Jnaneshwari (Bhavartha Dipika)

by Ramchandra Keshav Bhagwat | 1954 | 284,137 words | ISBN-10: 8185208123 | ISBN-13: 9788185208121

This is verse 13.7 of the Jnaneshwari (Bhavartha-Dipika), the English translation of 13th-century Marathi commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita.—The Dnyaneshwari (Jnaneshwari) brings to light the deeper meaning of the Gita which represents the essence of the Vedic Religion. This is verse 7 of the chapter called Kshetra and Kshetrajna Yoga.

Verse 13.7:Non-arrogance, Guilelessness, Non-violence, Forbearance Rectitude; Devoted service to the Preceptor, Purity, Steadfastness, Self-restraint: (185)

Commentary called Jnaneshwari by Jnaneshwar:

(One possessed of knowledge can be identified by the following symptoms). He does not relish in the least, the idea of identifying himself with any business, or feels it a burden, if any one attributes respectability to him. If any one commends his virtues or to hold him in respect or to describe his qualities, he gets nervous like a deer blocked by a hunter or like a swimmer in a river caught in a whirlpool. Oh Partha, he feels it a difficult position to be the object of people’s applause and would not allow any importance being attached to him. He would not like to see any feeling of reverence displayed towards him or would not allow his ears to hear his own praises and would not like the people even to remember that he is any particular person. He feels it a death if any one bows to him and does not relish any honour being done to him or any regard being shown for him.

Although his knowledge is encyclopaedic like Brihaspati’s (the Preceptor of the Gods) he conceals his true personality under the guise of idiocy for fear of (becoming a) celebrity. He does not display his skill, always hides his greatness and likes to wander about like a mad man. He feels unhappy in mind at his fame, neglects discussion on Scriptures, and entertains a great liking for quietude (svasthatā). He heartily wishes that he should be insulted by the world and his own people (kinsmen) should not be near him. Although all humility at heart, he outwardly shows indifference and generally behaves accordingly. He always wishes to behave in a way that people care little to see if he is alive or not. He conducts himself in a way that people doubt whether he is walking or borne by the wind. He endeavours (navasiya [navasiye]) that his existence should be ignored and people should even forget his name and that no living being should feel any fear on his account, and he feels glad to hear about uninhabited places and even to live in solitude. He forms friendship with the wind and loves to talk to the sky and loves the trees more than his own life.

In short, he should be known as having secured ‘knowledge’ who shows such symptoms. By these symptoms should be known one who possesses ‘Amanitva’ (amānitva—non-arrogance). Now is described ‘Adambhitva’ (guilelessness). Adambhitva can be likened to the mind of a miser who would not show his treasures to any one even though threatened with the loss of his life.

In that way, Oh Arjuna, even at the risk of his life, he would not himself make known his own good actions like, Oh Arjuna, a naughty cow who would resist and hold back the natural flow of her milk, or like a harlot (paṇyāṅganā) who would not disclose her (real) advanced age, or like a rich person who would keep secure his riches while passing through woods or like a married girl from a respectable family who would not allow her limbs to be exposed, or like a cultivator who sows the com and covers it up with earth, (like that) he keeps secret his charity and good actions. He does not adorn his person, nor does he flatter (any one) and does not make a parade of his pious acts. Similarly he does not speak about his good actions towards others, nor make an open boast of the knowledge secured, and he never sells for fame his knowledge. He behaves like a miser in regard to enjoyments for his own person, while he never shows a niggardly hand when spending on charity. In domestic matters he shows scarcity of wealth, while in physique he appears lean: (yet) in point of doing charities, he would, spend on a scale that would compete even with a Kalpataru (Heavenly tree supposed to yield all desires). He is serious in point of doing his own duty as prescribed by religion, and also very liberal on the right occasions. He is well-versed in holding discussions on the knowledge of Self (ātmajñāna), but otherwise looks like a mad man.

Apparently he seems like a plantain tree which outwardly appears hollow and soft, yet bears bumper fruit full of juicy sweet, or like clouds which appear small and can be scattered by the wind, yet give wonderfully copious rainfall. Seeing him full of good things (puṇya [puṇye]) in this way, the heart gets pleased; yet outwardly he appears Misery incarnate. With such symptoms appearing in him in full measure, he should be taken to have acquired (full) knowledge. You have in this way been told about the Adambhitva (guilelessness) and now hear about ‘Ahimsa’ (ahiṃsā—non-violence).

This non-violence has been described in different ways by different schools of opinion, and now hear about it. See it in this form: as if the branches of a tree should be cut off for making a fence for its own stump, or just as the arms should be lopped off and cooked for satisfying the pangs of hunger, or just as the temples should be pulled down and (with that material) a pandal erected in front of the inner sancturay. In that way Purva Mimansa (pūrvamīmāṃsā—an authoritative work dealing with the science of Vedic sacrifice) declares “when sacrificial victims are slaughtered at a sacrifice, it does not technically constitue Killing” (i.e. Non-Killing is the result of Killing!)

