Durvasana Pratekara Dasakam

Durvaasanaa Prateekaara Dashakam
[Reversal of Evil Propensities]
By Vidyaranya Swami
Translated by V. Ramanujam

[Durvaasana refers to the evil propensities present in man that induce even the most controlled of human beings to err and succumb to temptations or compulsions at times. Pratheekaara refers to reversal or negation by taking calculated well-advised right action and not the most expected impulsive reaction on a provocation. Dashakam refers to ten shlokaas within which a wide range of subjects of such nature has been covered. The words in bracket are my addition.]

1. Our time may be spent (thus:) In the morning by discharging the duties ordained as per Vedaas. Thereafter by reflecting on noble (teachings imparted by) Vedaanta. After that by (reading / listening to) the epic story of Bharata and Rama by Sage Vasishta (which is the) religious story on Deliverance from the Cycle of Birth and Death. In the evening by (reading / listening to) the meaning of and the principle behind the story of Bhagavatam (and in the night) by meditation. The course of our living (is determined by what you had earned) by your past actions (kaarmic effect) which have started yielding their reactions or results from the time of the present birth.

2. Oh! My mind! Give up ignorance by proper understanding of Brahman, the Absolute God Principle and Jivatman, the Individual Entity Principle. For ever get rid of fancies and actions (to satisfy desires) also by the realization of the untruth of this created world (that all the efforts put in, had after all not satisfied all desires but only paved the way for the next desire, the list of which has no end). By considering the fact that procuring worldly objects is a difficult and endless effort, get rid of desire always. Indeed anger through forgiving (and) greed by conscious effort through adopting an attitude of contentment in life overcome always.

3. (Oh!) My mind! By realizing (that) ultimately (it will only lead to) misery, give up the illusory pleasure (that) the tongue (and) the genitals provide. Give up talking harsh by speaking softly and soothingly. Practising silence avoid wasteful effort in indulging in useless talk. Give up bad company by deriving strength from the company of the good and righteous people. Give up arrogant pride indeed by realizing that some one could humble you too! By recalling the stories (you have heard of) criticism of venerable gods (and) sages. Give up unhappiness arising out of others criticizing you.

4. (Oh! My mind!) By enjoying (only) pious, pure, non-exciting, non-spicy food, avoid sleeping (for unduly long hours). Always by being alert and practical and realistic in life, avoid day dreaming fantasies in life! By eating (only) well cooked and easily digestible (food) in limited quantities that also, overcome diseases. Always overcome the feeling of helplessness by mustering mental strength (which comes only of study of scriptures). Get over desire for more and more property by very well disassociating with such people (who create the desire). Get over temptation for women by thinking of the possible ill effects of excessive sex or over attachment. By realizing that Aatman or Self is by nature always in Bliss, get over grief (as it affects only the body, which is of transitory nature in the journey of the soul).

5. Give up (over) attachment towards the spouse by not doting on her (too much). Give up (over) attachment (towards) children and wealth indeed (by realizing) their transient nature. Get over attachment (towards anything / anybody by) getting rid of delusion. By compassion get over harsh feelings. By an attitude of equality and indifference avoid the evil propensities (towards) friends or enemies. Give up all evil-causing enemies (i.e.,) ten sense and action organs by retiring to solitary place.

6. Overcome laziness by developing a habit of prompt response, fatigue by relaxing the mind, lethargy by forcibly keeping alert, the delusion of plurality or seeing differences among people and situations by showing in practice the strength of non-duality, the mistaken notion that the world is real by understanding the reality of the unreal nature of the world, uttering words and saying things that harm others by realizing one’s own shortcomings and recalling things that hurt themselves, anger by visualizing others also just as themselves, rebuking others by speaking soft and soothing words to them as a drill. (Oh Mind!) Through the strength of being well informed of matters dispel the fear born of uncertainty and insecurity.

7. Oh Mind! Renounce the tendency to brood over the past by recognizing such effort as wasteful indeed. By realizing that what is present now may not be there / will become a thing of the past, tomorrow avoid pre-occupation and over attachment with objects available now. Always by realizing that what is in store as per your own Karma will take place avoid worrying about what is going to happen in future. Taking into account the unnecessary difficulties involved in them, avoid deeds committed by righteous as well as unrighteous people with worldly aspirations. Always avoid ill feelings and hatred by friendship and love. By coolly considering that in the end everything ends up into ashes, avoid attachment to people.

8. Oh Mind! Avoid always the agony caused by the body, senses etc by realizing that in reality you are the soul (that is always in bliss and is not affected by grief). Avoid injustice and inequality towards others by realizing that the same Brahman is present in all. Avoid the fear / confusion / disturbance arising out of gossip without agitation or emotional reaction. Overcome the constant unhappiness caused by contempt by others indeed - by your internal search (if at all you earned it really or not). Condone with compassion the offences committed by children knowingly or unknowingly. Forgive punishment / beating (inflicted by others) as expiation of your karmic debts.

9. Life ebbs away quickly departing from the body in the same way as water (leaks away from) a vessel (with a hole)! The strength of the organs of the body also go away just as a prostitute leaves when her paramour becomes pauper. Just as a herd of deer (leaves) at the time of forest fire (so also) the sense of discrimination disappears (from the human body). As a deer (or animal) will run away fast from its habitat (on sensing danger) (in the same way) realizing quickly (the impermanence of this world and its lures to wean us away from the path to God) seek shelter in the state of Self. Do not waste this human body (obtained with difficulty to enable us to seek our identity with the Lord).

10. (Oh Seeker!) Seeking refuge in the ocean of Vedaantha day in and day out, always help yourself with these treasures: Courage, valuable as Airaavatha, (Indra’s elephant that braves any battle field carrying Indra on its back to return victorious), Peace which is as everlasting as Kamadhenu, (the celestial cow of sage Vasishta which lasts through any amount of demand made to it), Mastery over the sense organs just as the Kalpatharu or wish-fulfilling tree has supply of any item demanded of it, Friendship, Cordiality, Love etc like the qualities of divine damsels known as Apsaraas, Discrimination like that of Uchchaisravas, (the divine horse of Indra, known for its tactical movements on the battle field with Indra on its back), Contentment which is like the philosopher’s stone Chintamani, (that which can give what you want and so provides contentment to the owner), Knowledge of the Self the great elixir (that provides Immortality from the Cycle of Birth and Death and) (that instills in one) the truth of Universal Equality, the rise of the Moon of Dispassion (and finally) the Wealth of Release from repeated Births and Deaths.