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 XXVII

Brahman said:

From egoism, verily, were the five great elements born--earth, air, space, water, and light as the fifth. In these five great elements, in the operations of (perceiving) sound, touch, colour, taste, and smell, creatures are deluded[1]. When, at the termination of the destruction of the great elements, the final dissolution approaches, O talented one! a great danger for all living beings arises[2]. Every entity is dissolved into that from which it is produced. They are born one from the other, and are dissolved in the reverse order[3]. Then when every entity, movable or immovable, has been dissolved, the talented men who possess a (good) memory[4] are not dissolved at all. Sound, touch, and likewise colour, taste, and smell as the fifth; the operations (connected with these) have causes[5], and are inconstant, and their name is delusion. Caused by the production of avarice[6], not different from one another[7], and insignificant[8], connected with flesh and blood, and depending upon one another, excluded from the self[9], these are helpless and powerless. The Prāṇa and the Apāna, the Udāna, the Samāna, and the Vyāna also, these five winds are also joined to the inner self[10], and together with speech, mind, and understanding make the eight constituents of the universe[11]. He whose skin, nose, ear, eye, tongue, and speech are restrained, and whose mind is pure, and understanding unswerving[12], and whose mind is never burnt by these eight fires[13], he attains to that holy Brahman than which nothing greater exists. And the eleven organs, which are stated as having been produced from egoism--these, O twice-born ones! I will describe specifically. The ear, the skin, the two eyes, the tongue, the nose also as the fifth, the two feet, the organ of excretion, and the organ of generation, the two hands, and speech as the tenth; such is the group of organs, the mind is the eleventh. This group one should subdue first, then the Brahman shines (before him). Five (of these) are called the organs of perception, and five the organs of action. The five beginning with the ear are truly said to be connected with knowledge. And all the rest are without distinction connected with action. The mind should be understood to be among both[14], and the understanding is the twelfth. Thus have been stated the eleven organs in order. Understanding these[15], learned men think they have accomplished (everything). I will now proceed to state all the various organs. Space[16] is the first entity; as connected with the self it is called the ear; likewise as connected with objects (it is) sound; and the presiding deity there is the quarters. The second entity is air; it is known as the skin as connected with the self; as connected with objects (it is) the object of touch; and the presiding deity there is lightning. The third (entity) is said to be light; as connected with the self it is called the eye; next as connected with objects (it is) colour; and the presiding deity there is the sun. The fourth (entity) should be understood to be water; as connected with the self it is called the tongue; as connected with objects it is taste; and the presiding deity there is Soma. The fifth entity is earth; as connected with the self it is the nose; as connected with objects likewise it is smell; and the presiding deity there is the wind. Thus are the five entities stated to be divided among the three[17]. I will now proceed to state all the various organs. As connected with the self, the feet are mentioned by Brāhmaṇas, who perceive the truth; as connected with objects it is motion; the presiding deity there is Viṣṇu. The Apāna wind, the motion of which is downward, as connected with the self, is called the organ of excretion; as connected with objects it is excretion[18]; and the presiding deity there is Mitra. As connected with the self the generative organ is mentioned, the producer of all beings; as connected with objects it is the semen; and the presiding deity there is Prajāpati. Men who understand the Adhyātma speak of the two hands as connected with the self; as connected with objects it is actions; and the presiding deity there is Indra. Then first, as connected with the self, is speech which relates to all the gods; as connected with objects it is what is spoken; and the presiding deity there is fire. As connected with the self they mention the mind, which follows after the five entities[19]; as connected with objects it is the mental operation; the presiding deity there is the- moon. Likewise (there is) egoism, the cause of the whole course of worldly life, as connected with the self; as connected with objects, self-consciousness; the presiding deity there is Rudra. As connected with the self, they mention the understanding impelling the six senses[20]; as connected with objects that which is to be understood; and the presiding deity there is Brahman. There are three seats for all entities--a fourth is not possible--land, water, and space. And the (mode of) birth is fourfold. Those born from eggs, those born from germs, those born from perspiration, and those born from wombs-such is the fourfold (mode of) birth of the group of living beings[21]. Now there are the inferior beings and likewise those moving in the air. Those should be understood to be born from eggs, as also all reptiles. Insects are said to be born from perspiration; and worms of the like description. This is said to be the second (mode of) birth, and inferior. Those beings, however, which are born after the lapse of some time, bursting through the earth, are said to be born from germs, O best of the twice-born! Beings of two feet or more than two feet, and those which move crookedly, are the beings born from wombs. Understand about them also, O best of men! The eternal seat (where) the Brahman[22] (is to be attained) should be understood to be twofold-penance[23] and meritorious action. Such is the doctrine of the learned. Action should be understood to be of various[24]

