Canto 11: svargāpavādaḥ
Negation of Heaven

Introduction

Apavāda, as in the title of SN Canto 9, means speaking ill of, blaming, denouncing, denying, negating. In Canto 9 the object negated in the Canto title madāpavādaḥ is mada or madā. In the present Canto the object negated in the Canto title svargāpavādaḥ is svarga, heaven or paradise. So the two canto titles parallel each other. Moreover, Ānanda himself in the present Canto, for example in verse 37, emphasizes that peace is not possible for one who thirsts after desires, thereby seeming to confirm the Buddhist striver’s negation of mada/madā as lust.

A fundamental difference, however, is that the striver in Canto 9 fails the pragmatic test of truth – his reproaches do not have the desired effect on Nanda. Ānanda’s teaching, in contrast, does have the desired effect on Nanda; it causes Nanda to see the folly of striving for a heaven whose attractions, however pleasurable, could only ever be temporary.

Another difference is that the striver’s tone is wholly negative, whereas Ānanda, evidently speaking from first person experience, not only negates pursuit of a fleeting heaven but also points to the lasting enjoyment to be had from directing the mind within. Whereas the striver presents Nanda only with the stick, Ānanda shows himself also to be skilled, like the Buddha, in the use of the carrot.

 

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tatas tā yoṣito dṛṣṭvā nando nandana-cāriṇīḥ /
babandha niyama-stambhe durdamaṁ capalaṁ manaḥ // 11.1 //

And so, having gazed upon those women who wander in the Gladdening Gardens of Nandana, / Nanda tethered the fickle and unruly Durdamam lit. means “hard to tame.” 01 mind to a tethering post of restraint. // 11.1 //

so ‘niṣṭa-naiṣkramya-raso mlāna-tāma-rasopamaḥ /
cacāra viraso dharmaṁ niveśyāpsaraso hṛdi // 11.2 //

Failing to relish the taste of freedom from care, sapless as a wilting lotus, / He went through the motions of dharma-practice, having installed the apsarases already in his heart. In the 1st pāda raso means taste. In the 2nd pāda tāma-rasopamaḥ means like a day-lotus. In the 3rd pāda, vi-raso means insipidly or saplessly, not sincerely and vigorously. In the 4th pāda, apsaraso is accusative plural for the apsarases whom Nanda has installed in his heart. In a similar way, verse 3 contains in each line the word indriya (or endriya in compound), and verse 4 conains in each line carya or cārya. 02// 11.2 //

tathā lolendriyo bhūtvā dayitendriya-gocaraḥ /
indriyārtha-vaśād eva babhūva niyatendriyaḥ // 11.3 //

Thus did one whose sense-power had been restless, whose senses had grazed on the pasture of his wife, / Come, by the very power of sense-objects, to have his sense-power reined in. // 11.3 //

kāma-caryāsu kuśalo bhikṣu-caryāsu viklavaḥ /
paramācārya-viṣṭabdho brahma-caryaṁ cacāra saḥ // 11.4 //

Adept in the practices of love, confused about the practices of a beggar, / Set firm by the best of practice guides, Ācārya means one who knows or teaches ācāra, practice. 03 Nanda did the devout practice of abstinence. Brahma-carya is often rendered as “spiritual practice.” The concept is rooted in a tradition of celibacy that pre-dated the Buddha. 04 // 11.4 //

saṁvṛtena ca śāntena tīvreṇa madanena ca /
jalāgner iva saṁsargāc chaśāma ca śuśoṣa ca // 11.5 //

Stifling restraint and ardent love, / Like water and fire in tandem, smothered him and burned him dry. // 11.5 //

svabhāva-darśanīyo ’pi vairūpyam agamat param /
cintayāpsarasāṁ caiva niyamenāyatena ca // 11.6 //

Though naturally good-looking, he became extremely ugly, / Both from agonizing about the apsarases and from protracted restraint. // 11.6 //

prastāveṣv api bhāryāyāṁ priya-bhāryas tathāpi saḥ /
vītarāga ivottasthau na jaharṣa na cukṣubhe // 11.7 //

