SELF-CONTROL NOT EASY, EVEN FOR SAGES
Vis`vaamitra paraas`ara prabhritayooh
vaata ambu parn`a asanaa
Stee api strii mukha pankajam
sulalitam drisht`vaiva mooham gataaha
S`aalyannam saghritam sahoodara yutam yee
Teeshaam indriyee nigraham yadi bhaveet
vindhyaha plavee tyaagaree.
This verse is a masterpiece by Bhartruhari, worth getting by heart and singing within oneself everyday.
The poet uses a great simile by any literary standards.
First he takes up the case of the sages Paraas`araa, Vis`vaamitra and other sages. Sages undertake penance surviving on air, water and leaves, as food. In spite of such rigors, both Parasara and Visvamitra fell to the Cupid, the moment they had seen the lotus faces of heavenly nymphs. If that is the fate of disciplined austere yogis, what will be the fate of ordinary persons who eat rice, curd and clarified butter (Salyannam, saghrutam, sahodara yutam)? If they succeed in conquering their senses, the Vindhya Mountains will float in the Seas.
(Vindhya Mountains are high mountains in the Central India and their floating in Seas is an impossibility. In the same way, those who eat delectable foods and pamper their senses can never control them! Hence, the simile is very apt.).