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Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Verses for Introspection by Ma Gurupriya

कौपीनं शतखण्डजर्जरतरं - Emperor of Inner Kingdom

Listen to Shloka here

 

कौपीनं शतखण्डजर्जरतरं कन्था पुनस्तादृशी
नैश्चिन्त्यं निरपेक्षभैक्षमशनं निद्रा श्मशाने वने ।
 स्वातन्त्र्येण निरङ्कुशं विहरणं स्वान्तं प्रशान्तं सदा
स्थैर्यं योगमहोत्सवेऽपि च यदि त्रैलोक्यराज्येन किम् ।। 
वैराग्यशतकम् ९१
kaupīnaṃ śata-khanḍa-jarjarataraṃ kanthā punas-tādṛśī
naiścintyaṃ nirapekṣa-bhaikṣam-aśanaṃ nidrā śmaśāne vane |
 svātantryeṇa niraṅkuśaṃ viharaṇaṃ svāntaṃ praśāntaṃ sadā
sthairyaṃ yoga-mahotsave'pi ca yadi trailokya-rājyena kim ||
- vairāgyaśatakam 91

Translation:

Wearing a worn out loin cloth, as if torn in hundred pieces, and a patched garment (kanthā) in a similar condition, but wandering freely in an unfettered manner, free from anxiety, eating food got from begging without any expectation, sleeping in a cremation ground or in a forest, always inhering in the Self, with a tranquil mind, well established in the festivity of union with the Soul – what value does such a one have even for the kingship over the three worlds?

Points for Introspection:

For a human being, life is full of various desires binding him in many ways. All his happiness and joy are dependent on external objects, places and events. When desires are fulfilled he is very happy. But when there is any obstacle in the fulfillment of desires, he is either agitated or depressed. He has very fixed pre-conceived ideas about his life. And he remains convinced that he would be happy only when the life follows the desired course. However when the life does not follow the desired path (and mostly it does not), he is frustrated, dejected and sorrowful.

This is the condition of most people. Man is bound by very strong preferences and prejudices. Even for the very common needs of life, man is bound by his likes and dislikes. If we introspect well, we will see that we are extremely choosy even about dress, food and shelter that occupy most of the time of our daily life. We would spend time, energy and money to possess the dress we want,  considering those to be indispensible.

For food too, the same is the situation. If food is not according to our taste, we blame the person who has cooked it with so much of care and fondness. Very often we grumble about our place of sleep – the bed, the pillows and the like. And if they are not what we are used to, how unhappy we become! Our preferences and prejudices bind us and drown us in deep agony. We never feel free. However much we may realize that desires bring in suffering and bondage, desires neither decline nor leave.

This shloka tells us about the peace, freedom and enrichment of those noble Souls who desire nothing, expect nothing. Even the emperorship of the three worlds will not make them happier.

Such a person is not bothered at all about how he looks – whether people would appreciate or ridicule his dress. He is happy and contented with anything as his covering. His loin cloth may be worn out; torn into hundred pieces. The condition of his wrapping shawl also may be the same, but neither he is bothered by the situation, nor is he concerned about another’s ridicule.

Because he has no particular preference or prejudice, he is completely free of anxiety. Our expectations and pre-conceived notions make us anxious and fearful. He has no anxiety even about whether he will get food or not; he lives contentedly on whatever is had by begging. He sleeps comfortably without any complaint even in a cremation ground or in a forest, where he will never be restricted. He wanders alone independently without any hindrance, with his mind tranquil, seated well in the Self within.

For such a person, whose mind always revels in the festivity of union with the Soul, there is no lack, no bondage. He is ever-free and ever-full. He does not find any attraction even in the emperorship of the three worlds.

People consider certain special days as ‘Mahotsava’ (great festival). They celebrate such days with pomp and grandeur. But this noble Soul who wants nothing from the world, who carries on with whatever Nature brings, enjoys the greatest festivity in his mind through constant Union with the Lord in his heart. Why should he want anything else, to gain what? Any objective gain causes misery. He floats in the festivity generated from his own inmost Self.

Fervent and repeated chanting of this shloka impresses upon the mind the truth – how insignificant and futile are our desires, which we consider so important! It gives us a feeling of freedom. The very thought of getting rid of desires fills the mind with confidence and freedom.

Word Meaning:

कौपीनं (kaupīnaṃ) = loin cloth; शतखण्डजर्जरतरं (śata-khanḍa-jarjara-taraṃ) = worn out and torn in a hundred ways; कन्था (kanthā) = a patched garment; पुनः (puna:) = again; तादृशी (tādṛśī) = in the same condition; नैश्चिन्त्यं (naiścintyaṃ) = free from anxiety; निरपेक्षभैक्षम् अशनं (nirapekṣa-bhaikṣaṃ aśanaṃ) = eating food by begging without any expectation; निद्रा (nidrā) = sleep; श्मशाने (śmaśāne) = in a cremation ground; वने (vane) = in a forest; स्वातन्त्र्येण (svātantryeṇa) = freely; निरङ्कुशं (niraṅkuśaṃ) = unfettered; विहरणं (viharaṇaṃ) = wandering; स्वान्तं (svāntaṃ) = mind anchored in Self; प्रशान्तं (praśāntaṃ) = tranquil, composed; सदा (sadā) = always; स्थैर्यं (sthairyaṃ) = steadfastness, stability; योगमहोत्सवे (yōgamahotsave) = in the festivity of union with the Soul; अपि (api) = also; च (ca) = and; यदि (yadi) = if; त्रैलोक्यराज्येन (trailokya-rājyena) = by the sovereignty over the three worlds; किम् (kim) = what.

अन्वयः

शतखण्डजर्जरतरं कौपीनं, पुनः (च) तादृशी कन्था, नैश्चिन्त्यं निरपेक्षभैक्षं अशनं, निद्रा श्मशाने (वा) वने, निरङ्कुशं स्वातन्त्र्येण विहरणं, सदा प्रशान्तं स्वान्तं, अपि च योगमहोत्सवे स्थैर्यं यदि, (तर्हि) त्रैलोक्यराज्येन किम् (प्रयोजनम् ) ।

śata-khanḍa-jarjara-taraṃ kaupīnaṃ, puna: (ca) tādṛśī kanthā, naiścintyaṃ, nirapekṣa-bhaikṣaṃ aśanaṃ, nidrā śmaśāne (vā) vane, niraṅkuśaṃ svātantryeṇa viharaṇaṃ, sadā praśāntaṃ svāntaṃ, api ca yoga-mahotsave sthairyaṃ yadi, (tarhi) trailokya-rājyena kim (prayojanam).

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