Famous both in the fields of poetry and spiritualism, Pandit Banarsidas was a great poet and spiritual scholar of the seventeenth century.
He was born on Sunday, the eleventh day of the second half of Magh month in the Shrimal Dynasty at Lala Kharagsen’s house. He was then named Vikramjeet. When he was on pilgrimage of Banaras, he was named Banarsidas after the birthplace of Bhagwan Parshwanath. He was the only son of his parents.
He saw many ups and downs in his life. He had to face financial difficulties many a time and his family life was also not very happy. He married thrice and had nine children–seven sons and two daughters, but none remained alive. He did not lose his patience even in such difficult circumstances, because he used to be absorbed in spiritual thinking.
He was a born poet. At the age of fourteen, he began to compose verses of a high order, but in his early life, he wrote verses on love and sex. His first work ‘Navras’ was ready when he was barely fourteen. This had poems of a corporeal nature. It was an important work on corporeal subjects. However, the poet threw it in river Gomti, when spiritual wisdom dawned upon him.
After that all his life was full of spiritualism. Four works written after that are available e.g. Natak Samaysar, Banarsi Vilas, Nammala and Ardhakathanak.
Natak Samaysar is, in a way, poetic translation of the verses of Amritchandracharya. However, due to the keen insight of the poet, the study of this book gives delight as that of an independent work. This book is full of spiritualism.
Ardhakathanak is the first autobiography in Hindi language and is a fully developed work of art. The fifty-five years of the life of the poet have been described as in a looking glass.
Banarsi Vilas is a collection of different writings and Nammala is a poetic dictionary. The poet is unmatched both in his poetic art and his pursuit of truth.
Seven addictions are gambling, eating meat, drinking, enjoyment of prostitutes, hunting, stealing and indulgence in other women.
To be deeply engrossed in any habit is an addiction. Here indulgence in bad habits is called addictions, which produce restlessness in beings and make them vicious. That way, attachments, aversions and habits creating cravings are all addictions. Intrinsically, the attachments and aversions with wrong faith are all addictions.
1. Gambling : Keeping defeat and victory in sight, to stake money or other items of wealth in games, or to do something on conditions of gaining or losing money and to be hopeful of extra gain or in fear of losing something, are all various kinds of physical gambling.
To consider one blessed in the fruition of merit karmas and be unhappy in the fruition of demerit karmas is, spiritual gambling. To renounce all such feelings is real abstinence from gambling.
2. Meat-eating : To be addicted to eat dead or killed bodies of animals is material meat-eating. To be very much concerned with the body, to feel sorry at emaciated health of the body and rejoice in good health and to be constantly engaged in and be anxious about keeping the body healthy is psychic meat-eating.
3. Drinking : To take wine, hemp and its preparations or other intoxicants is material drinking and to remain forgetful of the self due to delusion is psychic drinking.
4. Enjoyment of Prostitutes : To have sex with a prostitute and to go to her place is material enjoyment of prostitutes, and to be interested in perverted intellect is psychic enjoyment. That is to say, engaging oneself in sensual pleasures and passions, leaving the nature of the soul, is such enjoyment. A prostitute destroys wealth, health and good name, while perverted intellect destroys the good name of the soul and pushes one to the tortures of the lowest cadre of life for times eternal.
5. Hunting : To kill and enjoy killing bear, lion, deer, pig and other freely wandering animals of the woods and different birds cruelly, with a gun or other arms is material hunting, and to kill psychic life actuated by strong passions and to enjoy torturing other creatures is psychic hunting.
6. Indulgence in other women : To like to enjoy women, except the one duly married according to religious precepts, is material indulgence in other women, while examining others’ wisdom without comprehending the essence of the fundamentals is psychic indulgence that is indulging and interfering in the life currents of others, leaving one’s self, is psychic indulgence.
7. Theft : To take others belongings without their permission, and with recklessness is material stealing, while to accept relationship with non-self articles and beings with a feeling of attachment is psychic stealing.
One cannot know one’s self without abandoning all these seven addictions. Those who are disgusted with the worldly turmoils and want to attain real happiness of the soul, should definitely get rid of these seven addictions, since one cannot have Right Faith in the presence of even one of these addictions. Addictions are easily abandoned if one is drawn towards one’s soul and enjoys its progress towards perfection. Even at present these addictions are painful and decried by the world. -Those indulging in these are called addicts and vicious.
Dr. H.C. Bharill