The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes matali on the universality of suffering which is chapter 66 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the sixty-sixth chapter of the Bhumi-khanda (section on the earth) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 66 - Mātali on the Universality of Suffering

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Yayāti said:

1-2. O Mātali, listen, (we see that) the body falls due to sin and also due to religious merit. On the earth I do not see what difference religious merit makes. The body is produced again (just) as it fell before. Tell me in detail how the body is produced.

Mātali said:

3-16. In the case of the hellish beings, just in a moment, the (hellish) body is produced from the (five) elements due to impious acts only. In the same way, due to religious merit, a divine body (in the manner of that) of the gods is instantly produced from the essences of the elements. That body of the magnanimous ones, (which is produced) due to the mixture of the (fruits) of deeds should be known to be of four kinds according to the transformation of deeds. The immobile ones in the form of grass and bushes should be known as the ones born by sprouting up. Worms, insects and moths should be known to be born from the sweat of living beings. O king, all birds, serpents and crocodiles are oviparous. Human beings and quadrupeds should be known to be viviparous. When the earth is ‘cooked’ by heat, it is moistured by water and is scattered by wind (into loose particles). Then the seed approaches the soil in such a way that the seeds that are sown and are watered, become soft and attain the state of roots. From the root there is the rise of a shoot. From a shoot a leaf springs up. From a leaf a hollow stock comes up; from that a stem comes up; and from that the prabhava (power). From it would be (produced) Kṣīra (the sap), and from the sap there is the rise of tandula (the gram?), from the gram come up the ripened oṣadhayaḥ (herbs). They are said to be seventeen—the best ones—beginning with barley and ending with rice. The herbs are rich with the wealth of fruits. The remaining ones are said to be trifling. These were first cleansed and cut and crushed by the sages with winnowing baskets, mortars and (other) vessels. With water in a pan and fire, they, which have six varieties, undergo alteration, have many tastes due to the combinations of their respective tastes. O king, they have six varieties like that which is consumed, eaten, drunk, licked, sucked and bitten (and eaten). They have six tastes like the sweet (taste) etc. That food which is eaten by living beings through (i.e. in the form of) balls and mouthfuls, settles all the vital airs in the stomach one by one.

17-18. That (vital) air divides into two the food that is consumed (but) not digested. Having got into the food and having separated the digested food into (i.e. having created in it) various properties, having put water above fire and that food above the water, that (vital air) Prāṇa itself remains below the water and slowly blows the fire.

19-21. The fire being blown by the wind makes the water very hot. That food again, due to the contact of heat, is digested wholly. That (food) which is digested, becomes divided into two—the secretion is separated, and the liquid is separated. The useless divided into twelve (kinds of) impurity would go (i.e. goes) out of the body. (The outlets are:) ears, eyes, nose, tongue, teeth, lips, organ of generation, anus. (These) would pour out impurities (like) perspiration, faeces, urine. They are said to be twelve.

22-38. In the lotus of the heart, all around, the arteries are confined. (The vital air) Prāṇa places that subtle liquid into their openings; and then that prāṇa fills those arteries with that liquid. Those arteries wholly furnish that liquid to the body. Then that liquid remaining in the arteries is digested by the heat of the body. It is digested in two ways. Skin, flesh, bones, marrow, fat, blood are produced. Fine, soft, short hair and flesh are produced from blood; hair and sinews are produced from flesh. From the sinews are produced marrow and bones. Marrow of the flesh is due to bones. The healthy semen, of the nature of procreation is due to the strength of the marrow. These twelve are said to be the transformations of (i.e. brought about by) the satisfied one. Semen is its transformation, and the body is born from semen. When at the time favourable for conception defectless semen remains in the womb (of a woman), it, sent forth by that vital air, becomes one (i.e. united) with the blood of the woman. At the time of the emission of the semen, the soul, united with the organs of sense, and always being controlled by his own acts, enters the womb. The semen with the blood (of the woman) would be (turned into) a foetus in a day. Then within five nights bubbles would be formed in the foetus. It takes the form of flesh in the five forms; neck, head, shoulder (s), spine and belly; so also hands and feet, the two sides, waist, and (the other parts of) the body; the limbs are produced one by one within two months. After three months, hundreds of sharp joints are produced (i.e. formed). Fingers etc. are produced (i.e. are formed) one by one in four months. After five months mouth, nose and ears are produced (i.e. formed). Within six months, the row of teeth, so also tongue and nails are formed, so also cavities in the ears are formed. So also are formed anus, penis, organ of generation and the male organ of generation. The joints which (are present) in the limbs, are formed within seven months. In the eighth month the head with the entire body with limbs and with each limb clearly separated is formed. He is complete and endowed with the five. Due to the power of the food of (i.e. eaten by) the mother and by the tastes of six kinds, fixed in the umbilical cord, it (i.e. the foetus) grows day by day.

