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atha smṛti-kavāṭena pidhāyendriya-saṃvaram /

And so using the floodgate of awareness1 to close a dam on the power of the senses,

bhojane bhava mātrā-jño dhyānāyānāmayāya ca // 14.1 //

Know the measure, in eating food, that conduces to meditation and to health.


prāṇāpānau nigṛṇhāti glāni-nidre prayacchati /

For it depresses in-breath and out-breath, and brings tiredness and sleepiness,

kṛto hy-atyartham-āhāro vihanti ca parākramam // 14.2 //

When food is taken in excess; it also destroys enterprise.


yathā cātyartham-āhāraḥ kṛto 'narthāya kalpate /

And just as eating too much conduces to a dearth of value,

upayuktas-tathātyalpo na sāmarthyāya kalpate // 14.3 //

So eating too little makes for a lack of efficacy.


ācayaṃ dyutim-utsāhaṃ prayogaṃ balam-eva ca /

Of its substance, lustre, and stamina; of its usefulness and its very strength,

bhojanaṃ kṛtam-atyalpaṃ śarīrasyāpakarṣati // 14.4 //

A meagre diet deprives the body.


yathā bhāreṇa namate laghunonnamate tulā /

Just as a weighing scale bends down with a heavy weight, bends upwards with a light one,

samā tiṣṭhati yuktena bhojyeneyaṃ tathā tanuḥ // 14.5 //

And stays in balance with the right one, so does this body according to intake of food.


tasmād-abhyavahartavyaṃ sva-śaktim-anupaśyatā /

Therefore food is to be eaten, each reflecting on his own energy,

nātimātraṃ na cātyalpaṃ meyaṃ māna-vaśād-api // 14.6 //

And none apportioning himself too much or too little under the influence of pride.


atyākrānto hi kāyāgnir-guruṇānnena śāmyati /

For the fire of the body is damped down when it is burdened by a heavy load of food,

avacchanna ivālpo 'gniḥ sahasā mahatendhasā // 14.7 //

Like a small blaze suddenly covered with a big heap of firewood.


atyantam-api saṃhāro nāhārasya praśasyate /

Excessive fasting, also, is not recommended;

anāhāro hi nirvāti nirindhana ivānalaḥ // 14.8 //

For one who does not eat is extinguished like a fire without fuel.


yasmān-nāsti vināhārāt sarva-prāṇabhṛtāṃ sthitiḥ /

Since without food there is none that survives among those that bear breath,

tasmād duṣyati nāhāro vikalpo 'tra tu vāryate // 14.9 //

Therefore eating food is not a sin; but being choosy, in this area, is prohibited.


na hy-eka-viṣaye 'nyatra sajyante prāṇinas-tathā /

For on no other single object are sentient beings so stuck

avijñāte yathāhāre boddhavyaṃ tatra kāraṇam // 14.10 //

As on the heedless eating of food. To the reason for this one must be awake.


cikitsārthaṃ yathā dhatte vraṇasyālepanaṃ vraṇī /

Just as one who is wounded, for the purpose of healing, puts ointment on a wound,

kṣud-vighātārtham-āhāras-tadvat sevyo mumukṣuṇā // 14.11 //

So does one who wills freedom, for the purpose of staving off hunger, eat food.


bhārasyodvahanārthaṃ ca rathākṣo 'bhyajyate yathā /

Just as, in order to ready it for bearing a burden, one greases a wagon's axle,

bhojanaṃ prāṇa-yātrārthaṃ tadvad vidvān-niṣevate // 14.12 //

So, in order to journey through life, does the wise man utilize food.


samatikramaṇārthaṃ ca kāntārasya yathādhvagau /

And just as two travellers in order to cross a wasteland

putra-māṃsāni khādetāṃ dampatī bhṛśa-duḥkhitau // 14.13 //

Might feed upon the flesh of a child, though grievously pained to do so, as its mother and father,


evam-abhyavahartavyaṃ bhojanaṃ pratisaṃkhyayā /

So food should be eaten, consciously,

na bhūṣārthaṃ na vapuṣe na madāya na dṛptaye // 14.14 //

Neither for display, nor for appearance; neither to stimulate intemperance, nor to feed extravagance.


dhāraṇārthaṃ śarīrasya bhojanaṃ hi vidhīyate /

Food is provided for the upkeep of the body

upastambhaḥ pipatiṣor-durbalasyeva veśmanaḥ // 14.15 //

As if to prop, before it falls, a dilapidated house.


plavaṃ yatnād yathā kaś-cid badhnīyād dhārayed-api /

Just as somebody might take pains to build and then carry a raft,

na tat-snehena yāvat-tu mahaughasyottitīrṣayā // 14.16 //

Not because he is so fond of it but because he means to cross a great flood,


tathopakaraṇaiḥ kāyaṃ dhārayanti parīkṣakāḥ /

So too, by various means, do men of insight sustain the body,

na tat-snehena yāvat-tu duḥkhaughasya titīrṣayā // 14.17 //

Not because they are so fond of it but because they mean to cross a flood of suffering.