When the entire world is tormented by severe scarcity of rainfall, they perform sacrifices to get rain. But a direct animal slaughter is involved at the very base of sacrifice. How is it possible then to get even a faint glimpse of Ahimsa (non-violence) in the process? Can non-violence grow where there is directly sown (the seed of) violence and yet the wonder is that the sacrificers give such a decision (in the case of ritual violence). And the medical science countenances the same theory, Oh Pandava, viz., for saving one life it is permissible to sacrifice another. The doctors prescribe different drugs to alleviate the suffering of persons afflicted with different diseases and experiencing intense torments. These prescriptions contain roots and entire shrubs with bulbous roots, some of which are ordered to be dug out completely, while some are entirely cut off with the leaves. They cut several trees, strip others of their bark, and slowly bake others, laden with the fruit, putting them in an air-tight receptacle. The innocent trees which bear no enmity to any one, are stabbed all over rendering them lifeless and dry, Oh Dhanurdhar [Dhanurdhara]! They insert their hands into the bowels of living beings and taking out bile from them, they save other lives suffering from maladies.

Happy homes are pulled down and temples are constructed (from the debris); or moneylenders are robbed and with their money are opened free kitchens; covering only the head, the remaining parts of the body are kept entirely naked; or pulling down the house and covering only the court-yard with a pandal; burning all the garments and making a fire for warming or bathing an elephant; all these acts are useless: to sell the bullock and (with the money) construct a stable; or exchange a parrot for a cage—are not all these actions mere mockeries and do they not excite our laughter? Some use water after straining it through a piece of cloth according to the injunction of scriptures, but do not see how many little lives are lost in the process of twisting the cloth dry. Some do not cook or roast the grain for fear of causing ‘Himsa’ (violence), and thereby put life to torture, which act in itself amounts to ‘Himsa’. In this way they commit violence and consider their actions as nonviolence. Such perverse propositions are deduced logically in ‘Purva Mimansa’, know ye, O sensible one.

When I first referred to non-violence, I thought of telling you about the real non-violence; but I next thought I should not omit any mention of the contrary thing (i.e. the bogus non-violence) and so I concluded that I should first tell you about it (the contrary thing) with the specific object of enlightening you on the point. And that was the reason of my detailed explanation about it. Who would otherwise like to deviate from the straightforward course? Moreover it is necessary to expatiate on the relevant doctrines of different schools with a view to enunciate our own proposition clearly; and this is the usual procedure of discussing subjects. Now turning to the main topic (non-violence), hear my opinion about it, which also makes clear the aspect of (true) non-violence, and once one is impressed with it, knowledge can be easily realised. Whether it is properly realised or not can be judged from actions, just as the purity of gold can be tested by using the touch-stone. With the knowledge and mind coming together, there arises a clear vision of nonviolence.

Oh Kiriti, now hear how this happens. Just as the bird crane fixing his eye on the prey—(fish) swiftly but cautiously puts his feet into water without disturbing in the least the water-ripples, or not allowing to break, and disturb the stillness of the water: or just as the black bee alights steadily and cautiously on the lotus for fear of hurting the pollen (parāga) of it: in that way he places his feet (on the ground) with the full knowledge that there are in profusion very minute lives in the atoms filling the atmosphere, and feeling compassion for them, they (men of nonviolence) tread over the paths of kindness and fill up with affection the space covered by the ten directions and protect and show more regard toward all other lives than their own.

Oh Partha, the extent of non-violence of those persons, who conduct themselves so superbly, is boundless (words fail to describe its magnitude). A female cat holds her kittens in her teeth lovingly without allowing the points of her teeth to hurt them in any way; or a fond mother anxiously looks forward for her child with a vision that is full of affection: a gentle breeze with a fan of lotus leaf is wafted over a sore eyelid in order to give it some relief: so gently they place their feet upon the ground while walking along, with the result that the creatures coming into contact with them feel happy.

While walking lightly in this way, Oh Son of Pandu, were he (one of them) to see any worm or insect he would slowly turn around. He argues that with the noise of his steps the living creature (the Lord) would lose his sleep and he would be disturbed in his tranquil state with the breach of sleep. Influenced by such tender sentiments, he would turn around, abstaining from treading over any life. He would not allow his feet even to touch grass for fear of hurting any life. How is it possible then that he would pass by not taking any cognisance of living creatures? He cannot walk over any life, just as an ant cannot ascend the mountain Meru or just as a fly cannot cross the sea. Such is his habitual tendency, the very kindness dawns in him and you can see its aspects directly in his speech. His very breath is tender, his mouth the very abode of Charm, while his teeth are the very sprouts of sweetness.

