The Story of Nandabhadra ||45||

1-5Narada said: Listen to the wonderful story about the holy spot Bahudaka. This holy spot is called Bahudaka because the Bahudaka Kunda which is in Kamarupa has been transplanted here. After performing penance for many years here, a splendid Linga has been installed here by Kapila. It is named Kapilesvara. O son of Pritha, a merchant known as Nandabhadra worshipped that Linga three times a day with great respect. He was conversant with the special features of all holy rites. He was like another Dharma (virtue) himself. Nothing whatsoever proclaimed as Dharma was unknown to him. He was a friend unto all for ever. He engaged in the welfare of everyone.
6-8Mentally, physically and verbally, he resorted to Dharma. He decided like this “There never is, was or will be a Dharma which is free from defects in every respect.” Dharma is like an ocean. It has increased and it spreads everywhere. It was (as if) churned by Nandabhadra and (the essence) was brought out by him. Listen to that. He considers Vanijya (Trade, Merchant’s Profession) as the most excellent for the sake of sustenance. He resorted to it for that purpose.
9-11A shelter (abode) was made by him with wood and grass. He carried on trade with only a moderate profit and avoided liquor. He did not deceive anyone. He did not treat anyone with difference and was impartial towards all living beings. Without any deception, he purchased articles of trade from others and sold them to everyone without (practising) deception. This was his holy vow. Some persons praise Yajna, but Nanda-bhadra does not think so.
12-18It is because of the definite decision regarding involvement of the following defects in performing sacrifice. Listen to it, O son of Pandu. If a greedy, lying, hypocritical and boastful person performs a Yajna, he destroys the universe and leads himself to blinding darkness (hell). The Ahuti duly oblated into the fire reaches the Sun-god. Rain originates from the Sun, food-grains from rain and progeny therefrom. (Defective text) If and when the performer of a sacrifice (performs it at will?) the sacrificial priests and the material (get spoiled). If the sacrificer performs a sacrifice without (giving) the due monetary fees of the same or performs it contravening the injunctions, he will have a birth due to that sin like that of a thief(?) The sacrificial animals killed (during sacrifice) will strike the Yajamana (performer of the Yajna) when dead by means of sticks(?). Hence it is ordained that the performance of Yajna by means of pure barley seeds as the materials, is splendid . He thought thus and came to the conclusion about the essence of Yajna. Worship of the Lord with sincerity and faith, obeisance, eulogy and offerings of Havis—all these are auspicious. This Yajna is devoid of sins. This alone is called (genuine) Yajna whereby deities become pleased.
19-20Some persons praise renunciation but Nandabhadra does not think so. If a person renounces worldly objects (physically) but mentally grasps (covets) them, he is fallen from both (i.e. this world and the other one) and with the ground split (under him) he perishes. (What constitutes) the essence of renunciation—the excellence of it—has been suppressed (i.e. missed) by him.
21A true recluse should be like this: He does not censure or praise anyone’s actions. Like the moon (merging all with its light) he merges (treats as equal?) people following different paths in the world.
22He neither hates nor loves (anyone). He is not antagonistic (to anyone) nor does he follow and obey (anyone). He is self-possessed. He considers a piece of stone and a lump of gold alike. If anyone censures him or praises him, he views it in the same (indifferent) manner.
23-25aHe grants freedom from fear to all living beings. He has the features of the blind and the deaf (not-seeing evil, not hearing evil). He does not yearn for the fruits of (religious) acts. That is the way of propitiating Siva. He seeks Dharma for this reason. He is not covetous. With great discernment and discrimination, Nandabhadra understood its essence in regard to salvation.