śocatā pīḍyamānena dīyate śatrave yathā /

Just as a king under siege yields, in sorrow, to a rival king,

na bhaktyā nāpi tarṣeṇa kevalaṃ prāṇa-guptaye // 14.18 //

Not out of devotion, nor through thirsting, but solely to safeguard life,


yogācāras-tathāhāraṃ śarīrāya prayacchati /

So the devotee of practice tenders food to his body

kevalaṃ kṣud-vighātārthaṃ na rāgeṇa na bhaktaye // 14.19 //

Solely to stave off hunger, neither with passion nor as devotion.


mano-dhāraṇayā caiva pariṇāmyātmavān-ahaḥ /

Having passed the day self-possessed, through maintenance of the mind,

vidhūya nidrāṃ yogena niśām-apy-atināmayeḥ // 14.20 //

You may be able, shaking off sleep, to spend the night-time too in a state of practice.


hṛdi yat-saṃjñinaś-caiva nidrā prādur-bhavet-tava /

Since even when you are conscious sleep might be holding out in your heart,

guṇavat-saṃjñitāṃ saṃjñāṃ tadā manasi mā kṛthāḥ // 14.21 //

Consciousness properly revealing itself is nothing to be sure about.


dhātur-ārambha-dhṛtyoś-ca sthāma-vikramayor-api /

Initiative, constancy, inner strength and courage

nityaṃ manasi kāryas-te bādhyamānena nidrayā // 14.22 //

Are the elements always to bear in mind while you are being oppressed by sleep.


āmnātavyāś-ca viśadaṃ te dharmā ye pariśrutāḥ /

Recite clearly those dharma-teachings that you have learnt;

parebhyaś-copadeṣṭavyāḥ saṃcintyāḥ svayam-eva ca // 14.23 //

Point others in their direction, and think them out for yourself.


prakledyam-adbhir-vadanaṃ vilokyāḥ sarvato diśaḥ /

Wet the face with water, look around in all directions,

cāryā dṛṣṭiś-ca tārāsu jijāgariṣuṇā sadā // 14.24 //

And glance at the stars, wanting always to be awake.


antargatair-acapalair-vaśa-sthāyibhir-indriyaiḥ /

By the means of inner senses that are not impetuous but in a state of subjection,

avikṣiptena manasā caṃkramyasvāsva vā niśi // 14.25 //

By the means of a mind that is not scattered, walk up and down at night or else sit.


bhaye prītau ca śoke ca nidrayā nābhibhūyate /

In fear, in joy and in grief, one does not succumb to sleep;

tasmān-nidrābhiyogeṣu sevitavyam-idaṃ trayam // 14.26 //

Therefore against the onslaughts of sleep resort to these three:


bhayam-āgamanān-mṛtyoḥ prītiṃ dharma-parigrahāt /

Feel fear from death's approach, joy from grasping a teaching of dharma,

janma-duḥkhād-aparyantāc-chokam-āgantum-arhasi // 14.27 //

And from the boundless suffering inherent in a birth, feel the grief.


evam-ādiḥ kramaḥ saumya kāryo jāgaraṇaṃ prati /

Such a step may need to be taken, my friend, in the direction of being awake;

vandhyaṃ hi śayanād-āyuḥ kaḥ prājñaḥ kartum-arhati // 14.28 //

For what wise man, out of sleep, makes a wasted life?


doṣa-vyālān-atikramya vyālān gṛha-gatān-iva /

To neglect the reptilian faults, as if ignoring snakes in the house,

kṣamaṃ prājñasya na svaptuṃ nistitīrṣor-mahad bhayam // 14.29 //

And thus to slumber on, does not befit a man of wisdom who wishes to overcome the great terror.


pradīpte jīvaloke hi mṛtyu-vyādhi-jarāgnibhiḥ /

For while the world of the living burns with the fires of death, disease and aging,

kaḥ śayīta nirudvegaḥ pradīpta iva veśmani // 14.30 //

Who could lie down insensibly, any more than in a burning house?


tasmāt-tama iti jñātvā nidrāṃ nāveṣṭum-arhasi /

Therefore, knowing it to be darkness, you should not let sleep enshroud you

apraśānteṣu doṣeṣu sa-śastreṣv-iva śatruṣu // 14.31 //

While the faults remain unquieted, like sword-wielding enemies.


