May 26th


Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
देहदण्डनमात्रेण का मुक्तिरविवेकिनाम्
वल्मीकताडनादेव मृतः कुत्र महोरगः
- गरुडपुराण

Transliteration:
dehadaNDanamaatreNa kaa muktiravivekinaam
valmIkataaDanaadeva mRutaH kutra mahoragaH
- garuDapuraaNa

Meaning of the subhAShita:
Only the imprudent think that they can achieve salvation through penalizing the body (fasting, etc). Where will patting an ant hill (where a snake makes its home), kill the great snake?

Commentary:
There is, amongst many people, the practice of putting the body through rigorous rituals or actions. Like fasting where the body is starved for a long time, rigorous exercises to keep the body fit, etc. The poet says that, only the imprudent think those practices will liberate them and lead them to salvation. Those practices only help in the purification of the body. The liberation is not attained by the body! It is the soul that attains nirvaaNa (salvation). In that case, isn't it the soul that should be cleansed?

The metaphor he uses is that of an anthill and a snake. A snake overtakes the anthill and makes it its home. If the intention is to kill the great serpent residing inside, it is not sufficient to tap and pat on top of anthill. The body is just like the anthill where the monstrous serpent (ego) is residing. Enduring hardships of the body won’t put a dent in the resolve of the ego. It is the ego that has to be felled in order to attain mukti (salvation).

Treat the problem at the roots. Spraying the leaves will not restore the vitality of the tree!


pada vigrahaH:
देह दण्डन मात्रेण का मुक्तिः अविवेकिनाम्
deha daNDana maatreNa kaa muktiH avivekinaam

वल्मीक ताडनात् एव मृतः कुत्र महोरगः
valmIka taaDanaat eva mRutaH kutra mahoragaH

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