25b-31Some persons praise agriculture. Nandabhadra does not think so. In the course of their agricultural activities people castrate bulls and pierce their nostrils. They make them pull great weights and carry heavy loads. They bind and tame and repress them. They take the cattle through muddy marshy places full of flies and other biting insects in plenty. Other animals are afflicted by drawing vehicles. They think that the destruction of the foetus is not at all different from this act. In the Vedas the name of cows is Aghnya (‘that which should not be killed’). How can one afflict such (cows)? The ploughshare destroys the ground and those (creatures, worms etc.) that live in the clay. In the living beings with five sense-organs reside all the deities like the Sun-god, the Moon-god and the Wind-god etc. What shall one think about that highly stupid fellow who sells them? Goat is the Fire-god; ram is Varuna; the Earth is the Sun; cow is Virat (the Cosmic Being) and calf is Soma (the Moon). By selling these, one does not achieve siddhi (salvation).
32-33(Partially defective Text) Agriculture always involves thousands of defects like these. The plough shall have eight bullocks (four pairs) (yoked to it). One should give a thirtieth part of agricultural produce in charity. One must get rid of old animals. Whence shall such agriculture flourish? This essence was drawn (understood) about agricultural profession by that Nandabhadra.
34Food should be utilized (dedicated) for the sake of deities and manes, in accordance with one’s ability. One should consume it always after distributing it among Brahmanas, common people and other living beings.
35-41aSome persons praise plenty of wealth and prosperity. Nandabhadra does not agree with it. Men use men as their slaves for their pleasure. Day and night, they harass (other men) by killing (beating), binding or obstructing them. Whose property is this body? Creator’s, mother’s or father’s? (Defective Text) Is it the property of mother or father, of a powerful buyer, of fire or of dog? Thinking thus, rich people behave like immortal beings. Sinners with arrogance due to prosperity and wealth (are like) persons intoxicated with strong liquor. A man haughty on account of his affluence, becomes maddened and falls. The rich who treats all servants like himself does not err. But where is such an embodied soul endowed with the knowledge of the soul in this manner? He extracted (thus) the essence of supremacy and affluence. Listen to it. The rich shall not be averse to any living being. He (must help everyone) in accordance with his capacity.
41b-44aSome persons praise Tirthas (holy places and waters). Nandabhadra does not think so for various reasons. It is tiresome (to go on a pilgrimage). There is (the possibility of) mixture of castes. Heat, chillness, winds, hunger and thirst as well as bad temper spoil the atmosphere^?) of a holy spot. Even the man (pilgrim) may face ruin. If there is faith, even a man with only a few cows as wealth, can have the enjoyment associated with wealth. He is capable of acquiring great merit. Where is that man who is always pure and who always worships deities? The essence of Tirthas is in every house.
44b-47Neither waters, nor mountains nor great stress and strain sanctify (men) and dispel their sins. It is the soul (of oneself) that sanctifies and dispels sins if a man refrains from committing sins further. Thus, this intelligent Nandabhadra learnt the excellent conduct from different spheres and assimilated it. As this saintly man continued his (pious) activities thus, Devas, the chief of whom was Vasava, liked him much and they were even surprised much. In the very same place, there was a Sudra neighbour of (Nandabhadra) too.
48-50He envied the virtuous Nandabhadra frequently. He was an atheist of a very bad conduct and character but was known by the name Satyavrata. He was always on the lookout for (finding out) the weak and vulnerable points of Nandabhadra thinking, ‘If I am able to find out his weakness, I shall make him deviate from piety.’ This is the nature of the cruel and wicked-minded atheists. They cause not only their own downfall, but they also make others fall.
51Nandabhadra, the intelligent one who continued to be like this, had (only) one son. Unfortunately, when Nandabhadra was old, the son died.
52The highly intelligent (Nandabhadra) considered that as brought about by fate and so did not grieve over it. “Is there any god or man who can escape from fate?”
53-55Thereafter, his beloved wife whose name was Kanaka, who was endowed with all the good qualities of a chaste wife, who was the personified form (as it were) of the virtue of a householder and who was Arundhati herself, passed away, O son of Pritha. Thereupon, although he was one who had curbed all his sense-organs, he bewailed thus on account of the disruption in his domestic life: “Alas! I am a sinner.” Hebe- wailed thus very frequently. On seeing this loophole after a long time, Satyavrata felt very happy.