pūrvaṃ yāmaṃ tri-yāmāyāḥ prayogeṇātināmya tu /

But having spent the first of the three night-watches actively engaged in practice,

sevyā śayyā śarīrasya viśrāmārthaṃ sva-tantriṇā // 14.32 //

You should, as one who is pulling his own strings,2 go to bed to rest the body.


dakṣiṇena tu pārśvena sthitayāloka-saṃjñayā /

On your right side, then, remaining conscious of light,

prabodhaṃ hṛdaye kṛtvā śayīthāḥ śānta-mānasaḥ // 14.33 //

Thinking in your heart of wakefulness, you might with peace of mind fall asleep.


yāme tṛtīye cotthāya carann-āsīna eva vā /

Again, by getting up in the third watch and going into movement, or indeed just sitting,

bhūyo yogaṃ manaḥ-śuddhau kurvīthā niyatendriyaḥ // 14.34 //

You might renew your practice, with mind refreshed, and power of the senses curbed.


athāsana-gata-sthāna-prekṣita-vyāhṛtādiṣu /

And so, upon acts like sitting, moving, standing, looking, and speaking --

saṃprajānan kriyāḥ sarvāḥ smṛtim-ādhātum-arhasi // 14.35 //

Being fully aware of every action -- you should bring mindfulness to bear.


dvārādhyakṣa iva dvāri yasya praṇihitā smṛtiḥ /

When a man, like a gatekeeper at his gate, is cocooned in vigilance,3

dharṣayanti na taṃ doṣāḥ puraṃ guptam-ivārayaḥ // 14.36 //

The faults do not venture to attack him, any more than enemies would attack a guarded city.


na tasyotpadyate kleśo yasya kāya-gatā smṛtiḥ /

No affliction arises in him for whom awareness pervades the body --

cittaṃ sarvāsv-avasthāsu bālaṃ dhātrīva rakṣati // 14.37 //

Guarding the mind in all situations, as a nurse protects a child.


śaravyaḥ sa tu doṣāṇāṃ yo hīnaḥ smṛti-varmaṇā /

But he is a target for the faults who lacks the armour of mindfulness:

raṇa-sthaḥ pratiśatrūṇāṃ vihīna iva varmaṇā // 14.38 //

As for enemies is he who stands in battle with no suit of armour.


anāthaṃ tan-mano jñeyaṃ yat-smṛtir-nābhirakṣati /

Know to be vulnerable that mind which vigilance does not guard --

nirṇetā dṛṣṭi-rahito viṣayeṣu carann-iva // 14.39 //

Like a blind man without a guide groping after objects.


anartheṣu prasaktāś-ca svārthebhyaś-ca parāṅmukhā /

When men attach to meaningless aims and turn away from their proper aims,

yad-bhaye sati nodvignāḥ smṛti-nāśo 'tra kāraṇam // 14.40 //

Failing to shudder at the danger, loss of mindfulness is the cause.


sva-bhūmiṣu guṇāḥ sarve ye ca śīlādayaḥ sthitāḥ /

Again, when each virtue, beginning with integrity, is standing on its own patch,

vikīrṇā iva gā gopaḥ smṛtis-tān-anugacchati // 14.41 //

Mindfulness goes after those virtues like a herdsman rounding up his scattered cows.


pranaṣṭam-amṛtaṃ tasya yasya viprasṛtā smṛtiḥ /

The deathless nectar is lost to him whose awareness dissipates;

hasta-stham-amṛtaṃ tasya yasya kāya-gatā smṛtiḥ // 14.42 //

The nectar exists in the hands of him for whom awareness pervades the body.


āryo nyāyaḥ kutas-tasya smṛtir-yasya na vidyate /

Where is the noble principle of a man who lacks awareness?

yasyāryo nāsti ca nyāyaḥ pranaṣṭas-tasya sat-pathaḥ // 14.43 //

And for whom no noble principle exists, to him a true path has been lost.


pranaṣṭo yasya sanmārgo naṣṭaṃ tasyāmṛtaṃ padam /

He who has lost the right track has lost the deathless step.

pranaṣṭam-amṛtaṃ yasya sa duḥkhān-na vimucyate // 14.44 //

Having lost that nectar of deathlessness, he is not exempt from suffering.


tasmāc-caran caro 'smīti sthito 'smīti ca dhiṣṭhitaḥ /

Therefore walking with the awareness that "I am walking" and standing with the awareness that "I am standing" --

evam-ādiṣu kāleṣu smṛtim-ādhātum-arhasi // 14.45 //

Upon such moments4 as these, you should bring mindfulness to bear.