Even when mention was made of his wife, he who had been so devoted to his wife / Stood by, seemingly bereft of passion; he neither bristled nor quavered. // 11.7 //

taṁ vyavasthitam ājñāya bhāryā-rāgāt parāṅ-mukham /
abhigamyābravīn nandam ānandaḥ praṇayād idam // 11.8 //

Knowing him to be adamant, turned away from passion for his wife, / Ānanda, having come that way, said to Nanda with affection: // 11.8 //

aho sadṛśam ārabdhaṁ śrutasyābhijanasya ca /
nigṛhītendriyaḥ svastho niyame yadi saṁsthitaḥ // 11.9 //

“Ah! This is a beginning that befits an educated and well-born man – / Since you are holding back the power of your senses and, abiding in yourself, you are set on restraint! // 11.9 //

abhiṣvaktasya kāmeṣu rāgiṇo viṣayātmanaḥ /
yad iyaṁ saṁvid utpannā neyam alpena hetunā // 11.10 //

In one entangled in desires, in a man of passion, a sensualist, / That such consciousness has arisen – this is by no small cause! // 11.10 //

vyādhir alpena yatnena mṛduḥ pratinivāryate /
prabalaḥ prabalair eva yatnair naśyati vā na vā // 11.11 //

A mild illness is warded off with little effort; / A serious illness is cured with serious efforts, or else it is not. // 11.11 //

durharo mānaso vyādhir balavāṁś ca tavābhavat /
vinivṛtto yadi sa te sarvathā dhṛtimān asi // 11.12 //

An illness of the mind is hard to remove, and yours was a powerful one. / If you are rid of it, you are in every way steadfast. // 11.12 //

duṣkaraṁ sādhv anāryeṇa māninā caiva mārdavam /
atisargaś ca lubdhena brahmacaryaṁ ca rāgiṇā // 11.13 //

For an ignoble man good is hard to do; for an arrogant man it is hard to be meek; / For a greedy man giving is hard, and hard for a man of passion is the practice of devout abstinence. // 11.13 //

ekas tu mama saṁdehas tavāsyāṁ niyame dhṛtau /
atrānunayam icchāmi vaktavyaṁ yadi manyase // 11.14 //

But I have one doubt concerning this steadfastness of yours in restraint. / I would like assurance on this matter, if you think fit to tell me. // 11.14 //

ārjavābhihitaṁ vākyaṁ na ca gantavyam anyathā /
rūkṣam apy āśaye śuddhe rukṣato naiti sajjanaḥ // 11.15 //

Straight talk should not be taken amiss: / However harsh it is, so long as its intention is pure, a good man will not retain it as harsh. // 11.15 //

apriyaṁ hi hitaṁ snigdham asnigdham ahitaṁ priyam /
durlabhaṁ tu priya-hitaṁ svādu pathyam ivauṣadham // 11.16 //

For there is disagreeable good advice, which is kind; and there is agreeable bad advice, which is not kind; / But advice that is both agreeable and good is as hard to come by as medicine that is both sweet and salutary. // 11.16 //

viśvāsaś cārtha-caryā ca sāmānyaṁ sukha-duḥkhayoḥ /
marṣaṇaṁ praṇayaś caiva mitra-vṛttir iyaṁ satām // 11.17 //

Trust, acting in the other’s interest, sharing of joy and sorrow, / And tolerance, as well as affection: such, between good men, is the conduct of a friend. // 11.17 //

tad idaṁ tvā vivakṣāmi praṇayān na jighāṁsayā /
tac chreyo hi vivakṣā me yat te nārhāmy upekṣitum // 11.18 //

So now I am going to speak to you out of affection, with no wish to hurt. / For my intention is to speak of that better way for you in regard to which I ought not to be indifferent. Upekṣā, indifference or equanimity, is a characteristic of the 4th dhyāna (see SN17.54-55) and one of the seven limbs of awakening (SN17.24). In general, then, indifference or equanimity is a virtue to be cultivated – but not, as Ānanda suggests here and as the Buddha emphasizes from SN16.57, in all circumstances. 05 // 11.18 //

apsaro-bhṛtako dharmaṁ carasīty abhidhīyase /
kim idaṁ bhūtam āho svit parihāso ’yam īdṛśaḥ // 11.19 //

