Doha - 111A-B
Again and again in the heat of passion the sage expatiated on spiritual wisdom, while I sat still and put myself various questions; "Can there be anger with out duality or duality without ignorance? Can an individual soul, finite and subject to Maya, ever be on a par with God?"

"Can suffering ensue from solicitude for other's well-being? Can anyone possessing the philosopher's stone suffer from want longer? Can the malevolent be free from anxiety? Can the sensualist escape oblogquy? Can one's posterity survive even though one has persecuted the Brahmanas? Can one continue to perform actions (with attachment) even after attaining Self-Realization? Has anyone acquired sound wisdom while living in the company of the vicious? Can an adultere attain a happy destiny? Can those who have realized God fall again into the ocean of transmigration? Can the revilers of Sri Hari be ever happy? Can a kingdom stand without a knowledge of statecraft? Can sins persist eve after one has commenced rarrating Sri Hari's exploits? Can one enjoy sacred renown without religious merit and can anyone earn  a bad reputation without a sin? Is there any gain as valuable as Devotion to Sri Hari,which is glorified alike by saints as well as by the Vedas and Purnas? And, brother, is there any loss in the world as grievous as that of the man who fails to adore Sri Rama even after obtaining a human body? Is there any other sin so bad as backbiting or any virtue so great as compassion, O mount of Sri Hari?" In this way I mentally advanced numberless arguments in my favour and did not listen to the sage's techning with any reverence, Again and again I maintained the cause of the Saguna form of worship (the worship of an embodied Deity), till at last the sage uttered these angry words: "Fool, you refuse to accept the supreme lesson I have been inculcating on you and indulge in endless arguments and counter-arguments. You give no credence to my authentic words and, like a crow, look on everything with distruct! Fool, you are exceedingly self-opinionated; therefore, you shall at once take the form of a crow (the pariah among birds). "I bowed to the curse pronounced by the sage but felt neither alarmed nor humbled.

Doha - 112A-B
I was immediately transformed into a crow. Thereupon I bowed my head at the sage's feet again and , fixing my thoughts on Sri Rama, the Jewel of Raghu's line, joyfully took flight. Uma, (continues Lord Sankara) they who are devoted to Sri Rama's feet and free from lust, vanity and anger look upon the whole word as full of their lord; against whom can they harbour animosity?

Listen, O lord of the winged creatures: the sage was in no way at fault; it is Sri Rama(the Ornament of Raghu's race)who prompts all hearts, The All-merciful but my devotion to the test by clounding the sage's reason. Wehn He came to know that I was His devoted servant in thought, word and deed, the Lord disabused the saint again. The sage was amazed at my extraordinary forbearance and the unique faith in Sri Rama's feet and, repenting again and again politely called me back. He consoled me in everyway and then gladly imparted to me the formula sacred to Sri Rama. The gracious sage also taught me how to meditate on Sri Rama as a child. The form which I was thus taught to fix my thoughts upon, charming and delightful as it was, pleased me much; I have laready told you the same. The sage detanined me in his hermitage for sometime and then recited the "Ramacaritamanasa" (the Manasa lake of Sri Rama's exploits) Having reverently repeated the story the sage then addressed me in the following gracious words:
"I discovered this secret and charming lake of Sri Rama's exploits, dear son, by the grace of Lord Sambhu. I have come to know tht you are a beloved devotee of Sri Rama; hence I recited it to you in full. Never repeat The sage admonished me in various ways and I lovengly bowed my head at his feet. The great sage touched my head with his lotus palms and gladly gave me his blessing: "Henceforth, by grace, devotion to Sri Rama shall ever abide in your heart and know no interruption.

Doha - 113A-B
You shall ever be a favourite with Sri Rama and a storehouse of good qualities, free from pride, changing your form at will choosing your own time for death, and a repository of wisdom and dispassion. Nay, in whatever hermitage you live with your thought fexed on the Lord, ignorance will have no access within a radious of eight miles from it.