Love is first created and it begins to ooze out from his mind, then follows the utterance of kind words, bringing up the rear from the mouth. Naturally reluctant to speak, if (at all) inclined to speak, he is afraid lest his talk would displease any one. If any new point arises during the talk, (he feels) his speech should not hurt any one or should not create and doubt in any one’s heart, lest it might frustrate the plans (of anybody) or cause fear to any person. He would not mind if people despised his words, but he would, on no account, suffer his speech to cause pain to any one or give an occasion for the creation of hostile feelings in the minds of others (indicated by the frown). He prefers silence. If, however, pressed he would talk lovingly of others, and his words would give pleasure as if they were (coming) from one’s parents.

(It would look) as if the very mystic sound (the symbol of Brahman) has assumed a form, or the sacred water of the Ganges has splashed up, or a chaste lady has grown old; in that way his words are felt as truthful and straight and measured, (also) sweet and full of meaning, and gentle as the very waves of nectar. He avoids uttering words that are satiric or controversial, or likely to cause trouble, and touch a person to the quick, being full of slander etc. Similarly (he avoids words) that are full of opposition, force, malice, greed, doubt, and deceit, since such delinquencies have been given up once for all by his tongue. Similarly, Oh Kiriti, his vision is always pleasing and his eye-brows stand out free and straight. He generally avoids meeting any one lest his visit might cause disturbance to the soul enshrined in the living being. Were he perchance to open his eyes, feeling pleased in his heart, his glance would be like a shower of sweet ambrosia descending down from the rays of the moon which though not perceptible to the eye proves fully nourishing to the bird Chakor [Chakora].

Whatever being he may look at through his pleasing glance, that being would feel fully satisfied; his being the sort of pleasing glance which even a she-tortoise would not be able to know. He looks with such a pleasing eye almost at all living beings: so also are his hands (liberal) to all. His hands are always unoccupied like the minds of those that have attained the Supreme. Just as one born blind should leave off looking at anything, or as the fire should get extinguished for want of fuel or a dumb man should assume silence, in that way his hands having left nothing for them to do with, remain inactive in the sphere of inertia. He does not even move his hands lest they hurt the wind, or the sky will get a scratch with his nails.

How is it possible for him to frighten away the (tiny) lives sitting on his person, entering into his eyes, or animals and birds coming in his way, since he never likes to handle a chastising rod much less a lethal weapon—a mention of which, Oh Kind, is even superfluous. He does not play with the lotus flowers much less indulge in flinging up and catching wreaths of flowers, since doing this would appear like shooting with a sling (gophaṇa). Fearing that the hair on the body would get hurt, he does not caress the body and allows his nails to grow up (not cutting them). Normally he keeps his hands all unengaged: if at all he moves them, it is for joining them together for the purpose of bowing, or he lifts them up as a sign invoking freedom from fear, or for lending help to a falling one, or to caress a person in misery.

This too he does with great reluctance, yet he removes the sufferings with that (mobile) tenderness which cannot be secured even from the rays of the Moon. Having experienced the touch (of his hand), even the soft breeze from the Malaya-mountain appears harsh and rough-such is the unique tenderness of his touch when he caresses (domestic) animals. His hands, although actionless, are cool like sandal wood and not yet fruitless like sandal tress; and although they (hands) bear no fruit are yet not fruitless. I have elaborated this point too much.

The hands (palms) of pious persons are in perfect harmony with their temperament (cool). How is his mind? Need this be told separately? To whom else does all that is described so far refer to? Do the branches not represent the tree? Can there be a sea without water? Can the sun ever be different from its brilliance? Are the limbs and the body separate? So also are the fluids and water different? Therefore whatever has been told to you about his external conduct, is in itself his mind, know ye. Whatever seed has been sown in the soil grows up with the tree: so whatever is done through the organs constitutes the actions of the mind. If there is no trace of non-violence in the interior itself, how can it (non-violence) overflow through the organs outside? Oh Kiriti, any bias (toward a thing) springs up first from the mind and the same is later revealed in the form of action, either through the agency of mouth, eyes or hands.

How can a thing issue from the mind if it is not originally in it? Can a seedling ever grow up without any seed in the soil? When the mind is paralysed (ceases to function normally) the organs become actionless as is the case with the dolls dancing on strings, without the person holding the strings. When the water of a stream dries up at its source how can it flow? How can the body move if the life has left it? In that way the mind, Oh Pandava, is the origin of all the desires on the part of all the organs and it (the mind) causes all the organs to execute all actions. Therefore, whatever may be the form that the mind assumes internally, it is faithfully reproduced externally by actions. If, therefore, non-violence gets strong in the interior, the organs also develop the same tendency just as the rich fragrance of ripe fruit spreads out all around. Once the organs are habituated to the notion that non-violence is the sole wealth, they too turn their actions in that direction. With the open sea in tide the creeks too get flooded, in that way once the mind is fixed upon non-violence, the organs too enjoy its glory.