56-57Like Dadhikarna (the proverbially deceitful cat in the Pancatantra) he approached Nandabhadraka and said to him thus: “Alas! Nandabhadra, if you too have such a fate, then I think in my mind that this Dharma (righteousness) is futile.”
58After saying these and similar words, Satyavrata (apparently) endowed with sympathy, said to Nandabhadra:
59-60“Nandabhadra, I have been always desirous of saying something to you. Since there was no relevant context (occasion), it has not been said at any time. A person making any statement out of proper occasion, even if he be Brihaspati (Guru of the Devas), meets with dishonour like a base man. His intellect will be disregarded.”
61Nandabhadra said: Speak (out), speak. There is nothing good and exceedingly pleasing that should be kept as a secret by me. Even salvation cannot be compared with the words of persons endowed with pure Sattva quality.
62Satyavrata said: I shall make a statement free from defects, devoid of the nine and nine (i.e. eighteen) defects of speech as well as the nine defects of intellect.
63That is called a statement which possesses the following five characteristics: Sauksmya (subtlety), Samkhya (reckoning, deliberation), Krama (order), Nirnaya (decision or conclusion) and Prayojana (purpose).
64The first characteristic of a statement which is called Prayojana (purpose) pertains to Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksa.
65After declaring solemnly the purpose (which is one) among Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksa, if the speaker says specifically “thus is that (purpose)”, it is called Nirnaya (decision).
66The order in which things are to be spoken such as “This is to be said first”, “This is to be said afterwards”, is called Kramayoga by the knowers of the essence of statement.
67The proportion of defects and merits is specifically and separately noticed. Let this (notice) be understood as Samkhya.
68If there is apparent difference in the purport to be understood through statements but identity is also seen, the most excellent reason thereof is to be pointed out as Sauksmya.
69-72aThus the characteristics of Vakya (statement) (have been mentioned). Listen to the eighteen defects in words. They are: (1) Apetartha (meaning not clear in spite of the Utterance), (2) Abhinnartha (difference of the meaning is not clearly understood), (3) Apravritta (spoken in obsolete words which are not current), (4) Adhika (redundant), (5) Aslaksna (unpolished), (6) Sandigdha (doubtful), (7) Elongated pronunciation of the last syllable of a word, (8) Paranmukha (words conveying meaning contrary to the intended purport), (9) Untrue, (10) Ungrammatical (with inaccurate forms), (11) Contrary and antagonistic to Dharma, Artha and Kama, (12) Nyuna (deficient in words to convey the intended meaning), (13) Kasta (painful or difficult to express), (14) Exaggerated, (15) Words reversed or misarranged (as in spoonerism), (16) Sasesa (message or purport remains incomplete despite the completion of the sentence), (17) Ahetuka (absence of proper reasoning to convince), (18) Niskarana (unnecessary or irrelevant to the purpose) (Now) you listen to those defects caused by (defective) intelligence.
72b-78I will not speak anything out of lust, anger, fear, greed, wretchedness, crookedness (ignobility), baseness, pitilessness and pride. When the speaker, the hearer and the statement are not impaired or defective and they come to the same level in regard to the desire to speak or express themselves, the meaning is revealed clearly. When the speaker insults the listener or when the listener ignores the speaker, the statement does not get on, i.e. become understandable. Or, if the speaker abandons all truthfulness and speaks only what is pleasing to the listener, the latter begins to suspect him. (Hence) That statement is also defective. Hence the speaker who abandons what is pleasing to him and what is pleasing to the listener and utters nothing but the truth is genuine speaker and not any other person on the earth. I avoid false arguments not originating from the collections of scriptures. Since I adhere to the vow (observance) of speaking only the truth I am Satyavrata. I shall speak only the truth unto you. It behoves you to consider it like that.
