Uttaradhyayana Sutra ► Nineteenth Lecture: The Son of Mṛgā

Posted: 22.09.2015

Nineteenth Lecture: The Son of Mṛgā

In the pleasant town of Sugrīva, which is adorned with parks and gardens, there was the king Balabhadra and Mṛgā, the principal queen. (1)

Their son Balaśrī, also known as Mṛgāputra (i.e. son of Mṛgā), the darling of his father and mother, was crown-prince, a (future) lord of ascetics. (2)

In his palace Nandana he dallied with his wives, like the god Dōgundaga,[1] always happy in his mind. (3)

Standing at a window of his palace,[2] the floor of which was inlaid with precious stones and jewels, he looked down on the squares, places, and roads of the town. (4)

Once he saw pass there a restrained Śramaṇa, who practised penance, self-restraint, and self-control, who was full of virtues, and a very mine of good qualities. (5)

Mṛgāputra regarded him with fixed eyes, trying to remember where he had seen the same man before. (6)

While he looked at the saint, and his mind became pure, the remembrance of his former birth carne upon him as he was plunged in doubt. (7)

When the remembrance of his former birth came upon the illustrious Mṛgāputra, he remembered his previous birth and his having been then a Śramaṇa. (8)

Being not delighted with pleasures, but devoted to self-control, he went to his father and mother, and spoke as follows: (9)

"I have learned the five great vows; (I know) the suffering (that awaits the sinner) in hell or in an existence as a brute; I have ceased to take delight in the large ocean (of the Saṃsāra); therefore, O mother, allow me to enter the order. (to)

"O mother, O father, I have enjoyed pleasures which are like poisonous fruit: their consequences are painful, as they entail continuous suffering. (11)

"This body is not permanent, it is impure and of impure origin; it is but a transitory residence (of the soul) and a miserable vessel of suffering. (12)

"I take no delight in this transitory body which one must leave sooner or later, and which is like foam or a bubble. (13)

"And this vain human life, an abode of illness and disease, which is swallowed up by old age and death, does not please me even for a moment. (14)

"Birth is misery, old age is misery, and so are disease and death, and ah, nothing but misery is the Saṃsāra, in which men suffer distress. (15)

"Leaving behind my fields, house, and gold, my son and wife, and my relations, leaving my body needs must, one day, depart. (16)

"As the effect of Kimpāka-fruit[3] is anything but good, so the effect of pleasures enjoyed is anything but good. (17)

"He who starts on a long journey with no provisions, will come to grief on his way there, suffering from hunger and thirst. (18)

"Thus he who without having followed the Law, starts for the next world, will come to grief on his way there, suffering from illness and disease. (19)

"He who starts on a long journey with provisions, will be happy on his way there, not suffering from hunger and thirst. (20)

"Thus he who after having followed the Law, starts for the next world, will be happy on his journey there, being exempt from Karman and suffering. (21)

"As when a house is on fire, the landlord carries away valuable things and leaves behind those of no value; so when the whole world is on fire, as it were, by old age and death, I shall save my Self, if you will permit me." (22, 23)

To him his parents said: "Son, difficult to perform, are the duties of a Śramaṇa; a monk must possess thousands of virtues. (24)

"Impartiality towards all beings in the world, whether friends or enemies, and abstention from injury to living beings throughout the whole life: this is a difficult duty. (25)

"To be never careless in abstaining from falsehood, and to be always careful to speak wholesome truth: this is a difficult duty. (26)

"To abstain from taking of what is not given, even of a toothpick, etc.; and to accept only alms free from faults: this is a difficult duty. (27)

"To abstain from unchastity after one has tasted sensual pleasures, and to keep the severe vow of chastity: this is a very difficult duty. (28)

"To give up all claims on wealth, corn, and servants, to abstain from all undertakings, and not to own anything: this is a very difficult duty. (29)

"Not to eat at night any food of the four kinds,[4] not to put away for later use or to keep a store (of things one wants): this is a very difficult duty. (30)

"Hunger and thirst, heat and cold, molestation by flies and gnats, insults, miserable lodgings, pricking grass, and uncleanliness, blows and threats, corporal punishment and imprisonment, the mendicant's life and fruitless begging: all this is misery. (31, 32)

