and remains in a hanging position, afraid of the elephant (below). (Owing to the acts done in previous lives, he continues to live in fear of impending death).

19. If, by a lucky chance, he, anyhow, overcomes this calamity, he again enters the company of merchants (takes to the path of pravrtti or active worldly life), O vanquisher of enemies! A person who is set on this path (pravrtti) by Maya (the unborn) continues to wander in samsara. No such person has as yet perceived the highest purushartha (Moksha or Liberation).

20. O Rahugana! Even you are also set on this track (by Maya). You lay down your scepter (desist from violence to living beings) and make friends with all beings. With your mind unattached to worldly pleasure and arming yourself with the sword of knowledge sharpened by (dedicated) service to Hari, get to the other end of this road (of samsara).

( part 3 )