Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Elephant


23.1
I endure in silence the harsh words of others
as a battle elephant endures arrows from the bow.
Many people are ill-behaved.

23.2
Only trained elephants are ridden in battle.
Only trained elephants are ridden by kings.
The best of men have trained themselves
to endure harsh words in silence.

23.3
Tamed mules are excellent.
So are the thoroughbred horses of Sindh
and the tusked battle elephants.
Best of all is the self-tamed man.

23.4
For it is not by these animals
that one goes to the Place Not Gone To,
but by the self-tamed, well-trained, disciplined self.

23.5
The elephant called "Guardian of the Treasure"
is hard to control when in rut.
Tied up, the tusker won't eat a morsel,
yearning for the grove of elephants.

23.6
The sluggard who eats too much and sleeps too much,
who rolls about like an overfed hog,
is reborn again and again in ignorance.

23.7
This mind once wandered where it pleased,
as it pleased, according to whim.
Now I control its movements,
as the holder of the hooked staff
controls the rutting elephant.

23.8
Delight in Awareness.
Observe the mind.
Pull yourself out of misery
like an elephant climbing from mud.

23.9
If one should meet a mature friend,
a fellow traveler, a wise companion,
go with that one, overcoming all obstacles,
mindful and happy.

23.10
If one does not meet a mature friend,
a fellow traveler, a wise companion,
go the way alone,
like a king leaving a conquered land,
like an elephant in the Matanga forest.

23.11
Better a life of solitude.
The deluded are not fit companions.
Travel the way alone, at ease, doing no harm,
like an elephant in the Matanga forest.

23.12
Having friends when you need them is a blessing.
Being content with what is, is a blessing.
A good deed as your last act is a blessing.
The surrendering of all sorrow is a blessing.

23.13
Reverence for the mother is a blessing in the world.
Reverence for the father is also a blessing.
Reverence for the practitioner
is a blessing in the world.
Reverence for the brahmin is also a blessing.

23.14
Lifelong virtue is a blessing.
Faith is a blessing.
Wisdom is a blessing.
Refraining from harm is a blessing.