Uttaradhyayana Sutra ► Fourteenth Lecture: Iṣukāra

Posted: 17.09.2015

Fourteenth Lecture: Iṣukāra

Having been gods in a former existence and lived in the same heavenly region, some were born (here below) in the ancient, wealthy, and famous town called Iṣukāra,[1] which is beautiful like heaven. (1)

By a remnant of the merit they had acquired in their former life, they were born in noble families. Disgusted with the world and afraid of the Saṃsāra, they abandoned (pleasures, etc.) and took refuge in the path of the Jinas. (2)

Two males remained bachelors, (the third became) the Purōhita (Bhṛgu), (the fourth) his wife Yaśā, (the fifth) the widely-famed king Iṣukāra, and (the sixth) his wife Kamalāvatī. (3)

Overcome by fear of birth, old age, and death, their mind intent on pilgrimage, and hoping to escape the Wheel of Births, they examined pleasures and abandoned them. (4)

Both dear sons of the Brahmanical Purōhita, who was intent on works, remembered their former birth, and the penance and self-control they had then practised. (5)

Averse to human and heavenly pleasures, desiring liberation, and full of faith, they went to their father and spoke thus: (6)

"Seeing that the lot of man is transitory and precarious, and that his life lasts not long, we take no delight in domestic life; we bid you farewell: we shall turn monks." (7)

In order to dissuade them from a life of austerities, the father replied to those (would-be) monks: "Those versed in the Vēdas say that there will be no better world for men without sons. (8)

"My sons, after you have studied the Vēdas, and fed the priests, after you have placed your own sons at the head of your house, and after you have enjoyed life together with your wives, then you may depart to the woods as praiseworthy sages." (9)

The young men perceiving that the Purōhita was wholly consumed, as it were, by the fire of grief, which was fed by his individual inclinations and blown into a huge flame by the wind of delusion; that he suffered much and talked a great deal in many ways; that he tried to persuade them by degrees, and that he would even bribe them with money and with objects of desire, (spoke) these words: (10, 11)

"The study of the Vēdas will not save you; the feeding of Brāhmaṇas will lead you from darkness to darkness, and the birth of sons will not save you. Who will assent to what you said? (12)

"Pleasures bring only a moment's happiness, but suffering for a very long time, intense suffering, but slight happiness; they are an obstacle to the liberation from existence, and are a very mine of evils. (13)

"While a man walks about without abandoning pleasures, and grieves day and night, while he is anxious about other people, and seeks for wealth, he comes to old age and death. (14)

"I have this, and I have not that; I must do this, and I should not do that! While he talks in this strain, the robbers (viz. time) drag him away. What foolishness is this!" (15)

"Great wealth and women, a family and exquisite pleasures: for such things people practise austerities. All this you may have for your asking." (16)

"What avail riches for the practice of religion, what a family, what pleasures? We shall become "As fire is produced in the Araṇi-wood, as butter in milk, and oil in sesamum seed, so, my sons, is the soul[2] produced in the body; (all these things) did not exist before, they came into existence, and then they perish; but they are not permanent." (18)

"(The soul) cannot be apprehended by the senses, because it possesses no corporeal form,[3] and since it possesses no corporeal form it is eternal. The fetter of the soul has been ascertained to be caused by its bad qualities, and this fetter is called the cause of worldly existence. (19)

"Thus being ignorant of the Law, we formerly did sinful actions, and through our wrong-mindedness we were kept back and retained (from entering the order). We shall not again act in the same way. (20)

"As mankind is harassed (by the one), and taken hold of (by the other), and as the unfailing ones go by, we take no delight in the life of a householder." (21)

"Who harasses the world? who takes hold of it? whom do you call unfailing? My sons, I am anxious to learn this." (22)

"Mankind is harassed by Death; it is taken hold of by Old Age; the days[4] are called unfailing: know this, Father! (23)

"The day that goes by will never return; the days elapse without profit to him who acts contrary to the Law. (24)

"The day that goes by will never return; the days elapse with much profit to him who acts up to the Law." (25)