39-48. Then the soul would have recollection in this entire body (i.e. when the entire body is formed). He is conscious of (former) happiness and unhappiness and sleep and dream seen before: ‘I, who was dead, am born again, I, who was born, died. I saw (i.e. was born in) many existences in many ways. Now I am just born, and have received (i.e. undergone) sacraments. I shall hereafter perform righteous deeds, by which I shall not be born (i.e. conceived) in a womb.’ While remaining in the womb, he just thinks: ‘After I come out from the womb (i.e. after I am born) I shall study (i.e. obtain) highest knowledge that would cause the cessation of the worldly existence.’ The soul, certainly very much troubled by the great affliction in the womb, lives (there) and would think (i.e. thinks) of the means to salvation. As one who has gone over an excellent (i.e. high) mountain, stays there unhappily, in the same way, the soul, afflicted by the outer skin of the embryo, remains (in the womb) with the body wet with the fluid in the womb. As someone, being put into an iron-vessel is baked by fire, in the same way (the soul) put into the vessel of womb is baked by the digestive fire in the stomach. Its parts are continuously pierced by needles resembling the colour of fire. The pain he suffers (due to these), would be (i.e. is) eightfold in the womb. There is no other abode anywhere else like the one in the womb. The souls have immense suffering and a very fierce danger.

49-66a. Thus is narrated the suffering in the womb of (i.e. experienced by) all beings—mobile and immobile—according to the wombs (in which they are confined). The bewildered soul that is being born has (to suffer) a crore-fold more pain due to being pressed by the thong of the womb than he has experienced in the womb. Very great affliction takes place in the case of (i.e. is experienced by) (the soul) coming out of the womb, and being squeezed like a sugar-cane due to being pounded by destructive hammers, and by means of the air (passing out at the time) of delivery. He does not get any protection. As the sugar-canes being pressed by the machine become sapless, in the same way the body remaining in the womb is caused to fall (out of it) by the pressure of the thong. It has limbs; it is of a round shape; it is tied by the bonds of sinews. It is smeared with blood, flesh and marrow, and is the receptacle of substances like excrement and urine; it is covered with hair, down and nails; and it is the principal abode of diseases. It has one gate (in the form) of the mouth and is adorned with eight windows.[1] It has the (two) doors of the two lips, and is possessed of teeth, tongue and throat. It has the arteries and the stream of perspiration, and is overwhelmed with phlegm and bile. It is approached by old age and grief. It remains in the fire in the mouth of Death. It is overcome with lust and anger, and is pressed by winds; it is effected by desire for enjoyments; it is hidden, it is under the sway of attachment and hatred. Every limb, big and small, has a complexion; it is covered by the outer skin of the embryo; it comes out through the lonely and narrow passage of the womb. It is moistened with excretion, urine and blood; it is due to the six (kinds of) marrow. It should be known that there is collection of the bones in the skeleton numbering three hundred and a hundred more (i.e. four hundred). There are five hundred muscles. It is all around covered with small soft hair numbering three crores and half. The body is full of crores of these gross and subtle, visible and invisible, fleshy tubular organs from within. There is perspiration, and due to those it is eternally impure. The teeth were said to be thirty-two in number, and the nails are said to be twenty. It should be known that (the quantity of) bile (in the body) is one kuḍava; in the same way the quantity of phlegm is half an āḍhaka. (The quantity of) marrow is five palas; and the buttocks are half of it. The lump of flesh is five palas; fat is ten palas; thick blood is three palas; the quantity of marrow is four times that of the blood. Semen is half a kuḍava; and the power of men is half of it. It is said that one thousand palas of flesh (exist in) a corporeal frame. It should be known that the quantity of blood is a hundred palas, and there is no (definite) measure (of the quantity) of faeces and urine.

