Chapter 20 — Denunciation of Youth

Rama continued:--

The boy, having passed his state of blemishes, gladly steps into youth with hopes of gaining his objects that tend only to his ruin. At this time the unconscious youth feels the wanton inclinations of his loose mind and goes on falling from one tribulation to another. He is overcome like one subdued by the power of delusive Kama Deva (Goddess Desire) lying hidden in the cavity of the heart. His ungoverned mind gives rise to loose thoughts like those of voluptuous women, and these serve to beguile him like magic black collyrium eye-liner in the hands of children. Vices of the most heinous kind overcome persons of such minds in their youth and lead them to their ruin.

The paths of youth lead through a maze of errors to the gate of hell. Those who have been left uncorrupt by their youth are not to be corrupted by anything else. Whoever has passed the dreadfully enchanted coast of youth, filled with various flavors and wonders, is said to be truly wise.

I take no delight in our unwelcome youth, which appears to us in the form of a momentary flash of lightning, soon followed by the loud roaring of the clouds (of manhood). Youth, like rich wine, is sweet and delicious, but becomes bitter, insipid and harmful in a short time. Hence it is not delectable to me. 10 Youth appearing as a reality, is found to be a false, transient thing, as deceptive as a fairy dream by night. Hence I like it not. 11 It is the most charming of all things to men, but its charm is soon lost and fled. Therefore the magic lantern show of youth is not pleasing to me.

12 Youth is like an arrow shot: pleasant to see, but painful to feel. Hence I do not like youth that produces heat in the blood. 13 Youth is like a harlot: charming at first sight, but soon turns heartless. Hence it is not to my liking.

14 As the efforts of a dying man are all for his torment, so the exertions of the young are portentous of his destruction. 15 Puberty advances like a dark night spreading the shadow of destruction. It darkens the heart and mind by its hideous appearance, and intimidates even the god Shiva himself.

16 Errors growing in youth, upsetting good sense and giving no value to approved good manners, cause copious mistakes in life. 17 The raging fire in the hearts of the young, caused by separation from their mates, burns them down like trees in a wildfire. 18 As a clear, sacred and wide stream becomes muddy during rains, so does the mind of man, however clear, pure and expanded it may be, gets polluted in his youth. 19 It is possible for one to cross a river made terrible by its waves, but no way possible for him to get over the boisterous expanse of his youthful desires.

20 O how one’s youth is worn out with the thoughts of his mistress, her swollen breasts, her beautiful face and her sweet caresses! 21 The wise regard a young man afflicted with the pain of soft desire as no better than a fragment of straw. 22 Youth is the stake of haughty self-esteem, as the rack is for the immolation of the elephant giddy with its frontal pearl. 23 Youth is a lamentable forest where the mind, as the root of all, gives growth to jungles of (love sick) groans, sighs and tears of sorrow. The vices of this time are like venomous snakes of the forest.

24 Know that a person’s youthful bloom resembles a blooming lotus of the lake. One is as full of affections, bad desires and evil intents as the other is filled with bees, filaments, petals and leaves. 25 The new bloom of youth is the playground of anxiety and disease, which like two birds with their (black and white) plumage of vice and virtue, frequent the fountain of the young man’s heart.

26 Early youth resembles a deep sea disturbed by the waves of numberless amusements, transgressing all bounds, and regardless of death and disease. 27 Youth is like a furious gust of wind over-loaded with the dust of pride and vanity which sweeps away every trace of good qualities. 28 The rude dust of the passions of youth disfigures their faces, and the hurricane of their sensualities cover their good qualities.

29 Youthful vigor awakens a series of faults and destroys a group of good qualities by increasing the vice of pleasures. 30 Youthful bloom confines the fickle mind to some beautiful person, like bright moonbeams serve to trap the flitting bee in the dust of a closing lotus. 31 Youth, like a delightful cluster of flowers growing in the garden of the human body, attracts the mind to it like a bee and makes it giddy (with its sweets). 32 The human mind anxious to derive pleasure from the youthfulness of the body, falls into the cave of sensuality, like a deer running after the mirage of desert heat falls down into a pit.

33 I take no delight in moon-like youth which guilds the dark body with its beams and resembles the stern mane of the lion-like mind. It is a surge in the ocean of our lives. 34 There is no reliance upon youth that fades away as soon as summer flowers in this desert of the body. 35 Like a bird, youth soon flies away from our bodily cage. It is like the philosopher’s stone that quickly disappears from the hands of the unfortunate.

36 As youth advances to its highest pitch, so the feverish passions wax stronger for our destruction only. 37 As long as the night (delusion) of youth lasts, the fiends of our passion rage in the desert of the body. 38 Pity me, O sage, in this state of youth which is so full of agitation as to have deprived me of the sight of reason. O pity me as you would for your dying son. 39 A foolish man who ignorantly rejoices at his transient youth is considered to be like a human beast. 40 A foolish fellow who is fond of his youth, flushed with pride and filled with errors, soon comes to repent.

41 Those who have safely passed over the perils of youth are great minded men honored on earth. 42 With ease one can cross over a wide ocean that is the horrible home of huge whales, but it is hard to pass over our youth that is so full of vices and waves (of our passions). 43 It is very rare to have a happy youth filled with humility and spent in the company of respectable men. Such youth is distinguished by feelings of sympathy and is joined with good qualities and virtues.