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)....

On this, too, they relate an ancient story (showing) of what nature is the institution of the Cāturhotra[1]. The due performance of it in its entirety is now taught. Hear me, O good woman! state this wonderful mystery. The instrument, the action, the agent, and emancipation[2], these, indeed, O you of a (pure) heart! are the four Hotṛs by whom this universe is enveloped. Hear also the assignment of causes exhaustively[3]. The nose, and the tongue, and the eye, and the skin, and the ear as the fifth, mind and understanding, these seven should be understood to be the causes of (the knowledge of[4]) qualities. Smell, and taste, and colour, sound, and touch as the fifth, the object of the mental operation and the object of the understanding[5], these seven are causes of action. He who smells, he who eats, he who sees, he who speaks, and he who hears as the fifth, he who thinks, and he who understands, these seven should be understood to be the causes of the agents[6]. These[7], being possessed of qualities[8], enjoy their own qualities, agreeable and disagreeable. And I am here devoid of qualities. Thus these seven are the causes of emancipation[9]. And among the learned who understand (everything), the qualities[10] which are in the position of the deities, each in its own place, always enjoy the offering according to prescribed rules. To him who is not learned, eating various (kinds of) food, the (feeling of this or that being) mine adheres. And cooking food for himself, he, through the (feeling of this or that being) mine, is ruined[11]. The eating of that which should not be eaten, and drinking of intoxicating drinks also destroys him. He destroys the food, and destroying that food he is destroyed in return. The learned man, being (himself) a ruler, destroying this food again produces it[12]. And not even a trifling obstacle[13] arises to him from that food. Whatever is thought by the mind[14], whatever is spoken by speech, whatever is heard by the ear, whatever is seen by the eye, whatever is touched by the sense of touch, and whatever is smelt by the nose, absorbing all these offerings from all sides, together with those (senses) which with the mind are six[15], my fire[16] of (high) qualifications[17], shines dwelling within the body. My sacrifice of concentration of mind is in progress, the performance of which yields the fire[18] of knowledge; the Stotra in which, is the upward life-wind; the Śastra, the downward life-wind; and which is very beneficial on account of the abandonment of everything[19]; the Brahman priest in which, is the counsellor in all action[20]; the Hotṛ priest, the self the Adhvaryu priest, (the self) whose hymn of praise[21] is the offering; the Sastra of the Praśāstṛ, truth; and the Dakṣiṇā, final emancipation. On, this, too, Ṛk verses are recited by the men who understand Nārāyaṇa[22]--the god Nārāyaṇa to whom they formerly offered animal[23] (offerings). On that Sāman hymns[24], are sung, of which an illustration is stated[25].

O modest one! understand that god Nārāyaṇa, who is the self of everything.

Footnotes and references:


Cf. Aitareya-brāhmaṇa (Haug), pp. 132, 133.


Cf. as to the three first, Gītā, p. 123. They are the four categories, to one or other of which everything in the world may be referred.


The texts here differ. Arjuna Miśra's reading he interprets to mean 'the subjugation of these Hotris.' The reading followed in the text seems to some extent to be supported by the sequel. But the passage altogether is not very clear.


So Arjuna Miśra--through these the knowledge of the qualities of objects of sense is acquired.


The sensations, or perceptions, referred to lead to action.


This seems to mean, that the powers of smelling, &c., when attributed to the self, make him appear as an agent, as an active principle.


I. e. action, agent, and instrument, Arjuna Miśra.


I. e. the three, goodness, passion, and darkness.


It is these seven from which the self is to be emancipated. must mean the self, not the Brāhmaṇa who speaks.


I. e., I presume, the senses. Cf. Gītā, p. 50. The learned do. not suppose their self to have aught to do with them. Cf. Gītā, p. 64.


Cf. Gītā, p. 53; Manu III, 118.


His knowledge gives him this power. He is not 'destroyed' by the food as the other man is. Nīlakaṇṭha compares Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 884. See too p. 260, note  1 supra.


I. e. mischief owing to the destruction of life necessary for getting food, says Nīlakaṇṭha quoting Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 913.


This includes the operation of the understanding also. Nīlakaṇṭha says this verse explains what the word 'food' means here.


For the phrase cf. Gītā, p. 112.


That is to say, my self, Arjuna Miśra. See p. 259, note  3 supra.


As the objects of sense &c. are all absorbed into it.


It is called 'fire,' as it burns up all action. Cf. Gītā, p. 62.


Arjuna Miśra's commentary is not intelligible here, so I follow Nīlakaṇṭha, but diffidently.


I. e. the mind, say the commentators. 'Mantā' simply is given among the synonyms of Ahaṅkāra at Sāṅkhya-sāra, p. 16.


I. e. the actions performed for knowledge of the truth, Arjuna Miśra.


Nīlakaṇṭha refers to a Ṛk 'Tapa āsīd-gṛhapatih,' and also the famous allegory at the end of the Taittirīya-āraṇyaka. These are cited, he says, as authorities for this 'sacrifice (consisting of) concentration of mind.'


I. e. the senses, Nīlakaṇṭha. Arjuna Miśra compares the whole passage with the Puruṣa Sūkta, which are the Ṛk verses alluded to, according to him. He refers for further explanations to his own commentary on that sūkta of the Rig-veda.


They sing these hymns, out of the gratification produced by knowledge of the self, says Nīlakaṇṭha, and he cites Taittirīya-āraṇyaka, p. 749. See also Taittirīya-upaniṣad, p. 138, and Śaṅkara's commentary there.


The readings of our texts here are not very satisfactory. The illustration is stated, says Nīlakaṇṭha, whose reading we follow, by the Taittirīyas in the passage referred to in the last note. Arjuna Miśra's reading means 'such as Tāhu cāhu,' which would seem to be the words of the Sāman hymn referred to. But his commentary does not show what the words before him were. The whole figure as drawn out in this passage is not quite clear, though the general sense is pretty intelligible. Cf. the allegories at Aitareya-brāhmaṇa, pp. 132, 133, and at the close of the Taittirīya-āraṇyaka.

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