The Anugita

1882 | 64,929 words

Volume 8, The Sacred Books of the East. This part Contains the english translation of the Anugita (a portion of the Ashvamedhika Parva from the Mahabharata)....

He who becoming placid[1], and thinking of nought, may become absorbed in the one receptacle[2], abandoning each previous (element), he will cross beyond (all) bonds. A man who is a friend of all, who endures all, who is devoted to tranquillity[3], who has subdued his senses, and from whom fear and wrath have departed, and who is self-possessed[4], is released. He who moves among all beings as if they were like himself[5], who is self-controlled, pure, free from vanity[6] and egoism, he is, indeed, released from everything. And he, too, is released who is equable towards both life and death[7], and likewise pleasure and pain, and gain and loss, and (what is) agreeable and odious[8]. He who is not attached to any one, who contemns no one, who is free from the pairs of opposites, and whose self is free from affections[9], he is, indeed, released in every way. He who has no enemy, who has no kinsmen, who has no child, who has abandoned piety, wealth, and lust altogether, and who has no desire, is released. He who is not pious and not impious[10], who casts off (the merit or sin) previously accumulated, whose self is tranquillised by the exhaustion of the primary elements of the body[11], and who is free from the pairs of opposites, is released. One who does no action[12], and who has no desire, looks on this universe as transient, like an Aśvattha tree[13], always full of birth, death., and old age[14]. Having his understanding. always (fixed) upon indifference to worldly objects, searching for his own faults[15], he procures the release of his self from bonds in no long time. Seeing the self void of smell[16], void of taste, void of touch, void of sound, void of belongings, void of colour, and unknowable, he is released. He who sees the enjoyer of the qualities[17], devoid of qualities, devoid of the qualities of the five elements[18], devoid of form, and having no cause, is released. Abandoning by the understanding[19] all fancies bodily and mental[20], he gradually obtains tranquillity[21], like fire devoid of fuel. He who is free from all impressions[22], free from the pairs of opposites, without belongings, and who moves among the collection of organs with penance[23], he is indeed released. Then freed from all impressions, he attains to the eternal Supreme Brahman, tranquil, unmoving, constant, indestructible[24]. After this I shall explain the science of concentration of mind, than which there is nothing higher, (and which teaches) how devotees concentrating (their minds) perceive the perfect self[25]. I will impart instruction regarding it accurately. Learn from me the paths[26] by which one directing the self within the self perceives the eternal[27] (principle). Restraining the senses, one should fix the mind on the self; and having first performed rigorous penance[28], he should practise concentration of mind for final emancipation. Then the talented Brāhmaṇa, who has practised penance, who is constantly practising concentration of mind, should act on (the precepts of) the science of concentration of mind[29], seeing the self in the self by means of the mind[30]. If such a good man is able to concentrate the self on the self, then he, being habituated to exclusive meditation[31], perceives the self in the self. Being self-restrained and self-possessed[32], and always concentrating his mind, and having his senses subjugated, he who has achieved proper concentration of mind[33] sees the self in the self, As a person having seen one in a dream, recognises him (afterwards), saying, 'This is he;' so does one who has achieved proper concentration of mind perceive the self[34]. And as one may show the soft fibres, after extracting them from the Muñja, so does a devotee see the self extracted from the body. The body is caned the Muñja; the soft fibres stand[35] for the self. This is the excellent illustration propounded by those who understand concentration of mind. When an embodied (self) properly perceives the self concentrated[36], then there is no ruler over him, since he is the lord of the triple world[37]. He obtains various bodies as he pleases; and casting aside old age and death, he grieves not and exults not. The man who has acquired concentration of mind, and who is self-restrained, creates for himself even the divinity of the gods[38]; and abandoning the transient body, he attains to the inexhaustible Brahman. When (all) beings are destroyed, he has no fear; when (all) beings are afflicted, he is not afflicted by anything[39]. He whose self is concentrated, who is free from attachment, and of a tranquil mind, is not shaken by the fearful effects of attachment and affection[40], which consist in pain and grief[41]. Weapons do not pierce him[42]; there is, no death for him; nothing can be seen anywhere in the world happier than he. Properly concentrating his self, he remains steady to the self; and freed from old age and grief, he sleeps at ease. Leaving this human frame, he assumes bodies at pleasure. But one who is practising concentration should never become despondent[43]. When one who has properly achieved concentration perceives the self in the self, then he forthwith ceases to feel any attachment to Indra himself[44]. Now listen how one habituated to exclusive meditation attains concentration. Thinking[45] of a quarter seen before, he should steady his mind within and not out of the city in which he dwells. Remaining within (that) city, he should place his mind both in its external and internal (operations) in that habitation in which he dwells. When, meditating in that habitation, he perceives the perfect one, his mind should not in anyway wander outside. Restraining the group of the senses, in a forest[46] free from noises and unpeopled, he should meditate on the perfect one within his body with a mind fixed on one point. He should meditate on his teeth[47], palate, tongue, neck, and throat likewise, and also the heart, and likewise the seat of the. heart. That talented pupil, O destroyer of Madhu! having been thug instructed by me, proceeded further to interrogate (me) about the piety (required) for final emancipation, which is difficult to explain. 'How does this food eaten from time to time become digested in the stomach? How does it turn to juice, and how also to blood? And how, too, do the flesh, and marrow, and muscles, and bones--which all (form) the bodies for embodied (selfs)--develop in a woman as that (self) develops? How, too, does the strength develop? (And how is it also) about the removal of non-nutritive (substances)[48], and of the excretions, distinctly? How, too, does he breathe inwards or outwards? And what place does the self occupy, dwelling in the self[49]? And how does the soul moving about carry the body? And of what colour and of what description (is it when) he leaves it? O sinless venerable sir! be pleased to state this accurately to me.' Thus questioned by that Brāhmaṇa, O Mādhava! I replied[50], 'O you of mighty arms! O restrainer of (your) foes! according to what (I had) heard. As one placing any property in his store-room should fix his mind on the property[51], so placing one's mind in one's body, and (keeping) the passages confined, one should there look for the self and avoid heedlessness[52]. Being thus always assiduous and pleased in the self, he attains in a short time to that Brahman, after perceiving which he understands the Pradhāna[53]. He is not to be grasped by the eye, nor by any of the senses. Only by the mind (used) as a lamp is the great self perceived[54]. He has hands and feet on all sides; he has eyes, heads, and faces on all sides; he has cars on all sides; he stands pervading everything in the world[55]. The soul sees the self[56] come out from the body; and abandoning his body, he perceives the self,--holding it to be the immaculate Brahman,--with, as it were, a mental smile[57]. And then depending upon it thus, he attains final emancipation in me[58].