"Such a life is like that of pigeons (always afraid of dangers); painful is the plucking out of one's hair; difficult is the vow of chastity and hard to keep (even) for a noble man. (33)

"My son, you are accustomed to comfort, you are tender and cleanly;[5] you are not able, my son, to live as a Śramaṇa. (34)

"No repose as long as life lasts; the great burden of duty is heavy like a load of iron, which is difficult to be carried, O son. (35)

"As it is difficult to cross the heavenly Ganges, or to swim against the current, or to swim with one's arms over the sea, so it is difficult to get over the ocean of duties. (36)

"Self-control is untasteful like a mouthful of sand, and to practise penance is as difficult as to walk on the edge of a sword. (37)

"It is difficult (always to observe the rules of) right conduct with one's eyes for ever open like (those of) a snake,[6] O son; it is difficult to eat iron grains, as it were. (38)

"As it is very difficult to swallow burning fire, so is it difficult for a young man to live as a Śramaṇa. (39)

"As it is difficult to fill a bag[7] with wind, so is it difficult for a weak man to live as a Śramaṇa. (40)

"As it is difficult to weigh Mount Mandara in a balance, so it is difficult to live as a Śramaṇa with a steady and fearless mind. (41)

"As it is difficult to swim over the sea with one's arms, so it is difficult for one whose mind is not pacified, (to cross) the ocean of restraint. (42)

"Enjoy the fivefold[8] human pleasures. After you have done enjoying pleasures, O son, you may adopt the Law." (43)

He answered: "O father and mother, it is even thus as you have plainly told; but in this world nothing is difficult for one who is free from desire. (44)

"An infinite number of times have I suffered dreadful pains of body and mind, repeatedly misery and dangers. (45)

"In the Saṃsāra, which is a mine of dangers and a wilderness of old age and death, I have undergone dreadful births and deaths. (46)

"Though fire be hot here, it is infinitely more so there (viz. in hell);[9] in hell I have undergone suffering from heat. (47)

"Though there may be cold here, it is of infinitely greater intensity there; in hell I have undergone suffering from cold. (48)

"An infinite number of times have I been roasted over a blazing fire in an oven, screaming loud, head down and feet aloft. (49)

"In the desert which is like a forest on fire, on the Vajravālukā and the Kadambavālukā[10] rivers, I have been roasted an infinite number of times. (50)

"Being suspended upside down over a boiler, shrieking, with no relation to help me, I was cut to pieces with various saws,[11] an infinite number of times. (51)

"I have suffered agonies when I was fastened with fetters on the huge Śālmalī tree, bristling with very sharp thorns, and then pushed up and down. (52)

"An infinite number of times have I been crushed like sugar-cane in presses, shrieking horribly, to atone for my sins, great sinner that I was. (53)

"By black and spotted wild dogs[12] I have, ever so many times, been thrown down, torn to pieces, and lacerated, screaming and writhing. (54)

"When I was born in hell for my sins, I was cut, pierced, and hacked to pieces with swords and daggers, with darts and javelins. (55)

"I have been forcibly yoked to a car of red-hot iron full of fuel,[13] I have been driven on with a goad

and thongs, and have been knocked down like an antelope.[14] (56)

"On piles, in a blazing fire, I have forcibly been burnt and roasted like a buffalo, in atonement for my sins. (57)

"An infinite number of times have I violently been lacerated by birds whose bills were of iron and shaped like tongs, by devilish vultures.[15] (58)

"Suffering from thirst I ran towards the river Vaitaraṇī to drink its water, but in it I was killed (as it were) by blades of razors.[16] (59)

"When suffering from the heat, I went into the forest in which the trees have a foliage of daggers; I have, ever so many times, been cut to pieces by the dropping dagger-leaves. (60)

"An infinite number of times have I suffered hopelessly from mallets and knives, forks and maces, which broke my limbs. (61)

"Ever so many times have I been slit, cut, mangled, and skinned with keen-edged razors, knives, and shears. (62)

"As[17] an antelope I have, against my will, been caught, bound, and fastened in snares and traps, and frequently I have been killed. (63)

