Chapter 29 — Unreliability of Worldly Things

Rama speaking:—

Thus my heart is consumed by the wildfire of those great worldly evils, and there rises in me no desire of enjoying them, as there rises no mirage from a lake. My existence on earth gets bitter day by day, and though I have got some experience in it, yet its associations have made me as sour as the neem plant by its immersion in water. I see wickedness on the increase and righteousness on the decline in the mind of man, which like the sour karanja (crab fruit) becomes more sour every day. Every day I see honor being eaten up by men arguing with each other, using harsh words as they crack nuts with their teeth.

Equally prejudicial to our welfare is too much eagerness for royalty and worldly enjoyments. We loose our future prospects by the former, and our present happiness by the latter. I take no delight in my gardens nor have any pleasure in women. I feel no joy at the prospect of riches, but I enjoy solace in my own heart and mind. Frail are the pleasures of the world, and greed is altogether intolerable. The bustle of business has broken down my heart, and I know not where to find tranquility. Neither do I praise death or love my life. I remain as I do, devoid of all anxiety and care.

What do I have to do with a kingdom and all its enjoyments? Of what avail are riches to me, and what is the end of all our exertions? All these are only the requirements of self-love from which I am entirely free. 10 The chain of births is a bond that binds all men by its strong knots of the senses. The best of men are those striving to break loose from this bondage for their liberation.

11 These haughty maidens whom the god of love employs to ravage the hearts of men resemble a group of elephants trampling a lotus bed under their feet. 12 Curing the mind with pure reason is neglected in youth. Afterwards with age, the mind is hard to heal and admits of no cure.

13 The worldliness of man is his true poison, while real poison is no poison to him. It is the poison of worldliness that destroys his future life, while real poison is only locally injurious to him. 14 Neither pleasure nor pain, nor friends nor relatives, not even life and death can bind a mind that has received the light of truth.

15 O brahmin, the best of the learned, teach me the art of the mysteries of past and future. Teach me so that I may soon become like one devoid of grief and fear and worldly troubles so that I may have the light of truth beaming upon me.

16 The forest of ignorance is laid over with the snare of desire. It is full of the thorns of misery, and it is the dreadful seat of destruction and the danger of repeated births. 17 I would suffer myself to be put under the jaws of Death, with his rows of saw-like teeth, but I cannot bear the deadly pains of worldly cares and anxieties.

18 It is a gloomy error in this world to think, “I have this and have not the other.” It serves to toss our minds about, like a gust of wind disperses dust. 19 It is the thread of greed that links together all living beings like a garland of pearls. The mind serves to twirl this chain, but pure consciousness sits quietly observing its rotation.

20 I who am devoid of desires would like to break this ornamental chain of worldliness that hangs about me like a deadly serpent, like a lion tears apart a net. 21 O most learned sage, scatter the mist that has clouded the forest of my heart. By the light of true knowledge, scatter the darkness that has overcast my mind. 22 There are no anxieties, O sage, which cannot be put to an end by the company of good minded men. The darkness of night is dispelled by moonbeams.

23 Life is as fickle as a drop of water in a mass of clouds blown by the winds. Our enjoyments are as unsteady as lightning flashing in the clouds. The pleasures of youth are as slippery as water. With these reflections in my mind, I have subdued them all under the province of peace and tranquility.