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
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
: 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
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
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.
: 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
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
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
Dr. H.C. Bharill