66b-83a. Thus, O king, there always is the residence of the soul (in the body). The impure body is (the residence) of the soul, which is produced by the bondage of (his) deeds. The body is produced due to the combination of the semen (of the male) and the blood (of the female). It is always united with faeces and urine; therefore it is said to be impure, like an externally pure pot full of faeces from within. This body would be (i.e. is) impure even though it is cleansed by voiding of excrement. This body is impure because the very pure five products of the cow[2] and offering quickly become impure after reaching it. Agreeable and fragrant food and drinks quickly become impure on reaching it (i.e. on being consumed). Which other object is more impure than it (i.e. the body)? O men, do you not see that everyday the foul-smelling excrement, the companion of (i.e. living in) the body, goes out of it? Then how can its support be pure? Like a charcoal being rubbed, the body, though cleansed with the five products of the cow or with water containing darbhas, never becomes pure. How can that body, from which the streams of phlegm and urine flow everyday, as streams (of water) from a mountain, be cleansed? There is not a single part which is pure in the body, the receptacle of all impurity, except (the soul). Even though the hand is cleansed with clay and water, by day or at night, it can never be pure. (And yet) the men are not free from attachment. Though this body is carefully decorated with excellent incenses etc., yet, like the dog’s tail that is bent, it does not give up its nature. Wool that is naturally black can never become white; similarly the body, though cleansed, does not become pure. This world, smelling its own bad odour, and seeing its excrement, does not get detached, though (by doing this) he (i.e. a man) troubles his nose. Oh! see the greatness of attachment, which has deluded the world? Smelling, seeing his own foul things, man has not lost interest in the body. What other cause for detachment can be pointed out to a man, who does not become detached by the odour of his body? The entire world is pure, but the body is highly impure, by the touch of the dirty parts of which even a pure (object) would become impure. The cleansing of the body is said to be (i.e. recommended) for removing the application of sandal paste. When both (the sandal and the dirt) are removed, (a man) becomes pure by the purification of his thoughts.

83b-93a. This mortal, foul-smelling body, impure in thoughts, does not become pure with all the water of the Ganges and with besmearing the body with a large quantity of clay. The wicked heart is not purified by baths at holy places and austerities. The body of a man, whose mind is impure, does not become pure even though washed at a holy place or even after entering fire. There is neither heaven for him, nor hell (also). (The) best thing is burning the body. Purification of mind is the greatest purification, and is the main thing in all acts. A beloved (wife) is embraced with one thought, a daughter with another. The attitude varies even in the case of things that are not separate. A chaste woman would think about her son in one way, and about her husband in another way. In this way, O magnanimous one, the (variety) of nature is explained, since even though embraced by his wife, he should not make her void of thoughts. A man would not eat various kinds of food, so also fragrant tasty things, without interest. Therefore thought (or interest) is the cause everywhere (i.e. in all one’s dealings). With effort purify your mind; what is the use of other external purifications? The soul, pure due to pure thoughts, obtains (i.e. goes to) heaven and salvation. The smearing with the excrement and urine of ignorance and attachment would perish (i.e. be removed) by means of purifiers (like) the spotless water of knowledge and the clay of detachment. Thus they know this body to be impure by its (very) nature. One should know it to be worthless and useless, like the essence of a plantain-tree.

93b-102a. He, who, knowing the body to be full of blemishes like this, becomes relaxed, crosses the worldly existence, and remains with (i.e. has) a firm conviction. Thus the affliction due to birth is said to be very painful. That sense which the human being has, due to the fault of ignorance, and due to various kinds of deeds, perishes when he is born. Feverish heat is produced in the case of human beings, when a human being is afflicted by being painfully pressed by the thong of the womb, and by the fearful external air due to his contact with delusion. Due to that feverish heat great delusion is caused. Then in the case of the deluded one, loss of memory takes place quickly. In the case of that being, attachment is produced during that existence only, due to the loss of his memory and due to his former deeds. The world (i.e. people) being attached and deluded, proceeds (proceed) to do what ought not to be done. They do not know themselves, nor do they know the highest deity. They do not listen to the (advice relating to) highest good, nor, though having eyes, do they see, like a person, tumbling at every step, even though walking slowly along an even path. Though they have intelligence, and though they are advised by the wise, they do not realise (the truth). Due to that a man going after (i.e. led by) greed is afflicted in the worldly existence.