"No suffering occasioned by time, fate,merit demerit or disposition shall ever torment you. The manifold charming mysteries of Sri Rama, that are found mentioned in the chronicles and Puranas either explicily or implicitily, you will come to know without any difficulty; and the flame of your devotion to Sri Rama's feet will grow ever brighter and brighter. Whatever longing you may entertain in your mind, you shall have no difficulty in attaining it by the grace of Sri Hari." On hearing the sage's benediction, mark me, O Garuda of steadfast reason, a deep voice--which was evidently the voice of the Supreme Spirit--was heard from the heavens: "May your prophesy com to be ture, O enlightened sage! He is My votary in tought, word and deed." I rejoiced to hear the heavenly voice and stood over whelmed with love and rid of all my doubts. On receiving the sage's permission in response to my prayer I repeatedly bowed my head at his feet and gladly came away to this hermitage, having obtained by the Lord's grace a rare boon. listen, O lord of the feathered creation. I have now lived in this hermitage for seven and twenty rounds of creation. I am ever engaged in hymning the praise of Sri Rama (the Lord of the Raghus), while enlightened birds reverently listen to them. Each time the Hero of Raghu's line assumes the form of a man in the city of Ayodhya for the sake of His devotees I go and stay at the capital of Sri Rama and enjoy the spectacle of His childish sports. Again. enshrining an image of the child Rama in my heart I return to my hermitage, O king of the birds. I have now told you all the circumstances that invested me with the form of a crow, and have also replied to all your queries. The glory of devotion to Sri Rama is superb indeed.

Doha - 114A
I love this body only because it was in this body that devotion to Sri Rama's feet sprang up in my heart, I was blessed with the sight of my lord and all my doubts vanished.

Doha - 114B
I stubbornly upheld the cause of Devotion, for which the great sage Lomasa cursed me; but evetually I obtained a boon which is difficult even for the sages to obtain! Witness the efficacy of adoration.

They who knowingly cast aside such Devotion and take pains to acquire mere wisdom are fools who would leave alone the cow of plenty at their own house and knock about in search of the Aka plant (the milk-weed) to get milk outof it. Listen, O lord of the winged creatures; the fools who ignore Bhakti and seek happiness by any other means stupidly seek to swim across the ocean without the help of a vessel" Garuda, O Bhavani, (continues Lord Sankara,) rejoiced to hear Bhusundi's words and submitted in gettle accents: "By your grace, my lord, doubt, sorrow, error and delusion have disapeared frrom my heart. I have also listened to the praises of Sri Rama and attained peace of mind by your blessing My lord, I ask you one question more: pray, explain the whole thing clearly, O ocean of compassion. The saints and sages as well as the Vedas and Puranas declare that there is nothing so difficult of attainment as wisdom. Although the sage (Lomasa)instructed you in the same, my lord, you did not show the same amount of regard for Gnosis as for Devotioj Explain to me, my gracious lord, all the difference between Gnosis and Devotion." The sagacious crow was gratified to hear the question of Garuda (the enemy of the serpents)and politely replied, "There is nno difference whatsoever between Gnosis and Devotion: both are equally efficacious in relieving the torments of birth and death. Great sages nonetheless point out some difference between the two, my lord: listen to the same with rapt attention, O chief of the birds! Wisdom, dispassion, yoga (union with God) and Realization--mark me--are all masculine in conception, O mount of Sri Hari! The might of man is formidable indeed; while a woman is naturally weak and dull by her very birth.

Doha - 115A-B
But that man alone who is unattached and resolute of mind can forwear woman-not the sensual voluptuary, who has turned his against the feet of Sri Rama (the Hero of Raghu's line). But even such an enlightended sage, O mount of Sri Hari, succumbs to the charms of a pretty woman at the very sight of her moon-like face. It is God Visnu's own Maya (deluding potency)that manifests itself in the form of a woman!

Here I do not speak in a partisan spirit, but merely state the view of the Vedas and Purnas as well as of the saints. A woman is never enamoured of another woman's beauty: this, O enemy of the serpents, is a strange phenomenon. Maya and Bhakti (Devotion) mark me, both belong to the feminine group, as everyone knows. Again, Bhakti is beloved of Sri Rama (the Hero of Raghu's line); while poor Maya is a mere dancing girl. The Lord of the Raghus is well-disposed towards Bhakti; hence Maya is terribly afraid of her. Nay, Maya shrinks as the very sight of the man in whose heart ever abides unobstructed the peerless and guileless spirti of Devotion, and cannot wield her authority over him. knowing this, sages who have realized the Truth solicit Bhakti, which is the fountain of all blessings.

