Yoga Vasistha [English], Volume 1-4

by Vihari-Lala Mitra | 1891 | 1,121,132 words | ISBN-10: 8171101519

The English translation of the Yoga-vasistha: a Hindu philosophical and spiritual text written by sage Valmiki from an Advaita-vedanta perspective. The book contains epic narratives similar to puranas and chronologically precedes the Ramayana. The Yoga-vasistha is believed by some Hindus to answer all the questions that arise in the human mind, an...

Chapter XIII - Vituperation of riches

Rama said:—

It is opulence, Oh sage! that is reckoned a blessing here; it is even she that is the cause of our troubles and errors.

2. She bears away as a river in the rainy season, all high-spirited simpletons overpowered by its current.

3. Her daughters are anxieties fostered by many a malpractice, like the waves of a stream raised by the winds.

4. She can never stand steady on her legs any where, but like a wretched woman who has burnt her feet, she limps from one place to another.

5. Fortune like a lamp both burns and blackens its possessor, until it is extinguished by its own inflammation.

6. She is unapproachable as princes and fools, and likewise as favourable as they to her adherents, without scanning their merits or faults.

7. She begets only evils in them by their various acts (of profligacy), as good milk given to serpents, serves but to increase the poignancy of their poison.

8. Men (by nature) are gentle and kind hearted to friends and strangers, until they are hardheartened by their riches, which like blasts of wind, serve to stiffen (the liquid) frost.

9. As brilliant gems are soiled by dust, so are the learned, the brave, the grateful, the mild and gentle, corrupted by riches.

10. Riches do not conduce to one's happiness, but redound to his woe and destruction, as the plant aconite when fostered, hides in itself the fatal poison.

11. A rich man without blemish, a brave man devoid of vanity, and a master wanting partiality, are the three rarities on earth.

12. The rich are as inaccessible as the dark cavern of a dragon, and as unapproachable as the deep wilderness of the Vindhya mountain inhabited by fierce elephants.

13. Riches like the shadow of night, overcast the good qualities of men, and like moon-beams brings to bloom the buds of their misery. They blow away the brightness of a fair prospect as a hurricane, and resemble a sea with huge surges (of disquiet).

14. They bring upon us a cloud of fear and error, increase the poison of despondence and regret, and are like the dreadful snakes in the field of our choice.

15. Fortune is (as a killing) frost to the bondsmen of asceticism, and as the night to the owls of libertinism; she is an eclipse to the moonlight of reason, and as moonbeams to the bloom of the lilies of folly.

16. She is as transitory as the Iris, and alike pleasant to view by the play of her colours; she is as fickle as the lightning, which vanishes no sooner it appears to sight. Hence none but the ignorant have reliance in her.

17. She is as unsteady as a well born damsel following a base-born man to the words; and like a (deceptive) mirage that tempts the run-aways to fall to it as the doe.

18. Unsteady as the wave, she is never steady in any place; (but is ever wavering to all sides) like the flickering flame of a lamp. So her leaning is known to nobody.

19. She like the lioness is ever prompt in fighting, and like the leader of elephants favourable to her partizans. She is as sharp as the blade of a sword (to cut off all obstacles), and is the patroness of sharp-witted sharpers.

20. I see no felicity in uncivil prosperity, which is full of treachery, and replete with every kind of danger and trouble.

21. It is pity that prosperity, like a shameless wench will again lay hold on a man, after being abandoned by him in his association with (her rival) Poverty.

22. What is she with all her loveliness and attraction of human hearts, but momentary thing obtained by all manner of evil means, and resembling at best a flower shrub, growing out of a cave inhabited by a snake, and beset by reptiles all about its stem.