Bhartrihari's verses on renunciation

This is Swami Vivekananda's free translation of verses from Bhartrihari's Sanskrit poem
Vairâgya Shatakam.
The Swami's translation is from Sister Nivedita's Unpublished Notes of Some Wanderings
with the Swami Vivekananda — selected verses recorded almost verbatim, but not
necessarily in Bhartrihari's order, by Sister Nivedita as Swami Vivekananda translated them
orally for some of his Western disciples during a imalayan pilgrimage in !"#"$
%or the researcher's benefit, verses !&'!(, !", )&')*, +!, and ++ have been footnoted as
corresponding verses taken from Swami Vivekananda's original handwritten translation,
which was given to the Vedanta Society of Southern ,alifornia by -iss .osephine -ac/eod,
shortly before her passing away in !#&"$ This footnoted handwritten version was first
published in the collection of poetry entitled In Searh of !od and "ther #oems 0-ayavati1
2dvaita 2shrama, !#*"3$
Stylistic differences in Swami Vivekananda's overall translation of Bhartrihari's poem are
due to those variations inherent in the two aforementioned sources$ 4bvious typographical
and punctuation errors have been corrected$
The verse numbers, as available, correspond to Bhartrihari's numbering$
— #ublisher
Sister Nivedita's 5npublished Notes of Some Wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda
0,alcutta1 Bangiya Sahitya 6arishad, !#"+3 pp$ !+')7, &!'&)$
%&'()(I&'(I*S V+(S+S "N (+NUN,I')I"N
82 translation of verses from Bhartrihari's Sanskrit poem Vairagya Shatakam9
I have travelled in many ountries- hard to travel in-
'nd got no result.
!iving up pride of birth and position-
I have served all.
/ike a row stealing into a kithen-
With fear I have eaten the bread of others in their homes-
0et thou- 1esire- who leadest to evil deeds-
/eavest me not2
3Verse 45
I have rossed oeans to find wealth.
I have blasted mountains to get 6ewels.
I have spent whole nights in graveyards
repeating 7antras
'nd have obtained — not the broken owrie
of blessedness
'h- 1esire- give me up now.
3Verse 85
I have borne the wiked words of the wiked.
)o please fools- when my heart is weeping-
my lips ever laughed.
Stopping my 6udgment- I have with folded hands
Stood before unworthy persons.
+ven now- my 1esire- why do you make me dane
like a fool9
3Verse :5
;or this life- whih is like a drop of water
on a lotus leaf-
We have not en6oyed- but en6oyments have en6oyed us.
We did not penane- but penanes burnt us up.
)ime did not fly- yet we are gone.
We beome derepit with age- but not so 1esire.
Infirmity assails us- the skin wrinkles-
)he hair whitens- the body beomes rooked-
"ld age omes on.
1esire alone grows younger every day.
3Verses <=>5
&ope is the name of this river- whose water is 1esire-
'nd )hirst the waves thereof.
#assion is the roodile living in that water-
Vain resolves are the birds that reside
In the tree of virtue on the shores and kill it.
%ut there are the whirlpools of 1elusion
'nd 1espondene- the high banks.
)he great 0ogis are blissful beause they-
With their pure minds- never rossed this river.
3Verse $?5
%lessed are they that- living even in the
aves of mountains-
7editate on the supreme /ight.
+ven the birds will fearlessly drink of the
tears of pleasure
)hat flow from their eyes.
'las- 3&ere Swami Vivekananda*s handwritten translation begins.5 our minds grow familiar-
even in imagination-
With palaes and pleasure — gardens-
'nd thus our lives fleet by.
3Verse $:5
+ven when the only food is gained by begging-
and that is tasteless.
"ne*s bed- the dry earth.
"ne*s whole family- his own body.
&is only lothing- a ragged bit of loth —
'las- alas- the desire for en6oyment does not leave a man.
3Verse $<5
Not knowing the power of flame- the inset falls into it.
