Chapter 26 — The Acts of Destiny

Rama said:—

Such being the all destructive conduct of time and others, what confidence, O great sage, can men like me have in them? We all remain here, as slaves sold to Fate and Destiny, and we are deceived by their allurements as beasts of the forest.

This Fate whose conduct is so very inhuman is ever eager to devour all beings. He is constantly throwing men into the sea of troubles. He is moved by his malicious attempts to inflame minds with excessive desires, as the fire raises its flames to burn down a house.

Destiny, the faithful and obedient wife of Fate, is naturally fickle on account of her being a female. She is always bent on mischief and disturbing patience.

As the heinous serpent feeds upon the air, so does cruel Death ever swallow the living. He ripens the body with old age to create his zest, and then devours all animals warm with life. Death is called a relentless tyrant, having no pity even for the sick and weak, nor any regard for anyone in any state of life.

Every one in this world is fond of affluence and pleasures, not knowing that these are only calculated to lead him to his ruin. Life is very unsteady. Death is very cruel. Youth is very frail and fickle, and boyhood is full of dullness and unconsciousness. 10 Man is defiled by his worldliness, his friends are ties to the world, his enjoyments are the greatest of his diseases in life, and his greed and ambition are his ever alluring the mirage.

11 Our very senses are our enemies, before which even truth appears as falsehood. The mind is the enemy of the mind and self is the enemy of self. 12 Self-esteem is stained, intelligence is blamed for its deception, our actions are attended with bad results, and our pleasures tend only to effeminacy. 13 All our desires are directed to enjoyments. Our love of truth is lost, our women are the symbols of vice, and all that was once so sweet has become tasteless and vapid. 14 Things that are not real are believed as real. They have become the cause of our pride by hardening us in untruth and keeping us from the light of truth.

15 My mind is at a loss to think what to do. It regrets its increased appetite for pleasure, and for its lack of self-denial. 16 My sight is dimmed by the dust of sensuality. The darkness of self-esteem prevails over me. I am never able to reach purity of mind, and truth is far away from me. 17 Life has become uncertain and death is always advancing near. My patience is disturbed, and there is an increased appetite for whatever is false.

18 The mind is soiled by dullness, and the body is filled with overindulgence in eating and is ready to fall. Old age exults over the body, and sins are conspicuous at every step. 19 Youth flies fast away despite all our care to preserve it. The company of the good is at a distance. The light of truth shines from nowhere, and I can have recourse to nothing in this world.

20 The mind is stupefied within itself, and its contentment has fled. There is no rise of enlightened sentiments in it, and meanness makes the mind’s advance to enlightened sentiments only more distant. 21 Patience is converted into impatience. Man is subject to the states of birth and death. Good company is rare, but bad company is always within everyone’s reach.

22 All individual existences are liable to appear and disappear. All desires are chains to the world, and all worldly beings are constantly seen to be led away to where, necessarily, no one can tell.

23 What reliance can there be on human life when the points of the compass become indistinct and indiscernible, when countries and places change their positions and names, and when even mountains are liable to be dilapidated? 24 What reliance can there be on man when the heavens are swallowed in infinity, when this world is absorbed in nothingness, and the very earth loses her stability? 25 What reliance can there be on men like ourselves when the very seas are liable to be dried up, when the stars are doomed to fade away and disappear, and when the most perfect of beings are liable to dissolution?

26 What reliance can there be on men like us when even the demigods are liable to destruction, when the polar star is known to change its place, and when the immortal gods are doomed to mortality? 27 What reliance can there be on men like us when Indra is doomed to be defeated by demons, when even Death is hindered from his aim, and when air currents cease to move? 28 What reliance can there be on men like us when the very moon is to vanish with the sky, when the very sun is to be split into pieces, and when fire itself is to become frigid and cold?

29 What reliance can there be on men like us when the very gods Hari and Brahma are to be absorbed into the Great One, and when Shiva himself is to be no more? 30 What reliance can there be on men like us when the duration of time comes to be counted, when Destiny is destined to her final destiny, and when all emptiness loses itself in infinity?

31 That which is inaudible, unspeakable, invisible, and unknowable in his real form, displays to us these wonderful worlds by some fallacy. 32 No one conscious of himself can disown his subjection to that Being that dwells in the hearts of every one. 33 This sun, the lord of worlds, is compelled to run over hills, rocks and fields, like an inert piece of stone, hurled down from a mountain and carried away by a current stream. 34 This globe of earth, the seat of all the suras and asuras and surrounded by a luminous sphere like a walnut is covered by its hard shell, exists under the His command. 35 The gods in the heavens, the men on earth, and the serpents in the nether world are brought into existence and led to decay by His will only. 36 Kama Deva, who is arbitrarily powerful and has forcibly overpowered the entire living world, derives his unconquerable might from the Lord of worlds.

37 As the heated elephant regales the air with his spirituous flowing, so does the spring perfume the air with his profusion of flowers, unsettling the minds of men. 38 So are the loose glances of loving maidens directed to inflict deep wounds in the heart of man, which his best efforts are unable to heal. 39 One whose best endeavor is always to do good to others, and who feels for others’ sorrows, is really intelligent and happy under the influence of his cool judgment.

40 Who can count the number of beings resembling the waves of the ocean, and on whom death has been darting the undersea fire of destruction? 41 All mankind is deluded to entrap themselves in the snare of greed and be afflicted with all evils in life, as the deer entangled in the thickets of a jungle.

42 The duration of human life in this world is being decreased in each generation in proportion to the increase of wicked acts. The desire of pleasure is as vain as the expectation of reaping fruit from a vine growing in the sky. Yet I know not why men of reason would not understand this truth. 43 “This is a day of festivity, a season of joy and a time of procession. Here are our friends. Here are the pleasures and here are a variety of our entertainments.” Thus do men of vacant minds amuse themselves with weaving the web of their desires, until they become extinct.