yogānulomaṃ vijanaṃ viśabdaṃ śayyāsanaṃ saumya tathā bhajasva /

In this manner, my friend, repair to a place suited for practice, free of people and free of noise, a place for lying down and sitting;

kāyasya kṛtvā hi vivekam-ādau sukho 'dhigantuṃ manaso vivekaḥ // 14.46 //

For by first achieving solitude of the body it is easy to obtain solitude of the mind.


alabdha-cetaḥ-praśamaḥ sa-rāgo yo na pracāraṃ bhajate viviktam /

The man of redness, the tranquillity of his mind unrealized, who does not take to a playground of solitude,

sa kṣaṇyate hy-apratilabdha-mārgaś-carann-ivorvyāṃ bahu-kaṇṭakāyām // 14.47 //

Is injured as though, unable to regain a track, he is walking on very thorny ground.


adṛṣṭa-tattvena parīkṣakeṇa sthitena citre viṣaya-pracāre /

For a seeker who fails to see reality but stands in the tawdry playground of objects,

cittaṃ niṣeddhuṃ na sukhena śakyaṃ kṛṣṭādako gaur-iva sasya-madhyāt // 14.48 //

It is no easier to rein in the mind than to drive a foraging bull away from corn.


anīryamāṇas-tu yathānilena praśāntim-āgacchati citra-bhānuḥ /

But just as a bright fire dies down when not fanned by the wind,

alpena yatnena tathā vivikteṣv-aghaṭṭitaṃ śāntim-upaiti cetaḥ // 14.49 //

So too, in solitary places, does an unstirred mind easily come to quiet.


kva-cid-bhuktvā yat-tad vasanam-api yat-tat-parihito

One who eats anything at any place, and wears any clothes,

vasann-ātmārāmaḥ kva-cana vijane yo 'bhiramate /

Who dwells in enjoyment of his own being and loves to be anywhere without people:

kṛtārthaḥ sa jñeyaḥ śama-sukha-rasa-jñaḥ kṛta-matiḥ

He is to be known as a success, a knower of the taste of peace and ease, whose mind is made up --

pareṣāṃ saṃsargaṃ pariharati yaḥ kaṇṭakam-iva // 14.50 //

He avoids involvement with others like a thorn.


yadi dvandvārāme jagati viṣaya-vyagra-hṛdaye

If, in a world that delights in duality and is at heart distracted by objects,

vivikte nirdvando viharati kṛtī śānta-hṛdayaḥ /

He roves in solitude, free of duality, a man of action, his heart at peace,

tataḥ pītvā prajñā-rasam-amṛtavat-tṛpta-hṛdayo

Then he drinks the essence of wisdom as if it were the deathless nectar and his heart is filled.

viviktaḥ saṃsaktaṃ viṣaya-kṛpaṇaṃ śocati jagat // 14.51 //

Separately he sorrows for the clinging, object-needy world.


vasañ-śūnyāgāre yadi satatam-eko 'bhiramate

If he constantly abides as a unity, in an empty abode,

yadi kleśotpādaiḥ saha na ramate śatrubhir-iva /

If he is no fonder of arisings of affliction than he is of enemies,

carann-ātmārāmo yadi ca pibati prīti-salilaṃ

And if, going rejoicing in the self, he drinks the water of joy,

tato bhuṅkte śreṣṭhaṃ tridaśa-pati-rājyād-api sukham // 14.52 //

Then greater than dominion over thirty gods5 is the happiness he enjoys.




saundarananda mahākāvya ādi-prasthāno nāma caturdaśaḥ sargaḥ//14//

The 14th canto of the epic poem Handsome Nanda, titled "Stepping Into Action."





1 Smṛti is translated in this canto as awareness, mindfulness, or vigilance. In 9.33 smṛti is translated as memory.

2 Sva-tantrin, “having one's own threads,” means free, independent, not necessarily being amenable to manipulation by somebody else.

3 Praṇihitā smṛtiḥ might more literally be translated as “with mindfulness laid on.” That means, in other words, being blanketed in mindfulness, wearing the armour of awareness, or being cocooned in vigilance. The point to take from these metaphors might be that mindfulness/awareness is not necessarily a state of narrow focus; it might be a state of unconcentration and all-round vigilance – being generally on the look-out for faults.

4 Alternative reading (taking kāryeṣu for kāleṣu): “Upon actions such as these...”

5 Tridaśa-pati-rājya, “the realm of the lord of the 3 X 10,” means heaven, i.e, the kingdom of Indra, ruler of the 33 gods (10 being approximately equal to 11). The 33 gods are the 12 ādityas (“sons of the Eternal and Infinite Expanse [= the Goddess Aditi]”), 8 vasus (“good or bright ones”), 11 rudras (“howlers”; storm-gods), and the 2 aśvins (“charioteers”).






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