102b-128. In the absence of a text (about the description of the soul’s existence in) the womb, Śiva has propounded a sacred text to tell the affliction of (the soul’s existence in) it (and) leading to salvation. It is a great wonder that even when a man has known that (text propounded by) Śiva, he does not accomplish what is good for himself. Since the sense-organs and intellect are not (properly) developed, there is great affliction even in childhood. The blessed (child), though desiring to speak or to act, is not able to do so. Cutting of teeth is very painful, and there is affliction also due to unsteadiness, wind, various child-diseases and planets harming children. With his body surrounded (i.e. overcome) by thirst and hunger, (the child) sometimes stays (at one place and sometimes) moves. A child would indulge in eating excretion, urine etc, due to ignorance. The child suffers pain due to his ears being pierced, due to being beaten by the mother and the father, due to learning the letters (i.e. the alphabet) and due to punishment (given by) teachers and others. How can there be happiness in youth, (to a young man) the functions of whose organs of sense are deluded, who is troubled with the disease of lust and who is always afflicted with diseases? Due to jealousy there is great affliction. Affliction is caused by delusion. The attachment in an angry (young man) leads to unhappiness only. Troubled with the fire of passion he does not get sleep at night. How can there be happiness even by day due to the anxiety to get money? The drops of semen of a man with his body prostrated (over the bodies) of women, do not lead to happiness like drops due to (i.e. of) perspiration. They know that the pleasure obtained from (union with) women is the same as (obtained by one) being struck (i.e. bitten) by insects, or as of a helpless lepor due to the trouble caused by the fire of scratching. It should be known that the pleasure in (i.e. obtained from) women is like that which one feels due to anxiety about getting money; it is not at all different. The same is the pang of a mortal; without that joy is had by one’s mind. Then it goes from one to another to whom it had gone before. Ultimately it is the same; it does not change. Who else is more insensible than one who, seeing his dear one that is thus affected by old age, or that is sick, or his own extraordinary child troubled by old age, is not detached? A being, though overcome with old age, is treated with contempt due to his weakness by his wicked servants. An old man is not able to achieve (the four goals viz.) righteousness, worldly prosperity, sensual enjoyments and salvation. Therefore while young one should practise piety. Inequality (i.e. disturbance) in wind, bile and phlegm etc. is called a disease. This body is (so) called due to the congregation of wind etc. Therefore one should know that this body of the soul is full of diseases. In addition to (diseases caused by) wind etc. the human being meets with many kinds of afflictions due to the diseases of the body. They can be known by oneself. What else should I tell? In this body remain one hundred one (kinds of) death. Among them one is united with Kala (i.e. god of death). Others are adventitious. Those that are said to be adventitious, are alleviated by means of medicines, muttering of sacred hymns, sacrifices and gifts; but death brought about by Kala cannot be stopped. Untimely death might not occur by eating poison, (yet) a man would not eat it without fear, for he is afraid of an untimely death. For human beings there are various gates (leading) to death like many diseases; so also animals like serpents; poisons and employment of magical spells for malevolent purposes. Even the physician of gods[3] himself cannot cure a man who is afflicted by all diseases and whose death is imminent. This cannot be otherwise. No medicine, no penance, no charity, not the mother, no relatives can protect a man who is afflicted with Kāla (i.e. death). With (the help of) the magnanimous souls, who are equipped with medicines supposed to prolong life and prevent old age, and with penance and muttering of sacred hymns, he would only have intermediate (temporary) peace; he would (certainly) meet with death.