This whole mystery I have declared to you, O best of Brāhmaṇas[59]! I will now take my leave, I will go away; and do you (too) go away, O Brāhmaṇa! according to your pleasure.' Thus addressed by me, O Kṛṣṇa! that pupil, possessed of great penance,--that Brāhmaṇa of rigid vows,--went away as he pleased.

Vāsudeva said:

Having spoken to me, O son of Pṛthā! these good words relating to the piety (required) for final emancipation, that best of Brāhmaṇas disappeared then and there. Have you listened to this, O son of Pṛthā! with a mind (fixed) on (this) one point only[60]? For on that occasion, too, sitting in the chariot you heard this same (instruction). It is my belief, O son of Pṛthā! that this is not easily understood by a man who is confused, or who has not acquired knowledge with his inmost soul purified[61]. What I have spoken, O chief of the descendants of Bharata! is a great mystery (even) among the gods. And it has never yet been heard by any man in this world, O son of Pṛthā! For, O sinless one! there is no other man than you worthy to hear it. Nor is it easily to be understood by (one whose) internal self (is) confused. The world of the gods[62], O son of Kuntī! is filled by those who perform actions. And the gods are not pleased with a cessation of the mortal form[63]. For as to that eternal Brahman, O son of Prithā! that is the highest goal, where one, forsaking the body, reaches immortality and is ever happy. Adopting this doctrine, even those who are of sinful birth, women, Vaiśyas, and Śūdras likewise, attain the supreme goal. What then (need be said of) Brāhmaṇas, O son of Pṛthā[64]! or well-read Kṣatriyas, who are constantly intent on their own duties, and whose highest goal is the world of the Brahman? This has been stated with reasons; and also the means for its acquisition; and the fruit of its full accomplishment, final emancipation, and determination regarding misery[65]. O chief of the descendants of Bharata! there can be no other happiness beyond this. The mortal, O son of Pāṇdu! who, possessed of talents, full of faith, and energetic[66], casts aside as unsubstantial the (whole) substance of this world[67], he forthwith attains the highest goal by these means. This is all that is to be said, there is nothing further than this. Concentration of mind comes to him, O son of Pṛthā! who practises concentration of mind constantly throughout six months[68].

Footnotes and references:


We now begin, as Nīlakaṇṭha points out, the answer to the question put above by Kāśyapa about the emancipation of the self. Placid, Arjuna Miśra renders to mean 'silent, taciturn.' See p. 234 supra.


The path of knowledge, says Arjuna Miśra; the Brahman, says Nīlakaṇṭha. Abandoning each element = absorbing the gross into the subtle elements, and so forth, Nīlakaṇṭha,; abandoning each elementary mode of worship till one reaches that of contemplating the absolute Brahman, Arjuna Miśra.


This, in the terminology of the Vedānta, means keeping the mind from everything save 'hearing' &c. about the Brahman.


