The Pastimes of Scholarship
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a great scholar and spiritual master, has written that in his youth he absorbed himself in speculative books on religion and philosophy. This song is his reflection on the value of that scholarship.
(1) Once I spent long, long hours in the pastimes of scholarship. I never took to service of Your lotus feet as I do now.
(2) Reading on and on, never finding satiation, I felt that knowledge would be the highest goal. That hope was false and fruitless — that knowledge was ignorance.
(3) Materialistic studies are the glare of maya only, for they are an obstacle to spiritual progress. The infatuated person is trapped in the impermanent world, falsely trying to enjoy it, and such studies make him as foolish as an ass.
(4) When they stretch out over a long time, one loses all energy and is sapped of all power to enjoy. By the time old age comes, nothing in the world is tasteful for such an ass.
(5) Now at the end of life I realize that all my academic study is ignorance. Realization of this fact is burning like a piercing dart.
(6) Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says: “Without Your lotus feet there is no value in the world. Reflecting upon my material studies, I take to Your lotus feet and superexcellence. “
vidyara vilase, katainu kala,
parama sahase ami
tomara carana, na bhajinu kabhu,
ekhona sarana tumi
podite podite, bharasa barilo,
jnane gati habe mani’
se asa biphala, se jnana durbala,
se jnana ajnana jani
jada-vidya jata, mayara vaibhava,
tomara bhajane badha
moha janamiya, anitya samsare,
jivake koraye gadha
sei gadha ho’ye, samsarera bojha,
bahinu aneka kala
bardhakye ekhona, saktira abhave,
kichu nahi lage bhalo
jivana jatana, hoilo ekhona,
se vidya avidya bhelo
avidyara jwala, ghatilo bisama,
se vidya hoilo selo
tomara carana, bina kichu dhana,
samsare na ache ara
bhakativinoda, jada-vidya chadi,’
tuwa pada kore sara