A teacher, although he holds the hand of the pupil while teaching him to write, still it is he himself (and not the pupil) who writes down beautiful and clear lines. In that way the mind transmits its kindness to the hands and feet, creating in them non-violence in consequence. Therefore, Oh Kiriti, whatever has been preached to you as being the tendencies of the organs are in principle the tendencies of the mind itself. Therefore, one who has renounced violence bodily and mentally as well as in speech and the one in whose actions you will perceive this (effect), know such a person as the very pleasure-house of knowledge, nay the embodiment of knowledge itself. Should you desire to see nonviolence about which your ears have heard so much or which is discussed on the authority of Scriptures, you need only see that person.

(Jnanadev [Jnanadeva] now adds in reference to himself.)

“What God said to Partha can be told (to you) in one word, yet I have stretched it too far, for which you must pardon me. An animal (cattle) browsing on a green meadow forgets the path it has trodden, or a bird moves in the sky along with the wind: in that way, you will say, my eloquence expanded in the warmth of love (for the subject) and I could not control my intellect. But, Oh Saints, such is not the case: there is reason for this expansion; the word non-violence (ahiṃsā) is made only of three letters. This theory of non-violence can be explained in a short form; but then the invasion of the conundrums of divergent opinions (about it) has to be dealt with; unless that is done the explanation of non-violence is not clear. Were I to preach to you about non-violence, neglecting the prevailing notions about it, you would not like my sermon.

The (sacred) stone from the river Gandaki (gaṇḍakī) may be sold at the price of a jewel in the hamlet of jewel-experts: but how can a crystal fetch similar value? How can flour be sold because of its (non-existing) fragrance where camphor full of fragrance itself can with great difficulty find customers? Therefore, Oh my masters, you would not like it, were I to preach before you feeling proud about (my) oration alone. You will not be prepared even to hear me, were I to blend into one mass general and particular points. Your attention will stray off, if pure propositions (settled theories) are made obscure with doubts. Will the swan ever look at the water the surface of which is covered with moss (śevāla [śevāleṃ])? The bird Chakor [Chakora] would not like even to open its beak (mouth) even if there be clear moon-shine behind the clouds.

In that way instead of feeling any respect for the book, you will, on the contrary, get all wrath (at it), if my exposition is not perfect and faultless; and moreover if I fail to present to you a clear picture of divergent doctrines, it will be difficult to refute the controversial dogmas (of the opponents). Such a defective sermon will have no appeal to your mind (it will not carry conviction). And Oh you saints, the sole purpose of my whole harangue (composition) is directed to win your good opinion and favour. I started preaching on the Gita, knowing full well that you are ardent admirers of the Gita-teachings.

You will be prepared to give all to secure the (teachings of) Gita, not because it is a scriptural work, but because it is the guarantee of God’s grace, I hold. (On the other hand) were you to covet and stick to all you possess, and abandon the (teachings of) Gita, then certainly both the Gita as also myself would be reduced to the same state (of nullity).

There is no need to say more, but I started preaching the Gita, making it only a plea, but (really) in order to secure your sympathy. Because you are an audience of connoisseurs, I have got to make the sermon—worthy of you—and consequently I discussed the divergent interpretations of non-violence. That involved expansion of the story entailing a digression from the interpretation of the original verse and therefore you will pardon me, a child as I am. If one is to find small bits of stones while chewing a morsel of food, time has got to be spent in casting them away and it can not be called a waste of time. Will a mother get angry with her child because it took an unduly long time in returning to her safe after evading robbers on the way; will she not rather receive him (joyfully) with auspicious rites (jitāṇe [jintāṇe?] bhavije)? But all these examples are needless since you have already pardoned me.

Now hear what Lord (Krishna) said,

“Oh you, the best eye of knowledge, Oh Arjuna, be now attentive. I now mention those signs by which you will be able to identify knowledge, know ye. Where there exists forbearance free from lamentation (ākrośa), there is knowledge, just as there dwell the lotus plants in a deep lake, or wealth in the house of a fortunate person. Oh Partha, now I speak to you of the attributes of one in whom there grows forbearance in abundance. He bears all with the same good cheer with which (people) wear clothes and ornaments of (their) choice. He never gets perturbed (navhe vākuḍāne) when faced with the three classes of afflictions (viz corporal, elemental or supernatural). His mind faces any adversity befalling him, with the same contentment with which he faces the advent of any expected good turn. He quietly bears honour and dishonour, suffers alike pleasure and pain, and treats with even temper both abuse and praise. He does not get warm with the heat of the Sun, nor does he shiver in cold, nor does he get frightened by anything.

Just as the mountain Meru does not feel in the least the burden of its peaks, or just as the incarnation Varaha does not feel the burden of the earth, or just as the earth does not feel the burden of living beings and inanimate things on it, in that way the pairs of opposites like pleasure and pain never even touch him; or just as the sea expands its bosom to receive floods of water swept by a multitude of big and small rivers, in that way there is nothing which he cannot accommodate, (the wonder is that) his heart does not even remember this accommodating capacity of his. Whatever the body has to face is accepted by him quietly as being part of his self, and there remains no cause for feeling any pride for the sufferance on his part. Oh my beloved one, one in whom there dwells such unsullied forbearance—such a person only adds to the glory of knowledge. Such a person, Oh Pandava, is the very support (olāvā) of knowledge. Now we shall preach about rectitude (ārjava) and you hear of its attributes.

