Jnaneshwari (Bhavartha Dipika)

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

This is verse 13.8 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 8 of the chapter called Kshetra and Kshetrajna Yoga.

Verse 13.8:Absence of attachment towards objects of sense, likewise too, Freedom from egotism, and Repeated~contemplation upon the Impediments (tn the shape of) the miseries of Birth, Death, Old-age, and Disease: (513)

Commentary called Jnaneshwari by Jnaneshwar:

One who has attained this condition of mind which is called heartcontrol is the victory incarnate of knowledge. One whose mandates are quietly and submissively obeyed by his heart should be known as the very knowledge itself in human form.

In his heart awake is the complete absence of attachment towards the objects of the senses. In the way the tongue never hankers after food vomitted out, or in the way one does not stretch forward his limbs (arms etc.,) for embracing a dead body, or in the way one cannot swallow poison for fear of death, or in the way one cannot enter a burning house, or live in the den of a tiger, or in the way one cannot take a leap into molten iron, or cannot make a cushion of a boaconstrictor (ajagara), in the same way, Arjuna, he does not like anything connected with the sense-objects, and does not permit the sense-centres to contact (and relish even a bit of) their objects. He is apathetic in regard to sense objects, appears lean in physique, yet feels great pleasure in sense restraint.

In him meet all the religious austerities, Oh Son of Pandu, and he feels as if a Yuga (aeon) has come to an end if he is ever required to go and live in an inhabitated locality (gāṃva). He has a strong craving for the study of Yoga and for that purpose, he runs to solitary places, not bearing even to hear the mention of a crowd. He looks upon worldly enjoyments as lying on a bed of arrows or as rolling in the mire of pus. He regards the idea of attaining heaven to be as despicable and filthy, as the rotten flesh of a dog.

This sort of indifference towards sense-objects connotes good luck of securing self-attainment, and makes the souls eligible for the Supreme Bliss. Where there exists a positive dislike for enjoyments in this as also in the other world, in such a person, know ye, knowledge takes its residence. He performs acts of charity leading to public welfare with the same zeal as that of an ardent seeker, yet does not harbour any boast for such performances, He does not fail to observe the ordinary day-to-day and occasional rites as prescribed and commended by the religion founded on the basis of four castes and four stages (varṇāśrama); yet he never harbours any feeling that he has performed a particular action, or its success is due to him only, in the way the blowing of the wind or the rising of the Sun takes place in natural course without any sort of fanfare. He behaves well in the world with absolutely no feeling of ‘pride’ just as the Shruti preaches (knowledge) in natural course or the sacred Ganges flows disinterestedly. The trees bear fruit in due course of nature according to seasons, without themselves coming to know about their fruition. His nature, like these trees, makes him ever perform actions (without any egoistic feelings).

Conceit, action and talk, drop down from his mind, as naturally as the pearls or beads do, when the connecting thread is removed from the necklace. Just as the clouds remain suspended without being linked with the sky, in that way his actions remain unconnected with the, body. A garment on the person of a drunkard, or a weapon in the hands of a picture, or a Scripture (loaded) on the back of a bullock,—just like any of these, he lacks the remembrance even of his own existence in human form, and this is what is called freedom from egotism. There is no doubt whatever that knowledge exists only where all these (attributes) are noticeable.

Birth, death, misery, disease, old age and sins, all these he sees only from a distance, without allowing them even to touch him in the way the exorcizer wards off ghosttroubles, or a Yogin soothes misery, or a mason’s plummet tests the perpendicularity of walls without itself getting affected in any way.

Just as the memory of enmities belonging to past births remains fresh in a reptile’s mind, in that way, he carries with him the memory of his defects in his past lives. He does not forget the miseries of his (past) births, just as a small particle of sand getting into an eye is not dissolved there, just as the point of an arrow does not get absorbed in the wound. He ever harps on his say that he was developed (in the embryo) in a pit of pus, got out from it through the urineoutlet (mūtrarandhra) and alas, licked up with relish the sweat on the mother’s breast. He abhors (his) birth on account of such ideas and feelings, and says he would not do anything that would result in the repetition of this (birth). Just as a gambler is prepared to gamble again in order to recover what he has lost, or just as the son keenly watches for (an opportunity to take) vengeance on his father’s enemy, or just as the enraged person wrathfully pursues one who has stricken him, in that way, he fights against rebirth with great vigour.

The sense of shame for his birth never leaves his heart, just as a respectable person cannot forget an insult (which always rankles in his mind). He remains ever alert from even now (beforehand), knowing fully well that death is to come presently, or at the time of the world dissolution. Just as a swimmer, Oh son of Pandu, being told that the depth of the water (in the middle) is unfathomable, begins, while yet on the bank, arranging and making tight at the back (kāsṭī [kāstī/kāṣṭī?]) his loin cloth or just as a fighter, even before entering the battle-field, steadies his pose or wields his shield properly (to ward off) even before a (hostile) blow actually descends on him; or just as a traveller is cautious beforehand about an impending risk at his next day’s-camp; or just as one has to run promptly for medical help while yet there is life (in the patient); otherwise it so happens (that he is caught unawares) like one who finds himself inside a burning house and his wish to dig a well (for getting water to extinguish the fire) is then of no avail.

