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 XXVIII

Brahman said:

Among men the royal Kṣatriya is the middle[1] quality; among vehicles the elephant[2], and among denizens, of the forest the lion; among all sacrificial animals the sheep, and among the dwellers in holes the snake; among cattle also the bull, and among females a male[3]. The Nyagrodha, the Jambu, the Pippala, and likewise the Śālmali, the Sinśapā, and the. Meṣasṛṅga, and likewise the bamboo and willow[4]; these are the princes among trees in this world, there is no doubt of that. The Himavat, the Pāriyātra, the Sahya, the Vindhya, the Trikūṭavat, the Śveta, the Nīla, the Bhāsa, and the Koṣṭhavat mountain, the Mahendra, the Guruskandha; and likewise the Mālyavat mountain, these are the princes among mountains[5]. Likewise the Maruts are (the princes) among the Gaṇas; the sun is the prince among the planets, and the moon[6] among the Nakṣatras; Yama is the prince among the Pitṛs, and the ocean among rivers; Varuṇa is the king of the waters, and Indra is said to be (the king) of the Maruts. Arka is the king of hot (bodies), and Indu is said to be (the king) of shining bodies. Fire is ever the lord of the elements[7], and Bṛhaspati of Brāhmaṇas; Soma is the lord of herbs, Viṣṇu is the chief among the strong; Tvashṭṛ is the prince of the Rudras, and Śiva is the ruler of (all) creatures; likewise, sacrifice of (all) initiatory ceremonies[8], and Maghavat[9] likewise of the gods; the north among the quarters, and among all vipras the powerful king Soma[10]; Kubera (is lord) of all jewels, Purandara of (all) deities. Such is the highest creation among all entities. Prajāpati (is lord) of all peoples; and of all entities whatever I, who am full of the Brahman, and great, (am lord). There is no higher being than myself or Viṣṇu. The great Viṣṇu full of the Brahman is the king of kings over all. Understand him to be the ruler, the creator, the uncreated Hari. For he is the ruler of men, Kinnaras, and Yakṣas; of Gandharvas, snakes, and Rakṣases; of gods, demons, and Nāgas. Among all those who are followed by (men) full of desires, (the chief) is[11] the great goddess Māheśvarī, who has beautiful eyes. She is called Pārvatī. Know the goddess Umā[12] to be the best and (most) holy of (all) females. Among women who are (a source[13] of) happiness, likewise, the brilliant[14] Apsarases (are chief). Kings desire piety; and Brāhmaṇas are the bridges[15] of piety. Therefore a king should always endeavour to protect the twice-born[16]. Those kings in whose dominions good men lie low, lose all their qualifications[17], and go into wrong paths after death. But those high-souled kings in whose dominions good men are protected, rejoice in this world, and attain the infinite (seat) after death. Understand this, O chiefs of the twice-born! I shall now proceed to state the invariable characteristics of piety. Non-destruction is the highest piety[18], and destruction is of the nature of impiety. Enlightenment[19] is the characteristic of gods; action[20] the characteristic of men; sound is the characteristic of space; (the sensation of) touch is the characteristic of air; colour is the characteristic of light; taste is the characteristic of water; the characteristic of earth, the supporter of all beings, is smell; words are the characteristic of speech[21] refined into vowels and consonants; the characteristic of mind is thought. Likewise as to what is described here as understanding, a determination is here formed by (that) understanding about objects which have been thought over by the mind[22]. And there is no doubt of this that determination is the characteristic of the understanding. The characteristic of mind is meditation[23]; and the characteristic of a good man is (living) unperceived[24]. The characteristic of devotion is action[25]; and knowledge, the characteristic of renunciation. Therefore a man of understanding should practice renunciation, giving prominence to knowledge[26]. The renouncer possessed of knowledge attains the highest goal. And crossing beyond darkness, and transcending death and old age, he repairs to that which has no second[27]. Thus have I duly spoken to you concerning the characteristic of piety. I will now proceed to explain properly the comprehension[28] of the qualities. As to the smell of the earth, verily, that is comprehended by the nose; and the wind[29] likewise residing in the nose is a pointed[30] to the knowledge of smell. Taste[31], the essence of water, is always comprehended by the tongue. And the moon likewise, who resides in the tongue, is appointed to the knowledge of taste. The quality of light is colour, and that is comprehended by the eye; and the sun residing in the eye is appointed always to the knowledge of colour. The (sensation of) touch, belonging to the air, is perceived by the skin, and the wind[32] residing in the skin is always appointed to the knowledge of (the objects) of touch. The quality of space is sound, and that is comprehended by the ear. And all the quarters residing in the ear are celebrated as (being appointed) to the knowledge of sound. Thought is the quality of mind, and that is comprehended by the understanding. The supporter of consciousness[33] residing in the heart is appointed to the knowledge of mind[34]. The understanding (is comprehended in the form of) determination, and the Mahat[35] of knowledge. To (this) positive comprehension, the unperceived[36] (is appointed), there is no doubt of that. The Kṣetrajña, which is in its essence devoid of qualities and eternal, is not to be comprehended by any symbols. Therefore the characteristic of the Kṣetrajña, which is void of symbols[37], is purely knowledge. The unperceived is stated to be the Kṣetra[38] in which the qualities are produced and absorbed. And I always see, know, and hear it, (though) concealed. The Puruṣa knows it, therefore is he called Kṣetrajña[39]. And the Kṣetrajña likewise perceives all the operations of the qualities[40]. The qualities created again and again, do not know themselves[41], being nonintelligent, to be created and tied down to a beginning, middle, and end[42]. Only the Kṣetrajña attains, no one, (else) attains, to the truth, which is great, transcendent, and beyond the qualities and the entities (produced)[43] from the qualities. Hence a man who understands piety, abandoning qualities, and the creation[44], in this world, and transcending the qualities, and having his sins destroyed, then enters into the Kṣetrajña. One who is free from the pairs of opposites, free from the ceremony of salutations, and from the svāhā ceremony[45], who is unmoving, and homeless[46], is the Kṣetrajña, he is the Supreme Lord.