)he fish swallows the bait- not knowing the hook inside.
)hat- well aware of the vanity and dangers of the world-
We annot give it up —
Suh is the power of 1elusion.
3Verse $>5
&ave suh plaes in the &imalayas beome e@tint
)hat a man should go begging at others* doors9
&ave the roots in the mountain forests all disappeared9
're the springs all dry9
're the trees all withered that bear sweet fruits
'nd bark for garments
)hat a man should look with fear on the fae of a fool-
Whose head is turned by a little wealth9
3/it.- AWhose eyebrows are daning with the wind of the
pride of a little wealthA.5
Verses 4:=4<5
'rise2 /et us go into the forest
Where pure roots and fruits will be our food-
#ure water our only drink-
#ure leaves our bed-
'nd where the little=minded- the thoughtless-
'nd those whose hearts are ramped with wealth
1o not e@ist.
3Verse 4B5
In en6oyment is the fear of disease.
In high birth- the fear of losing aste.
In wealth- the fear of tyrants.
In honour- the fear of losing her.
In strength- the fear of enemies.
In beauty- the fear of the other se@.

In knowledge- the fear of defeat.
In virtue- the fear of sandal.
In the body- the fear of death.
In this life- all is fraught with fear.
(enuniation alone is fearless.
3Verse 8$5
)he root of health has always round about it
' thousand worms in the form of dangers and disease.
Where fortune falls- open a hundred gates of danger.
Whosoever is born- him death will surely swallow.
Say- where is that #rovidene who ever reated
'nything that died not9
3Verse 885

/ife is like a wave upon the waters-
0outh only remains a few days.
Wealth is like a fany of the mind-
It immediately vanishes.
+n6oyment is like a flash of lightning
amongst dark louds.
"ur most beloved one is only for a moment.
Cnowing this- " man- give your heart unto %rahman
)o ross this oean of life.
3Verse 8B5
The literal Sanskrit translation is1 :;n beauty there is the fear of age:$
See the end of the te<t 0page !)3
. . . /iving in whom gods like Indra- %rahmâ
and others appear like a blade of grass-
Whose anger an destroy the worlds in a moment.
" sage- know &im- that "ne Supreme
Who dies not-
'nd give not your mind to false en6oyment.
3Verse :?5
'h- where is happiness in this life9
3't best it lasts but a hundred years- of whih half is spent in sleep. of the other half- half in
derepitude. of what remains — one half goes in hildhood and- of the rest- still half in
serving others25
" man- in this futile- wave=like life
Where is happiness9
3Verse :D5
Now you appear as hild
'nd now as a youth- whose whole oupation is love.
)his moment poor- another wealthy-
Now a babe- and again a derepit old man.
" ator man- at last you vanish from the stage
When death bekons you behind the senes2
3Verse <?5
0ou are a king- but we have served !urus-
Who are great in knowledge.
0ou are known by your wealth as a king-
We for our knowledge.
)here is infinite differene between us and you-
)herefore we are not the persons to wait upon you-
" Cings2
3Verse <$5
"h- when will that day ome-
When in a forest- saying AShivaA- AShivaA-
7y days shall pass9
' serpent and a garland the same-
)he strong foe and the friend the same-
)he flower=bed and the stone=bed the same-
' beautiful woman and a blade of grass the same2
3Verses ><- D?5
" Shiva- when shall I be able to ut
)o the very roots of my Carma-
%y beoming solitary- desireless- Euiet —
7y hands my only plate- and the ardinal points
my lothing9
3Verse DD5
)he fruits are suffiient food-
)he waters of the mountain suffiient dinner-
)he earth a suffiient bed-
'nd bark a suffiient garment —
)hese are all welome.
