27. Penance

Chapter. 27. Penance
To bear due penitential pains, while no offence
He causes others, is the type of 'penitence'.
Meaning : The nature of religious discipline consists, in the endurance (by the ascetic) of the sufferings which it brings on himself, and in abstaining from giving pain to others.
To 'penitents' sincere avails their 'penitence';
Where that is not, 'tis but a vain pretence.
Meaning : Austerities can only be borne, and their benefits enjoyed, by those who have practised them (in a former birth); it will be useless for those who have not done so, to attempt to practise them (now).
Have other men forgotten 'penitence' who strive
To earn for penitents the things by which they live?
Meaning : It is to provide food etc, for the ascetics who have abandoned (the desire of earthly possessions) that other persons have forgotten (to practise) austerity ?
Destruction to his foes, to friends increase of joy.
The 'penitent' can cause, if this his thoughts employ.
Meaning : If (the ascetic) desire the destruction of his enemies, or the aggrandizement of his friends, it will be effected by (the power of) his austerities.
That what they wish may, as they wish, be won,
Meaning : By men on earth are works of painful 'penance' done.
Religious dislipline is practised in this world, because it secures the attainment of whatever one may wish to enjoy (in the world to come).
Who works of 'penance' do, their end attain,
Others in passion's net enshared, toil but in vain.
Meaning : Those discharge their duty who perform austerities; all others accomplish their own destruction, through the entanglement of the desire (of riches and sensual pleasure).
The hotter glows the fining fire, the gold the brighter shines;
The pain of penitence, like fire, the soul of man refines.
Meaning : Just as gold is purified as heated in the fire, will those shine, who have endured the burning of pain (in frequent austerities).
Who gains himself in utter self-control,
Him worships every other living soul.
Meaning : All other creatures will worship him who has attained the control of his own soul.
E'en over death the victory he may gain,
If power by penance won his soul obtain.
Meaning : Those who have attained the power which religious discipline confers, will be able also to pass the limit of Yama, (the God of death).
The many all things lack! The cause is plain,
The 'penitents' are few. The many shun such pain.
Meaning : Because there are few who practise austerity and many who do not, there are many destitute and few rich in this world.