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AN ANALYTICAL STUDY OF UPAMITI – BHAVA – PRAPAÑCA – KATHĀ

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CANTO VI

In the city of Anandpura lived King Kesari and Queen Jayasundarī. A merchant named Hariṣekhara lived there, whose wife was Bandhumati. To them “The Worldly Soul’ was born as Dhanaṣekhara, who was accompanied by his inner friends “Good Fortune’ and “Greed’. Dhanaṣekhara grew up to be a handsome young youth. As he was accompanied by Greed he thought that money is the essence of life, bestower of all comforts, luxuries and happiness. He thought that wealth is God and wealth is power and a person who is penniless is not respected by anyone, anywhere under the sun. It is wealth that makes a man a King and in its absence the same person is defamed to no end in the world. It is money that makes one a donor and the other a beggar, one a master and the other a servant. All wonders in the world are a work of wealth. Although his ancestors left behind a storehouse of treasure Dhanaṣekhara thought that by all means he should strive to earn wealth.

So he requested his father to grant him the permission to go on a sea-voyage to amass wealth. His father said that he may spend, donate, and enjoy as much wealth as he desired but give up the thought of going abroad. Dhanaṣekar said that it is shameful to enjoy the wealth earned by the fore-fathers, hence one should strive on one’s own to earn wealth and treasures.

When his father saw that his son had decided to go on a voyage he gave him some precious advice. He said, “Son, you have been brought up amidst all comforts and luxuries, you have to go to a far off land, the routes of the journey as well as the ways of the world are dreadful. The world is full of frauds, cheats and wicked people, youth is full of cravings and difficult it is to find a true friend in trying times. Hence rise to the occasion and at times become generous, compassionate, brave, silent and at other times a miser, cruel, fearful and ferocious in speech. Do not let anybody know your secrets and be sober like the ocean. This is my advice to you’’.

Dhanaṣekhara thanked his father and set on his journey without a single penny, promising his father to return with loads of wealth and pearls. His mother too was sad when he told them to consider him dead, if he did not return. His father consoled his mother to be proud to have such an ambitious son and asked her to bless him.

Dhanaṣekhara went in the southern direction and reached the beautiful city of Jaypur and pondered upon means of earning. Suddenly his eyes fell on the tree Butea Frondosa (Palāsh) and his knowledge of Mineralogy enabled him to find rich treasure at the roots of the tree. It was “Good Fortune’ that made him rich by one thousand gold coins but he thought it was his friend “Greed’ that procured the fortune.

He took shelter in the house of a merchant who took great liking for him and got his daughter Kamalinī married to him. He stayed in that city in a separate house along with Kamalinī and started his own business. He engaged himself in all kinds of business, like cutting down of forests, oil refinery, trading in wax, leather, prostitutes, manufacturing wine and other intoxicating drugs. Thus his profits increased and simultaneously his greed too grew by leaps and bounds. He became a millionaire and then he desired to acquire pearls and diamonds for which he set off again on a voyage to the island of gems and pearls much against the wishes of his wife and father-in-law.

When he reached the island along with many other sea-farers and traders, they made good profits. All of them met the King of that land, paid the taxes, sold their goods and reloaded their ships. While the others returned home Dhanaṣekhara stayed there and began trading in gems and pearls. He spent his entire time in planning and trading.

One day an old lady, Vasumati came upto him and gave him the message of Harikumara, the son of King Kesarī and Queen Kamalasundarī. Since Dhanaṣekar hailed from the same land Harikumara had sent word to meet him. The old lady also narrated the incidents that brought Harikumara to his maternal homeland. When Dhanaṣekhara met Harikumara, Harikumara gave him great respect as his father and Dhanaṣekhara’s father were good friends. They both became good friends and spent a lot of time together.

One day when Dhanaṣekhara, Harikumara and many other friends were roaming and merry- making in the garden, another old lady came there and gave Harikumara a beautiful portrait and went away. Harikumara was so puzzled by the portrait, that he kept on looking at it without answering his friends. All the friends conversed for a very long time asking questions on various subjects and giving witty answers. As long as the conversation was in progress Harikumara forgot about the portrait but suddenly when he saw two doves enjoying in each other’s company, he became dumbfounded. He complained of headache and asked his friends to leave him alone. So his friends left him alone along with Dhanaṣekhara and they hid in another place and conversed in such a fashion that Dhanaṣekhara and Harikumara could hear them. Here the author enumerates different diseases caused by gas, bile and cough and their treatment in Āyurveda. At the end Harikumara asks Dhanaṣekhara to search the old lady who gave him the portrait and left without uttering a word.

When Dhanaṣekhara found her she revealed to him that Mayuramanjarī, the daughter of King Nīlakanṭha and Queen Śikariṇī had fallen in love with Harikumara and wanted to marry him. So she came and gave the portrait of Mayuramanjarī to Harikumara to know his reaction. When she saw that the Prince had taken a liking for Mayuramanjarī she informed the Queen and the King. They expressed their delight over the developments and were eager to get them married.

