Troubles, Sanskrit, Drive Sultan to Poetry

Towards the end of his life, Sultan Zayn ul ‘Abidīn of Kashmir faced a host of troubles.  Rebellious sons seemed on the verge of tearing the kingdom apart and intriguing ministers schemed for position in what everyone knew was the twilight years of the illustrious Zayn’s reign.  Locked in his room, the Sultan had a lot to think about.  Here is Srivara’s account.  The gnomic verses he quotes are closely parallel to verses in the text of the Mokṣopāya:

The king stayed within his private chambers and listened in secret to the position of his sons—completely hostile [to him, but publically] showing affection.  Fearful, he did not venture outside.  In the course of several nights he listened to the Mokṣopāyasaṃhitā from me as I explained it in order to pacify the sorrow of this worldly existence (saṃsāra).  Modulating the sound of my own voice, I explained it by substituting events from his own life [into the telling of the Mokṣopāya] (tadvṛttaparivartaiḥ).  Through that, the king became instantaneously free from all sorrow.  [Calling to mind stanzas like:]

“Noble one, I hold that no longer remembering this waking illusion (bhrama), which arises like the color of space, is the best forgetting of [worldly illusion]”

“Delight of the Raghu lineage! Know that worldly existence is like a lengthy dream, or [like] the seeing of visual representation (darśana) of ones beloved for a long time, or like an imaginary kingdom”

“If there was no birth, no old age, and no death, further if there were no fear of being separated from what one loves, if all of this were not impermanent, then who would not have a passion for this life?”

“Whatever one detaches oneself from, from that one becomes liberated.  It is well known that there is no more subtle happiness than being detached from everything.”

The king himself recited many more verses like those, which, learnt by heart though my explanation, were indicative of his own situation.  Having heard the Mokṣopāya from me, the king thought deeply about several verses.  One day, it caused  him to address the wise men standing nearby:  “This is what people whisper in my ear: ‘Why do you love your sons? Not one of them means you well.’  Bones have been eaten by teeth, and flesh devours flesh.  I cannot get over the impression that all food is essentially blood.  Alas, those sons have been born to destroy me, Like moths eat holes in a blanket, they eat holes in me, soft hearted, who only wants to make people happy.  None of those with whom I passed my life remain alive.  The pain of my separation from them is a poison that will last as long as I live.  This worn-out body is a dilapidated hut of leaves, tufts of hair for clumps of grass, full of holes.  On this terrible day it pleases me as little as the hut pleases the hermit.  Like serpents my sons have bitten into the limbs of my kingdom.  The only appropriate course of action for me is abdication, otherwise there will be no happiness [in the kingdom].”  Thinking in such a way, the king composed a poem in the Persian language called the Shīkāyat, which had poetic taste in order to show disgust towards all things.

rājā garbhagṛhāntaḥsthaḥ śṛṇvan putrasthitiṃ mithaḥ |

kṛtakapremavairāḍhyāṃ na bahir nirayād bhiyā || 131 ||

saṃsāraduḥkhaśāntyarthaṃ matto Vyākhyānavedinaḥ |

aśṛṇod gaṇarātraṃ sa śrīMokṣopāyasaṃhitām || 132 ||

svakaṇṭhasvarabhaṅgyāhaṃ tadvṛttaparivartanaiḥ |

Vyākhyām akaravaṃ yena niḥśoko ’bhūt kṣaṇaṃ nṛpaḥ || 133 ||

bhramasya jāgratas tasya jātasyākāśavarṇavat |

apunaḥsmaraṇaṃ sādho manye vismaraṇaṃ varam’ || 134 ||

dīrghasvapnopamaṃ viddhi dīrghaṃ vā priyadarśanam |

dīrghaṃ vāpi manorājyaṃ saṃsāraṃ raghunandana’ || 135 ||

yadi janma jarā maraṇaṃ na bhaved

yadi ceṣṭaviyogabhayaṃ na bhavet |

yadi sarvam anityam idaṃ na bhaved

iha janmani kasya ratir na bhavet’ || 136 ||

yato yato nivarteta tatas tato vimucyate |

nivartanād dhi sarvato na vetti sukham aṇv api’ || 137 ||

madVyākhyāśravaṇābhyastān svāvasthāsūcakān bahūn |

ityādikān svayaṃ ślokān apaṭhat sa mahīpatiḥ || 138 ||

Mokṣopāye śrute mattas tattatpadyārthabhāvanāt |

athaikadābravīd rājā vibudhān antikasthitān || 139 ||

kimarthaṃ svasutasnehaṃ karoṣy eko na te hitaḥ’ |

ity eva vakti me nūnaṃ karṇopāntāgato janaḥ|| 140 ||

asthi dantādibhir bhuktvā māṃsaṃ māṃsena bhujyate |

raktabījamaye bhoge bhramo ’yaṃ na vyapaiti me || 141 ||

aho mayi mṛdau sarvasukhade chidrakāriṇaḥ |

nāśāyāmī sutā jātā rāṅkave krimayo yathā || 142 ||

yaiḥ samaṃ svavayo nītaṃ te ’vaśiṣṭā na kecana |

ājīvanaṃ calaty eṣā tadviyogaviṣavyathā || 143 ||

dehoṭajam idaṃ jīrṇaṃ keśatṛṇagaṇāvṛtam |

sacchidraṃ rocate nādya durdine manmanomuneḥ || 144 ||

bhujagair iva daṣṭāni rājyāṅgāni sutair mama |

tat tyāgopāya evaiko yukto me nānyathā sukham || 145 ||

ityādi cintayan rājā Pārasībhāṣayā vyadhāt |

kāvyaṃ Śīkāyatākhyaṃ sa sarvagarhārthacarvaṇam || 146 ||


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