You are practising dharma, so they say, for celestial nymphs as wages. / Is that so? Is it true? such a thing would be a joke! // 11.19 //

yadi tāvad idaṁ satyaṁ vakṣyāmy atra yad auṣadham /
auddhatyam atha vaktṝṇām abhidhāsyāmi tad rajaḥ // 11.20 //

If this really is true, I will tell you a medicine for it; / Or if it is the impertinence of chatterers, then that dust I shall expose.” // 11.20 //

ślakṣṇa-pūrvam atho tena hṛdi so ’bhihatas tadā /
dhyātvā dīrghaṁ niśaśvāsa kiṁ-cic cāvāṅmukho ’bhavat // 11.21 //

Then – though it was tenderly done – [Nanda] was stricken in his heart. / After reflecting, Dhyā, to reflect or to think of, is as in dhyāna, reflection or meditation. If a hidden meaning is sought, the hidden meaning might be that, in sitting practice, free and full breathing and poise of the head are not arrangements, but they tend to follow, indirectly, from healthy thinking processes. 06 he drew in a long breath, and his face inclined slightly downward. // 11.21 //

tatas tasyeṅgitaṁ jñātvā manaḥ-saṁkalpa-sūcakam /
babhāṣe vākyam ānando madhurodarkam apriyam // 11.22 //

And so, knowing the signs that betrayed the set of Nanda’s mind, / Ānanda spoke words which were disagreeable but sweet in consequence: // 11.22 //

ākāreṇāvagacchāmi tava dharma-prayojanam /
yaj jñātvā tvayi jātaṁ me hāsyaṁ kāruṇyam eva ca // 11.23 //

“I know from the look on your face what your motive is in practising dharma.
And knowing that, there arises in me towards you laughter and at the same time pity. // 11.23 //

yathāsanārthaṁ skandhena kaś-cid gurvīṁ śilāṁ vahet /
tadvat tvam api kāmārthaṁ niyamaṁ voḍhum udyataḥ // 11.24 //

Like somebody who, with a view to sitting on it, carried around on his shoulder a heavy rock; / That is how you, with a view to sensuality, are labouring to bear restraint. // 11.24 //

titāḍayiṣayā dṛpto yathā meṣo ’pasarpsati /
tadvad abrahmacaryāya brahmacaryam idaṁ tava // 11.25 //

Just as, in its desire to charge, a wild ram draws back, / So, for the sake of non-abstinence, is this devout abstinence of yours! In other words: “So, done for the sake of sex, is this spiritual practice of yours!”07 // 11.25 //

cikrīṣanti yathā paṇyaṁ vaṇijo lābha-lipsayā /
dharmacaryā tava tathā paṇya-bhūtā na śāntaye // 11.26 //

Just as merchants buy merchandise moved by a desire to make profit, / That is how you are practising dharma, as if it were a tradable commodity, not for the sake of peace. // 11.26 //

yathā phala-viśeṣārthaṁ bījaṁ vapati kārṣakaḥ /
tadvad viṣaya-kārpaṇyād viṣayāṁs tyaktavān asi // 11.27 //

Just as, with a particular crop in view, a ploughman scatters seed, / That is how, because of being desperate for an object, you have renounced objects. // 11.27 //

ākāṅkṣec ca yathā rogaṁ pratīkāra-sukhepsayā /
duḥkham anvicchati bhavāṁs tathā viṣaya-tṛṣṇayā // 11.28 //

Just as a man who craves some pleasurable remedy might want to be ill, / That is how in your thirst for an object you are seeking out suffering. // 11.28 //

yathā paśyati madhv eva na prapātam avekṣate /
paśyasy apsarasas tadvad bhraṁśam ante na paśyasi // 11.29 //

Just as a man sees honey and fails to notice a precipice, / That is how you are seeing the heavenly nymphs and not seeing the fall that will come in the end. // 11.29 //

hṛdi kāmāgninā dīpte kāyena vahato vratam /
kim idaṁ brahmacaryaṁ te manasābrahmacāriṇaḥ // 11.30 //