Just as the life (wind) shows the same affability (saujanya) towards all, the Sun does not give light merely by looking at faces (meaning in a spirit of partiality), the sky is everywhere the same throughout the world; in that way, the mental attitude of such a person does not vary with individuals, but his behaviour with all is uniform. Possessed of the perfect knowledge of the world, he knows well the world already to be his old kith and kin, with the result that terms like ‘mine’ or ‘of others’ are unknown to him. He gets assimilated with anyone like water and harbours no bias in his mind against anyone. His nature runs as straight as the sweep of wind, and he is free from suspicion and greed. Just as a child feels no diffidence in approaching its mother, so he feels no diffidence in placing his opinions before the world. Just as no part of a lotus remains concealed, once it is fully blown, in that way, Oh Dhanurdhar [Dhanurdhara], his mind is open in and out, revealing every nook and comer in it.

There is already the clarity of a jewel and the jewel sends forth a brilliant ray, in that way, with his mind already clear, the actions issuing from his mind naturally prove equally clean. He never wavers, (is ignorant of deliberation) but lays bare his actual experience, his mind being free and not knowing any uncertainty. His vision is never shy (blurred) (miṇadhī) nor his talk vague and he never harbours any evil intention while dealing with any person. All his ten senses are straightforward, free from worldly affairs, and pure, while the five skirts of life (life-winds) are free and open throughout the eight Prahars [Praharas] of the day. His interior (heart) is as straight as the descending showers of nectar, nay he is in fact the parental home of all these attributes. Oh, the best amongst warriors, such a person is rectitude incarnate and knowledge has made its home in him. Now, Oh most skilful of the skilful, hear what I tell you about devoted service to the preceptor; that service you perceive is the very birth-place of all the good luck, since it converts into the supreme Being even those that are afflicted with misery. I now reveal to you that service of the preceptor; you concentrate your mind on it.

Just as the holy Ganges, taking along with herself all other water courses, flows towards the sea, or just as the Vedas arrive and steady themselves at the feet of the Supreme, or just as the loyal wife dedicates to her husband all her qualities as also her five life-winds, welding them into a mass—the one who in that way dedicates to his preceptor’s dynasty all he owns and makes himself the very temple of devotion (to his preceptor): he ever thinks in his mind of the landscape in which exists the house of his preceptor, like a wife who always keeps thinking about her absent husband; he runs forward and welcomes the very wind coming from the direction of the preceptor’s house, and requests it (wind) to visit his house; getting deluded through his tn re love, he likes to talk in the direction of the preceptor’s house and makes his very life to fix its station in the preceptor’s house. Because of the binding force of the command of the preceptor, his physical body remains alone away at his place, just as the calf remains in the stable (because of his being) tied down with a rope; he is ever anxious for the loosening of the noose of the preceptor’s command and to see the preceptor and with such intense longing considers even a moment longer than a Yuga.

In such a state should there arrive anyone from the preceptor’s place, or should any one happen to be sent to him by the preceptor himself, he feels like a person who has got a fresh lease of life when he is on the point of death, or as there should descend a shower of nectar on a withering seedling, or just like a fish in scanty-watered pond finding itself in an ocean, or like a beggar discovering a hoard, or like a blind-born man getting a vision, or like a mendicant securing the very seat of Indra; (i.e. sovereignty in Heaven) in that way he feels getting big (in size) so much at the very mention of his preceptor’s name, as to be able to embrace the very sky.

One in whom you happen to see such a love for the family of the preceptor, take it definitely, that the knowledge works as his footman. He places permanently the image of the preceptor in his heart on the strength of his love (for him), and worships him by meditating upon him. He permanently instals [installs?] as the Pole-star (Dhruwa [Dhruva]), his adored preceptor in the enclosure in the form of the purity of his heart, and becomes himself all his paraphernalia with all devotion; or he pours a continuous stream of nectar in the form of meditation on the soul of the preceptor, installing him in the temple of the self-bliss erected on the plinth of Supreme Brahman, he fills up the receptacle in the form of his intellect with righteous feelings and dedicates it to God Shiva in the form of the preceptor a lakh of times. Thrice at the enjoined holy hours of the day viz. morning, noon and evening, he bums the incense in the form of personal consciousness as a real entity and waves around God the preceptor, the lamp of knowledge. He offers in its entirety the dish in the form of the union with Supreme Brahman, acting as the worshipper and making the preceptor the emblem of worship; or at times, his intellect enjoys the bliss of the association of the preceptor on the bed of his soul, imagining him as (her) husband and experiences the glory of his love.