"Having lived together in one place, and both parties[5] having acquired righteousness, we shall, O my sons, afterwards go forth (as monks) and beg alms from house to house." (26)

"He who can call Death his friend, or who can escape him, or who knows that he will not die, might perhaps decide: this shall be done tomorrow. (27)

"We will even now adopt the Law, after the adoption of which we shall not be born again. The future has nothing in store for us (which we have not experienced already). Faith will enable us to put aside attachment." (28)

(Bhṛgu speaks to his wife Vāsiṣṭhī.) "Domestic life ceases (to have attraction) for one who has lost his sons; Vāsiṣṭhī, the time has arrived for me to turn mendicant friar. As long as a tree retains its branches, it is really a tree; when they are lopped off, it is called a trunk. (29)

"As a bird without its wings, as a king in battle without his followers, as a merchant on a boat without his goods, even so am I without my sons." (30)

"You have brought together all these objects of desire, and have collected many exquisitely pleasant things. Let us, therefore, fully enjoy the pleasures; afterwards we shall go forth on the road of salvation." (31)

"We have finished enjoying pleasures, my dear; our life is drawing to its close. I do not abandon pleasures for the sake of an unholy life; but looking with indifference on gain and loss, on happiness and suffering, I shall lead the life of a monk." (32)

"May you not remember your brothers (when it is too late) like an old goose swimming against the current. Enjoy the pleasures together with me. A mendicant's life is misery." (33)

"My dear, as a snake casts off the slough of its body and goes along free and easy, even so have my sons abandoned pleasure. Why should I, being left alone, not follow them? (34)

"As the fish Rōhita[6] breaks through a weak net, even so wise men of exemplary character and famous for their austerities abandon pleasure and live as mendicants. (35)

"As the herons fly through the air and the geese too, who had rent the net, even so my sons and my husband depart. Why should I, being left alone, not follow them?" (36)

When the queen had heard that the Purōhita with his wife and sons had entered the order, abandoning pleasures and all his large property, she spoke to the king: (37)

"A man who returns, as it were,. to the vomit, is not praised; but you want to confiscate[7] the property left by the Brāhmaṇa. (38)

"If the whole world and all treasures were yours, you would still not be satisfied, nor would all this be able to save you. (39)

"Whenever you die, O king, and leave all pleasant things behind, the Law alone, and nothing else in this world, will save you, O monarch. (40)

"As a bird dislikes the cage, so do I (dislike the world). I shall live as a nun, without offspring, poor, upright, without desire, without love of gain, and without hatred. (42)

"As when by a conflagration of a forest animals are burned, other beasts greatly rejoice, being under the influence of love and hate; even so we, fools that we are, being attached to pleasure, do not perceive that the world is consumed by the fire of love and hatred. (42, 43)

"Those who have enjoyed pleasures, and have renounced them, move about like the wind, and go wherever they please, like the birds unchecked in their flight. (44)

"When they[8] are caught, and held by my hand, sir, they struggle; we shall be like them, if we are attached to pleasures. (45)

"As an unbaited (bird)[9] sees a baited one caught in the snare, even so shall we avoid every bait and walk about, not baited by anything. (46)

"Being aware that pleasures are causes for the continuance of worldly existence, as illustrated in (the above) similes of the greedy man, one should be cautious and stir as little as possible, like a snake in the presence of Suparṇa. (47)

"Like an elephant who has broken his fetters, go to your proper destination. O great king Iṣukāri; this is the wholesome truth I have learned. (48)

"Leave your large kingdom and the pleasures which are so dear to all; abandon what pleases the senses, and what attracts; be without attachment and property; learn thoroughly the Law and give up all amusements; then practise famous and severe penance, being of firm energy."[10] (49, 50)

In this way all (these) professors of the Law gradually obtained enlightenment, being frightened by birth and death, and seeking for the end of misery. (51)

Their doubts about the true doctrine were dispersed, and they realised the Bhāvanās;[11] in a short time they reached the end of misery. (52)

The king and the queen, the Brahmanical Purōhita, his wife, and his sons, they all reached perfection. (53)

Thus I say.


Share this page on: