Chapter 30 — Self-Disparagement

Rama speaking:—

Seeing the world swallowed up in the abyss of hundreds of rising dangers and difficulties, my mind is immersed in a mire of anxieties. My mind wanders everywhere and I am struck with fear at everything. My limbs shake with fear like the leaves of a withered tree. My mind is bewildered by impatience for its lack of true contentment, just as a young woman alone in a desert is afraid without her strong handed husband.

The thoughts of my mind are entangled in my desire for worldly enjoyments, like stags caught in a pit covered with grass. The senses of an unreasonable man are always running astray to the wrong and never turning to the right way. The eyes of a blind man lead him to fall into a pit. Human thoughts are linked to the animal soul like consorts to their lords. They can neither sit idly nor ramble at liberty, but must remain as wives under the control of their husbands.

My patience is almost worn out, like that of a vine under winter frost. It is decayed and neither lives nor perishes at once. Our minds are partly settled on worldly things and partly fixed on their Giver. This divided state of the mind is called its half-waking condition. My mind is in a state of suspense, being unable to ascertain the real nature of my soul. I am like one in the dark who sees a tree stump in the distance and is deceived to think it a human figure. 10 Our minds are naturally fickle and wandering all about the earth. They cannot forsake their restlessness, as the vital airs cannot exist without being in motion.

11 Tell me, O sage, what state of life is dignified above others, is not associated with troubles, is unqualified by the conditions of humanity, is apart from errors, and in which grief is unknown? 12 How have Janaka and other good men, conspicuous for their ceremonious acts and distinguished for their good conduct, acquired their excellence? 13 O source of my honor, how can a man be cleansed who has smeared the dirt of worldliness all over his body? 14 Tell me what is the knowledge by which the serpents of worldliness can be freed from their worldly crookedness and become straight in their conduct? 15 Tell me how the foulness of my heart, soiled by errors and tainted with evils, like a lake disturbed by elephants and polluted with dirt, can regain its clarity? 16 How is it possible for someone engaged in worldly affairs to be untainted with its blemishes and remain as pure and intact as a drop of water on a lotus leaf? 17 How can one attain excellence by dealing with others as with himself, and regarding others’ property to be like straw, and remaining aloof from love?

18 Who is that great man that has crossed the great ocean of the world, whose exemplary conduct exempts one from misery? 19 What is the best of things that ought to be pursued, and what fruit is worth obtaining? Which is the best course of life in this inconsistent world?

20 Tell me how I can have knowledge of past and future events of the world, and the nature of the unsteady works of its Creator. 21 Do so, that my mind which is like the moon in the sky of my heart may be cleared of its impurities. 22 Tell me what is most delectable to the mind, and what is the most abominable, and how this fickle and inconstant mind may become fixed like a rock. 23 Tell me what is that holy charm that can remove this choleric pain of worldliness attended with numberless troubles? 24 Tell me how can I entertain the blossoms of the tree of heavenly happiness within my heart that sheds the coolness of full moonbeams.

25 O you good men who are present here and learned in divine knowledge, teach me so that I may obtain the fullness of my heart and may not come to grief and sorrow anymore. 26 My mind is devoid of that tranquility which results chiefly from holy happiness. My mind is perplexed with endless doubts that disturb my peace like dogs molest smaller animals in the desert.