What Should You Crave For?
Ignoring this One, who is so close, who is the delighter, bestower of pleasure and wealth, who is eternal, I ignorantly crave for that triviality which does not bestow what I desire, but causes instead sorrow, fear, intense grief and delusion.
Points for Introspection
In the city of Videha, there was a courtesan named Pingala. Every night she used to dress up well and stand at the door of her house in order to attract men who would give her wealth in return to their enjoying her company. One day, as usual, she stood at the gate having dressed up beautifully. Looking at each man passing by she would think that this might be the one who would seek her and in return she would get a lot of money. But alas! That day nobody turned towards her.
Her expectation grew every moment, thinking that may be the next man would be attracted and give her a more handsome payment. With expectation, as well as anxiety and disappointment, her face shrunk. Restless with greed, she would sometimes stand at the gate and at times go inside the house. She kept awake till midnight with no client visiting her that night.
When nobody came, she became despondent and downcast. Her unfulfilled greed brought about a feeling of dispassion towards worldliness in her, a sense of renunciation. Although prostitution was her livelihood, this particular day enlightenment dawned on her. She introspected and sung a song of dispassion. The above shloka is the first one of the garland.
Pingala sang to herself: “Oh! What an ignorant woman am I! In order to become happy gaining wealth, I have greedily run after petty worldly men all this while. I have given away even my body for their enjoyment expecting money and wealth in return. I thought that money would make me happy and peaceful. But fool as I am, now I understand that even though I took to this livelihood and earned money, I was never happy and contented.
“Greed and expectation for more and more money kept on deluding me and I looked forward to men with more riches visiting me. Ignorant and deluded as I have been, I never understood that these men, even though they had wealth to pay me handsomely, have only brought me sorrow, fear, worry and delusion. Their association and the money have not been able to give me true delight or contentment.
“How deluded I had been all along! And what a blessing I have got today that discrimination (vichara) has dawned in me. I feel free of all the attachments I had. I experience dispassion towards all worldly gains. I have understood that these can never make anybody permanently happy and contented.”
Pingala continued: “What a pity! What an ignorant person I am! There is the Indweller residing within my own heart. He is the closest, nearest and dearest. Being the Supreme Lord, the Inner Being, the Atma, He is always there. The paramours that I run after, come and go. But, my Indweller, my God, never leaves me. Being eternal and changeless, He is the One who is able to bestow upon me permanent happiness and contentment.
“This closest resident of my heart is my Lord. All pleasures through any of the sense organs arise from within, because of the presence of this Inner Lord. He alone is the bestower of unbroken joy and happiness (sukha-pradam). Not a single man I courted could give me permanent joy and fulfillment. Otherwise, why do I continue to seek men after men?
“He is vitta-pradam, the giver of wealth. He, as the Inner power, enlivens the body and employs it to earn wealth. Not only material wealth. Remaining unfailingly within, He bestows contentment as the inner wealth. Nobody, whom I have been shamelessly running after in order to get some wealth, has been able to give me inner wealth.”
So, Pingala sang: “What an ignorant foolish woman I am! I have always neglected this bounteous Inner Lord of my heart, residing closest to me, who can give me all that I want – joy, fulfillment, and also wealth. Instead, I have been running after petty worldly men who not only cannot fulfill my desires, but also cause sorrow, fear, worry and delusion in me making my life miserable.”
Fervent chanting of this shloka again and again should bring about deep introspection in us. We too are constantly running behind short-lived worldly pleasures, material gains, or fame. We think happiness lies in acquiring more and more wealth, forgetting the fact that no amount of material wealth can make a man happy. This shloka reminds us that we should not neglect but sincerely seek the lap of the bounteous Inner Lord who alone is the bestower of all wealth, joy and contentment.
समीपे सन्तं (samīpe santaṃ) = remaining close ; रमणं (ramaṇaṃ) = delighting; रतिप्रदं (ratipradaṃ) = bestowing pleasure; वित्तप्रदं (vittapradaṃ) = bestowing wealth; नित्यं (nityaṃ) = eternal; इमं (imaṃ) = this; विहाय (vihāya) = disregarding; अकामदं (akāmadaṃ) = one who cannot fulfill the desires; दुःख-भयादि-शोक-मोह-प्रदं (du:kha-bhayādi-śoka-moha-pradaṃ) = one that gives sorrow, fear, grief, delusion; तुच्छं (tucchaṃ) = trifling; अहं (ahaṃ) = I; भजॆ (bhaje) = serve; अज्ञा (ajñā) = an ignorant one.
समीपे सन्तं रमणं रतिप्रदं वित्तप्रदं नित्यं इमं विहाय अकामदं दुःख-भयादि-शोक-मोह-प्रदं तु्च्छं अज्ञा अहं भजॆ ।
samīpe santaṃ ramaṇaṃ ratipradaṃ vittapradaṃ nityaṃ imaṃ vihāya akāmadaṃ du:kha-bhayādi-śoka-moha-pradaṃ tucchaṃ ajñā ahaṃ bhaje.
You Might Be Interested In