Doha - 116A-B
No one can speedily know this secret  of Sri Rama (the Lord of the Raghus); but whoever comes to know it by the grace of Raghupati Himself can never fall a prey to infatuation even in a dream. Further hear, most sagacious Garuda. the distinction between Gnosis and Devotion, by hearing which one develops perpetual and uninterrupted love fo Sri Rama's feet.

Listen, dear Garuda, to this unutterable romance, which can only be comprehended by the mind but is incapable of expression. the soul is a particle of the Divinity, immortal, conscious, untained by Maya and blissful by nature. Such a soul, my lord, has allowed itself to be dominated by Maya and has been caught in its own trap like a parrot or a monkey Matter and Spirit have been linked together with a knot which, though imaginary, is difficult to untie. Since then the soul has become worldly: it can have no happiness till this knot is untied. The Vedas and Purnas have suggestd a number of devices for untying the knot; but the knot, far from being resolved, becomes harder and harder. The interior of the soul being utterly clounded with the darkeness of ignorance, the knot cannot even be perceived; how, then, can it be untied? It God were to bring about such condition (as are depicted below), even then the disentanglement of the knot is problematical. Suppose by the grace of Sri Hari the blessed cow in the shape of Sattvice (genuine) piety comes to abide in one's heart and feeds on green herbage in the shape of Japa self-restraint (viz., continence, veracity, non-violence, non-stealing and non-possenssion), the five Niyamas or positive virtues (viz., external and internal purity, contentment, self-study, self-discipline and self-surrender to God) and innumerable other blessed virtues and religious practices recommended by the Vedas. Milk begin to flow from her teats, let religious practices recommended by the Vedas. Milk begins to flow from her teats, let us hope, when she is united with her newly-born calf in the form of love. Quietism serves as the cord by which her hind legs ar tied (in order to milk her); faith represents the pot in which the cow is milked; while a pure mind, which is at one's beck and call, playes the role of a milker. Having thus drwn the milk in the shape of supreme righteousness one should boil it, brother, on the fire of desirelessness. with the churing-stick of reflection after fastening the stick to the host of self-restraint with the cord of truthful and agreeable words; and by this process of churning one should extract the pure, excellent and holy of dispassion.

Doha - 117A-D
After kindking the fire of Yoga (concentration of mind) one's past Karma, both good and evil, should be consigned to it as fuel, and the butter placed on it. When the scum in the form of worldly attachment is burnt, the ghee (clarified butter)that is left in the form of Gnosis  should be cooled down by Bhddhi, which is of the nature of understanding, should fill with it the lamp of the Citta (reasoning faculty), and making a stand of even-mindendness set the lamp securely there. Extracting cotton in the form of the transcendental state out of the boll of the three states of consciousness (viz., waking dream and dreamless sleep)and the three modes of Prakrti (viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) the same should be carded and fashioned into a strong wick. In this manner one should light the glorious lamp of immediate knowledge, by merely approaching which moths in the shape of vanity etc., are all consumed.

The constant awareness that "I am the same (Brahma)" represents the most dazzling flame of the lamp. In this way when the bliss of Self-Realization sheds its brights lustre, the error of duality, the worldly existence, is dispersed and the infinite darkness of infatuation etc.--which forms th family of Avidya (Nescience)--disappears. Having thus procured a light, the Buddhi referred to above sits in the chamber of the heart to untie the ligature (that binds the Spirit with Matter).The soul can hope to attain its object only in the event of Bhuddhi succeeding in untrying it. But when Maya. O king of the birds, finds her attempting to untie the knowt, she creates many difficulties. She sends forth, brother, a number of Rdhis and Siddhis (riches and supernatural powers in their embodied forms), that try to excite her cupidity. By artifice, force or fraud they approach her and put off the light by fanning it with the end of their garment. It the Buddhi happens to be most sagacious, she refuses even to look at them considering them to be her enemies. If these impediment fail to distract her, the gods next proceed to create trouble. The various appertures of the body that locatte the five senses are so many windows in the chamber of the heart, each of which is presided over by a god. Even as they find the gust of sensuality entering the chamber the gods wantonly throw the shutters of these appertures wide open. As soon as the blast penetrates the chamber of the heart the light of immediate knowldge gets extinguished. In this way while the ligature binding the Sprit with Matter remains untied, the light (of Self-Realization) also disappears and the understanding gets bewildered when buffetted by the blast of sensuality Gnosis is welcome neither to the senses nor the gods presiding over them, who are ever fond of sensuous enjoyments. And the Buddhi too having been distracted by the blast of sensuality, who can light the lamp again as before?