At times his mind gets so much flooded with love (for the preceptor) that he calls it the sea of milk. In the waters of this sea of love, Narayana in the form of the preceptor, enjoys slumber reclining on ‘Shesha’ bedstead in the form of meditation and he (the disciple) himself plays the role of Lakshmi, shampooing his (Narayana’s) feet, as also the role of Garuda, ever standing nearby (with folded hands). He also imagines himself as the God Brahmadev [Brahmadeva] springing up (from the lotus) in the navel of Narayana in the form of the preceptor. In this way he enjoys the mental experience of meditation through his love for preceptor. At one time he fancies the preceptor is his mother, and rolls in his lap, enjoying the happiness (as if) of breastsuck; or he considers himself a calf, following the (preceptor) cow (in the cool shade) at the foot of the tree of knowledge (caitanya) Oh Kinti.

At times he considers himself a fish (swimming) in the waters in the form of the preceptor’s grace; sometimes he considers himself a small plant in the form of the attitude of service nourished with the showers of nectar in the form of preceptor’s kindness; thus one imagery succeeds another in his mind. He considers himself as a young bird, with no eyes and wings. Just see the sort of (queer) liking on his part—(he) sees the preceptor as a mother-bird, he (the youngling) snatching feed from her beak: or taking the preceptor as a boat (he) clings to her rudder. In this way one spectacle produces another, forming a series out of love, just as there arise waves after waves in the tumult when the sea is in high tide. Thus he harbours in his heart the preceptor in diverse forms, and now hear about his external (visible) service.

He entertains the ambition that he would render the best of service to the preceptor in such a way that he should be pleased and should say, “Ask (for some boon)” and when he really gets so much pleased, I shall make this request:—

“I should alone constitute in its entirety, Oh master, whatever paraphernalia there may be of yours, and that whatever articles and equipment there might be of your use, should all be so many different forms of mine.”

When I ask for such a boon the preceptor will say, “Amen” and then I shall alone be his entire paraphernalia. When I (thus) become each and every article forming his equipment, then the real glory of (the preceptor’s) service will be manifest. The preceptor is the mother (inspirer) of the many (disciples) but I shall, through his kindness, claim him as my monopoly.

I shall attract his love to such an extent that he will be compelled to take the vow of a monogamist, (myself being his only spiritual spouse) and conduct himself in such a way that his love will be exclusively reserved forme shall be a cage for his kindness like the four quarters out of which the wind even cannot escape. I shall decorate the mistress in the form of the loyal service to the preceptor, with my good qualities so that I should be the case (cover) containing the devotion of the preceptor. I shall be the earth for receiving the (rain) showers of the preceptor’s kindness; thus I construct in my heart countless “castles in the air”.

He further says,

“I shall be the preceptor’s house and becoming (also) his servant there, render him service.

I shall be the threshold, which the preceptor crosses when entering the house and going out (of it), as also the doors and shall also be the door-keeper.

I shall be his wooden sandals and I shall make him wear them.

I shall be his umbrella (itself) and shall simultaneously hold it as the umbrella-bearer.

I shall be the cautioner (to caution him) of high and low levels as also be his chowri-bearer (caurī—chowri-bushy tail of chamaras (yak) used as a fly-flap and reckoned as one of the insignia of royalty) and also the hands supporting him, and shall also be his torch-bearer walking ahead of the master.

I shall be his globular vessel with a spout (jhārī) and (with that) rinse his mouth and shall also be the (dirty) water jetted out (gulaṇī) as also the wooden spittoon (paḍighā) to receive it.

I shall be the casket to hold his betel leaves, and shall take in the residue of the chewn betel-leaves, and shall make all preparations for his bath.

I shall be the preceptor’s seat, as also his ornaments and his clothes and also the sandal paste etc. with which to decorate him.

I shall be his cook and shall serve him a meal and shall wave (my soul) around the preceptor (ovālī).

I shall keep him company while he is at the meal and after his meal I shall move forward to give him Tambul (tāmbūla—betelleaf, nut etc.).

I shall remove the dish used for meal and shall arrange his bed and shall also shampoo his feet.

I shall be his throne (sofa) on which the preceptor takes his seat, and in this way I shall reach perfection in the preceptor’s service.

I shall myself be that striking subject in which the preceptor might feel interested.

I shall transform myself into countless words for the audition of the preceptor.

I shall be also the touch-sense when he scratches any part of his body, and I shall assume all those forms, at which the preceptor’s eyes look with an affectionate glance.

I shall be that dainty which will be relished by his tongue, and shall be that fragrance that would find favour with his nostrils.

In this way I shall be everything, and through it, monopolise the preceptor’s entire visible service.” (Says the disciple to himself).

In this way he goes on serving till his body remains in existence, and afterwards, other novel ways suggest themselves to his intellect.

