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February 13th

Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
इन्द्रियाणि पुरा जित्वा जितं त्रिभुवनं त्वया
स्मरद्भिरिव तद्वैरम् इन्द्रियैरेव निर्जितः
- रामायण, युद्धकाण्ड

indriyaaNi puraa jitvaa jitaM tribhuvanaM tvayaa
smaradbhiriva tadvairam indriyaireva nirjitaH
- raamaayaNa, yuddhakaaNDa

Meaning of the subhAShita:
Formerly, by winning your senses, the three worlds were won by you. As if in memory of that enmity, you were defeated by the same senses.

(A verse by lamenting manDodarI to raavaNa's cadaver.)

In the great, as well as our first epic raamaayaNa, we have seen that raavaNa was a great scholar who had performed innumerous penances - although, for all wrong reasons, he had the intellect and the endurance required for performing them. These achievements don't come easy. One has to win over his sense organs, defeat them, restrain them and show them who's the boss - so as to speak! raavaNa had achieved all these as if it were a piece of cake. But then, he gave in and yielded to his senses, when he heard about seeta from shUrpanakhaa (his sister). Chastity was blown to the wind. He yielded so much to his senses that he wouldn't listen to any advice from anyone, including his own brother vibhIShaNa or wife manDodarI. On his death, manDodarI lamented saying thus - he had conquered his senses earlier, now, as if his senses came back to avenge their defeat, became the cause for his own downfall.

Senses are the entities that bring bondage. For example, if one yields to the sense organ - tongue, he will either like or dislike the food he eats. The minute there is राग-द्वेष (raaga-dveSha - love or hate) there is a reaction to it. Along come bondage constraints and so on. Hence, the pleasures of the sense organs are harbingers of trouble. It is not an easy task to win over them. They are so powerful that, even after winning over them once, if they are not kept under check constantly, they come back to strike harder than ever.

Awareness and incessant अनुष्ठान (anuShThaana - practice) are keys to keeping a level head.

pada vigrahaH:
इन्द्रियाणि पुरा जित्वा जितं त्रिभुवनं त्वया
indriyaaNi puraa jitvaa jitaM tribhuvanaM tvayaa

स्मरद्भिः इव तत् वैरम् इन्द्रियैः एव निर्जितः
smaradbhiH iva tat vairam indriyaiH eva nirjitaH

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