Doha - 118A-B
(When the light of wisdom is thus extinguished )the soul then goes again through the manifold agonies of transmigration. Sri Hari's deluding potecy, O lord of the winged creatures, is difficult to cross: it cannot easily be crossed over. Gnosis is difficult to expound, difficult to grasp and difficult to achieve through practice. And if by chance one succeeds in attaining it, there are many impediments in the way of preserving it.

The path of wisdom is like the edge of a sword: one is apt to fall from it very soon, O king of the birds. he alone who successfully treads it attains to the supreme state of final emancipation. But this supreme state of final beatitude is most difficult to attain, so declare the siants as well as the Puranas, Vedas and agamas (Tantras) By worshipping Sri Rama, my lord, the same beatitude comes unsolicited even against our will Water cannot stay except on land notwithstanding our best efforts; even so, mark you. O king of the birds, the joy of final beatitude cannot stay apart from Devotion To Sri Hari. Realizing this, the wise devotees of Sri Hari spurn final emancipation and remain enamoured of Devotes of Sri Hari spurn final emancipation and remain enamoured of Devotion. By practising Devotion ignorance, which is the root of metempsy chosis, is eradicated without any effort or exertion, the same way as we eat for our own gratification but the gastric fire digets the food so eaten (without any effort on our part.) What fool is there who does not welcom such Devotion To Sri Hari, which is so easy and delightful at the same time?

Doha - 119A-B
The ocean of transmigration, O enymy of serpents, cannot be crossed without cultivation the same feeling of Sri Rama as a servant cherishes toward his master. Knowing this to be established doctrine, adore the lotus feet of Sri Rama. The Lord of the Raghus can make animate inanimate and the inanimate animate: the souls that adore such an omnipotent lord blessed indeed.

I have expounded at length the established doctrine relating to Gnosis; hear now the virtue of Devotion, which has been likened to a jewel. The beautiful wishyielding gem of devotion to Sri Rama is an embodiment of supreme effulgence, which sheds its readiance day and night, requiring neither a vessel nor clarified butter nor a wick (to light it). He in whose heart, O Garuda, such a jewel abides is not haunted by poverty in the shade of infatuation. No blast of greed can ever extinguish this light, which dispels the overpowering gloom of ignorance and the swarms of moths (in the shape of vanity etc.) keep away from it in a moon of frustration. Nay, vicious propensities like lust dare not approach him in whose heart the gem of Devotion abides. Fro him venom is transformed into ambrosia and enemiec turn into friend; nobody can attain happiness without this jewel. Again, he is never attached by the terrible mental diseases from which all living beinbgs are grievously suffering. He in whose heart the gem. althought his jewel is manifest in the world, who spare no paints to secure this gem. Although this jewel is manifest in the world none can find it without the grace of Sri Rama. There are easy devices for finding it, but luckless souls attempt harnder methods. the Vedas and Puranas represent holy mountains; and the stories of Sri Rama, the many glorious mines located in their midst. The saints are the expert minerologists and their penetrating intellect, the pickaxe; while spiritual wisdom and dispassion, Garuda, are the two eyes (surveying the mines). Any creature who looks for it with faith succeeds in discovering the gem of Devotion, a mine of all blessings. I have this conviction in my heart, my lord, that a servant of Sri Rama is greater than Sri Rama Himself. While Sri Rama is the ocean, the wise saints are like the rain-clouds; or (to use another metaphor)while Sri Hari is the sandal-tree the saint represent the winds (that diffuse its perfume) Devotion to Sri Hari, which is so delightful, is the reward of all spiritual endeavours; none has ever secured it except through a saint. realizing this whoever cultivates the fellowship of saints finds Devotion to Sri Rama easy of attainement, O king of the birds.

