Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 7 Chapter 15:30-45

Book 7: Chapter 15

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 7: Chapter 15: Verses 30-45
An inquiry into right conduct (concluded)

He who is intent upon the subjugation of (his) mind should become a recluse (renounce the world) and live alone in a secluded place, free from attachment and devoid of possession and subsisting on scanty fare obtained by begging. Arranging his seat (consisting of a mat of Kusa grass, covered by deerskin with a piece of cloth spread on it), O king, on a clean and level ground, one should squat on it with his body erect in a steady, straight and easy pose, repeating (the mystic syllable) OM. Fixing his gaze on the tip of his nose, he should thoroughly control his expiration and inspiration by (first) inhaling the air, (then) suspending the breath and (finally) exhaling the air (and repeating the process in the same order) till his mind gives up (indulging in diverse desires). A wise man should gradually hold in the heart his roving mind, smitten with desires, withdrawing it from all those objects towards which it goes. The mind of that striver, constantly exerting himself in this way, attains quiescence in a very short time, (even) as a fire without fuel goes out before long. A mind which is no longer agitated by lust etc., (nay,) all whose operations have been completely set at rest and which is immersed in the bliss of absorption into Brahma (the Absolute) will never feel distracted (again). If a recluse, having first retired from (taken leave of) his home-a field for the culture of religious merit, worldly riches and sensuous enjoyment (the first three objects of human pursuit)- seeks after them again, he is indeed a shameless fellow and (virtually) eats what has been vomited. Those very fools who (Once) thought of their body as not-self, mortal and sure to be converted into ordure (if left unprotected and allowed to be consumed by carnivorous animals), reduced to the state of worms (if interred and thus allowed to rot) or reduced to ashes (if cremated), treat it (once more) as their (very) self and get others to extol it. Neglect of religious duties on the part of a householder, violation of the vow of chastity etc., on the part of a Brahmacari (religious student), reversion to a village life on the part of an anchorite and lack of self-restraint on the part of a recluse (are most blame-worthy;)-men guilty of these (aberrations) are indeed the vilest among those embracing (any of) the (four) Asramas (stages in life).

They actually bring their Asrama to ridicule; out of compassion (for them) one should ignore such men, infatuated (as they are) by the deluding potency of the Lord. If a man has come to recognize his self as (one with) the Supreme, he must have (all) his cravings uprooted by this knowledge. Seeking what (gain) and for what purpose should he (then) remain addicted to sensual pleasures and nourish his body ? They (figuratively) speak of the body as a chariot,[1] the senses as the horses (drawing the chariot), the mind-the ruler of the senses-as the reins (guiding the horses), the objects of senses (sound, etc.,) as the paths (to be traversed by the horses), reason (or understanding) as the charioteer and the intellect as his capacious seat, (all) made by God. They actually refer to the ten[2] vital airs as the axletree, (past) virtue and sin (responsible for the existence and functioning of the body) as the two wheels, the Jiva (embodied soul) identifying itself with the body as the owner (occupant) of the chariot, (the mystic syllable) OM as his bow, the (pure) Self as the shaft and the Supreme Itself as the mark. Attachment and aversion and cupidity, grief and infatuation, fear, vanity, the feelings of pride and ignominy and a carping spirit, deceitfulness, violence and jealousy, instinctive clinging to worldly life and bodily enjoyments, negligence, hunger and sleep and so on are the enemies (to be conquered). They are (all) born of Rajas (passion) and Tamas (ignorance); (while) sometimes propensities (such as compassion) born of Sattva (the principle of goodness too) prove to be our enemies (as they did in the case of Emperor Bharata-vide V. viii). While (yet) the Jiva retains the chariot in the shape of a human body with (all) its appurtenances (in the shape of the senses etc.) under his control, he should body with (all) its appurtenances (in the shape of the senses etc.) under his control, he should get rid of (all the aforesaid) enemies, wielding the sword of wisdom sharpened with the worship of the feet of most exalted souls and finding his strength in (depending on) Lord Acyuta (alone). (Then,) sated with the bliss which constitutes His very being and tranquil (of mind), he should cast off the chariot (too).



  1. Compare the following verses of the Kathopanisad:
  2. For the names and respective functions of the vital airs vide footnote below III. vi. 9.

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