(He says)

“I shall make the dust of this body mingle with the earth of the spot on which the preceptor’s feet stand. I shall make the portion of water in this body mingle with that water which the preceptor might at his pleasure touch. I shall add the portion of light in my body to that of the lamp that the preceptor waves around (ovālī). and also those that light his house. I shall place my vital airs in the chowrie and ‘vinzan’ (viñjhaṇa [viñjhaṇā?]—fan), so that I shall secure both the service and also the touch-sense of the preceptor’s body. Wherever the preceptor may be with his paraphernalia, I shall make the sky-element in my body to mingle with the local skyelement; whether alive or dead I shall not abandon this vow of the preceptor’s service and will not allow anyone else to serve him, even for a moment out of the crores of Kalpas (a day of God Brahmadev [Brahmadeva]—100 Yugas or 432 million years of mortals) of such service.”

His heart throbs with zeal so fervently; verily his spirit of service is boundless. He knows neither day nor night nor more nor less: (on the contrary) on hearing a call for service, he girds his loins. Let the preceptor’s service be greater even than the sky, he executes it all himself, single-handed, at one stretch. No sooner than the preceptor orders a certain thing to be done, his body runs ahead of his mind and executes the mandate competing with the mind. Sometimes he is prepared to sacrifice even his life (loṇakarī) while fulfilling a playful wish of his revered master. He gets lean in the service of his preceptor, but he is nourished by his love and becomes the abode of the preceptor’s command. He thinks he belongs to an exalted and respectable family on account of his intimate association with the preceptor’s family, and his courteous behaviour with his brotherdisciples makes him virtuous; while rendering service to the preceptor is an eternal hobby (vyasana) with him he looks upon the tenets and rituals enjoined by his preceptor as constituting his religious duty in full.

Devotional service to the preceptor becomes his constant daily duty. The preceptor is for him a holy place, he is his God, mother and father, he knows no other path (leading to salvation) but the one of his service. He considers the preceptor’s door as the quaint essence of every thing and behaves lovingly with the servants of the preceptor as if they were his full brothers and sisters. His entire talk consists of repeating the esoteric formulae in the form of the preceptor’s name and never touches any other Scripture but the one of the preceptor’s precepts. He considers even ordinary water touched by the preceptor’s foot, superior in sanctity to all the holy waters in the three worlds. He will develop a distaste for and abandon even his deep meditation, (samādhī), if he is perchance to get half-tasted and left-out food (uṣṭa [uṣṭā?, uṣṭe]) of the preceptor. He joyfully accepts on his head the particles of dust raised by his (Preceptor’s) feet while walking for salvation. Let this suffice now; how far can I dilate upon it: There is no limit to the subject of devotion to the preceptor.

This detailed talk is but the result of the exuberance flowing from the devotion for the preceptor. One who has a keen regard and anxiety for devotion, feels no pleasure in anything else but the service of the preceptor. Such a person is the very foundation of philosophy and imparts to knowledge a definite form—nay such a devotee of knowledge is God. Know it definitely, that in such a person, knowledge dwells with open doors (freely), and is adequate (even) to satisfy the needs of the entire world.”

(Jnanadev says)

“I have gone out of the way to treat this subject so elaborately, since my heart is very much enamoured of the idea of service to the preceptor. I am otherwise armless even with arms, blind in keeping alert in regard to the singing of the praise, and a cripple in regard to service—dullest of the dull, dumb in point of describing the preceptor, lazy, undeservedly fed, yet, with the purest of love, unbounded for the preceptor in my heart: and it (love for the preceptor,) is the sole purpose for which I have sustained this mortal (physical frame (sthūla posaṇe),”

Jnanadev [Jnanadeva] says. (He adds) “But you should tolerate all this talk and give me (sufficient) scope for rendering service. I shall now preach the correct interpretation of the Scripture. Hear, Oh hear, what Lord Krishna, the incarnation of Vishnu, the sympathetic bearer of the world’s troubles, narrates and Arjuna hears. His (of the man of knowledge) purity is so great, as if his very body and mind were made of camphor, and clear in and out like a cluster of jewels, or brilliant in and out like the Sun. He attains purity both extemaly—being washed clean by the performance of pious actions, and internally—being enlightened by knowledge. He removes his bodily filth by the use of earth and water and becomes spiritually clean by virtue of reciting the Vedas, just as a mirror is cleansed by the intelligent use of sand-dust, or as the dirty spots are removed from the linen by (the use of) the laundry-kettle.

With the exterior cleansed in this way, and being enlightened internally by the lamp of knowledge, he is thoroughly purified. Otherwise, Oh son of Pandu, it would be only a mockery to perform acts of piety so long as the interior (heart) remains impure. (It would be) like adorning a corpse, or like bathing a donkey in the holy waters, or like plastering the exterior of a bitter gourd (bhopalā) with jaggery, or like adorning a deserted house with an ornamental arch (toraṇa), or like plastering with food the exterior of an empty stomach (of a hungry man), or like decorating the fore-head of a widow with red turmeric powder (kuṅkuma) and red-lead power (śendūra). Fie upon the tawdry brilliance of the hollow gilded spires (kalasa), or the imitation (wooden) fruit stuffed inside with dried cow-dung. The same is the case with the pious works. An inferior sort cannot fetch a high value.