Blazing with a fire of desire in your heart, you carry out observances with your body: / What is this devout abstinence of yours, who does not practise abstinence with his mind? // 11.30 //

saṁsāre vartamānena yadā cāpsarasas tvayā /
prāptās tyaktāś ca śataśas tābhyaḥ kim iti te spṛhā // 11.31 //

Again, since in spiralling through saṁsāra you have gained celestial nymphs and left them / A hundred times over, what is this yearning of yours for those women? // 11.31 //

tṛptir nāstīndhanair agner nāmbhasā lavaṇāmbhasaḥ /
nāpi kāmaiḥ sa tṛṣṇasya tasmāt kāmā na tṛptaye // 11.32 //

A fire is not satisfied by dry brushwood, nor the salty ocean by water, / Nor a man of thirst by his desires. Desires, therefore, do not make for satisfaction. // 11.32 //

atṛptau ca kutaḥ śāntir aśāntau ca kutaḥ sukham /
asukhe ca kutaḥ prītir aprītau ca kuto ratiḥ // 11.33 //

Without satisfaction, whence peace? Without peace, whence ease? / Without ease, whence joy? Without joy, whence enjoyment? // 11.33 //

riraṁsā yadi te tasmād adhyātme dhīyatāṁ manaḥ /
praśāntā cānavadyā ca nāsty adhyātma-samā ratiḥ // 11.34 //

Therefore if you want enjoyment, let your mind be directed within. / Tranquil and impeccable is enjoyment of the inner self and there is no enjoyment to equal it. // 11.34 //

na tatra kāryaṁ tūryais te na strībhir na vibhūṣaṇaiḥ /
ekas tvaṁ yatra-tatra-sthas tayā ratyābhiraṁsyase // 11.35 //

In it, you have no need of musical instruments, or women, or ornaments; / On your own, wherever you are, you can indulge in that enjoyment. // 11.35 //

mānasaṁ balavad duḥkhaṁ tarṣe tiṣṭhati tiṣṭhati /
taṁ tarṣaṁ chindhi duḥkhaṁ hi tṛṣṇā cāsti ca nāsti ca // 11.36 //

The mind suffers mightily as long as thirst persists. / Eradicate that thirst; for suffering co-exists with thirst, or else does not exist. // 11.36 //

saṁpattau vā vipattau vā divā vā naktam eva vā /
kāmeṣu hi sa-tṛṣṇasya na śāntir upapadyate // 11.37 //

In prosperity or in adversity, by day or by night, / For the man who thirsts after desires, The use of kāma in the locative plural confirms that Aśvaghoṣa used the word kāma to mean, depending on context, both desire itself and an object of desire. Here kāmeṣu means loves or desires as objects. 08 peace is not possible. // 11.37 //

kāmānāṁ prārthanā duḥkhā prāptau tṛptir na vidyate /
viyogān niyataḥ śoko viyogaś ca dhruvo divi // 11.38 //

The pursuit of desires is full of suffering, and attainment of them is not where satisfaction lies; / The separation from them is inevitably sorrowful; but the celestial constant is separation. // 11.38 //

kṛtvāpi duṣkaraṁ karma svargaṁ labdhvāpi durlabham /
nṛlokaṁ punar evaiti pravāsāt sva-gṛhaṁ yathā // 11.39 //

Even having done action that is hard to do, and reached a heaven that is hard to reach, / [A man] comes right back to the world of men, as if to his own house after a spell away. // 11.39 //

yadā bhraṣṭasya kuśalaṁ śiṣṭaṁ kiṁ-cin na vidyate /
tiryakṣu pitṛ-loke vā narake vopapadyate // 11.40 //

The backslider when his residual good has run out / Finds himself among the animals or in the world of the departed, Pitṛ-loke, “in the world of the departed,” means in other words, in the world of deceased ancestors, or in the world of hungry ghosts. See BC Canto 14. 09 or else he goes to hell. // 11.40 //

tasya bhuktavataḥ svarge viṣayān uttamān api /
bhraṣṭasyārtasya duḥkhena kim āsvādaḥ karoti saḥ // 11.41 //

Having enjoyed in heaven the utmost sensual objects, / He falls back, beset by suffering: what has that enjoyment done for him? // 11.41 //