Dhanaṣekhara and the old ascetic lady reached the garden and told Harikumara about the royal order and presented him two paintings and a few poetry sent by Mayuramanjarī in which she depicted her love for Harikumara. Harikumara and Mayuramanjarī got married to each other and the marriage was celebrated in great style. Dhanaṣekhara thought that his friendship with Harikumara was an impediment, as he was unable to concentrate on his business. So he diverted all his attention and concentrated on his business. In course of time he managed to amass heaps of gems and diamonds. But instead of being satisfied he was more worried than before to safe-guard his possessions and desired to possess all the diamonds present in the island. On the other hand his two other inner friends Youth and Lust kindled the fire of lust in him and he could not bear their pangs and lusted for all the women. He went to prostitutes, widows and other poor women, who were easily available so that not much money was spent. His ill-fame reached far and wide and Harikumara too came to know about his cravings and notorious behaviour, but remained indifferent.

Nīlakanṭha, the maternal uncle of Harikumara, fostered enmity towards Harikumara. When he saw that his ministers and public favoured him, he ordered his minister to kill Harikumara, but the minister informed Harikumara and advised him to flee from the kingdom. So Harikumara and Dhanaṣekhara collected all their precious diamonds and gems and embarked on two ships.

Harikumara, Mayuramanjarī and Vasumatī (maid) took along with them the treasures and loaded on one ship, and on the other ship Dhanaṣekhara loaded his wealth. Empowered by Greed and Lust, Dhanaṣekhara desired to rob all the gems of Harikumara and lusted for Mayuramanjarī. So in the night he led Harikumara to the edge of the ship and pushed him into the sea cunningly. When he did so, the Sea-God, appeared and saved Harikumara. When Harikumara pleaded the Sea-God to forgive Dhanaṣekhara, the Sea-God did not heed to his request and threw Dhanaṣekhara in the deep waters. When the Sea-God threw him into the sea his inner friend “Good Fortune’ left him and so Dhanaṣekhara was deprived of his hard-earned treasure of diamonds and gems.

Harikumara reached his kingdom, where he was crowned King, as his father King Kesari had died. He called Hariṣekar, the father of Dhanaṣekhara and handed him Dhanaṣekhara’s ship and treasures.

Dhanaṣekhara was cast ashore after he struggled for seven days and nights. He experienced acute hunger and thirst and wandered in forests and different lands in search of food and shelter. His inner friend “Greed’ influenced him to try his luck in various lands and different jobs. When he took to farming, famine struck, when he served a certain king, he was subject to humiliation and so had to quit the job. When he joined the army, he was wounded in a battle, he hired bullocks and donkeys who died and made him poorer. He went from one place to another in a caravan but this time bandits attacked them and robbed them. He served a master who was very cruel and did not pay him. When he served in a ship, the ship sank in the sea. Then he tried his luck in metallurgy and gambling and here too he met with disappointment. Once a lion attacked him and he ran for his life. His friend Greed advised him not to lose hope and be courageous. He advised him to rob, cheat and kill and amass wealth, but as “Good Fortune’ did not favour him he met with failure and in the presence of lust he experienced incredible grief.

Once an Ācārya named Uttamasūrī came and stayed in the outskirts of Ānandapura. Harikumara came to Uttamasūri to pay his salutations to the great Ācārya. He requested the spiritual adept to clarify all his doubts regarding Dhanaṣekhara and the Sea-God who helped him.

The spiritual adept told that his friend Dhanaṣekhara was overpowered by Greed and Lust, although he was a good human being, in the presence of his vicious friends his behaviour was derogatory. Then he revealed that if he associated himself with Chastity and Contentment he could be freed from the clutches of Lust and Greed. This association could be possible only when “Maturing-of-Deeds’ and “Fruition-of-Time’ favoured him. When Harikumara asked the master ““When people are good by nature how are they influenced to become wicked?’’ The master said there are two worlds- internal and external; when people are blemished by internal vices, they have to reap their fruits in the external world. The master narrated a dialogue to throw light on the above statement.

One day “Principle’ (Siddhānta) and “Polite’ (Aprabhuddha) the two sons of “Maturing-of-Deeds’ and “Fruition-of-Time’ had a conversation regarding the cause of happiness and sorrow as follows:-

POLITE-              O Lord! What is dear to the worldly people and what are disliked by them?

PRINCIPLE-       The Worldly people desire happiness and detest sorrow and grief.

POLITE-             What is the cause of happiness and sorrow?

PRINCIPLE-       Kingdom (Rājya) is the cause of happiness and sorrow.

POLITE-             How can kingdom be the cause of both happiness and sorrow?

PRINCIPLE-      If the kingdom is ruled well, it is a cause of happiness otherwise it is a cause of sorrow!

POLITE-           But very few people in the world have a kingdom and get an oppurtunity to rule but all people are subject to happiness and sorrow.