A pitcher full of liquor cannot be rendered holy even if dipped into the sacred Ganges. Therefore, there must first be knowledge in the interior, and then external purity will follow automatically. Is it ever possible to secure knowledge internally merely by external purifying action? Therefore, one who has washed out his exterior with good actions, and has removed the internal dirt-spots with knowledge, in such a person alone, all distinction such as external or internal vanishes, leaving one solid mass of cleanliness—nay there remains only purity. Thus the internal pure feelings become transparent and are manifested outside, just as the lights in a crystal house do. Even though he hears about, or sees directly, or meets with matters creating dubiousness or false notions, or that yield blossoms of bad action, they create no effect on his mind, just as the sky does not get defiled by the different colours of clouds. As a matter of fact, he is deeply immersed in the objects of the senses along with the senses; yet, is not contaminated in the least by their corrupting influence (vikāra). He behaves like one, who meeting on his way a chaste or Mahar (low caste) woman entertains no desire for her.

One and the same young woman holds in embrace both her husband as well as her son; yet no sexual feeling ever touches her mind while holding in embrace her son. In that way when the heart is pure, fancies and ideas are appraised properly and such a one knows clearly what is worth doing and what is otherwise. A diamond does not get wet (soaked) in water, or stones are not softened when boiled in water; in that way his mentality (attitude) does not get besmeared by disorders. And this, Oh Partha, is what is called “purity”, and wherever you see it in full, know that knowledge exists there. One who is the home of steadfastness, is the very life of knowledge. Although his physical body in its own way moves outwardly, still the steadfastness of his mind does in no way get disturbed.

The love of a cow for its calf does not wander about (while it is grazing) in the jungle; or a ‘sati,’ facing calmly the pangs of self-immolation on the pyre of her deceased husband after finishing her toilet, is not prompted by any expectation of sex-enjoyment, or just as the mind of a miser remains entangled in his (treasure) hole, even though his physical body wanders far away, in that way, his mind remains steady, even though the physical body moves about. Just as the sky does not move along with the running clouds, or just as Dhruva (North-polar star) does not move along a circular orbit with the other stars, or just as the road does not move along with the wayfarer or just as, Oh Dhanurdhar [Dhanurdhara], the trees do not have any motion, in that way even though his body is formed of five gross elements and makes all movements, yet his mind is not ruffled by any outburst (natural undulation) on the part of the elements.

The earth does not swerve from its position in any way by the impact of whirlwinds, similarly the powerful upheavals of exciting passions and events (which torment worldly men) make no impression whatsoever on him. Want and misery do not vex him, nor do fear and sorrow make him tremble, and he experiences no fear even if faced with death. His straight mind does not turn in the reverse direction or aside, confronted with the fury of desires, inordinate hopes, or the clamour of age and disease. His mind does not swerve even a hair-breadth because of slander, dishonour or punishment, or when passion and greed attain great intensity. His mind never turns back even at the crashing down of the sky or at the earth getting dissolved. Just as an elephant does not turn sideways when struck with a bunch of flowers, in that way, he does not get perturbed a bit even if teased with arrows in the form of foul words. The mountain Mandara did not tremble in the tumult created by the waves of the ocean of milk at its churning, nor is the sky burnt by conflagration; in that way his mind maintains its equilibrium although swept by the waves of pleasure and pain, however numerous—nay, his fortitude and tolerance remain even at the time of world dissolution. What is mentioned as steadfastness is this state of the mind and understand it well.

One endowed with such a firm steadfastness, physically as also mentally, is, know ye, an open hoard of the riches of knowledge. Just as the ghost (of a deceased Brahmin) does not allow the person possessed by itself (ghara) to be out of sight, or a warrior his arms, or a miser his hoard, even for a moment, or just as a mother scrupulously and attentively guards her only child, or just as the bee is greedy in regard to honey, in that way, Oh Arjuna, he closely guards his mind, does not allow it even to stand at the doors of the (five) senses lest the ‘goblin’ passion might hear of the child’s name, (fame of the man) or the (evil) eye of the female ghost “hope” might turn towards it (man) and it might breathe its last. He keeps under firm control his inborn inclination to concupiscence, just as a sturdy and strong-willed husband strictly restricts the movements of his adulterous wife (to protect her from mischief). He restrains and keeps under perfect control his senses, even though his living body is weakened to the point of maximum exhaustion. He keeps constantly awake and standing two guards in the form of self-restraint and self-governance in his body (yamaniyama) at the main gate of mind, as also at the station of the withdrawal of sense organs (from their respective objects: pratyāhāra).

Fixing the bodily postures (Bandhas) (1) Vajra, (2) Uddiyana and (3) Jalandhar, in the wheels (1) Adhar, (2) Manipura, (3) Vishuddha, respectively, he concentrates his mind on the loop formed by the air passages named (1) Ida and (2) Pingala, (otherwise named also the Sun and the Moon) and binds down meditation on the bed in the form of ecstacy with the result that the mind disappears, being completely blended with the Supreme Spirit.

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