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Chapter Four: Body

The following three paragraphs also apply to Man! Just think “man” instead of “woman.” Sri Ramakrishna warned his male disciples against “Woman and Gold.” But when he spoke to women he warned them against “Man and Gold.”

Woman is the source of constant vexation and greatest bondage. The figure or form of woman is nothing but a network of bones coated with fat and flesh.

Woman is the source of all misery. She is an embodiment of passion. She sucks your vitality. You do many vicious actions just to please her. You have to reap the fruits of these actions and suffer. What happiness is there to be derived from the string-tossed puppets of female bodies? Where is the beauty in a female? Do vichara and analyze. Will any viveki think of this illusory figure? The beauty you see in the form of a woman is the emanation from the atman within. Look at the condition of the eyes, face and body of a woman after an attack of seven days’ illness! Where has the beauty gone? Look at the wrinkled face of an old woman! Analyze the parts of a woman, realize their illusory nature and abandon these totally. If you begin to analyze this body into flesh, blood, bone, sweat, etc., the attraction towards woman will perish in a short time. Love and attachment to a woman destroy buddhi, mukti and virtuous deeds and cause contraction of heart.

If lust for woman which is the source of all enjoyments ceases, then all worldly bondage which has its root or substratum in the mind will automatically cease. Even the most virulent poison is no poison at all when compared to sensual objects. The former defiles one body only whereas the latter adulterates many bodies in successive births.

This body is certainly not meant for the satisfaction of petty ends. It is for rigorous tapasya here and infinite happiness hereafter. It is an instrument for achieving the goal of human life: the attainment of Brahmajnana. It serves the purpose of a boat to cross this ocean of Samsara to the other side.

This body is the source of infinite miseries. It is full of impurities. It brings disrespect, censure, pain, etc. It passes away without a moment’s notice. It is subject to disease, decay and old age. Therefore think of the atma which is eternal, pure and all-pervading.

The physical body appears only in the present. A thing that has neither past nor future must be considered as non-existent in the present also. If you think over this matter more deeply with shuddha-buddhi (purified intellect), you will realize the atyantabhava (complete nonexistence) of the world.

This body which is full of impurities, urine, fecal matter, pus, etc., is perishable. It is like froth or a bubble or a mirage. It is despised by your enemies. It remains like a useless log of wood on the ground when the prana departs from the body. It is the cause of the pain and suffering. It is your real enemy. You should treat this body with extreme contempt as dung. Why should you cling to it (abhinivesha) and worship it with scents, powders, and flowers? Do not be foolish and silly in adorning it with fine silks and ornaments. It is dire ajnana (ignorance) only.

Nothing on this earth belongs to me. This body even is not mine. This is true wisdom. “He is my son. She is my daughter. She is my wife. He is my husband. That house is mine. I am rich. I am a kshatriya. I am a brahmin. I am lean. I am fat.” This is foolishness of a superior order. This physical body is the rightful property of fishes, jackals and vultures. How can you consider this as yours?

Application of soap to the body, oil to the hair, powder to the face, looking into the mirror thousand and one times a day, wearing rings on the fingers, these and many like these will intensify your attachment to the body. Therefore give up all these things ruthlessly.

A big boil is washed with lotion. Then boric ointment is applied. Then a bandage is put on. Even so this nasty body is a very big boil. It is washed daily. Food is thrust into it. This is the ointment. Clothing is worn. This is the bandage. Sadhus treat this body as a very big boil or wound with an oozing discharge. But the body is worshipped by worldly-minded persons on account of delusion and infatuation.

Wearing clothes is not for enhancing the beauty of the body. This body is a dirty leather-bag filled with various sorts of impurities. Clothing is meant to cover up this impure body. Wear simple clothing. Have sublime thinking. Virtuous life in God or Atman can give you real beauty.

The “beauty” of this body is only superficial. The beauty of the skin is also superficial. You can have undecaying, infinite beauty in God alone.

O man! O woman! Are you not ashamed to call this filthy body “I” and to say: “this is mine,” “he is my son,” when everything is perishable? Even jackals, vultures and fishes say: “These bodies of human beings are ours.” This world or samsara is asara or virasa (essenceless). Give up identification with this feeble, perishable and impure body of five elements whereof the bones are the pillars, which is strung by the nerves, coated over with flesh and blood, covered up by the skin, is of bad odor, full of urine and feces, is ever haunted by dotage and miseries and is the seat of all ills. This identification with the body is the seat of Raurava hell. What is the difference between the worms and the men and women that rejoice in this ill-smelling body?

Maya, the great juggler, prepares a skeleton, covers it with flesh, and hides the various impurities with a shining skin. O deluded man and woman! How long are you going to call this body yours? How long are you going to cling to this perishable body? Give up this identification with the body and identify yourself with your real nature, the Satchitananda Swarupa.

When this body is free from disease and decrepitude, when old age is still far off, when the powers of the senses are not affected and life is not decaying, should not the man and woman of discrimination exert themselves for God-realization? It is useless to dig a well when the house is on fire.

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Chapters for How to Get Vairagya

Preface: How to Get Vairagya