"As a fish I have, against my will, been caught with hooks and in bow-nets; I have therein been scraped, slit, and killed, an infinite number of times. (64)

"As a bird I have been caught by hawks, trapped in nets, and bound with bird-lime, and I have been killed, an infinite number of times. (65)

"As a tree I have been felled, slit, sawn into planks, and stripped of the bark by carpenters with axes,[18] hatchets, etc., an infinite number of times. (66)

"As iron I have been malleated, cut, torn, and filed by blacksmiths,[19] an infinite number of times. (67)

"I have been made to drink hissing molten copper, iron, tin, and lead under horrid shrieks, an infinite number of times. (68)

"You like meat minced or roasted; I have been made to eat, ever so many times, poisoned meat, and red-hot to boot. (69)

"You like wine, liquor, spirits, and honey;[20] I have been made to drink burning fat and blood. (70)

"Always frightened, trembling, distressed, and suffering, I have experienced the most exquisite pain and misery. (71)

"I have experienced in hell sharp, acute and severe, horrible, intolerable, dreadful, and formidable pain. (72)

"O father, infinitely more painful is the suffering in hell than any suffering in the world of men. (73)

"In every kind of existence I have undergone suffering which was not interrupted by a moment's reprieve." (74)

To him his parents said: "Son, a man is free to enter the order, but it causes misery to a Śramaṇa that he may not remedy any ailings." (75)

He answered: "O father and mother, it is even thus as you have plainly told; but who takes care of beasts and birds in the woods? (76)

"As a wild animal[21] by itself roams about in the woods, thus I shall practise the Law by controlling myself and doing penance. (77)

"When in a large forest a wild animal falls very sick at the foot of a tree, who is there to cure it? (78)

"Or who will give it medicine? or who will inquire after its health? or who will get food and drink for it, and feed it? (79)

"When it is in perfect health, it will roam about in woods and on (the shores of) lakes in search of food and drink. (80)

"When it has eaten and drunk in woods and lakes, it will walk about and go to rest according to the habits of wild animals. (81)

"In the same way a pious monk goes to many places and walks about just as the animals, but afterwards he goes to the upper regions. (82)

"As a wild animal goes by itself to many places, lives in many places, and always gets its food; thus a monk on his begging-tour should not despise nor blame (the food he gets). (83)

"I shall imitate this life of animals." "Well, my son, as you please." With his parents' permission he gave up all his property. (84)

"I shall imitate this life of animals, which makes one free from all misery, if you will permit me." "Go, my son, as you please." (85)

When he had thus made his parents repeat their permission, he gave up for ever his claims in any property, just as the snake casts off its slough. (86)

His power and wealth, his friends, wives, sons, and relations he gave up as if he shook off the dust from his feet, and then he went forth. (87)

He observed the five great vows, practised the five Samitis, and was protected by the three Guptis;[22] he exerted himself to do mental as well as bodily penance. (88)

He was without property, without egoism, without attachment, without conceit,[23] impartial towards all beings, whether they move or not. (89)

He was indifferent to success or failure (in begging), to happiness and misery, to life and death, to blame and praise, to honour and insult. (90)

He turned away from conceit and passions, from injurious, hurtful, and dangerous actions,[24] from gaiety and sadness; he was free from sins and fetters. (91)

He had no interest in this world and no interest in the next world; he was indifferent to unpleasant and pleasant things,[25] to eating and fasting. (92)

He prevented the influx of Karman (āsrava) through all bad channels;[26] by meditating upon himself he obtained praiseworthy self-purification and sacred knowledge. (93)

Thus he thoroughly purified himself by knowledge, right conduct, faith, penance, and pure meditations, and after having lived many years as a Śramaṇa, he reached perfection after breaking his fast once only every month. (94, 95)

Thus act the enlightened ones, the learned, the clever; like Mṛgāputra they turn away from pleasures. (96)

When you have heard the words of the illustrious and famous son of Mṛgā, his perfect practise of austerities, and his liberation, famous in the three worlds, you will despise wealth, the cause of misery, and the fetter of egoism, the cause of many dangers, and you will bear the excellent and pleasant yoke of the Law that leads to the great happiness of Nirvāṇa. (97, 98)

Thus I say.

 

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