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The Twenty-four Teachers




From  the Uddhava Gita of the Bhagavantam


Too much attachment and infatuation, too much affection towards anything will cause your own destruction. This I learned from a pair of pigeons who were very devoted to each other and their family. When they were away from the nest gathering food for their young a fowler came and caught the little ones in his net. When the mother returned she had so much affection for her young she voluntarily entered the net to be with them. The male pigeon returning with food and seeing his whole family trapped in the net also entered the net.  The hunter went home very satisfied. Thus the miserable family man who finds delight only in the married life and has not controlled his intense

attachment, comes to grief with all his relations, just like the pigeons. To be merely attached to the householder life like a bird, after having attained this rarest of births, which is the direct gateway to Moksha, is the height of folly and ignorance.


The python remains where he is and is content with whatever food comes to him. Like the python one should not make constant effort to fill his belly, but just swallow the morsels that are brought to him, delicious or distasteful, much or little. If no food reaches him he should lie quiet even for a long time subsisting on what destiny decrees and providence brings.


The sage should be calm, profound and deep, difficult to fathom, unperturbed by worldly circumstances, just like the tranquil ocean remains ever full within itself. Sometimes the ocean may receive volumes of water from the rivers, in other seasons there may be hardly any; but the ocean remains the same. Similarly, the sage who has set his heart on the Lord neither swells with joy when he has an abundance of enjoyable objects coming to him, nor shrinks with sorrow when he has none.


The man of uncontrolled senses, seeing a woman who is the enchantment created by the Lord, and is attracted by her behavior and feelings, falls into the blinding darkness of attachment and comes to grief. Allured by her, he loses his correct vision and perishes just as the moth is allured by the flame and falls into the fire.


The sage should wander from house to house, taking handfuls from each house until he gets just enough food for his sustenance, without making any house feel burdened, like the bee which gathers honey from many flowers. He should extract the essence from all scriptures, great or small, just as the bee does from the flowers. But there is another lesson from the bee. The sage should not store food for the evening or the next day. His hands or his stomach should be his only vessel. He should not hoard like the bee. He who stores food is destroyed with his store, just like the bee.


The Sanyasin should not touch even the wooden figure of a young woman, or even with his feet. If he does so, he would be caught like the elelphant who is caught through his attachment for the touch of the she-elephant.  The wise man should shun the company of women as if it were death to him; for he will come to destruction just like a weak elephant is killed by other elephants.


The miser who hoards wealth neither gives nor enjoys his riches.  Whatever he collects with difficulty is carried away by some one else, just as the collector of honey carries away the honey collected by the bees.  Like the collector of honey, the Sannyasin enjoys the good things which householders collect through hard-earned wealth.


The ascetic should not listen to sensuous music.  He should learn a lesson from the deer which, enamoured by the hunters' music, gets ensnared.  A sage born of a deer, listened to the sensuous music played by women and was easily entrapped by them.  He became a toy and playmate in their hands. 


Just as a fish that is attracted by the bait falls an easy victim to the hook, so also the foolish man who allows his sense of taste to overpower him and who is stupefied with the charms of taste and delicacies by the turbulent and greedy tongue, meets with destruction.  The tongue and the love of taste are most difficult to conquer.  If the sense of taste is controlled, all other senses are controlled. One cannot become master of his organs until he controls the organ of taste.


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