79-80O gentle Sir, since the time you became engaged in worshipping a stone (an idol of god) I see that nothing auspicious has taken place. You had only one son who also passed away. Your noble virtuous wife too died. O good man, false acts bear fruit like this.
81Where are the Devas? This is utterly false. If they exist, they could have been seen. All these fictitious ideals have been evolved by deceitful Brahmanas for the sake of money.
82They give food intending it for the ancestors and the manes. This provokes laughter in me. It would cause famine if dead men were to eat anything.
83Listen to the truth in regard to what these stupid and base Brahmanas variously describe as the (process of the) creation of the universe.
84The origin as well as the destruction of the universe— both these (concepts) are unreal and false, as this universe has (always) been in existence as it is (now).
85This entire universe exists (and functions) by its nature. All these (Planets), the chief of whom is the Sun, rotate and revolve due to their nature. The winds (continue to) blow for ever due to their nature and the cloud showers rain by nature.
86It is by nature that grains grow. Rain, chillness and bright sunshine, everything occurs by nature. The earth remains (stable like this) naturally. Rivers (too) flow by nature.
87It is by nature that mountains appear (like this) and this ocean remains (like this) by nature. A pregnant woman delivers a child naturally. It is due to nature. These many living beings (exist and function) by nature.
88Just as by (its inherent) nature, as a natural result of the change of season, the thorns in the jujube tree become crooked, so also all these changes appear (become manifest) due to (their) nature. No (other) maker can be seen (herein).
89-90When things stand like this, a deluded person is like a mad and intoxicated man. Some knaves praise human birth as the most excellent one. Listen (to my opinion) in regard to this. There is no greater distress than human birth. Let it not befall even our enemies. There are thousands of causes of grief occurring every moment in a human life.
91-94Human birth is known as toll (Tax?). It is only the fortunate man who escapes from this. Animals, birds, worms and insects sport about as they please unbound. It is very difficult to attain their species. The immobile beings are carefree. Their happiness on the earth is very great. Of what use is much (talk)? All the other species of living beings are far more blessed than human beings. Realize that all this is due to nature. The idea that some are (born as) immobile beings, some as insects, birds, human beings etc. due to (their) merit, demerit etc. is false. Hence, O Nandabhadra, forsake all unreal things. Drink happily. Play with toys. Enjoy the pleasures. This is the truth on the earth.
95-96Narada said: By means of these unimpressive, improper and irrelevant words of Satyavrata, the lofty-minded Nandabhadra was not moved. Like an ocean that cannot be agitated, he laughingly said:
97“What you say that (only) virtuous men are always the victims of unhappiness is not true. We see a series of miseries befalling sinners too.
98The distresses of bondage and capital punishment or death, death of wives and children—these are seen even in the case of sinners. Hence Dharma (virtue) is considered to be weighty and important.
99Great men say thus about a good man, ‘This gentleman is very good. Oh! this distress of his is very great.’ This is rarely said in the case of sinners.
100If a sinner were to enter your house greedy of getting your money, wife etc., you too will be afraid of him. You may hate him and may get angry with him. That is futile.
101Your statement that there is no Mahesvara as the cause of the universe is a puerile utterance of yours. Can there be subjects without a king?
102You say that the stone idol and Linga are false and that my worship of the same is futile; that is because you do not know the greatness of Linga, like a blind man who does not know the Sun.
103All the Suras beginning with Brahma, kings of great prosperity, all men and sages worship the Linga.
104There are Lingas with their names and symbols. Are all these fools and you Satyavrata alone wise and learned?
105Formerly Lord Brahma installed god Nilalohita (Siva) at Puskara. Thereby, he attained great Siddhi. (Being thus competent) the Lord created these beings.
106After killing Ravana in battle, the Ramesvara Linga was installed on the seashore by Vishnu. Is this in vain?