śyenāya prāṇi-vātsalyāt sva-māṁsāny api dattavān /
śibhiḥ svargāt paribhraṣṭas tādṛk kṛtvāpi duṣkaram // 11.42 //

Through tender love for living creatures Śibi gave his own flesh to a hawk. Both the Mahā-bhārata and Rāmāyaṇa contain the story of how the gods tested King Śibi by taking the form of a hawk and a pigeon. Chased by the hawk, the pigeon fell into the lap of Śibi, who offered to compensate the hawk with his own flesh. 10 / He fell back from heaven, even after doing such a difficult deed. // 11.42 //

śakrasyārdhāsanaṁ gatvā pūrva-pārthiva eva yaḥ /
sa devatvaṁ gate kāle māndhātādhaḥ punar yayau // 11.43 //

Having attained half of Indra’s throne as a veritable earth-lord of the old school, / Māndhātṛ when his time with the gods elapsed came back down again. Māndhātṛ, reputed to be a 19th-generation descendant of Ikṣvāku, was a famous king of the ancient city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. The history of that city records that Māndhātṛ obtained half the throne of Śakra (“the Mighty” = Indra) and conquered the whole earth in one day.11 // 11.43 //

rājyaṁ kṛtvāpi devānāṁ papāta nahuṣo bhuvi /
prāptaḥ kila bhujaṁgatvaṁ nādyāpi parimucyate // 11.44 //

Though he ruled the gods, Nahuṣa fell to earth; / He turned into a snake, so they say, and even today has not wriggled free. Book 13 of the Mahā-bhārata tells the story of how King Nahuṣa became chief of the gods, knocking Indra off top spot, by assiduously performing Brahmanical rites. By his arrogance, however, Nahuṣa incurred the wrath of one of the sages whom he had charged with carrying his palanquin. This sage reacted to being booted in the head by placing a curse on Nahuṣa who duly turned into a great snake which slithered off to skulk in a Himālayan cave. Thereafter, the story goes, when a group of exiled Pāṇḍavas found the snake hiding in the cave, the Pāṇḍava leader recognized that the snake was no ordinary snake and asked it about its origin. Nahuṣa then confessed and was relieved of his curse, so that he was able to shed his snakely incarnation.12// 11.44 //

tathaivelivilo rājā rāja-vṛttena saṁskṛtaḥ /
svargaṁ gatvā punar bhraṣṭaḥ kūrmī-bhūtaḥ kilārṇave // 11.45 //

Likewise King Ilivila being perfect in kingly conduct, / Went to heaven and fell back down, becoming, so they say, a turtle in the ocean. Viṣṇu famously became a turtle (his 2nd avatar, Kurma) in order to stop Mt. Mandara from sinking into the ocean. Viṣṇu is said to have had a thousand names. Ilivila, however, has not been traced as one of them. 13 // 11.45 //

bhūridyumno yayātiś ca te cānye ca nṛpa-rṣabhāḥ /
karmabhir dyām abhikrīya tat-kṣayāt punar atyajan // 11.46 //

Bhūri-dyumna and Yayāti and other excellent kings, Bhūri-dhyumna was known for his piety. His fall from heaven, according to EHJ’s notes, is documented in Book 2 of the Rāmāyaṇa. Yayāti is the celebrated king of the lunar race whose sons are mentioned favourably in SN1.59. When Yayāti cheated on his wife, her father put a curse on him so that he immediately became an old man, whereupon he tried to buy back youth from his sons. Eventually, however, Yayāti realized the futility of his former shallow actions, let go of his worldly ambitions and took pains to redeem himself. 14 / Having bought heaven by their actions, gave it up again, after that karma ran out – // 11.46 //

asurāḥ pūrva-devās tu surair apahṛta-śriyaḥ /
śriyaṁ samanuśocantaḥ pātālaṁ śaraṇaṁ yayuḥ // 11.47 //

