Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 5 Chapter 14:1-6

Book 5: Chapter 14

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 5: Chapter 14: Verses 1-6
Jadabharata elucidated the meaning of the allegory

He (Sri Suka) said : The six Indriyas (the five senses of perception and their ruler, the mind) are the only media (for the Jiva) of going through the beginningless (ordeal of) metempsychosis in the shape of being united with and torn away from, as well as of undergoing the pleasurable and painful experiences of, a series of (corporeal) bodies brought into existence by virtuous, sinful or mixed actions-prompted by Sattva and other qualities-on the part of human souls looking upon the body as their very self. Lured by these into the aforesaid track, which is as difficult to tread as a (mountain) defile, and swayed by Maya (the principle of cosmic illusion that makes the Jiva forget his essentially blissful character and seek delight without) functioning under the control of the all-powerful Lord Visnu, the multitude of embodied souls mentioned heretofore, like a company of (itinerant) traders intent on amassing wealth, enters the forest of worldly existence which is most inauspicious like a crematorium and where they reap the fruit of actions wrought with their own body.

And, even though their endeavours (generally) prove abortive and are impeded by many an obstacle, they fail even to this day to get to the path of those who resort like the honey bee to the lotus-feet of Sri Hari in the form of their preceptor-the path (of Devotion) which (when duly followed) relieves the agonies experienced in that forest, where dwell the aforesaid six, which, though (passing as) Indriyas by name, are actually robbers by action. For whatever fortune-acquired with great hardship-belongs to a man is of use only when it is directly conducive to (the practice of) Dharma (virtue); and that (alone) is Dharma, which consists in the worship of the Supreme Person Himself and it is such Dharma that the wise declare as contributory to happiness in the other world. In the case of those who are guided by a perverted intellect and whose mind has not been subdued, as in the case of a company of (itinerant) traders led by an unworthy chief and having an unsubdued spirit, the Indriyas take away that wealth which is fit to be devoted to (the practice of) such virtue through the medium of sensuous enjoyment at home in the form of seeing, touching, hearing, tasting, smelling, seeking after and determining (the nature of the various) objects. Nay, in that forest members of their family, wife and children by name but really wolves and jackals by action, snatch away before their very eyes the wealth of those stingy householders, unwilling though they are (to part with the same)-wealth which is being jealously guarded (by them) even as a lamb (by shepherds). Just as a field, in spite of its being ploughed (and cleared of weeds and grass etc.), every year, grows dense as it were with shrubs, grass and creepers at the time of sowing seeds again; in cases where the (very) seeds have not been burnt (by fire), so is the case with the life of a householder---a field for sowing the seeds of actions-where actions never come to an end; for this stage of life is (after all) a storehouse of desires (which are the seeds of actions of various kinds). In the aforesaid stage of life their wealth (which constitutes their external life-breath as it were) is squeezed by men, vile as gnats and mosquitoes, as well as by locusts, birds (peacocks etc.), thieves, rats and so on. Now, sauntering on the aforementioned road (of worldly life) with a mind corrupted by ignorance, desire and actions, they erroneously regard this mortal world-which is as unreal as an imaginary city (seen in the sky through optic illusion) as real (lit., something whose existence is proved). Again, on that road they pursue sometimes the mirage-like pleasures of sense, fondly addicted as they are to the vicious habits of eating (delicious food), drinking (wine), copulation and so on.



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