Just as a stone falls and sinks in a deep water-spot (ḍoha), he is engulfed and drowned in the sea of worldly existence (saṃsāra) inspite of his loud lamentations, without leaving a trace; who cares to take any notice of him? He remains vigilant throughout the eight Prahars [Praharas] of day and night, like one, who has a powerful person as whetted sword. He (constantly) keeps before his mental vision, the advent of death, and acts accordingly even before it actually comes, just as a betrothed female (remains prepared for a separation from her parental home), or just as an ascetic remains prepared for renouncing the worldly affairs; in that way, he wards off future births and kills future deaths through his present birth and (impending) death, and abides in the form of the Self. One, who is thus relieved of the misery of birth, does not experience any lack of knowledge personally. Similarly, when he is still in the flower of youth and the icy hand of old age has not yet touched (and blasted) his bodily frame, he reflects.

Says he “the fat in my body will be dried up like vegetable chops exposed to the sun (kācara), and my hands and feet will some time get powerless and unavailing like the business of an unlucky person, my physical strength will be reduced to the state of a king, with no ministers (to counsel him), my head which is so fond of flowers, will be rugged with swellings all over it like the knees of a camel and will get disease just like the hoofs of cattle that get disease in the month of Ashadh [Ashadha] (July-monsoon); (Further) these mine eyes, which at present vie with the lotus-petals, will be lustreless like ripe Padval (paḍavala—a vegetable fruit), the eyebrows will hang down over the eyes like the stale rind, while the chest will get rotten, with the (constant) falling of tears on it; the mouth (and also the face) will get sticky with the oozing of saliva just as the trunk of a Babul tree gets slushy and slippery with the saliva of the chameleon; the ugly nose will be full of snot, just as the space in front of a cooking hearth gets dirty with filthy water (khātaveḍa); the lips which at persent get painted (red) with the chewing of betel nut and leaves (tāmbula) while the beauteous rows of my teeth are displayed in the act of smiling and make the pronunciation of the alphabet quite clear and distinct; that very mouth will get full of a flow of gobs of phlegm, while all the molar and other teeth will become feeble and fall off.

Just as a farmer sinks low under the burden of debts, or just as the animals sink down and become unable to stand on their (weakened) legs through constant falling of rain, in that way the tongue will get feeble and unable to move, whatever remedies be made to make it move. Just as the fibres of dry husk (kumala [kumale]) are blown off and scattered all over the hillock with the blowing of the wind, in that way the hair on the face will all drop down. Just as the mountain peaks ooze out water-springs in the month of Ashadha (July-monsoon) in that way will flow out floods of saliva through the valley of the mouth.

The organ of speech will develop an incoherent babble, the ears will get deaf, while the entire body will look like a baboon. Just as a scarecrow made of (bujhavaṇa [bujhāvaṇa?] bujhavaṇeṃ) swings backwards and forwards in the gust so my entire body will quiver. The legs will totter while the hands (and fingers) will get curved. In this way the entire show of beauty will be lost (by old age). The organs letting out the excreta (urine and faeces) will be powerless and stop functioning, while others (my kith and kin) will pray to God earnestly desiring my early death.

Looking at my plight, people will spit (with a feeling of disgust) and the very death will have to be sought after and prayed for to come, while the kith and kin will get tired of me. The female folk will call me a ghost, while the children will faint at my sight, and I shall be a subject of loath-some feeling. My coughing fits will tire out the people in the adjoining houses by disturbing their sleep and they will exclaim, “He will be a nuisance to so many.” He (such a one) takes into account before hand, while he is in his youth, these coming symptoms of old age and developes [develops] a disgust for them.

He questions himself,

“See all this (state) is going to come and end the existing bodily enjoyments! What is going to remain with me that would secure my good? I should therefore hear all (that is worth hearing) before I get deaf; I should walk and reach the destination before I get crippled in the feet; I should see (things that count) as much as I can, while yet the vision is intact; my speech should overflow with good words before I become dumb; I should engage my hands in distributing charities and doing good actions before, as I know for certain, they are paralysed; I should think out (and secure) the best knowledge of Atman beforehand, since (such) a state is going to come when the mind will be quite insane.”

(He further says) “(It is better that) the riches should be concealed this day if it is learnt that the thieves are going to attack and rob one on the morrow: it is advisable to keep things (grain and other articles of food) well covered (cared for) before the lights are all out; realising the fact that the body (along with its present exuberant energy) will be scarcely of any utility at the advent of old age when its energy is very nearly exhausted, he makes the best use of it (to attain salvation) here and now; he courts complete ruin, who sees that the trees in the forest are all in a devastated condition, or the birds are speedily flying back (to their nests), a warning that a storm is imminent, and yet neglects the warning and starts on his journey; in that way the body breaks down with the advent of old age even though he (the embodied one) might be having longevity of a century, and yet this is not realized! With the advent of old age, one even with a longevity of hundred years, is unable to do anything, in the way no additional seed drops down from a sesame follicle, which is already thrashed (and therefore empty), or in the way, the fire cannot bum the ash.

Therefore, that person should be known as possessing real knowledge, who ever keeps fresh the memory of the advent of old age and leads such a life, while yet in youth, that would enable him to keep out of its (old age) clutches. Similarly, he makes the best use of his healthy body before the diverse diseases come and paralyse it.

A wise man throws away the morsel of food chewn by a serpent; similarly he discards all attachment for the objects separation from which brings about sorrow, distress and lamentation, and getting indifferent about them, abides all happy (in the bliss of the self). He hermitically [hermetically?] closes the doors of actions by stuffing into them round stones in the form of self-restraint and comprehensive self-governance (yamaniyama)—the doors through which the sins try to gain entrance. One, who with such devices, conducts himself cautiously is alone the master of the riches in the form of knowledge. Oh Dhananjaya, I shall tell you one more unique quality and hear it.

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: