Chapter 26. Pitfalls of sadhaka (seeker) cultivating the company of unworthy men – story of King Pururava and his utterances on aversion for sense pleasures.

In the 26th chapter, the Lord instructs Uddhava on the pitfalls in the path of one who is still to overcome the false identification with the body. Such a seeker or sadhaka should on no account cultivate the fellowship of unworthy men given to the gratification of the palate and the sexual urge. If they do so, they will surely fall into the darkest region of perdition (andha tamas).

This point is illustrated by narrating the story of King Pururava, the son of Ila, who, infatuated by the charms of Urvashi, a celestial damsel, got entangled with her over a long period, but eventually got disgusted with the pleasures of senses, having been jilted by her, which prompted him to sing a song of dispassion. Men infatuated with feminine charms are deprived of their reason and become unaware of the passing of days, nights and years together while repeatedly enjoying the pleasures without satiety.”

Whatever happened to my imperial power and majesty when I pursued this deserting women like a jackass following its female and receiving its kicks?.” asks Aila. Of what use are learning, austerity, renunciation, and askesis, study of scriptures, solitude and silence to him whose heart is still carried away by women? He denounces himself for his stupidity and says that hankering for women, knows no satiety any more than fire could be quenched by pouring oblations into it. “Urvashi tried to dissuade me from my folly. Alas I did not heed her advice. In fact she has done me no harm.

My woes are entirely due to my uncontrolled senses”. How little difference is there between those who take delight in the body of a woman (which is no more than a mass of skin, flesh, blood, nerves, fat, marrow and bones) on the one hand, and the worms wallowing in ordure, urine and pus, on the other. Therefore he who is alive to his own interests should on no account associate even through sight, with the fair sex, nor with those enslaved by women; for it is through contact of the senses with the objects that the mind is agitated, not otherwise. The five senses and the mind do not deserve to be trusted, even by the wise, much less by indiscreet men like me; concludes Aila. The Lord exhorts Uddhava to associate himself with the righteous, who are free from craving for the sense pleasures, with their mind fixed on the Lord, who are serene, unaffected by pairs of opposites and who do not care for the possessions. In the midst of such exceedingly fortunate people, the Lords stories are always related-stories that are salutary to mankind and eradicate the sin of those that take delight in them.

The sun having fully risen, bestows on us the external eye (sight); in a like manner, fellowship of saints (holy men) confers the inner eye in the shape of God knowledge. Rid in this way of longing for Urvashi and freed from all attachments by the fellowship of holy men, Pururava went about the globe revelling in the self. Thus concludes the twenty-sixth chapter.

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