"nly I annot bear the proud words of fools-
Whose organs are all disordered by the drink
"f the wine of new wealth2
3Verse <:5
What if you have got the wealth that fulfils every desire9
If your foot is on the heads of your foes-
What of that9
If you have made all your love wealthy-
If your body remains a Calpa 3' periodi yle of reation and dissolution.5 — what of that9
)he only thing to be desired is (enuniation
Whih gives all love to Shiva.
3Verse BF5
;ear only life- that brings %irth and 1eath-
&ave no love of friends- no lust- no attahment.
'lone- living alone in a forest-
What is more to be longed for than this (enuniation.
3Verse B>5
!oing searhing in the lower regions-
!oing into the skies-
)ravelling through all the worlds-
)his is but the fikleness of the mind.
'h- friend- you never remember the /ord
Who resides within you2
&ow an you get happiness9
3Verse F?5
What is there in the reading of Vedas-
)he Shrutis- the #urânas and doing sarifies9
;reedom alone takes off the weight
of this dreadful world-
'nd manifests Self=blessedness.
&ere is the truthG the rest is all shop=keeping.
3Verse F$5
When the body is still healthy and diseaseless-
When old age has not yet attaked it-
When the organs have not yet lost their power-
'nd life is still full and undiminished-
Now- now- struggle on- rendering great help to yourself2
7y friend- it is useless to try to dig a well
In a house that is already on fire2
3Verse F<5
In Shiva- who is the /ord of this Universe-
"r Vishnu- its soul- I see no differene-
%ut still- my love is for &im
Who has the young moon on &is forehead.
3Verse >:5
"h when will that time ome-
When in a beautiful full=moon night-
Sitting on the banks of some river-
'nd in a alm- yet high notes repeating
AShiva2 Shiva2 Shiva2A
'll my feelings will ome out through the eyes
In the form of tears9
3Verse ><5
When- wearing only the Caupina- 3/oinloth.5
/ying on the sands of the holy !anges in %enares-
When shall I weep aloud- A" /ord of ghoulsA-
Saying this- and whole days shall pass like moments9
3Verse >F5
When- bathing in the pure !anges water-
Worshipping )hee- "mnipresent- with holy fruits
and flowers-
Strething myself on stones in a stony ave-
7y whole soul shall go into meditation-
'nd aording to the voie of my !uru-
I shall avoid all misery- and purify
)he mind defiled with serving the rih.
3Verse >>5
)his whole wide earth my bed-
7y beautiful pillows my own two arms-
7y wonderful anopy the blue sky-
'nd the ool evening air to fan me-
)he moon and the stars my lamps-
'nd my beautiful wife- (enuniation- by my side-
What king is there who an sleep like me in pleasure9
3Verse D:5
)his Universe is only a little irle.
What is there to desire in it9
Will the oean go into waves
%y the 6umping of a little Hfish9I9
3Verse D45
)here was a time when I ould see nothing but Women
in this worldG
'nd now that my eyes are opened-
I an see nothing but %rahman.
%eautiful are the rays of the moon-
%eautiful are the lawns in the forest-
%eautiful is the meeting of the good-
%eautiful is poetry- and
%eautiful is the fae of the beloved.
%ut to me none of these are beautiful-
Cnowing that they are evanesent.
3Verse FD5
"h mother earth- father wind-
;riend light- sweetheart water-
%rother sky-
&ere take my last salutation
With folded hands2
;or today I am melting away into %rahman-
%eause my heart beame pure-
'nd all delusion vanished
)hro* the power of your good ompany.
3Verse $??5
"ld age wathes us- roaring like a tigress.
1isease- like enemies- is striking us often.
/ife is flowing out like water from a broken 6ar.
,urious still how men do evil deeds in this world2
3Verse 8>5
)hose beautiful ities.
)hose mighty monarhs.
)hose powerful nobles.
)hose learned assemblies.
)hose moon=faed women.
)hose proud prines.
'nd those that sang their praises —
)hey have all been swept away from the memory
of man.
7y salutation- therefore- is to )ime who works
all these2
3Verse :$5
)he sun by his oming and going every hour
is lessening the life of man.
