"Full many a ray of purest ray serene the dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness to the desert air."
from "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bhaja Govindam - 14

अङ्गं गलितं पलितं मुण्डं दशनविहीनं जातं तुण्डम् ।
वृद्धो याति गृहित्वा दण्डं तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशापिण्डम् ॥१५॥
(भज-गोविन्दं भज-गोविन्दं)

angam galitam palitam muṇḍam daśanavihinam jātam tuṇḍam |
vruddho yāti gruhitvā daṇḍam tadapi na muncatyāśāpiṇḍam ||15||
(bhaja-govindam bhaja-govindam…)

अङ्गं = body, गलितं = worn out, पलितं = has turned grey, मुण्डं = head, दशनविहीनं = toothless, जातं = has become, तुण्डम् = mouth, वृद्धो = old man, याति = moves about, गृहित्वा = having taken (leaning on), दण्डं = staff, तदपि = yet,= not, मुञ्चति = leaves, आशापिण्डम् = bundle of desires

Literal Translation:
The body has become worn out, the head has turned grey, the mouth has become toothless, the old man moves about, leaning on his staff. Yet, he does not leave his bundle of desires.

These lines by Totakacharya indicate the plight of a person living in a world of sense-objects. The desire for enjoyment is irresistible and unending. The picture of an old man leaning on his staff, physically incapable of fulfilling his desires and follow his passions, yet tempted by them, is a pathetic sight.
Gurudev says that though it could be assumed that at a ripe age, a person would have exhausted his passions but it is rare that a person would not feel the hunger for pleasure. The bundle of desire does not leave him, the mind thirsts for sense-objects, the intellect plans, but the body is unable to execute, thus creating immense suffering. With the tyranny of inexpressible desires, the old man lives an agonizing life of unimaginable sorrow.

It is indicated here that only a mind disciplined in youth will be at peace in old age.

Refer to "Wandering in the Himalayas" by Tapovan Maharaj. He begins his chapter on Uttarkashi with a reference to this shloka. He says that people forget how fleeting pleasures are. Even in extreme old age, man clings to the attachment to the body, as if it is still young, healthy and full of vigor. He describes man as being a caged lion, who cannot get out of the limitations of the senses. All around us are people who are bound to the body and pursue the illusive sensory pleasures because of a complete identification with the body. The main purpose of human life is the conquest of maya. The human attribute of reasoning (intellect) if propertly utilized, can be used to break the bondages of maya and to realize God.

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