One who has his mind under his control. But see Gītā, p. 63.


Cf. Gītā, p. 71.


I. e. the desire to be honoured or respected, Arjuna Miśra. Cf. Sanatsujātīya, p. 161.


Who does not care when death comes.


Cf. p. 51 supra.


Cf. Gītā for all this, pp. 101, 103, 125, &c.


Cf. Kaṭha, p. 101.


Nīlakaṇṭha says this means the constituents of the body. Arjuna Miśra says, 'Prāṇa or life-wind,' &c. They are seven. See gloss on Chāndogya-upaniṣad, p. 441, and p. 343 infra.


Because, says Arjuna Miśra, he has no desire. Nīlakaṇṭha says this means an ascetic, sannyāsin. See p. 257 infra, note  1.


Cf. Gītā, p. 111, where Śaṅkara explains the name to mean 'what will not remain even till to-morrow.'


Cf. Gītā, p. 109, and other passages.


Arjuna Miśra has a different reading, which means 'particularly observing the evils of (the three kinds of) misery.'


Cf. Kaṭha, p. 119; Muṇḍaka, pp. 267; and Māndukya, p. 371.


Cf. Gītā, pp. 104, p. 105, and Kaṭha, p. 112.


Nīlakanṭha says this refers to the gross elements, the next expression to the subtle ones, and being free from these two, he is 'devoid of qualities,' viz. the three qualities.


Cf. Gītā, p. 65.


I. e. those which cause bodily and mental activity.


Cf. Maitrī, p. 178. The original is the famous word 'Nirvāṇa.'


Scil. derived from false knowledge, says Arjuna Miśra. Nīlakaṇṭha says all impressions from outside oneself which are destroyed by those produced from concentration of mind, &c. See p. 391 infra.


I. e. all those operations by which the internal man is rendered pure and free from all taints; see below, p. 248, where Nīlakaṇṭha renders it as 'the performance of one's duty which is called penance.' But see, too, pp. 74, 119, 166 supra. The meaning seems to be that the p. 247 man in question lets his senses work, but does not permit himself to be in any way identified with their operations. Cf. Gītā, p. 64.


Cf. the expressions at Gītā, p. 45. 'Unmoving,' which occurs at Īśa, p. 10, is there explained by Śaṅkara to mean 'always the same.' The same sense is given by Mahīdhara. Weber's Śatapatha, p. 980.


'Perfect' would seem to mean here free from all bonds or taints, the absolute.


I. e. sources of knowledge, says Arjuna Miśra.


Cf. as to 'directing the self within the self,' Gītā, p. 69. Nīlakaṇṭha says, 'paths, means of mental restraint; the self, mind; in the self, in the body.'


See p. 247, note  11. Nīlakaṇṭha's note there referred to occurs on this passage. See also p. 166, note  1 supra.


It is not easy to say what this science is. Is it Patañjali's system that is meant? No details occur to enable one to identify the 'science.' But, probably, no system is alluded to.


See note  4 above.


Nīlakaṇṭha has a very forced explanation of the original word, p. 249 which also occurs further on; he takes the meaning to be, 'he who is habituated to that by which the One is attained, viz. meditation.'


The original is the same as at Gītā, p. 63.


That is to say, one who has got the power of concentrating his mind as he pleases; and the words 'always concentrating' &c., just before, would mean 'one who always exercises that power.'


I. e. having perceived the self in the state of concentration, he sees the whole universe to be the self in this state when the concentration has ceased, Nīlakaṇṭha. Arjuna Miśra says, 'having perceived the self at the time of concentration, he recognises it as the same at the time of direct perception,' meaning, apparently, the time of final emancipation.


I. e. the reality, which in this simile forms the substratum of what are called the fibres; the simile is in the Kaṭha-upaniṣad; see, too, Sanatsujātīya, p. 176.


I. e. on the supreme self, as above explained.


Cf. Sanatsujātīya, p. 161; Śvetāśvatara, p. 290; and Bṛhadāranyaka, p. 218; Chāndogya, p. 523; Aitareya, p. 26; Kauṣītaki, p. 126.


I do not quite understand the original. The other reading, dehatvam for devatvam, is not more intelligible. But comparing the two, the meaning seems to be, that the divinity of the gods, i. e. their qualities and powers as gods, are within his reach, if he likes to have them.


Cf. Gītā, p. 107.


Affection is the feeling that a thing is one's own; attachment is the feeling of liking one has for a thing acquired with difficulty, Arjuna Miśra.


Pain appears to be the feeling immediately following on hurt or evil suffered; grief is the constant state of mind which is a later result.


Cf. Yoga-sūtra Bhāṣya, p. 208.


Cf. Gītā, p. 70. Despondency is the feeling that one has not acquired 'concentration' after much practice, and that therefore the practice should be abandoned.


