The Sikh Religion/Volume 6/Beni

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BENI

Beni briefly traces the progress of man's spiritual degeneration from the time of birth.

Owing to the great difficulty of his writings it is believed that he is of comparatively ancient date. Unfortunately no account of him is accessible.

Srirag

O man, when thou wast in the pit of the womb and didst meditate and fix thine earnest attention on God;[1]
Not proud of the dignity of thy mortal body, thou wast day and night free from the pride which is ignorance.
Recall the travail and great suffering of those days; now thou hast too much extended thy thoughts to worldly things.
When thou didst leave the womb and enter this perishable world, thou forgottest God.
Thou shalt afterwards repent, O fool ; through what mental perversity hath superstition attached to thee ?
Remember God ; otherwise thou shalt go to the abode of Death ; stray not in other worship.
A child is anxious for play and sweets ; by degrees its worldly love increaseth.
Under the pretext of its being a sacrifice,[2] man tasteth meat as if it were ambrosia, though it is a poison ; then the five evil passions appear and torture him.[3]
He abandoneth devotion, penance, self-restraint, and good works, and in his heart he worshippeth not God's name.
His lust overfloweth, blackness attacheth to his heart, and he embraceth the strange woman.
In the ardour of youth he stareth at another's wife, and distinguisheth not good from evil.
In the intoxication of lust and the other great sins he goeth astray, and distinguisheth not vice from virtue.
Beholding his children and his wealth, he is proud and forgetteth God in his heart.
He weigheth in his heart the wealth of some one who is dead, then ruineth his life by women and banquets.
When his hair groweth grey — greyer than the jasmine — and his voice becometh feeble ;[4]
When his eyes water, and his intellect and strength depart, then his desires are in a whirl.[5]
His mind is defiled by evil passions, and therefore his body withereth away like the lotus in the rainy season.
He who renounceth God s name in this perishable world shall afterwards repent.
Beholding his near relations he muttereth something, and is proud of them, but they heed him not. He desireth the distinction of long life, though his eyes see not.[6]
The fire of his body is spent, the bird of his soul hath fled, and his corpse is disagreeable whether in the house or the courtyard.
Saith Beni, hear me, O saints ; who hath obtained salvation after death ?[7]

Divine instruction is communicated under the allegory of hathjog, the most difficult and painful form of a Jogi's practice.

Ramkali

Unite the breath of the ira, pingla, and sukhmana together in one place ;[8]
There is the Beni[9] and Pryag where the three rivers meet ; let the soul lave therein.
O saints, there is the pure God.
A few understand this when they go to the guru ;
There in the brain the Pure One is.
What are the signs of God's abode ?
There is played the unbeaten music of the Word.[10]
There nor moon, nor sun, nor wind, nor water is worshipped.
He whose conscience is awakened by the guru's instruction knoweth this.
Through him divine knowledge is produced, evil inclinations depart,
And ambrosial juice trickleth from the brain.
He who knoweth the secret of this science,[11]
Shall meet the Primal Divine Guru. The tenth gate is the abode of the inaccessible and unequalled Supreme Being.

Over the body and on the body is a chamber,[12] and within the chamber is the Treasure.

He who watcheth over this shall never fall asleep ;

The three qualities and the three worlds shall vanish for him in contemplation ;

He shall hold the Source[13] of all spells in his heart, And turning back his mind from the world, fix it on heaven ;

He shall be wakeful and not utter a lie,

And shall keep the five organs of perception in subjection ;

He shall treasure the guru's instruction in his heart,

And devote his soul and body to God's love ;

He shall meditate on the leaves and branches of his body,[14]

And not lose his life in gambling ;[15]

He shall tie up the sphincter ani,

Turn his breath towards his back, and raise it to the brain.

When he restraineth his breath difficult of restraint,[16] nectar trickleth forth,

And he converseth with the Lord of the world.

In the tenth gate is the light of a four-faced lamp[17] to behold all things ;

There are endless petals of the lotus,[18] and its cup is in the centre ;

God dwelleth there with all His power.