129-15la. He, who dies, is born in the species of insects due to his acts; he sees (i.e. meets with) death as a result of (i.e. which is a) change of the body. That is said to be death. It is not a real (i.e. total) destruction. In this world there is no analogy for the grief which a being has in death when he has entered great darkness (i.e. hell) and when his vitals are being cut off. Being extremely afflicted, he/she cries ‘O father, O mother, O husband’. The world is swallowed by death as a frog is by a serpent. He is abandoned by kinsmen and is surrounded by his dear ones. Rolling on a bedstead and heaving deep and hot sighs, he, with his mouth parched, again and again faints. Being in a swoon, he throws his hands and feet here and there. From (i.e. when he is on) the bedstead he desires (to go to) the ground, and from (i.e. when he is on) the ground he again desires (to go to) the bedstead. He is helpless, is ashamed, is smeared with excretion and urine; he asks for water; his throat, lips and palate are dry; thinking about his wealth (as) ‘to whom will it belong when I die?’, being taken by the messengers of Yama and being dragged by the noose of (the god of) death, he dies, when (the relatives etc.) are watching. His throat makes a sound. Like a caterpillar the soul would enter (i.e. goes to) one after another body. He obtains the next body; he abandons the previous one. For the discriminating people, death is more painful than supplication. The grief in (i.e. due to) death is momentary, while in (i.e. due to) supplication it is unending. Viṣṇu, the lord of the worlds, became a dwarf through supplication. Who is greater than he who does not become mean (through supplication)? I have now understood this as to when one becomes superior to death. One should not repeatedly solicit another (man). Thirst (i.e. desire) is the cause of meanness. There is grief in the beginning, there is also grief in the middle; at the end there is terrible grief, due to nature (i.e. this is natural). Thus there is a series of griefs for beings. A man should not lament over these griefs for beings, which are present and which have gone by. Due to (even) that (i.e. these griefs) (a man) is not detached from existence. There is a great grief due to excessive eating; then there is grief due to eating less. While eating the throat breaks; (so) wherefrom is there pleasure from eating? Hunger is said to be the greatest disease of all the diseases. It is temporarily alleviated due to the application of soothing medicines. The pang of the disease of hunger is acute, and it cuts off the entire strength (of a man). Overpowered by that a man dies as he would die of other diseases. What delight is there in its relish that lingers on the tip of the tongue? In a moment—in half of that time—it reaches the throat and returns. Thus for those who are tormented by the disease of hunger food is said to be (working). like a medicine. Wise men should not look upon it as actually leading to pleasure. In the case of him also, who, without (doing) any work, lies like a dead body, and whose mind is impelled by ignorance, wherefrom can there be pleasure? Wherefrom can there be happiness in the case of him whose mind is affected in (i.e. while performing) deeds, though he has knowledge? Beings though content, are troubled due to optional (deeds) by exertion in agriculture, trade, service, animal husbandry etc. and by (passing) urine and excretion in the morning, and by hunger and thirst in the noon, and by sleep at night.

151b-163. There is grief in earning money; there is grief in preserving what is earned. There is grief when wealth perishes; there is grief in spending it. Wherefrom (i.e. how) can there be happiness from wealth? As there is fear from death in the case of (i.e. to} men, similarly there is always fear to the wealthy persons from thieves, water, fire, their kinsmen, and even from the king. A wealthy person is everywhere eaten up (i.e. robbed) as flesh is eaten by birds in the sky, by wild beasts on the earth, and by fish in water. Wealth deludes a man in prosperity, keeps him away (from joy) in calamity, is painful when it is earned. (Then) when does it bring happiness? First (consider) a wealthy person; he is (always) sad; then (consider) one who is free from desire for all objects. Between the two, I think the wealthy person is unhappy, and the one, whose mind is detached, is happy. Due to heat there is suffering in the spring and summer seasons; in the rainy season there is suffering due to (stormy) wind, heat and showers. Thus wherefrom (can one get) happiness? There is suffering in the (so-called) glory of marriage; again there is suffering in pregnancy. There is suffering due to the difficulty in delivery, and also due to the acts like those of excretion etc. (In the same way) there is suffering due to the son suffering from diseases of teeth and eyes. (Then one says:) ‘Alas! What shall I do (now)? My cows have perished; my husband has broken down; my wife has run away. These guests, indicating fear, have come to my house. My wife has a young child. Who will do the cooking? What kind of bridegroom will be (obtained) by my daughter at the time of her marriage?’ How can there be happiness to householders who are overcome by this anxiety? The knowledge, (good) character, all virtues of a man distressed by the anxiety of the family, perish along with his body, like water put in an unbaked jar. Wherefrom can there be pleasure in (i.e. from) a kingdom due to (i.e. as there is) anxiety of peace and war? There is fear even from the son (to a king); (then) what kind of happiness is there?

