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Penance is difficult

Penance is difficult

असिधारागमणं चेव, दुक्करं चरिउं तवो

Penance is as difficult as walking on the edge of a sword.

Penance is of two types – internal and external. External is seen. Therefore, it makes the practitioner famous quickly; but internal penance does not earn him fame so fast.

External penance is of six types – fasting, taking less than needed, limiting number of items, giving up delicacies, preparing the body for enduring future hardships and control of senses and passions.

Internal penance is also of six types – repentance, humility, service to gurus, self-study, meditation and detachment. Thus, penance is totally of twelve types; but nowadays, people think only of them who observe fast, whereas there are other eleven penances also and those who do them are also great penance doers.

Through this maxim, wise men have told that whatever be the type of penance, it is very difficult to observe. It is as sharp as the edge of a sword. As soon as you keep the finger on that, skin gets cut, blood comes out.

Penance is as difficult as walking on the edge of a sword.

- Uttaradhyayana Sutra 16/38

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