)ime flies without our knowledge-
,rushed as we are by the load of many works.
Seeing the evils of %irth- "ld 'ge- 1anger- and 1eath
We are not afraid.
'h me- drinking the wine of delusion-
)he world has beome mad.
3Verse :85
I have not learnt that knowledge whih defeats all
Nor have been able- at the point of the sword-
Whih an ut thro* an elephant*s bak-
)o send our glory even unto the skies.
Nor- under the light of the full moon-
1runk the netar of the budding lips of the %eloved.
7y youth is gone fruitless
/ike a lamp in an empty house.
3Verse :B5
Third Note1
&ere ends Swami Vivekananda*s handwritten translation. )he edited version published in **In Searh
of !od and "ther #oems** follows in this noteG
'las our minds Hdally butI in imagination with palaes and pleasure gardens- and thus our lives are
spent. H"ne*sI only food is by begging — and that too is tasteless. one*s bed- the dry earth. all of one*s
family- one*s own body. and the only lothing a tattered piee of loth around the waist — alas- still
the desire for en6oyment does not leave a man.
0Verses !&'!(3
Not knowing the power of flame-
)he inset falls into it.
)he fish swallows the bait-
Not knowing the hook inside.
'nd knowing full well the vanities and dangers of the world. We annot give it up —
Suh is the power of delusion.
HWith roks ooled byI the spray of the !anga*s waters-
Where the Vidyâdharas love to sport —
&ave suh plaes in the &imalayas beome e@tint
)hat a man should beg 3in disgrae5 at other*s doors9
0Verse !", )&3
&ave the roots in the mountain forests all disappeared9
're the springs all dry9 're the trees all withered
)hat bear sweet fruits and bark for garments
)hat a man should look with fear on the fae
"f the fool- whose eyebrows are daning
HInI the wind of the pride of a little wealth9
0Verse )(3
'rise- let us go into the forest- where pure roots and fruits will be our food- pure water our only drink-
and pure leaves our bed — 'nd where the little=minded- the thoughtless- and those whose hearts are
ankered with wealth do not e@ist.
0Verse )*3
In en6oyment is the fear of disease-
In high birth- the fear of losing aste-
In wealth- the fear of tyrants-
In honour the fear of losing HitI-
In strength- the fear of enemies-
In beauty- the fear of Hold ageI-
In knowledge- the fear of defeat-
In virtue- the fear of sandal-
In the body- the fear of death-
In this life all is fraught with fearG
(enuniation alone is fearless.
0Verse +!3
H' person*sI health His uprooted byI thousands of HworriesI and disease. Where fortune falls upon a
hundred gates of danger. Whosoever is born- him death will surely swallow. Say- HhasI #rovidene
ever reated anything that died not9
0Verse ++3
%hartrihari is the author of vairagya satakam 3hundred verses on renuniation5. In the verses-
he reflets the inner struggles an aspirant faes in his sadhana. &e was a king of U66aini and
was said to be an e@tremely powerful and rih king. &owever- he renouned everything and
beame one of the great yogis. )he reason an be traed to one of the verses 3verse 8$5 in his
vairagya satakam
With en6oyment- omes fear of disease
With soial position- fear of disfavor
With rihes- fear of hostile people 3kings5
With honor- fear of humiliation
With power- fear of enemies
With beauty- fear of old age
With sholarship- fear of hallengers
With virtue- fear of traduers
With the identifiation with body- fear of death
+verything in this world is done with fear
(enuniation alone makes one fearless.
In a later verse 38<5- he brings out the beauty of self=surrender
/ife trembles- like a drop of water on the edge of a lotus leaf
then it is swallowed by the wind
)he wise fi@ their mind in )ruth- whih omes to all in the
alm of self=surrender ahieved by renuniation
&is other works- niti=satakam and sringara=satakam are hundred verses on worldly wisdom
and love- respetively.

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