Bhartrihari's verses on renunciation

1
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The Swami's translation is from Sister Nivedita's Unpublished Notes of Some Wanderings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
4
;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
8
+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@.
4

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
8

/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
4
The literal Sanskrit translation is1 :;n beauty there is the fear of age:$
8
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
B
"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
F
;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
D
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
opponents2
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
$4
%hartrihari
%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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