Chapter 6 — The Vidyadhara Expresses His Disgust with the World to Bhushunda

The vidyadhara spirit continued:—

Tell me now, what is the most noble state which is devoid of increase or decrease or any pain whatever, which is without beginning or end, and which is most sanctified and sanctifying?

For so long I have been sleeping like an inert soul. Now I am awakened to sense by the grace of the Supreme Soul. My mind is heated with the feverish fervor of my unsatisfied desire. It is full of regret at my ignorance. Now raise me from the depth of darkness in which I grovel under my delusion.

Many a time does misfortune overtake the fortunate, and bitter sorrows befall the wise and learned, just as in the end, hoarfrost falls on tender lotus leaves and discolors them. We see frail living beings constantly springing to birth and dying away to no purpose. They exist neither for virtuous acts nor their liberation, but are born only to die like gnats and insects.

I have passed through different stages of life, now with one state of things and then with another, and deceived by the gain of worthless trifles. We are always discontented with the present state and cheated repeatedly by the succeeding one. There is no end to the rambling of the restless, unwary mind, ever running after its frail pleasures and floating as it were upon the breakers of its enjoyments. The mind has no rest after its struggles but wanders onward in the desert paths of this dreary world.

The objects of enjoyment, which are the causes of our bondage in this world, appear at first to be very charming and sweet, but they are all frail and ever changing in their natures, and in the end prove to be our destruction. Moved by our egoism and led by a sense of honor to live in dishonor, I am degraded from the dignity of my high birth as a vidyadhara spirit. I am not pleased with myself.

10 I have seen the pleasure garden of Chitra-radha (chief of gandharvas) and all the sweet and soft flowery beds on earth. I have slept under the branches of wish-fulfilling kalpa trees in paradise and have given away all my wealth and property in charity. 11 I have played in the groves of Mount Meru and about the cities of the vidyadharas. I have wandered about in heavenly cars and in the aerial regions on all sides. 12 I have rested amidst heavenly forces and reposed in the arms of my consorts. I have joined bands of heavenly women in their joyous frolic and music, and I have walked through the cities of the rulers of mankind. 13 I saw nothing of any worth among them, only the bitter sorrow of my heart. Now I come to find by my best reason that everything is burnt down to ashes before me.

14 My eyes, ever inclined to dwell upon the sights of things and become infatuated for the face of my mistress, have been the cause of great affliction to my mind. 15 My eyesight runs indiscriminately after all beautiful objects without its power of considering whether this or that is for our good or bad. 16 My mind also, ever prompt to meet all hazards and to expose itself to all kinds of restraints, never finds its rest until overwhelmed under some danger and exposed to the peril of death.

17 My sense of smell likewise is ever alert seeking after fragrant and delicious things to its own peril. It is difficult for me to repress it, like trying to restrain an unruly horse. 18 I am restrained by the sense of smell through the two canals of my nostrils bearing the body’s rotten breath, coughs and colds. I am constrained like a prisoner of war in a dungeon.

19 My craving tongue forces me to seek my food in these rugged and dreary rocks, the haunt of wild elephants where wolves search for their food. 20 I need to restrain the sensitivity of my body and make my skin endure the heat of hot weather, burning fire, and burning sun. 21 My ears, sage, which ought to take a delight at hearing good lectures, are always inclined to listen to talk that is no way profitable to me but misleads me to wrong, just as grass covering a well tempts a silly deer to his ruin. 22 I have listened to the endearing speeches of my friends and servants and attended to the music of songs and instruments, but I have derived no lasting good from that.

23 I have seen the beauty of women and the natural beauty of objects everywhere. I have seen the sublime beauty of mountains and seas and the grandeur of their foothills and coasts. I have witnessed the prosperity of princes and the brilliancy of gem and jewels. 24 I have long tasted the sweets of the most delicious dishes. I have relished food of the six different tastes served to me by gorgeous ladies. 25 I have associated with lovely damsels clad in silken robes wearing necklaces of pearls, reclined on beds of flowers, and fanned by soft breezes. I have had all these pleasures of touch and enjoyed them unrestrained in my pleasure gardens. 26 I have smelled the odors on the faces of heavenly damsels and I have had the smell of fragrant balms, perfumes and flowers. I have inhaled fragrances carried to me by the breath of soft, gentle and fragrant breezes.

27 Thus have I seen and heard, felt and smelled, and repeatedly tasted whatever sweets this earth could afford. Now they have become dry, distasteful, stale and unpleasant to me. Say, what other sweet is left for me to enjoy? 28 I have enjoyed all these enjoyments of my senses for a full thousand years, and still I find nothing either in this earth or in heaven that is able to yield full satisfaction to my mind.