Let man string the precious jewel of God's name within him—

He hath a lotus in his brain and gems[19] around it ; In the centre is the Spotless One, the Lord of the three worlds ;


The five species of musical instruments are clearly heard ; Chauris appear to wave and a shell to reverberate like thunder—

The pious by divine knowledge trample on their evil passions.[20]

Beni beggeth Thy name, O Lord, since the practice of Jog is profitless.

Prabhati

The following was addressed to a hypocritical Brahman :——

Thou rubbest sandal on thy body, and puttest leaves on thy forehead,[21]

But thou hast a murderous knife in thy heart.

Thou lookest on people like a thag, and watchest them like a crane looking for fish.

The life of the Vaishnav when he seeth thee escapeth through his mouth.[22]

Thou bowest daily to the beautiful idol of Vishnu for a long time ;

With the evil eye art thou affected, and at night thou quarrellest ;[23]

Thou ever bathest thy body ;

Thou hast two dhotis,[24]thou ostensibly performest thy religious duties, and livest on milk alone,

But in thy heart thou hast a knife to stab with.

It is thy custom to plunder the property of others. Thou adorest a stone, and in the worship of Kali makest a circle for Ganesh.[25]

Thou watchest at night so that men may think thou hast entered on God's service ;

With thy feet dost thou dance, but thy heart meditateth evil—

O sinner, thy dancing is wicked—

Thou sittest on a deer-skin, and carriest a rosary of sweet basil ;

Thou puttest a showy tilak on thy forehead ;

In thy heart is falsehood, though thou wearest a necklace[26] on thy neck.

O sinner, thou repeatest not God's name.

All that man s worship is vain, and he is blind

Who hath not recognized the Supreme God.

Saith Beni, meditate on God by the guru's instruction ;

Without a true guru the way is not found.

 
  1. Urdh in the Granth Sāhib often means God. It may, however, be also translated—with body reversed.
  2. Medh here means the animal killed in sacrifice.
  3. It must be remembered that this was written by a Vaishnav to whom all meat was forbidden.
  4. Literally — as if it proceeded from the seventh nether region.
  5. Literally — the churn of desires is in his heart.
  6. Also translated — His body wasteth away; on seeing somebody he speaketh ; he is proud, but knoweth nothing.
  7. That is, unless man have done good works in life there is no means of his salvation.
  8. That is, the brain.
  9. At Priyag there is or was a temple called Beni Madhav.
  10. Not the bells, cymbals, or shells of Hindu worship.
  11. Kala, literally — contrivances.
  12. The brain.
  13. That is, God.
  14. Explained by the gyānis to mean the veins and muscles of the body. It is to the upper and lower limbs the word branches is applied in Hindu anatomy. —Dr. Hoernle.
  15. That is, in vice.
  16. Literally — when he has endured unendurable things.
  17. A lamp with four wicks to give a bright light. Divine knowledge is meant.
  18. The mystics suppose that the brain contains a lotus flower, within which God dwells.
  19. The leaves of the lotus.
  20. Daint, literally — demons.
  21. To appear to have renounced the world.
  22. The Vaishnav abstains from meat, and dies on seeing thee bent on deeds of blood. The verse is also translated—Thou lookest like a Vaishnav whose soul hath escaped from his body.
  23. Over the division of the offerings. Possibly, however, bādan (quarrel) is for bāman (woman) which would rhyme with chirāman in the preceding line. If bāman be read, the translation will be —Thou lookest severely on women by day, but by night thou lovest them.
  24. So as to have a change after bathing.
  25. According to the Tantar Shāstar, there must be four circles for Kāli's attendant divinities, Ganesh, Kshetarpāl, Bhairav, and Yogini.
  26. Rudrākhan, the Sanskrit rudrāksh. A necklace made of the berries of the eleocarpus. This is generally worn by the worshippers of Shiv. It is the followers of Vishnu who carry rosaries of sweet basil.