descriptions, (namely) sacrifice, gift at a sacrifice, and sacred study[25], for (every one) who is born[26]. Such is the teaching of the ancients. He who duly understands this, becomes possessed of concentration of mind, O chief of the twice-born! and know, too, that he is released from all sins. Space[27] is the first entity; as connected with the (individual) self it is called the ear; as connected with objects likewise it is called sound; and the presiding deity there is the quarters. The second entity is air; as connected with the (individual) self it is called the skin; as connected with objects it is the object of touch; and the presiding deity there is the lightning. The third is called light; as connected with the (individual) self it is laid down to be the eye; next as connected with objects it is colour; the presiding deity there is the sun. The fourth should be understood to be water; as connected with the (individual) self it is stated to be the tongue; as connected with objects it should be understood to be taste; the presiding deity there is Soma. The fifth element is earth; as connected with the (individual) self it is called the nose; as connected with objects likewise it is called smell; the presiding deity there is Vāyu. Thus have I accurately described to you the creation[28] as connected with the (individual) self. A knowledge of this, O ye who understand piety! is here obtained by those who possess knowledge. One should place all these together, (viz.) the senses, the objects of the senses, and the five great elements, and hold them by the mind[29]. When everything is absorbed into the mind, the pleasures of (worldly) life[30] are not esteemed. The learned (men) whose understandings are possessed of knowledge esteem the pleasure derived from that[31]. Now[32] I shall proceed to describe that discarding of all entities by (means) gentle and hard[33], which produces attachment to subtle[34] (topics), and is sanctifying. The (mode of) conduct in which qualities are not (treated as) qualities[35], which is free from attachment, in which one lives alone[36], which is uninterrupted[37], and which is full of the Brahman[38], is called happiness (dwelling) in one aggregate[39].

The learned man who absorbs objects of desire from all sides, as a tortoise (draws in) his limbs[40], and who is devoid of passion, and released from everything[41], is ever happy. Restraining objects of desire within the self[42], he becomes fit for assimilation with the Brahman[43], having his cravings destroyed, and being concentrated in mind, and friendly and affectionate[44] to all beings. The fire of the Adhyātma[45] is kindled in a sage by his abandoning the country[46], and by the restraint of all the senses which hanker after objects of sense. As fire kindled with fuel shines forth with a great blaze, so the great self[47] shines forth through the restraint of the senses. When one with a tranquil self perceives all entities in one's own heart. then being self-illumined[48], one attains to that which is subtler than (the most) subtle (thing)[49], and than which there is nothing higher. It is settled, that the body in which the colour[50] is fire, the flowing[51]

(element) water, and the feeling of touch is air, the hideous holder of the mud[52] is earth, and likewise the sound is space; which is pervaded by disease and sorrow; which is surrounded by the five currents[53]; which is made up of the five elements; which has nine passages[54] and two deities[55]; which is full of passion; unfit to be seen[56]; made up of three qualities and of three constituent elements[57]; pleased with contacts[58]; and full of delusion[59]; this same (body), which is difficult to move in this mortal world, and which rests on the real (entity)[60], is the very wheel of time which rotates in this world[61]. It is a great ocean, fearful and unfathomable, and is named[62] delusion. The world, together with the immortals, should cast it aside, curtail it, and restrain it[63]. Desire, wrath, fear, avarice, treachery, and falsehood also, (all these), which are difficult to get rid of, the good do get rid of by restraint of the senses[64]. And he who in this world has vanquished the three qualities and the five constituent elements[65], obtains the highest[66]--the infinite-seat in heaven. Crossing the river of which the five senses are the lofty banks, the agitation of mind[67] the mighty waters, and delusion the reservoir[68], one should vanquish both desire and wrath. Freed from all sins, he, then perceives that highest (principle), concentrating the mind within the mind[69], and seeing the self within the self[70]. Understanding everything, he sees the self with the self in all entities as one[71], and also as various, changing from time to time[72]. He can always perceive (numerous) bodies like a hundred lights from one light. He verily is Viṣṇu, and Mitra, and Varuna, Agni, and Prajāpati. He is the supporter, and the creator. He is the lord whose faces ale in all directions[73]. (In him) the great self--the heart of all beings--is resplendent. Him, all companies of Brāhmaṇas, and also gods, and demons, and Yakṣas, and Pisācas, and Pitṛs, and birds, and the bands of Rakṣases, and the bands of Bhūtas[74], and also all the great sages, ever extol.

