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Bhatrihari Wisdom - Ancient and Plenteous

Jayanti te sukrutino rasasiddhah kaveeshwaraa
Naasti yesham. yashh kaaye jaraamaranajam bhayam.

Only those poets who are virtuous and are well versed in the art of writing poetry and who do not crave for becoming famous and are not afraid of old age and death, are honoured as foremost among poets.

Bhartrihari is one of the most famous and revered of the Sanskrit poets in the distant past. There is no valid historic evidence of his life or his works. Vedam Lakshminarayana Sastry published a book in Madras in 1961. This work refers to and is reproduced in this work now.

Monier Williams wrote this long ago.

“Scattered throughout the various departments of Sanskrit Literature are innumerable appropriate in which wise and noble, sticking and original thoughts often appear in a highly finished and poetical garb. Owing to the universality of this mode of expression in Sanskrit literature there are but a few works consisting exclusively of poetic aphorisms. The most important are the two collections by the highly gifted Bhatrihari respectively. Neetisataka of a century of conduct and Vairagyasataka of a century of renunciation., Numbers of wise sayings have from time immemorial have been quoted in conversation. Occasional attempts were made to give permanence to the floating wisdom of the day. The authorship of a whole series are ascribed to man of known wisdom like Bhatrihari, Chanakya much to the same way of authors of puranas and the Mahabharata was referred the sage Vyasa.”

Some of the many memorable of the aphorisms. Bhatrihari begins with this:

“Those who know and have experience are jealous. The rulers are proud which makes them blind, the ordinary many are not intelligent or wise enough and for these reasons my Subhashitas, wise sayings, are digested in myself.” The poet this explains that it is impossible to convince a stupid full with self-pride. (24)

“It may be possible to pick out the pearl between crocodile’s mouth, it may be possible to cross the ocean in hightide, may be possible to wear angry serpent like a garland but it is impossible to convince a stupid one with self- pride (25)

The one who wants to bind an elephant gone rogue with a thread from the floating lotus. The one who tries to cut a diamond of with a flower’s end, the one who drops a drop of honey to make the salty sea sweet and the one who tries to make a stupid are all of the same ilk. (28)

The lord of creation, Brahma created silence to hide their idiocy. For ignorant the only adornment is to be seated before the learned. When I was knowing only a little (29)

I thought and believed that I know all. When I knew a bit by bit from the learned ones – I realised that I was just a stupid. Then to get rid of the fever of stupidity, I lived in comfort shedding my pride. (p.30)

The sacred river Ganges (Called Ganga) fell from the sky on the god Eswara’s head and from there it fell on the Himalayas, and from there coming down dropped into the sea and from there into Paatala, the down most world. For the one who come down from a high state there would be such a fall downward. (32)

The shastas, sciences and scriptures gave several things for us, water fire, for the rogue elephant a goad, for animals like and donkey a stick and different medicines for different kinds of illness and mantras for snake bites. But there is no cure or medicine for the stupid’s stupidity. ( 33)

If there are any scholarly ones who can teach sciences like grammar, teaching various skills beautifully are there before a king in poverty it is only because of the ignorance of king or the ruler. The merchant who does not value the rare diamonds correctly, it is not the fault of the gems or diamonds. 35).

O Man! Don’t ever insult scholars. You may think that they honour you seeing your wealth. But consider are that as mere straw. Well it be possible to bind a mad elephant with the stem of a lotus? (37)

Even if the lord of creation, Brahma, may make with his power unable to go around in pleasure the lake of lotuses. He cannot render the swan disabled to exercise her skill to separate water and milk. (38)

For a man ornaments of precious metals and diamonds, bathing and anointing with perfumes little sandal cannot embellish him. The only thing that which gives him decoration Great wealth is his ability to speak effectively. Only this is a never fading adornment. (39)

For a man education and scholarship are form and appearance. Only that is the secretly held treasure. It is only that which gives all pleasures, happiness, fame and comfort. It only trains, teaches him as great preceptor or guru. It helps him abroad as a close relative. Only vidya is worshipped by kings. Wealth or money is not like this. The one vidya, knowing, is a surprising thing. (40)

Affection and obedience to relatives, kindness to servants, being hard to the evil ones, loving the good and well behaved - following the ruler, having patience for the elders, skill in treating women, bravery against enemies make one highly paced, not power or pelf. Whatever is destined – written on the brow – would come in the life time. One cannot get more even on the Meru -the mountain of fortune/wealth. When one dips a pot either in a pot or the ocean one gets only the water that pot can hold. This should not be forgotten. One should be content with what he is given. (42)

The above are in the Neethi shataka (first 62 pages) moorkha padhhati, vidwat paddhaditi, mauna shourya paddhati and ardha paddhati.

Continued to Next Page 


More by :  Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B.

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