107After killing Vritra formerly, Sakra installed Sankara on Mahendra. Freed of his sins (of Brahmahatya) he rejoices even now in heaven.
108By installing Siva in the Ganga-Sagara-Sangama, the Sun became free from illness. The Moon-god installed Siva at Prabhasa on the Western Ocean.
109Yama and Dhanada (Kubera) installed Linga at Kasi, Garuda and Kasyapa on Sahya and Vayu and Varuna in Naimisha. They rejoice well.
110Did not Lord Guha install in this very same Stambha-tirtha, the Kumaresha Linga that dispels all sins?
111I do not endeavour to enumerate the Lingas installed thus by other Suras, kings and sages.
112All the residents of the earth, all the dwellers of heaven and all the residents of Patala become satisfied by the worship of the Linga.
113I am very much surprised at what you said, viz. ‘The Devas do not exist. If they exist, why are they not seen anywhere?’
114-115Are the Devas to beg horse-grams of you like wretched beggars? O highly intelligent one, indeed a Sadhaka (one who is not a siddha) is your preceptor. But if in your opinion all things are achieved by nature, tell me how cooked meal can be got without a maker (cook).
116Are not thorns seen without jujube? Then whose is that creation which is already present there in that manner?
117You say that animals etc. are very happy and that they are blessed. Excepting you, no one has said or heard this.
118Those who are of Tamasa nature, those who are maimed and mutilated, need not have any strain or pain. Let them be praised(?) Excellent men are endowed with all sense organs. How is it that they are not blessed?
119-120I think that your vow of abiding by truthfulness is only conducive to your fall into hell and it has been accepted by you for that purpose. (In this) You need not entertain any fear of a great calamity. This desire will be fulfilled ere long. (Defective Text) You were expounding with a great show of arrogance which was definitely ignorance. Thus the absence of anything substantial is clear from the very pompous show at the outset.
121The words of deceitful persons are always concluded in arrogance and show. They are extra-brilliant like a bad counterfeit coin. This is a perpetual test unto the good people.
122The words of good people are free from defects in the beginning, middle and the end. Just as gold becomes more and more lustrous on being heated or rubbed on a touchstone so also they will be splendid and auspicious (if tested).
123What was intended by you was different and the statement was different. This fault is not yours but of ours who listen to your words.
124This is the good point in the atheists, serpents and poison that it is not their fault that they delude or stupefy others but is the fault of the others.
125Water, cloth, gingelly seeds, oil or scent are rendered fragrant by the scent of flowers. These qualities are produced by contact.
126Association with foolish ones is the cause of a series of stupefaction and ignorance. Association with good men is the cause of righteousness everyday.
127Hence those who are intent on and devoted to peace and quiescence should always associate with the intelligent, elderly, saintly, pious persons and ascetics of pure feelings.
128-130They must not associate with the base and the mean-minded, the illiterate ones, particularly those who have not realized their souls. One should serve and specially associate with those persons who have the following three white things (i.e. things free from blemishes): family, learning and deeds and especially with those who have acquired scriptural knowledge. By visiting, touching, talking to, sitting alone and taking food with bad people, men deviate and fall off from the path of righteousness and good conduct. They do not achieve beatitude. On account of association with the base and the mean-minded, the intellect of men becomes vitiated.
131-133Association with the middling makes one a middling and one becomes very excellent by coming into contact with the most excellent ones. I remember this dharma and hence I am not seeking any association with you once again. You censure Brahmanas by whom the ocean has been made unfit for drinking . The Vedas are authoritative: the Smritis are authoritative; words full of righteousness and meaning are authoritative. Who will look upon his words as authoritative, who does not consider the above mentioned three authoritative?” After speaking these word the noble-souled Nandabhadra suddenly went out of his house at that very time. He went to the Kunda of Bhattaravi that was holy and was Bahudaka itself.