Footnotes and references:


The contact of the objects of sense with the senses is the source of delusion.


Cf. Gītā, p. 107, and note  1 there.


Cf. Sāṅkhya-sūtra I, 121, and p. 387 infra.


I.e. knowledge of the truth, Arjuna Miśra.


Hence, as they have a beginning, they also must have an end and hence they are inconstant.


This and following epithets expand the idea of inconstancy.


Being all in substance connected with the Prakṛti, the material world, so to say.


Containing no reality, Nīlakaṇṭha.


Nīlakaṇṭha apparently takes the original here to mean of gross nature, not, subtle, such as anything connected with the self would be. They are helpless and powerless without support from other principles, and mainly the self.


He here states what is more closely connected with the self, and, as Nīlakaṇṭha puts it, accompanies the self till final emancipation. The inner self Nīlakaṇṭha takes to mean the self associated with egoism or self-consciousness.


Nīlakaṇṭha cites certain texts to show that the perceptive senses work only through the mind, and that the objects of the senses are produced from the senses, and hence the universe, he says, is constituted of the eight enumerated above.


I. e. from the truth.


I. e. vexed by the operations of any of these.


Cf. Sāṅkhya-kārikā 2 7; Sāṅkhya-sāra, p. 17.


Cf. Kaṭha, p. 148.


Cf. Lalita Vistara (translated by Dr. R. Mitra), p. 11.


The above sentences show the entities in the three different aspects mentioned, which correspond to each other; the ear is the sense, that which is connected with the self; sound is the object of that sense, as connected with the external world; and the p. 338 quarters, Dik, are the deities presiding over the senses; as to this cf. Sāṅkhya-sāra, p. 17, and Vedānta Paribhāṣā, p. 45, which show some discrepancies. The distinctions of Adhyātma &c. are to be found in the Upaniṣads; cf. inter alia, Chāndogya, p. 227, and cf. Gītā, p. 77.


As to the original word, cf. inter alia, Śvetāśvatara, pp. 197-202.


This probably means the five senses which can perceive only when associated with the mind. See p. 268 supra.


The understanding is called the charioteer at Kaṭha, p. 111.


Cf. Chāndogya, pp. 404-406, and glosses; Aitareya, p. 243; Vedānta Paribhāṣā, p. 47; Sāṅkhya-sūtra V, 111; Manu. I, 43; Max Müller's note at p. 94 of his Chāndogya in this series.


So Nīlakaṇṭha, but he also adds that this means birth as a Brāhmaṇa, which seems to be quite wrong. Arjuna Miśra's 'means of acquiring Brahman' is right. See p. 369 infra.


I. e., I presume, 'knowledge.' Śaṅkara has so interpreted the word at Muṇḍaka, p. 270, and Kaṭha, p. 127, and elsewhere; and see Sanatsujātīya, p. 166 supra.


Another reading is 'of two kinds.' But I prefer this, as three kinds are mentioned further on.


Cf. as to this Chāndogya, p. 136, which justifies our rendering, though the commentator Arjuna Miśra seems to understand the passage differently.


Arjuna Miśra seems to understand this to mean 'twice-born.'


This is a repetition of what occurs at p. 337, and apparently is spurious. But two of the MSS., both those containing commentaries, contain the passage twice. One of the other MSS. omits the passage where it occurs before, and has it here. I think that the passage is in its place before, and probably interpolated here.


I am not quite sure that this is a correct rendering. But I can think of none better, and the commentators afford no help.


Nīlakaṇṭha says, 'Thinking that the great elements are not distinct from the senses, one should hold them absorbed in the mind.' Arjuna Miśra says, 'In the mind as their seat they should be placed,' as being not distinct from the mind, I presume. Cf. Kaṭha, p. 148.


Literally,' birth.'


From knowledge, I presume. The commentators afford no help.


Arjuna Miśra's text appears to commence a new chapter here.


Such as meditation or upāsana, and prāṇāyama or restraint of life-winds respectively, Arjuna Miśra.


Cf. p. 310 supra.


I. e. bravery, learning, &c. are treated as not being merits, as they cause pride, &c., Nīlakaṇṭha.


I. e. in solitude, Nīlakaṇṭha; devoting oneself to the self` only, Arjuna Miśra. Cf. also p. 284 supra, note  4.


Or, says Nīlakaṇṭha, free from any belief in distinctions.


Another reading would mean 'which exists among Brāhmaṇas.'


I. e. all collected together, I presume.


Cf. Gītā, pp. 50, 51, and Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa Dharma) I, 51, where the phrase is precisely the same as here.