29 I have reigned for a long time over a realm and enjoyed the company of courtesans in my court. I have vanquished the forces of my enemies in battle, but I know of no great profit that I have gained thereby. 30 Those demons who were invulnerable in warfare and seized the dominion of the three worlds, even those invincible asura demons have been reduced to ashes in a short time.

31 I think the best gain is that which, once gained, leaves nothing else to be desired or gained. Therefore I must seek that precious gain, however difficult it may be to attain.

32 What difference is there between those who have enjoyed the most delightful pleasures and others who have never enjoyed them at all? Nobody has ever seen the heads of the former kind crowned with kalpa tree wreaths or the latter with diminished heads. 33 I have long been led by my organs of sense to enjoy beautiful objects in the wilderness of this world. I have been quite deceived by them, like a child by a cheat. 34 Only now and too late, and after being repeatedly deceived by my organs of sense, I have come to know that the objects of my senses are my greatest enemies. 35 I see the deceitful organs of sense, like so many sly hunters, have laid their snares about the wild forest of this world to trap all unwary people, just as they do silly deer or beasts of prey by enticements. 36 There are few men in this world who are not poisoned by the deadly venom of their serpent-like organs of sense.

37 The forest of the world is full of furious elephants of enjoyments, surrounded by the snare of our desire. Our greed wanders rampant with sword in hand, and our passions stir like keen spearmen tearing our hearts and souls every moment. 38 Our bodies become a field of battle where the commanding charioteer of our egoism has spread a net of deceit employing our efforts as horsemen and our desires as noisy revelers. 39 The organs of sense are the flag-bearers set at the extremities of the battlefield that is our body. They are reckoned the best soldiers who by their bravery are able to overtake these staff-bearers in the field.

40 It may be possible for us in war to pierce even the head of furious Airavata, the war elephant of Indra, but it is too hard for anyone to repress the unruly senses within their proper bounds. 41 The greatest victory that may be won by the valor, magnanimity and fortitude of great men is to conquer the unconquerable organs of sense. 42 When a man is no longer thrown and carried about by the irresistible force of his sensual appetites, like a bit of insignificant straw, he is said to have attained the perfection and excellence of the gods of heaven. 43 I account men of well governed senses and great patience to be truly men. All other men of ungoverned minds are mere moving machines made of the flesh and bones that compose their bodies.

44 O sage, I think I can overcome all things if I could only reduce the force of the five external organs of sense which form the battalion under the mind’s command. 45 By the prescriptions of reason you may be able to heal the sensual appetites which form the great sickness of the mind. Otherwise you cannot get rid of them with any medicine or mantra, or by holy pilgrimage or any other remedy. 46 I am led to great distress by the joint force of my senses, just as a lonely traveler is robbed by a gang of thieves.

47 The organs of sense are like dirty canals of the body with their stagnate and foul watery matter. They are filled with harmful and hairy moss and emit a stink of malaria. 48 The senses seem to me to be like so many deep and dark forests covered with impenetrable snows and full of terrors that render them impassable to travelers. 49 The organs of the outward senses resemble the stalks of lotuses growing upon the dirt of the body with holes in them, but without any visible thread inside. They are knotty on the outside and without any consciousness of their own. 50 Our senses are like so many seas with salty water and huge waves dashing on every side. They are full of various gems and pearls, but they are also full of horrible whales and sharks. 51 Sensual pleasures bring on the untimely death of the sensualist and causes grief and sadness to his friends. It makes others take pity on his state and mourn at his fate, which leads him only to repeated reincarnations.

52 The senses are a vast and unlimited wilderness to men, friendly to the wise and hostile to the unwise. 53 The sphere of the senses is as dark as that of a cloudy sky where the black clouds of distress are continually growling and the lightning strikes of joy constantly flash with their impermanent glare. 54 The organs of sense are like underground crevasses or mounds of mud upon earth. Inferior animals take refuge in them, but they are shunned by superior and intelligent beings. 55 They are like hidden pits covered with thorns and brambles and inbred with venomous snakes in which the unwary fall to be struck and bitten to death.

56 All sensualities are like savage rakshasa demons who wander and revel in their adventurous excursions in the darkness of night and feed on human victims. 57 Our organs of sense are like dry sticks, all hollow and empty in the inside. They are crooked and full of joints, fit only as fuel for fire. 58 The bodily organs are the instruments of vice, like pits and thickets obstructing our way, like a reed flute full of dirt. 59 The limbs of the body are the implements of its action and the instrument for producing an infinite variety of works. They are like the potter’s wheel, turning and whirling with their mud in order to produce the fragile pottery of clay.

60 Thus sage, I am plunged in the dangerous sea of my sensual desires. You alone are able to raise me out of it by your kindness to me. They say that in this world only holy saints are victorious over their senses. Only their company removes the grief of mankind and saves them from the perilous sea of sensuality.