164-173. Generally all beings have fear from (members of) their own species, as dogs have fear from one another, as all of them desire to have the same object. There is no king on the earth, who, having abandoned everything, has entered a forest and remained there happy and fearless. The brave son (viz. Paraśurāma) of the sage (viz. Jamadagni) knocked down on the ground the thousand arms of the famous Kārtavīrya in a battle. Rāma, the son of Daśaratha, destroyed the matchless, rising valour of the very magnanimous son of the sage (viz. Jamadagni). The glory of Rāma (i.e. Balarāma) was destroyed, with his splendour, by Jarāsandha. The glory of Jarāsandha was destroyed by Bhīma, and his glory too by (Hanumān) the son of Wind. Hanumān too, being tossed by the Sun, fell on the ground. The glorious Arjuna killed all the demons—the Nivātakavacas—who were proud of their strength. He (too) was vanquished by the cowherds. At times even the sun, full of glowing heat is screened by clouds. A cloud is tossed by wind, and the power of wind is vanquished by the mountains. The mountains are burnt by fire, and that fire is extinguished by water. That water is dried up by the suns; (and) all those suns, along with water and the three worlds, perish on (i.e. at the end of) Brahmā’s day. Brahmā too, at the end of the period of two Parārdhas, is withdrawn along with the gods, by Śiva, the highest lord.

174-198a. Thus, in this worldly existence, there is no best power, excepting the highest soul, the immutable lord of the world. Realising that everything has a superior (object), one should avoid great pride. When the world is like this, who is a god, or who is even a learned man? There is no one (in the world) who is omniscient, or who is a total fool? A man is learned there (i.e. in a particular field) to that extent to which he knows it. By deep thinking, (it is found that) the power (of men} everywhere is similar. Someone has power in some field due to excess of wealth. Gods were vanquished by demons, and they were again (i.e. in their turn) vanquished by gods. Thus the beings in the world are dependent on one another through good fortune, success and defeat. Thus (even) for kings a pair of garments and water and food of the measure of a prastha, a vehicle, a bed and a seat (are enough). All the rest just leads to misery. He can even have a bedstead on the seventh floor; (but) there is the painful glory (of being consecrated by the water) from a thousand pitchers of water. In the early morning there is the sound of the musical instruments along with (that of) the citizens. There is just that pride in (i.e. due to) a kingdom, viz. ‘This (musical instrument) is being beaten in my house.’ All ornaments are (but) a burden; all anointing is dirt (only); all songs are (just) a prattle; dancing is (nothing but) the movement of a mad person. This (is the fruit) due to the enjoyments (obtained from) a kingdom. On reflection (one would see): ‘wherefrom (i.e. how) is happiness (obtained?)’. Kings have anxiety about war (with one another) or due to the desire of conquering one another. Mostly great kings like Nahuṣa have fallen after reaching heaven due to the pride of wealth. Who gets happiness from wealth? Even in heaven, how can there be happiness when gods have observed the bright glory of other (gods) which remains more prominently in one than in another? When the foundation (of all ill acts) is cut off, men enjoy the fruit of their merit in heaven. Here the very terrible blemish is that no other act is performed. As a tree, with its roots cut off, falls on the ground after (a few) days, similarly the residents of heaven fall down due to the exhaustion of their religious merit. All of a sudden calamity befalls those who strongly desire happiness through the boats of enjoyment of pleasures etc. There is misery for the gods in heaven. Thus on reflection (it is seen) that even in heaven gods do not have happiness. When the objects of senses are not obtained, there is the exhaustion of the acts that lead to enjoyment in heaven. In the fires of hell there is a great affliction to the beings, due to various terrible objects produced from speech, mind and body. There is a severe cutting with axes; and the chopping off of the bark-garments. There is the fall of leaves, branches and fruits (caused) by terrible wind. There is suffering among the immobile species due to being uprooted by rivers, elephants and by other beings, and also by wild fire, snow and dryness. There is a terrible pain in (i.e. due to) the anger of snakes and serpents. In the world the wicked are killed, and are bound down with fetters. Repeatedly there are sudden birth and death in the case of insects and also (in the case of those) belonging to the class of reptiles. Thus there are many kinds of miseries. The beasts end themselves and are beaten with sticks. They are troubled due to their noses being pierced and are beaten with a whip. They are fettered with canes, wood, goad etc. Service causes affliction to the mind; the young etc. are troubled. Due to separation from their herds, and their eyes being tied (i.e. covered), beasts have thus many kinds of afflictions. Sharks and birds have a great affliction due to rain, cold and heat.

