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)....

Chapter XIX

The Brāhmaṇa's wife said:

This is not possible to be understood by one whose self[1] is frivolous, or by one whose self is not refined; and my intelligence is very frivolous, and narrow, and confused. Tell me the means by which this knowledge is acquired. I (wish to) learn from you the source from which that knowledge proceeds.

The Brāhmaṇa said

Know that he who devotes himself to the Brahman is the (lower) Arani, the instructor is the upper Arani. Penance and sacred learning cause the attrition[2], and from that the fire of knowledge is produced.

The Brāhmaṇa's wife said:

As to this symbol of the Brahman which is denominated the Kṣetrajña, where, indeed, is (to be found) a description of it, by which it[3] is capable of being comprehended?

The Brāhmana said:

He is without symbols[4], and also without qualities; nothing exists that is a cause of him. I will only state the means by which he can be comprehended or not. A good means is found, namely, action[5] and knowledge, by which that[6] (entity), which has the symbols (useful) for knowledge[7] attributed to it through ignorance, is perceived as by bees[8]. In the (rules for) final emancipation, it is not laid down, that a certain thing should be done, and a certain thing should not[9]. But the knowledge of the things beneficial to the self is produced in one who sees and hears[10]. One should adopt as many of these things, (which are) means of direct perception, as may here be practicable--unperceived, and those whose form is perceived[11], in hundreds and in thousands, all of various descriptions. Then one reaches near that beyond which nothing exists.

The Deity said:

Then the mind of the Brāhmaṇa's wife, after the destruction of the Kṣetrajña[12], turned to that which is beyond (all) Kṣetrajñas by means of a knowledge of the Kṣetra[13].

Arjuna said:

Where, indeed, O Kṛṣṇa! is that Brāhmaṇa's wife, and where is that chief of Brāhmaṇas, by both of whom this perfection was attained? Tell me about them both, O undegraded one!

The Deity said:

Know my mind to be the Brāhmaṇa, and know my understanding to be the Brāhmana's wife. And he, O Dhanañjaya! who has been spoken of as the Kṣetrajña, is I myself[14].

Footnotes and references:


I. e. mind, Arjuna Miśra.


Scil. of the Araṇis (i. e. the wood used for kindling fire); the sense is, that the pupil who has penance and Vedic learning goes to a teacher for knowledge. See Śvetāśvatara pp. 307, 308.


I. e. the Brahman, says Arjuna Miśra, of which the Kṣetrajña is only a symbol. For a definition of Kṣetrajña, see Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa), chap. 187, st. 23.


See Sanatsujātīya, p. 160.


Viz. that which is required as a preliminary to the acquisition of knowledge, and hence is necessary for final emancipation.


The Brahman.


I. e. symbols which are to convey a knowledge of the Brahman.


I. e. in a way not perfect; as bees hovering above a flower get the fragrance of it without grasping the flower itself, so these means give one an imperfect knowledge of the Brahman to be afterwards perfected by constant meditation upon it (nididhyāsa).


As it is in the prior portion of the Vedas, as to sacrifices, &c.


Sees, i. e. by contemplation; hears, i. e. from a teacher, Arjuna Miśra.


This seems to mean such things as hearing, reading, &c., which would be 'perceived' scil. by the senses; and all intellectual operations which would be 'unperceived.'


I. e. after the identification of the individual self with the universal self, when the individual ceases to be perceived as such. Cf. Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa), chap. 187, st. 23.


That beyond Kṣetrajñas = the absolute supreme self. Cf. Gītā, p. 206.


The substance of this speech, says Arjuna Miśra, is that the mind and understanding devoted to the supreme lead to final emancipation.

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