Whereas the asuras, who had been gods in heaven when the suras robbed them of their rank, / Went bemoaning their lost glory down to their Pātāla lair. Asuras and suras (demons and gods) as their Sanskrit names suggest, are opposed to each other. Pātāla is one of the regions under the earth supposed to be inhabited by nāgas and demons; sometimes it is used as a general name for the lower regions or hells. The resentful attitude of the asuras seems to be comically contrasted with the more yielding attitude of Bhūri-dhyumna and Yayāti. 15// 11.47 //

kiṁ ca rājarṣibhis tāvad asurair vā surādibhiḥ /
mahendrāḥ śataśaḥ petur māhātmyam api na sthiram // 11.48 //

But why such citing of royal seers, or of asuras, suras, and the like? / Mighty Indras have fallen in their hundreds! Even the most exalted position is not secure. // 11.48 //

saṁsadaṁ śobhayitvaindrīm upendraś ca tri-vikramaḥ /
kṣīṇa-karmā papātorvīṁ madhyād apsarasāṁ rasan // 11.49 //

Again, Indra’s luminous sidekick, Upendra, lit. “Indra’s younger brother,” is one of the thousand names of Viṣṇu, whose distinguishing characteristic was said to be light. Hymn 7.100 of the Ṛg-veda refers to the celebrated ‘three steps’ of Viṣṇu by which he strode over the universe and in three places planted his step.16 he of the three strides, lit up Indra’s court, / And yet when his karma waned he fell to earth from the apsarases’ midst, screaming. // 11.49 //

hā caitraratha hā vāpi hā mandākini hā priye /
ity ārtā vilapanto ’pi gāṁ patanti divaukasaḥ // 11.50 //

‘Oh, the grove of Citra-ratha! Caitra-ratha, is the name of a grove of Kubera trees (Cedrela Toona) supposed to have been cultivated by the gandharva Citra-ratha “Having a Bright Chariot,” the king of the gandharvas. See also SN2.53. 17 Oh, the pond! Oh, the heavenly Ganges! Oh, my beloved!’ – / Thus lament the distressed denizens of heaven as they fall to earth. // 11.50 //

tīvraṁ hy utpadyate duḥkham iha tāvan mumūrṣatām /
kiṁ punaḥ patatāṁ svargād evānte sukha-sevinām // 11.51 //

For intense already is the pain that arises in those facing death in this world / And how much worse is it for the pleasure-addicts when they finally fall from heaven? // 11.51 //

rajo gṛṇhanti vāsāṁsi mlāyanti paramāḥ srajaḥ /
gātrebhyo jāyate svedo ratir bhavati nāsane // 11.52 //

Their clothes gather dust; their glorious garlands wither; / Sweat appears on their limbs; and in their sitting The ostensible meaning of āsane is at the place where they were seated or stationed. Hence EH Johnston translated “and they find no delight in their places;” and Linda Covill “and they take no joy in their station.” 18 there is no enjoyment. // 11.52 //

etāny ādau nimittāni cyutau svargād divaukasām /
aniṣṭānīva martyānām ariṣṭāni mumūrṣatām // 11.53 //

These are the first signs of the imminent fall from heaven of sky-dwellers, / Like the unwelcome but sure signs of the approaching death of those subject to dying. // 11.53 //

sukham utpadyate yac ca divi kāmān upāśnatām /
yac ca duḥkhaṁ nipatatāṁ duḥkham eva viśiṣyate // 11.54 //

When the pleasure that arises from enjoyment of desires in heaven / Is compared with the pain of falling, the pain, assuredly, is greater. // 11.54 //

tasmād asvantam atrāṇam aviśvāsyam atarpakam /
vijñāya kṣayiṇaṁ svargam apavarge matiṁ kuru // 11.55 //

Knowing heaven, therefore, to be ill-fated, precarious, unreliable, unsatisfactory, and transitory, set your heart upon immunity from that circuit. Apa-varga (from the verb apa-√vṛj, to turn or leave off) is given in the MW dictionary as “exemption from further transmigration.” 19// 11.55 //

aśarīraṁ bhavāgraṁ hi gatvāpi munir udrakaḥ /
karmaṇo ’nte cyutas tasmāt tiryag-yoniṁ prapatsyate // 11.56 //