I. e. from all bonds, I suppose. See p. 292 supra.


Cf. Gītā, p. 51.


Cf. Gītā, p. 110.


Cf. Gītā, p. 68.


I. e. experience, Nīlakaṇṭha. It means direct perception of the relations between the supreme and individual self, Cf. Gītā, p. 111.


As opposed to forests. See Sanatsujātīya, p. 159, note 9.


This must mean here the supreme self, apparently.


I. e. being devoted to the self only, Arjuna Miśra. The ordinary meaning of the word, however, is one who has direct experience or perception without the aid of senses, &c. Cf. Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 765, and Śārīraka Bhāṣya, pp. 648, 784, &c.


Nīlakaṇṭha says, 'The supreme Brahman which is subtler than the Brahman within the lotus-like heart.'


I. e. that which perceives colour, viz. the sense, Arjuna Miśra. This applies to the analogous words coming further on.


I. e. taste, says Arjuna Miśra, which seems to be more correct than Nīlakaṇṭha's blood and such other liquid elements of the body.


I. e. the flesh, bone, and so forth, Nīlakaṇṭha; the mucus in the nose, Arjuna Miśra.


I. e. the senses. Cf. p. 238 supra, note  7.


Cf. Gītā, p. 65.


See Sanatsujātīya, p. 187 supra.


As being unholy, Nīlakaṇṭha; as the bodies of Kāṇḍālas &c, when seen are productive of sin, Arjuna Miśra. See p. 155 supra.


Viz. vāta, pitta, śleshma, or wind, bile,, and phlegm. The dhātus are sometimes spoken of as seven. See Yoga-sūtras, p. 192; Taitt. Ār. p. 874, commentary, and p. 246 supra. See, too, however, Śvetāśvatara, commentary, p. 287.


Which is delighted only by contact with food and so forth, not otherwise, Nīlakaṇṭha.


I. e. cause of delusion. The original word for 'it is settled' at the beginning of this sentence is otherwise rendered by Arjuna Miśra. He takes it to mean in this light (namely, as above stated) 'should one contemplate the body.' The other rendering is Nīlakaṇṭha's.


I. e. the self, Arjuna Miśra; the understanding, Nīlakaṇṭha difficult to move = difficult to adjust if attacked by disease, &c., Nīlakaṇṭha.


It is owing to this body that the self becomes limited by time, Arjuna Miśra. Nīlakaṇṭha's gloss I do not follow. Cf. p. 187 supra, and p. 355 infra.


I. e., Characterised by delusion, Arjuna Miśra.


I am not sure about the meaning here. Arjuna Miśra says, (reading viśriget, 'send forth,' for vikṣipet, 'cast aside,') 'send forth at the creation, curtail at the dissolution, and restrain at the final emancipation.' The commentary reads rodhayet, which we have adopted above. The text in the same copy, however, is bodhayet. Arjuna Miśra adds, as far as I can make out from an incorrect copy: 'as in this life everything is accomplished by these actions' (namely, I suppose, the casting aside, &c.) Nīlakaṇṭha says, 'This same thing is the cause of creation, destruction, and knowledge,' reading bodhayet.


Cf. Gītā, p. 57.


I. e. the five great elements, as stated in Williams' Dictionary, citing Yāgñavalkya III, 145. See Sānti Parvan (Mokṣa), chap. 182, st. 16; chap. 184, st. 1.


I. e. the seat of the Brahman, Nīlakaṇṭha.


See Gītā, p. 66, where the word is the same, viz. vega.


From which, namely, the river issues. Cf. for the whole figure, Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa), chap. 251, st. 12.


The mind = the lotus-like heart, Nīlakaṇṭha. Cf. Gītā, p. 79. Concentrating = withdrawing from external objects, &c.


I. e. in the body, Nīlakaṇṭha. See p. 248.


Cf. Gītā, p. 83, and note  4 there. Nīlakaṇṭha says, 'as one, i. e. by direct perception of the unity of the individual and supreme, and as various, i. e. in the all-comprehending form.'


I. e. creating or acting, Arjuna Miśra. I think it probable that it was meant to go with the preceding words. See Gītā, p. 83 note; but, for this, 'changing' must be in the accusative. It is in the nominative. As the original stands, and on Arjuna Miśra's interpretation, the sense seems to be that when he is about to engage fin the work of creation, he can obtain as many bodies as he likes. Nīlakaṇṭha compares Chāndogya, p. 526. And see pp. 249, 327 supra. Can always perceive = invariably obtains when he wishes.


Cf. Gītā, pp. 83, 93, and note  1 there.


Cf. Gītā, pp. 85, 118.

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