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The Twenty-four Teachers

 

 

   

From  the Uddhava Gita of the Bhagavantam

   
   

 

There was a public woman called Pingala.  I have learnt something from her.  One day she put on a beautiful dress and waited at the door of her house to receive customers for the night.  With this inordinate desire she waited sleeplessly at the door, now going in, now coming out, until midnight.  Through this anxious expectation of money, she spent the night in a fever of hope, worry and disappointment. She felt extreme disgust for her life of greed and desire which made her unhappy.

 

In her utter disappointment she thought to herself. 'Indifference to worldly objects is like a sword for cutting assunder all the cords of desire and expectation. One does not wish to get rid of bondage of the body until one has become disgusted.  No man rids himself of the notions of 'mine' or 'I' or the clinging to objects until he gains some insight into the truth and becomes disgusted with the meanness of his life. Plingala said, 'How deluded am I for want of control over my mind! How foolish I have been to seek the satisfaction of desires from such puny creatures as men! Discarding the eternal Atma seated in my heart, who is a fit lover and can satisfy me, who can give me ever-lasting bliss and wealth, I am courting worthless men who cannot satisfy my desires and who cause misery, fear, disease, grief and infatuation.  I have been very stupid indeed.

 

'I have allicted my soul by this most reproachable mode of living. I have sought wealth and pleasure from pitiable mortals, who are greedy and slaves of women, by selling my body to them. How can I be carried away by living a life catering only to the body which is a house of bones covered with skin, hair and nails and furnished with nine openings for discharging filth,  offal and urine?

 

'In this town full of wise beings, I am the only woman who has tied her hopes, happiness and desire to the body.  I have become a silly, wicked woman who seeks enjoyment in the objects of desire instead of in the merciful Lord, who bestows Self-Realization. I will win Him over by giving up the body to Him; then I shall enjoy His company like Lakshmi and find everlasting happiness in Him alone.

 

'Surely I must have done something in my previous births to propitiate the Lord for it is by His grace alone that this dispassion and disgust, cutting at the very root of all my desires, has arisen in my mind. Through His grace I have attained the way to ever-lasting happiness and peace. If the Lord had not blessed me, such disappointments leading to renunciation and dispassion, would not have arisen; they enable me to abadon all attachments and attain happiness.

 

'I accept, with humble devotion, this gift of the Lord.  I now abandon all evil desires and take refuge in the Supreme Lord.  Contented, full of faith in the Lord, living on what chance brings to me, I shall enjoy the eternal bliss of the Paramatman.  Who else but the Lord can save this Jiva who has fallen into the deep pit of Samsara with eyes blinded by objects, with the vision robbed by the senses, and who is being swallowed up by the serpent of Time?'

 

The Sanyasin said,  "Pingala having thus fixed her mind on the Lord, gave up all hopes and expectations due to hankering for lovers, and sat on her bed with a serene mind. She abandoned all desires that troubled her and became happy. She slept soundly with a tranquil mind. It is hope that gives us trouble. Without hope we are happy. Desires, hopes and expectations are the source of grief. Abandonment of all expectations and desires is the greatest bliss. It is the happiest state. Vairagya is the source of bliss as can be seen from Pingala who slept happily, casting aside the hankering for lovers.

 

 
         
   

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