For though he attained a peak experience of bodiless being, Sage Uḍraka, In SN3.3 the Sage Uḍraka, who inclined towards quietness, is mentioned as one whom Sarvārtha-siddha visited. (See also BC12.84-88.) Even though the Buddha credited only Arāḍa, and not Uḍraka, as having been his teacher (see note to BC12.84), it seems unthinkable that Ānanda would have singled out the Uḍraka of SN3.3 as one destined for rebirth as an animal. Perhaps for that reason, EHJ considered this and the next verse to be spurious. 20 / At the expiration of his karma, will fall from that state into the womb of an animal. // 11.56 //

maitrayā sapta-vārṣikyā brahma-lokam ito gataḥ /
sunetraḥ punar āvṛtto garbha-vāsam upeyivān // 11.57 //

Through seven years of loving kindness, Sunetra went from here to Brahma’s world, / But he span around again and came back to live in a womb. Su-netra lit. means “Having Good Eyes” or “Being a Good Leader.” No reference has been traced. 21// 11.57 //

yadā caiśvaryavanto ’pi kṣayiṇaḥ svarga-vāsinaḥ /
ko nāma svarga-vāsāya kṣeṣṇave spṛhayed budhaḥ // 11.58 //

Since heaven-dwellers, even when all-powerful, are subject to decay, / What wise man would aspire to a decadent sojourn in heaven? // 11.58 //

sūtreṇa baddho hi yathā vihaṁgo vyāvartate dūragato ’pi bhūyaḥ /
ajñāna-sūtreṇa tathāvabaddho gato ’pi dūraṁ punar eti lokaḥ // 11.59 //

For just as a bird tied to a string, though it has flown far, comes back again; / So too do people return who are tied to the string of ignorance, however far they have travelled. // 11.59 //

kṛtvā kāla-vilakṣaṇaṁ pratibhuvā mukto yathā bandhanād
bhuktvā veshma-sukhāny atītya samayaṁ bhūyo vished bandhanaṁ /
tadvad dyāṁ pratibhūvad ātma-niyamair dhyānādibhiḥ prāptavān
kāle karmasu teṣu bhukta-viṣayeṣv ākṛṣyate gāṁ punaḥ // 11.60 //

A man temporarily released from prison on bail / Enjoys home comforts and then, when his time is up, he must go back to prison; / In the same way, through restrictive practices beginning with meditation, a man gets to heaven, as if on bail, / And after enjoying those objects which were his karmic reward, he eventually is dragged back down to earth. // 11.60 //

antar-jāla-gatāḥ pramatta-manaso mīnās taḍāge yathā
jānanti vyasanaṁ na rodha-janitaṁ svasthāś caranty ambhasi /
antar-loka-gatāḥ kṛtārtha-matayas tadvad divi dhyāyino
manyante śivam acyutaṁ dhruvam iti svaṁ sthānam āvartakam // 11.61 //

Fish in a pond who have swum into a net, unwarily, / Do not know the misfortune that results from capture, but contentedly move around in the water; / In the same way, meditators in heaven (who are really of this world of men), think that they have achieved their end; / And so they assume their own position to be favourable, secure and settled – as they continue to whirl around. // 11.61 //

taj janma-vyādhi-mṛtyu-vyasana-parigataṁ matvā jagad idaṁ
saṁsāre bhrāmyamāṇaṁ divi nṛṣu narake tiryak-pitṛṣu ca /
yat trāṇaṁ nirbhayaṁ yac chivam amarajaraṁ niḥśokam amṛtaṁ
tadd-hetor brahmacaryaṁ cara jahi hi calaṁ svargaṁ prati rucim // 11.62 //

Therefore, see this world to be shot through with the calamities of birth, sickness, and death; / See it – whether in heaven, among men, in hell, or among animals or the departed – to be reeling through saṁsāra. / Seeing the world to be thus, for the sake of that fearless refuge, for that sorrowless nectar of immortality, which is benign, and beyond death and decay, / Devoutly practise abstinence, and abandon your fancy for a precarious heaven.” // 11.62 //

Saundara-nanda mahākāvye svargāpavādo nāma aikādaśaḥ sargaḥ
The 11th canto in the epic poem Handsome Nanda, titled “Negation of Heaven.”