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)....

There is one director[1]; there is no second director. I speak concerning him who abides in the heart. This being, the director, dwells in the heart and directs (all creatures). Impelled by that same (being), I move as I am ordered, like water on a declivity. There is one instructor; there is no second (different) from him. I speak concerning him who abides in the heart. Taught by that instructor, all snakes whatever are ever hated in the world[2]. There is one kinsman; there is no second (different) from him. I speak concerning him who abides in the heart. Taught by him kinsmen are possessed of kinsmen[3], (and) the seven Ṛṣis, O son of Pṛthā[4]! shine in heaven[5]. There is one hearer[6]; there is no second (different) from him. I speak concerning him who abides in the heart. Living under that instructor, (according to the proper mode of) living with an instructor, Śakra[7] acquired immortality in all worlds. There is one enemy; there is no second (different) from him. I speak concerning him who abides in the heart. Taught by that instructor, all snakes whatever are ever hated in the world[8]. On this, too, they relate an ancient story, (about the) instruction of the snakes, and the gods, and sages, by Prajāpati. The gods, and sages, and the snakes, and the demons, approaching Prajāpati, said (to him): 'Tell us the highest good.' To them who were inquiring about the highest good, the venerable one said, 'Om[9], the Brahman, in a single syllable.' Hearing that, they ran away in (various) directions[10]. When they were running. for instruction regarding the self, the inclination of the snakes to biting had been already formed. The natural inclination of the demons towards ostentatiousness had been formed. The gods had been engaged in gifts, and the great sages in restraint of the senses. Having had one teacher, and having been instructed with one word, the snakes, the gods, the sages, and the demons, all engaged in different[11] (pursuits). One hears what is said (to one) and apprehends it duly; (but even) to one who inquires and extols highly, there is no other instructor[12]. And by his counsel does action afterwards take place. The instructor, the learner, the hearer, and the enemy, are always within the heart. Acting sinfully in the world, he becomes (a man of) sinful conduct. Acting virtuously in the world he becomes .(a man of) virtuous conduct[13]. And he becomes a man of conduct according to his own desire[14], who, owing to his desires, is given up to the pleasures of the senses. But he who, casting aside vows[15] and actions, merely adheres to the Brahman, he moving about in the world identifying himself with the Brahman, becomes a Brahmacārin. To him the Brahman itself is the fuel, the Brahman the fire, the Brahman his origin, the Brahman water, the Brahman the instructor. He is rapt in the Brahman[16]. Such is this subtle life as a Brahmacārin understood by the wise. Understanding it they practised it, being instructed by the Kṣetrajña[17].

Footnotes and references:


I. e. the Supreme Being, Arjuna Miśra. Nīlakaṇṭha connects this with the preceding chapter by saying that this describes Nārāyana, who is there mentioned. See Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa Dharma), Chap. 226, st. 8 (Bombay ed.)


The natural feelings of animosity are caused by the Supreme Being within. Such seems to be the meaning. Cf. Gītā, pp. 128, 129. I may remark that Arjuna Miśra seems to interpret the original words, which we have rendered by 'I speak concerning him,' &c., to mean 'I repeat what has been said by,' &c. This does not seem to me to be satisfactory; and it may be added, too, that Arjuna Miśra's interpretation appears in his gloss not on the first verse, about the 'director,' but only on the second, about the instructor.' Hated = full of animosity, Nīlakaṇṭha.


I. e. the feeling of kinsmanship arises from his inspiration.


The poet seems to be nodding here, as this expression cannot form part of the Brāhmaṇa's speech to his wife.


The seven sages are always mentioned together, and may well be spoken of as types of the feeling of kinship.


Nīlakaṇṭha takes this to mean pupil, but it is difficult to reconcile that with the rest of the passage. Arjuna Miśra renders it by 'the destroyer of every one's doubts.' For that, it will be necessary to take the word as a form of the causative, and not the simple root śru, to hear. But see, too, p. 283, 'the instructor . . . the hearer.'


Cf. Sanatsujātīya, p. 152, note  1.


The words here are nearly the same as before; the commentators give no explanation of the repetition. But see p. 281, note  2.


Cf. Gītā, p. 79. The full sense is that from the study of this Om the highest good is attained.


I. e. to their own dwellings, believing that they had learnt what they wanted.


The meaning seems to be that the original inclination was not altered by the new instruction received by them. Nīlakaṇṭha seems to understand the passage differently. What has been rendered in the text by 'when they were running for instruction,' he renders by 'when they were practically carrying out the instruction received by them;' but this rendering seems to omit all consideration of the words 'Pūrvameva tu'--already. Though, therefore, there are one or two circumstances in favour of this construction, I have adopted the other. Cf. Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 964.


The meaning is that the real instructor is within oneself, 'abiding in the heart,' as said before, although instruction may in form be received from one outside, of whom one seeks to learn, and whom one respects (or extols highly, as the text has it), and although such instruction may be well apprehended.


Cf. Bṛhadāraṇyaka, pp. 546-853.


See Gītā, p. 117.


I. e. fasts and other like observances.


Cf. Gītā, p. 61. The water is that required for the sacrifice. The words 'the Brahman is his origin' are not quite clear, as being not connected with the figure employed. Perhaps it might be taken otherwise thus, 'the Brahman (is) the fire produced from the Brahman,' this last standing for the araṇi.


I. e. one who understands the truth, Nīlakaṇṭha; God, Arjuna Miśra. The same sentence winds up two of the following chapters; and at p. 310 Kṛṣṇa says the Kṣetrajña signifies the supreme self. See Gītā, p. 102 seq.

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