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 XXIV

Brahman said:

The qualities cannot be explained altogether distinctly (from one another). Passion, goodness, and darkness likewise are seen mixed up (with one another). They are attached to one another, they feed on one another. They all depend on one another, and likewise follow one another[1]. There is no doubt of this, that as long[2] as there is goodness so long darkness exists. And as long as goodness and darkness, so long is passion said (to exist) here. They perform their journey together, in union, and moving about collectively. For they act with cause or without cause[3], moving in a body. Of all these acting with one another, but differing in development, the increase and diminution will now be stated. Where darkness is increased, abiding,[4] in the lower entities, there passion should be understood to be little, and goodness likewise to be less. Where passion is developed, abiding in those of the middle current[5], there darkness should be understood to be little, and goodness likewise to be less. And where goodness is developed, abiding in those of the upward current[6], there darkness should be understood to be little, and passion likewise to be less[7]. Goodness is the cause of the modifications in the senses, and the enlightener[8]. For there is no other higher duty laid down than goodness. Those who adhere to (the ways of) goodness go up; the passionate remain in the middle; the men of the quality of darkness, being connected with the lowest quality, go down[9]. The three qualities abide in the three castes thus: darkness in the Śūdra, passion in the Kṣatriya, and the highest, goodness, in the Brāhmaṇa[10]. Even from afar[11], darkness, goodness, and passion also, are seen to have been together and moving about collectively. We have never heard of them (as existing) separately. Seeing the sun rising, evildoers are alarmed, and travellers, suffering trouble from the heat, feel the warmth. The sun is goodness developed, evil-doers likewise are darkness, and the heat to the travellers is said to be a property of passion[12]. The light in the sun is goodness; the heat is the quality of passion; and its eclipse on the Parvan[13] days must be understood to be of the quality of darkness. So in all shining bodies, there: exist three qualities. And they act by turns in the several places in several ways. Among immovable entities, darkness is in the form of their belonging to the lower species; the qualities of passion are variable; and the oleaginous property is of the quality of goodness[14]. The day should be understood to be threefold, the night is stated to be threefold, and likewise months, half-months, years, seasons, and the conjunctions[15]. Threefold are the gifts given[16], threefold the sacrifices performed, threefold are the worlds, threefold the gods, threefold the (departments of) knowledge, and threefold the path[17]. The past, the present, and the future; piety, wealth, and lust; the Prāṇa, the Apāna, and the Udāna; these are the three qualities. And whatever there is in this world, all that is (made of) these three qualities[18]. The three qualities--goodness, passion, and darkness also--are always acting unperceived. The creation of the qualities is eternal. Darkness, unperceived, holy[19], constant, unborn, womb, eternal, nature, change[20], destruction, Pradhāna, production and absorption, not developed, not small, unshaking, immovable, immutable, existent and also non-existent[21]--all these, the unperceived, (consisting) of the three qualities, is said to be. These names should be learnt by men who ponder on matters relating to the self. He who understands correctly all the names of the unperceived, and the qualities, and its pure operations, he, freed from the body, understanding the truth about (all) distinctions, and being free from all misery, is released from all qualities.

Footnotes and references:


Cf. p. 318 supra.


So Arjuna Miśra. Nīlakaṇṭha says on this, 'However much goodness may be increased, it is still held in cheek by darkness, and thus there is the continual relation of that which checks and that which is checked between the three qualities; hence they are alike. So also passion being increased, holds goodness and darkness in cheek. The sense seems to be that the qualities dominate all in this world and exist together though varying in strength' (Gītā, p. 73).


I. e. spontaneously, Arjuna Miśra. Cf. Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa), chap. 194, st. 35.


It is in the lower species that darkness is predominant.


I. e. the human species, Arjuna Miśra. Cf. Gītā, p. 109.


See Gītā, p. 109, also p. 327 supra. In his Sāṅkhyatattvakaumudī, Vācaspati Miśra applies the epithet to Yogins (see p. 13 of Tārānāth's edition, and the editor's note there)


Cf. Gītā, p. 108.


Cf. Gītā, p. 109. The modifications of the senses constituting perception by them is an operation of the quality of goodness. This seems to be the meaning of the text; as to this, cf. Tattvakaumudi, p. 14 (Tārānāth's edition).


See Gītā, p. 109; the words are nearly identical.


Cf. Sānti Parvan (Mokṣa), chap. 188, st. 15. The Vaiśya is omitted here.


I. e. Arjuna Miśra says, even after much observation.


This illustrates the existence of the qualities as one body. Even the enlightening sun, which embodies the quality of goodness, produces effects which belong to the other qualities. The fear and sorrow which evil-doers, that is thieves, feel, is an effect of the rising of the sun, which appertains to the quality of darkness, and the heat as being the cause of vexation and consequent delusion to travellers, appertains to the quality of passion.


I. e. the days of the moon's conjunction or opposition.


I understand this to mean that in the 'immovable entities' the three qualities co-exist; the birth in the lower species is an effect of darkness; the variable qualities, viz. the heat, &c., as Arjuna Miśra says, are the properties of passion; and the oleaginous properties among them appertain to goodness, as, says Arjuna Miśra, they are sources of pleasure (cf. Gītā, p. 118). Nīlakaṇṭha says, 'Immovable entities being very unintelligent, darkness is very much developed among them,' but this last, as an interpretation of tiryagbhāvagata, appears to me to be alike unwarranted and inappropriate here.


Does this mean the period about the close of one and beginning of another yuga or age? That is the only sense ejusdem generis with the words preceding it that I can think of;--yet the jump from years to yuga-sandhis is a long one.


Cf. Gītā, p. 120. With reference to some, at least, of the things enumerated here, the division would be rather fanciful.


see these three mentioned at Chāndogya, pp. 340-359. As to departments of knowledge, cf. Gītā, p. 84; Arjuna Miśra reads, 'threefold the Vedas.'


The universe is all developed from the Prakriti, which is merely the three 'qualities in equilibrium.' Cf. Sāṅkhya-sūtra I, 61.


Because it gives final emancipation to one who discriminates it from Puruṣa, Arjuna Miśra. Cf. Sāṅkhya-sūtra II, 1 seq., and Sāṅkhya-kārikā, p. 56 seq., and commentary. For another list of names of Prakṛti, see Śvetāśvatara (comm.), p. 283.


Nature is not a development from anything, and hence is called avikṛti in Sāṅkhya-kārikā 3; but 'change' here probably means the whole aggregate of Vikṛtis, 'changes' or developments, which make up Prakṛti; or by a different derivation it may, perhaps, also mean that from which all development or change takes place.


See Sāṅkhya-sūtra V, 52-56; and also I, 26, and commentary here. The Vedāntins speak of Māyā--which answers to what the p. 332 Sāṅkhyas call Prakṛti (see Śvetāśvatara, p. 340, and Sāṅkhya-sūtra I, 69, and commentary there)--as 'sattvāsattvābhyāmanirvācya.'

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