The other reading here may be rendered, 'Then forthwith Indra himself esteems him highly.'


This is all rather mystical. Nīlakaṇṭha takes 'city' to mean body,' and 'habitation' to mean the mūlādhāra, or other similar mystic centre within the body, where, according to the Yoga philosophy, the soul is sometimes to be kept with the life-winds, &c. 'Thinking of a quarter,' &c., he explains to mean 'meditating on the instruction he has received after studying the Upaniṣads.' I do not understand the passage well. 'City' for 'body' is a familiar use of the word. Cf. Gītā, p. 65. The original word for habitation occurs at Aitareya-upaniṣad, p. 199, where Śaṅkara explains it to mean 'seat.' Three 'seats' are there mentioned,--the organs of sight, &c.; the mind; and the Ākāśa in the heart. There, too, the body is described as a 'city,' and Anandagiri explains habitation to mean 'seat of amusement or sport.' Here, however, the meaning seems to be that one should work for concentration in the manner indicated, viz. first fix the mind on the city where one dwells, then on the particular part of it oftenest seen before, them one's own habitation, then the various parts of one's body, and finally one's own heart and the Brahman within it. Thus gradually circumscribed in its operations, the mind is better fitted for the final concentration on the Brahman. As to external and internal operations, cf. note  8, p. 247. The perfect one is the Brahman. Cf. Sanatsujātīya, p. 171. As to āvasatha, which we have rendered by 'habitation,' see also Māṇḍukya, p. 340 . By Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 751; and the alternative sense suggested by Śaṅkara on the Aitareya, loc. cit.


Cf. Maitrī-upaniṣad, p. 100.


Nīlakaṇṭha cites numerous passages from works of the Yoga philosophy in illustration of this. He takes 'heart' to mean the Brahman seated in the heart (cf. Chāndogya, p. 528), and 'the seat of the heart' to mean the one hundred and one passages of the heart. The latter expression Arjuna Miśra seems to render by 'mind.' See also generally on this passage, Maitrī-upaniṣad, p. 133, and Yoga-sūtra III, 1 and 28 seq., and commentary there.


Literally, 'those which are void of strength.' I adopt Arjuna Miśra's reading. The other reading literally means 'obstructions.'


The self here means the body, I take it. See p. 248 supra.


The reply does not appear here. Nīlakaṇṭha says that the succeeding chapters contain it. Arjuna Miśra seems to say that the answer has been already given. The context here is obscure.


Nīlakaṇṭha says the original means household effects; Arjuna Miśra says wealth, and adds, the mind is fixed on it from fear of others finding it out.


Cf. Sanatsugātīya, p. 152. Here, however, the sense is the ordinary one.


I. e. all nature, that from which the universe is developed.


Cf. Kaṭha, pp. 117-130. See Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa) CCXL, 16.


Cf. Gītā, p. 103. The stanza occurs often in the Bhārata. This, says Arjuna Miśra, answers the question 'how the soul carries the body.' The soul can do that as it is all-pervading.


The individual soul, which has acquired true knowledge, perceives the self to be distinct from the body. See p. 249 supra.


I. e. at the false notions which he entertained. Nīlakaṇṭha says, 'smile, i.e. amazement that he should have been deceived by the mirage-like course of worldly life.'


I. e. final emancipation and assimilation with the supreme 'depending upon it thus' = taking refuge with the Brahman in the way above stated.


Arjuna Miśra says, the only questions among those stated above, which are of use for final emancipation, have been here answered. The others should be looked for elsewhere.


The original words here are identical with those at Gītā, p. 139.


I adopt Nīlakaṇṭha's reading here. Arjuna Miśra reads 'vijagdhena,' which he explains to mean 'one who eats kinds of food incompatible with one another.' A third reading is 'kṛtaghnena,' ungrateful!


See Gītā p. 84.


Cf. Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 234, where Śaṅkara quotes the original stanza, but with a reading which means, 'And the gods are not pleased at mortals rising above (them).' That is a better reading.


See Gītā, pp. 85, 86, where the words are nearly identical with those in the text.


This is not quite clear. Does 'determination regarding misery,' the original of which is duḥkhasya ka vinirṇayaḥ, mean 'conclusion of all misery?' Comp. Gītā, p. 79.


Arjuna Miśra says this means assiduous.


I. e. wealth and so forth, says Nīlakaṇṭha. Cf. 'human wealth' at Sanatsujātīya, p. 161.


Cf. Maitrī-upaniṣad, p. 154. The copy of Arjuna Miśra's p. 256 commentary which I have used, says that the Anugītā ends here. But, as we have shown, there is a verse coming further on, which Śaṅkarākārya cites as from the Anugītā. In the printed copies of the Mahābhārata the next chapter is called the Brāhmaṇagītā.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: