वयमिह परितुष्टा वल्कलैस्त्वं दुकूलैः सम इह परितोषो निर्विशेषो विशेषः। स तु भवति दरिद्रो यस्य तृष्णा विशाला मनसि च परितुष्टे कोऽर्थवान् को दरिद्रः॥ I’m happy wearing tree barks; silk garments please you. The satisfaction is the same; difference is merely apparent. A person is poor whose desire is limitless. Once the mind is content, who is the rich, who poor? Set to the Mālinī meter, this verse gives expression to a home truth. We do not know...
 
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भोगे रोगभयं कुले च्युतिभयं वित्ते नृपालाद्भयं माने दैन्यभयं बले रिपुभयं रूपे जराया भयम्। शास्त्रे वादभयं गुणे खलभयं काये कृतान्ताद्भयं सर्वं वस्तु भयान्वितं भुवि नृणां वैराग्यमेवाभयम्॥ In unchecked indulgence, there is the fear of diseases; in family’s pride, there is the fear of ill-reputation; in wealth, there is the fear of kings; in preserving our honour, there is the fear of humiliation; in power, there is the fear of adversaries; in beauty...
 
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किं वेदैः स्मृतिभिः पुराणपठनैः शास्त्रैर्महाविस्तरैः स्वर्गग्रामकुटीनिवासफलदैः कर्मक्रियाविभ्रमैः। मुक्त्वैकं भवबन्धदुःखरचनाविध्वंसकालानलं स्वात्मानन्दपदप्रवेशकलनं शेषा वणिग्वृत्तयः॥ Why fuss over the Vedas, Smṛtis, Purāṇas, Śastras, and bewildering rituals? At best they grant access to a hut in the hamlet of heaven. Except entry into the blissful abode of one’s self, which burns away the misery of existence, everything else is mere business....
 
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Bhartṛhari begins his Vairāgya-śatakam with a verse on Śiva:             चूडोत्तंसितचारुचन्द्रकलिकाचञ्चच्छिकाभास्वरो लीलादग्धविलोलकामशलभः श्रेयोदशाग्रे स्फुरन्। अन्तःस्फूर्जदपारमोहतिमिरप्राग्भारमुच्चाटयं- श्चेतःसद्मनि योगिनां विजयते ज्ञानप्रदीपो हरः॥ Victory to Hara, the lamp of knowledge shining bright in the hearts of Yogis! It is radiant with the flickering flame of the moon that adorns his head. It effortlessly reduced to ashes the...
 
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Ask a random student of Sanskrit to recite a poem—chances are you will hear a verse from Bhartṛhari’s Nīti-śatakam. Go to an Acharya seeking wise counsel—chances are you will hear a verse from Bhartṛhari’s Vairāgya-śatakam. Suppose you are interested in love as it is depicted in Sanskrit literature and consult a book—chances are you will come across a verse from Bhartṛhari’s Śṛṅgāra-śatakam. Such is our poet’s popularity. Despite this,...
 
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