198b-210. Thus there are many kinds of afflictions for bodies. For men there is a great affiiction while living in the womb, and also great affiiction of (i.e. during) birth. Ignorance is a great affiiction of childhood; in adolescence there is (the affliction of) the punishment by a teacher. There is affliction in youth due to lust and attachment, and due to jealousy; and also due to agriculture, trade, service etc., and acts like protection of the cattle. In old age (there is affliction) due to aging and diseases. There is great affiiction in (i.e. at the time of) death; still greater (is the affiiction) in solicitation. There is a great fear from the king, fire, strokes. by clouds (like lightning), thieves and enemies. There is again a great fear in earning and preserving money and its destruction and spending. Miserliness, jealousy, and arrogance are greatly fearful results of the excess of wealth (i.e. when there is excessive wealth). There is a tendency for doing misdeeds. These are always the afflictions of the wealthy. (There are afflictions like) servitude, usury, slavery, dependence on others, connection with the desirable and undesirable, and many kinds of unions. (There are calamities like) famine, misfortune, folly, poverty, enjoying lower or higher (position), (going) to hell, and being overpowered by the king. There is affliction due to mutual subjugation. There is a great fear from one another; there is a great wrath towards one another; and a king has (to suffer) affliction from (other) kings. Here (i.e. in this world) the objects are transient, (so also) of a human being whose desires are satisfied. (There is affliction) due to the cutting of the vitals of one another, and due to the squeezing of the hands of one another. The greedy ones due to sin (indulge in) consuming one another. Since the mobile and the immobile (beings) beginning with (denizens of) hell and ending with human beings, are afraid of such and other afflictions, therefore a wise man should abandon everything. As when a burden is shifted from one shoulder to another it is regarded as rest, similarly in world one grief is alleviated by another. The boats of enjoyment always excel one another.

211-225. Misery has settled with gods in the heaven due to the exhaustion of their religious merit. Due to the exhaustion of religious merit there is birth (i.e. a soul is born) in many species. Even in the world of gods there are said to be diseases of various forms. The head of Sacrifice was cut off; and it was rejoined by the Aśvins. Due to that defect the Sacrifice always has (i.e. suffers from) the disease of the head. The Sun has (i.e. suffers from) leprosy and Varuṇa has (i.e. suffers from) dropsy. Pūṣan has defect in his teeth, and Indra has (i.e. suffers from) stiffness of arms. Soma is known to have been suffering from a very severe disease of consumption. Even Dakṣa, the lord of created beings, suffers from acute fever. In every Kalpa even great gods perish. Even Brahmā becomes unstable after a period of two parārdhas. Brahmā again longed for his granddaughter, the daughter of Dakṣa. The lord angrily cursed goddess Jayā, who knew deep, abstract meditation. The defects of the nature of (i.e. due to) lust and anger remain there, where the two remain. (Thus) all miseries are stable. There is no doubt about it. The fire consumes everything shattered by birth and death. (Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu) murdered a woman, was lustful, and acted as a charioteer in the Pāṇḍava army. Rudra burnt the three cities (of Maya), and destroyed Dakṣa’s sacrifice. The birth of Skanda is from the semen from (i.e. discharged during) sports in thousand ways. Thus all the three gods possess the faults like attachment. The lord superior to these is tranquil, perfect and giver of salvation. Thus the entire world lives on the excellence of one (over) another. One should go to (i.e. have) disgust, knowing that (the world) is full of miseries. From disgust there would arise detachment, and knowledge springs from detachment. Through knowledge one would get that highest propitious knowledge (and) salvation. He then is happy with his mind at ease (since he is) freed from all miseries. He who is omniscient, and perfect is called (a) free (soul).

Mātali said:

I have told you all that you had asked about. The discrimination between merit and demerit is due to omniscience. You should go to Indra’s heaven at his bidding.

Footnotes and references:


Gavākṣāṣṭaka—The eight apertures of the human body are: the two ears, the two eyes, the two nostrils, organ of excretion and organ of generation (the ninth is the mouth).


Pañcagavya—The five products of the cow taken collectively: milk, curds, clarified butter or ghee, urine and cow-dung.


Dhanvantari—Name of the physician of the gods said to have been produced at the churning of the ocean with a cup of nectar in his hand.

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