Chapter 12: The Four Âs'ramas and How to Leave the Body
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    Welcome, Guest · RSS 2019-07-20, 4:49 PM

    Chapter 12: The Four Âs'ramas and How to Leave the Body

    (1) S'rî Nârada said: 'A celibate student [brahmacârî] living at the residence of the guru, should for the sake of his teacher behave like a submissive servant and stand firm in his friendship with his master. (2) Both in the evening and in the morning he should worship the guru, the fire, the sun and the Best One of Enlightenment [Lord Vishnu], being absorbed in silently murmuring his prayer [the Gâyatrî] during those junctions of the day(3) When called by the spiritual master, he should orderly, to begin with and at the end, offer his obeisances with his head at the lotus feet and study the mantras. (4) With a straw rope around his waist, garments of deerskin and matted hair, he should gather kus'a grass [for sitting] and carry a rod, a water pot and a sacred thread as is prescribed. (5) In the morning and the evening he should go out to collect alms and offer all that he collected to the guru. He should eat when it is permitted or otherwise fast at times. (6) He should behave politely, eat according to necessity, be industrious, be faithful [and believe in the words of the guru], have his senses under control and only relate to the other sex and to men controlled by women as far as is needed [compare 3.3: 5]. (7) Anyone who is not a householder [a grihastha] and does respect the great vow [of celibacy, yama; see Pat. II: 30], must refrain from addressing women because of the agitating senses that even carry away the mind of a renunciate. (8) Brushing the hair, massaging, bathing, rubbing the body with oil and such is something that a young student should never accept from the wife of the guru when she is young [see also 1.11: 29]. (9) The other sex is like fire to the pot of butter that a man is; when he lives alone he should only associate with women - even with his own daughter - as far as it does good [is properly settled, is useful]. (10) As long as one can not remain with oneself nor is convinced that one can do something about this [in niyama, with a good settlement], this [being dominated by illusions of love and hate] will not cease so that one will not lead a better life [see also B.G. 5: 18]. (11) The above [in verse 6] described directions of the guru for the householder apply equally to the renunciate soul, be it that the householder can have sexual intercourse for a certain period of time [see also B.G. 7: 11]. (12) Those who have taken the vow of celibacy must give it up to make up their eyes, massage the head and the body, crave after the female image, to eat meat, indulge in intoxicating beverages, wear flower garlands, make use of scents or scented ointments and to decorate themselves with jewelry.  (13-14) This way residing under the care of a guru, they who started a new life [as a dvija] attain by their studies, as far as their talent would allow, a proper understanding of the Vedas, their s'astric supplements and adherent upanishad philosophies. They reward the guru according to his wishes and then with his permission leave him to enter either a household life [as a grihastha] or enter the forest [as a vânaprastha or to occupy a withdrawn position in society] or else renounce all and/or stay there [to become a sannyâsî like him]. (15) Adhokshaja resides in the fire, in the guru, in oneself and in every other living entity. He, the One beyond it All, one should consider as both having entered the living beings with everything that belongs to Him as also [existing there beforehand] as not having entered them [pravistah/apravistah compare  B.G. 9: 4]. (16) When one lives this way [in devotion] as a celibate student, a withdrawn person, as someone renouncing the world or as a householder, one becomes conversant with the wisdom [of sanâtana dharma] and attains the transcendental reality of the Absolute Truth.

    (17) Let me now explain to you the rules and regulations for leading a retired life [for being a vânaprastha] as approved by the seers, in respect of which a saintly person without difficulty will be promoted to the world of the sages [Maharloka] oh King. (18) He should not eat grains from cultivated fields nor that what is not ripe from non-cultivated fields. He must also not eat grains or ripe and raw produce that was cooked. It is prescribed that the vânaprastha should eat what has ripened naturally by the sun. (19) From the naturally grown grains and fruits the forest provides he should prepare cakes that can be offered and obtaining new produce the old stock should be given up. (20) He should only take shelter of a thatched cottage or a cave for keeping a [sacrificial] fire. Just for himself he has to endure the snow, the wind, the fire, the rain and the sunshine. (21) He should also be unconcerned about the hair on his head, the hair on his body, his nails, his facial hair, his dirt and the locks of his matted hair. He should keep a water pot and a deerskin, a rod and tree bark [to cover himself] and utensils for the fire. (22) He should remain in the forest for twelve years, eight years, four years or else for two years or one year only as a saintly, thoughtful man who does not lose his mind because of [having to endure too much] hardship. (23) When he because of disease or old age cannot perform his duties any longer for advancing in knowledge and spiritual life, he must refrain from taking food. (24) Placing the fire element within himself he should give up the false self of being identified with the body and as good as possible fully merge with the complete of the elements he is composed of. (25) [To lead his functions back] to their causes he merges the apertures of his body with the sky, his different vital airs with the air, his body heat with the fire, his blood, mucus and urine with water and the remainder [of his hard tissues] he merges with the earth [compare with 1.15: 41-42 and 3.6: 12]. (26-28) Speech and its organ belong to the god of fire, the hands and their dexterity belong to Indra, the legs and their power to move belong to Vishnu and the genitals with their sexual desire belong to the Prajâpati. The rectum and its bowel activity is of Mrityu [Death] and the aural sense associated with the sounds should be assigned to the [deities of the] directions. Touch and its organ belong to the wind god [Vâyu]. Eyesight along with its forms oh King, one should assign to the sun and the tongue and its rule belong to water while smell and its odors should be consigned to the earth. (29-30) The mind and its desires belong to Candra, the intelligence and its subject matter belong to the Supreme One of Education [Brahmâ], the false ego of the 'I' and 'mine' actions and its karma belong to Rudra [S'iva], the consciousness and its concept of existence belong to the Knower of the Field [the soul, see B.G. 13: 1-4] and the modes and their modifications belong to the Beyond. The [identification with the element of] earth [must be lead back] to the water, the water to the lights of the luminaries, the brightness to the air, the air to the sky, the sky to the material conception of life, the false ego to that what constitutes the material energy: the complete of the cosmic reality [the mahat-tattva], and that reality dissolves into the primary state of nature [the unmanifested energy of pradhâna, see 3.26: 10] which also has its source: the imperishable [Supersoul]. (31) Thus understanding that the imperishable soul, that consists of nothing but the consciousness that remains [after this merging], is of the same quality as the Supersoul, one['s individual, isolated existence] ceases like firewood that has been consumed by fire.'