The other day I was listening to a discourse on Rāmāyaṇa ‡ where the speaker points out that although it is very simple for anyone to say
सत्यं वद । धर्मं चर ॥ § (Speak truth, follow dharma.), but when you are walking on the street one day and suddenly face a difficult situation, you will not be carrying with you the various smṛtis and dharma śāstras to immediately refer to and take the most dhārmic decision and, even if you did carry them, you will not have the time to quickly go through them to determine the correct way of doing something. So our great Ṛṣis have condensed the entire dharma for everyone to follow into three simple formulas:
Train your mind to look at or treat every woman that you encounter in your life who's not your wife as your own mother.
- E.g., if you happen to notice a pretty lady (or person of opposite sex) in your circle of friends or relatives, at work etc. you will treat the person as your mother, father or your iṣṭa-devatā – this should cut down any temptation you may yield to.
Any wealth or property that is not yours, treat it like dirt.
- E.g., if you were to find a gold chain on the street you'd simply ignore it's even there. If you did pick it up, you'll try to locate the owner of the jewelry but not keep it for yourself. If you follow this rule, you'll also not accumulate black money, default on a loan etc.
Show sympathy and compassion to every living being.
- E.g., if you feel like hitting a street dog with a stone, imagine someone throwing the same stone at you.
I thought the speaker was actually referring to the Vedas, Upaniṣads or Itihāsas but was disappointed to learn he was simply quoting the following Subhāṣita.
मातृवत् परदारांश्च परद्रव्याणि लोष्टवत् ।
आत्मवत् सर्वभूतानि यः पश्यति स पश्यति ॥
mAtRuvat paradArAmshcha paradravyANi loShTavat ।
Atmavat sarvabhUtAni yaH pashyati sa pashyati ॥
The right way to look at other people's wives is as if she is your mother, other people's wealth as if it is lump of mud, all other beings as if they were you.
A slightly different one from here:
मातृवत्परदारेषु परद्रव्येषु लोष्ठवत् ।
आत्मवत्सर्वभूतेषु यः पश्यति स पण्डितः ॥
– हितोपदेश, सन्धि
A wise man will treat other people's wives as his own mother. He treats other people’s wealth as a lump of mud (stone). He will treat every being in this world with compassion as he would treat himself.
– Hitopadesha, Sandhi
Do any of our scriptures convey the same message as the Subhāṣita above? If so, can you cite the relevant verses and their translation?