Doha - 120A-B
The Vedas are compared to the ocean (of milk) spiritual wisdom plays the role of Mount Mandara; while saints are the gods who churn out nectar in the form of the sacred legends; and Devotion represents its sweetness. Using Dispassion as a shield (for self-defence) and slaying with the sword of wisdom enemies in the form of vanity, greed and infatuation, it is Devotion to Sri Hari that triuphs: ponder and realize this, O king of the birds.

Garuda (the king of the birds) further submitted in loving tones: "If you cherish fondness for me my gracious master, kindly recognize me as your servant, and answer me the following seven questions. Tell me, first of all, my strong-minded master: which form of all is the most difficult to obtain? Next consider and tell me briefy which is the greatest misery and which again is the highest pleasure. You know the essential characteristics of the saints and the evil-minded; therefore, describe their innate disposition. Also tell me which is the highest religious merit made known in the Vedas and which, agin, is the mind, omniscient as you are and richly endowed with compassion." "Listen, dear Garuda, with reverence and rapt attention while I tell you briefly my views on these questions. Thers is no other form as good as the human body; every living creature--whether animate or inanimate--craves for it. It is the ladder that takes the soul either to hell or to heaven or again to finla beatitude, and is the bestower of blessings in the form of wisdom, dispassion and Devotion. Men who fail to adore Sri Hari even after obtaining this body, and wallow in the basest pleasures of sense, throw away the philosopher's stone from the palm of their hand and take bits of glass, in exchange for the same. There is no misery in this world as terrible as poverty and no blessing as great as communion with saints. Beneficence in thought, word and deed is the innate disposition of saints, O king of the birs. The siants undergo suffering in the interst of others while impious wretches do so with a view to tomenting others while impious wretches do so with a view to tormenting others. tender-hearted saints, like the birch tree, submit to the greatest torture (even allow their skin to be peeled off) for the good of others; while the wicked, like the hemp, hae their skin flayed off and perish in agony in order to be able to bind others9In the form of cords) Listen, O enemy of serpents: like the rat and the serpent, the wicked injure others without any gain to themselves. Having destroyed others' prosperity they perish themselves, even as the hail dissolves after destroying the crops. The elvation of the wicked, like the rising of a comet--which is a detestble heavenly body--is a sourcee of calamity to the world. The advancement of a saint, on the other hand, is evr conducive to joy, even as the rising of the sun and the moon brings delight to the whole universe A vow of non-violence is the highest religious merit known to the Vedas; and there is no sin as grievous as peaking ill of others. A reviler of Lord Hara and his own preceptor takes the form. A reviler of the Brahmanas, after suffering tortures in a number of hells, is born on earth in the form of a crow. Those conceited soul who revile the gods and the Vedas are cast into the hell known as Raurava. They who delight in vilifying the siants are reborn as owls, who love the night of error and for whom the sun of wisdom has set. The fools who censure all are reborn as bats. Note now, dear Garuda, the diseases of the mind, from which everyone suffers Infatuation is the root of all ailments and from these atgain arise many other troubles. Lust is a counterpart of wind and inordinate greed corresponds to an abundance of phlegm; while anger represents bile, which constantly burns th brest. Should all these three combine, ther results what is known as ssannipata (a derangement of the aforesaid three humours of the body, causing fever which is of a dangerous type). The cravings for the manifold pleasures of the sense, so difficult to realize, are the various distempers, which are too numerous to name. The feeling of mineness corresponds to ringworms, envy represents it ches while joy and grief correspond to a disease of the throat marked by an excessive enlargement of its glands. Grudging contemplation of others happiness represents consumption; while wickedness and perversity of soul correspond to leprosy. Egotism is a counterpart of the most painful gount; whil hypocrisy deceit arrogance and pride correspond to the desease known as Dracontiasis (which is marked by the presence in the body of a parasite known as the gunea-worm) Thirst for enjoyment the most advanced type of dropsy; while the three types of craving (those for progeny, riches and honour) correcspond to the violent quartan ague. Jealousy and thoughtlessness are the two types of fever. There are many more fell diseases, too numerous to mention.


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Last Updated : March 12, 2011

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