PRINCIPLE-    O Polite! Not the external kingdom, but the internal kingdom is the cause of happiness and sorrow, and all people possess this internal kingdom. If the person is in charge of his internal kingdom, he experiences joy otherwise he is subject to sorrow and grief.

POLITE-            Is this internal kingdom same for all or varies from person to person?

PRINCIPLE-      It is the same for all in general but in different conditions it is different.

POLITE-          What is the nature of this general kingdom. Please tell me who is the king of this kingdom and which is the treasury, army and land of this kingdom?

When Polite asked thus, Principle explained to him the internal kingdom ruled by “The Worldly Soul”. This kingdom of the Soul is characterised by infinite bliss and spiritual joy. Infinite knowledge and power are the precious diamonds of this rich treasury. The army of the etherial noble qualities is headed by Right Faith and Right knowledge, is the minister. The conscience is the land and the destructive (Ghāti) karmas are the dreadful dacoits, the five senses are the robbers, the passions are the assassins, invigilance and the primary passions like laughter are the swindlers, afflictions are the serpents. Their leaders are the mighty “Maturing-of-Deeds’ and Delusion who are very powerful. They have created many cities like city of Good, Bad and Worse, where “The Worldly Soul’ dwells from time to time.

“Maturing-of-Deeds’ is aware of the powers of Right Conduct and the internal powers of “The Worldly Soul’ but Delusion conceals them and establishes himself as all powerful. Assisted by his innumerable subordinates he attacks. “The Worldly Soul’ and deprives him of his inherent nature and bliss.

When “The Worldly Soul’ realises his internal kingdom he fights Delusion, overpowers him and experiences happiness but when he is overpowered by Delusion he experiences grief. Thus the internal kingdom is the cause of happiness and grief.

Principle further revealed that the internal kingdom of “The Worldly Soul’ present in the guise of Dhanaṣekhara was ruled by Delusion and so he was subject to infinite sorrow and grief in different existences. “Maturing-of-Deeds’ is father to many sons hence there are many kinds of kingdoms. The six sons of “Maturing-of-Deeds’ are the kingdom of Most Inferior, Inferior, Less Moderate, Moderate, Good and Best.

With the help of Reasoning, Polite made a study of the six kingdoms and the nature of the people living in the six kingdoms. As the names of the kingdom, so were the inhabitants. Principle then explained the way to the internal kingdom of Good and said that Practice and Renunciation are the two body-guards that protect “The Worldly Soul’ and enable him to enter the kingdom of Good. The four attitudes viz, friendliness towards all (Maitrī), delight in the virtuous (Pramoda), compassion towards the afflicted (Kāruṇya) and indifference towards the wrong doers (Mādhyastha) should be nurtured to sail smoothly. This kingdom is the fountainhead of emancipation. While the first four kingdoms are to be shunned, the kingdom of good and best are to be embraced. The kingdom of Best is that of Tirthaṅkars who are the ford-makers. They are the ones who have conquered “Maturing-of-Deeds’ and are unaffected by Delusion and his family. The heavenly beings are at their service and create the eight wonders of the golden throne etc. They discourse “The-True-Doctrine’ for the benefit of all and finally reach the city of emancipation (Nivṛtti Nagara) and stay there forever.

When Polite saw the six kingdoms he realised that the internal kingdom is the cause of happiness as well as of sorrow. Most Inferior and Inferior kingdoms are the cause of sorrow, Less Moderate and Moderate kingdoms cause more of sorrow and less happiness, Good and Best kingdoms are the cause of happiness. Thus Polite became wise in the company of Principle.

Thus Uttamasūrī narrated the above allegory and clarified it for Harikumara, who was now King Hari. He said that Dhanaṣekhara was in the Most Inferior kingdom, so he was subject to acute pain and deprivation. Thus all the worldly souls are inhabitants of one kingdom or the other and are influenced to become so by virtue of being present in those kingdoms. Just as, the flow of the river is continuous, so also these internal kingdoms are forever present in all the worldly souls in accordance with their attitudes and choices.

King Hari realized that he was also one of the sons of “Maturing-of-Deeds’ and belonged to one of the six kingdoms. When Uttamasūrī told him that he belonged to the Less Moderate kingdom as he was inclined towards Righteousness (Dharma), Wealth (Artha) as well as Sensual pleasures (Kāma). King Hari exclaimed that he wanted to belong to the city of Good and thus self-realization dawned on the King who renounced the world after crowning his son as King of Ānandapura.

“The Worldly Soul’ further narrated his story to “Rich-Insight’, Innocence’, Good-Spirited’ and “The-True-Doctrine’ and said that in the birth of Dhanaṣekhara, he was totally in the grip of Greed and Lust and met his end at the hands of a demon. Destiny then led him to many hellish and animal existences after which he was born again in Saḥlāda accompanied by “Good Fortune.’

CONCLUSION OF CANTO VI

At the end of the Sixth Canto the author remarks that the ignorant people who are enticed by Greed and Lust, forfeit their precious human birth and suffer endlessly in the worldly sojourn. He instructs his readers to realize the same and relinquish Greed and Lust.

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