O Desire!

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Mar 6 10:02:10 CST 2000

It is said that Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswami of Sringeri would
often walk to the KAla-bhairava temple with some of his disciples. On the
way, the disciples would recite verses full of vairAgya from various

 One such work that speaks of vairAgya in an honest and simple manner
 is the vairAgya shataka of bhartR^ihari. I will post some verses from
 time to time drawn from this useful work.

 bhrAntaM deshamanekadurgavishhamaM prAptaM na kiJNchitphalaM
 tyaktvA jAtikulAbhimAnamuchitaM sevA kR^itA nishhphalA |
 bhuktaM mAnavivarjitaM paragR^iheshhvAshaN^kayA kAkavat.h
 tR^ishhNe jR^iMbhasi pApakarmapishune nAdyApi saMtushhyasi ||

  I have wandered about with great difficulty and undergoing hardships
 in many countries. But I have not derived any benefit whatsoever. Giving
 up the dignity of my caste and family, I have served (the rich). But even
 that is without fruit. I have shamelessly eaten, with apprehension just
 like a crow, the food offered by others (without showing me any respect).
 O Desire! You who are the indicator of evil deeds! Even now (after putting
 me through all this) you are not satisfied!

 How many of us can identify with things said in this verse! Back home
 in India, we make a bee-line for the nearest foreign consulate for that
 coveted visa. Once we arrive in a foreign land, a lot of hardships
 await us. Some of us even do even menial jobs just to make sure we can
 cover the "living expenses." Giving up all dignity associated with the
 BrAhmaNa (or other dvija) caste, we seek favors from the rich mlechchhas
 (the flesh-eating people) with the hope of "striking it rich." In the
 course of career or business, we attend "business lunches", "parties",
 and the like, and shamelessly eat the food that is offered without respect.
 Food offered with respect is served with friendship. It is not sold.
 It is not a "buffet" offered saying "help yourself! Feel free to go for
 second round!". Moreover we eat like crows. A crow always eats with
 fear of losing what it has got. Even in an affluent country like the
 US, people flock together like crows almost instantly when they hear
 "free food" is being offered somewhere. This country also has a famous
 saying "There is no such a thing as a free lunch." This implies, if
 free food is offered, usually it is done as a gratuity for something
 or with the expectation of something.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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