Footnotes and references:


I. e. passion--that quality--is dominant in the Kṣatriya, Nīlakaṇṭha. See p. 329 supra.


Commenting on Gītā V, 18 (p. 65) Śaṅkara calls the elephant atyantatāmasa, belonging entirely to the quality of darkness.


As to the constructions here, cf. generally Gītā, p. 88, and see the remarks of Rāmānuja and Śrīdhara on Gītā X, 21. The meaning here is, of course, the male is ruler over females.


I do not know what distinction is intended between these two. Generally kīcaka is used for the hollow bamboo, which whistles when the wind blows through it.


Some of these mountains are mentioned in Patañjali. See Introduction.


This list may be compared with that at Gītā, chapter X. Sometimes the same object occurs more than once with reference to more than one class; thus the moon occurs as lord of Nakṣatras, of shining bodies, and of herbs--unless Soma there stands for the Soma plant. See Gītā, p. 113. Arjuna Miśra says expressly that the moon occurs more than once as the correlatives, the classes with reference to which she is mentioned, are different. In such cases I have kept the original names untranslated; Arka = sun; Indu = moon.


Cf. Kaṭha, p. 83.


This must mean, I presume, that the sacrifice is higher than the initiation, as male than female, see p. 316, note  1.


This is another repetition. Indra has been mentioned before, and Purandara is mentioned further on.


As to king Soma, see inter alia Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 237; Chāndogya, p. 342, where Śaṅkara explains 'king' by adding 'of Brāhmaṇas.' Vipras = Brāhmanas.


I. e. Māheśvarī is the most beautiful of womankind.


It is well known that Umā, Pārvatī, Māheśvarī are names of the consort of the third member of the Hindu Trinity; see Kena, p. 13, and Śaṅkara's comment there. See, too, Muir, Sanskrit Texts, vol. iv, p. 421, and Taittirīya-āranyaka, p. 839.


The idea of 'source' is supplied by Arjuna Miśra.


Literally, 'rich.' Arjuna Miśra paraphrases it by 'Jyotishmatī.' Nīlakaṇṭha's explanation here is not quite clear.


I. e. instrumental in piety, or guides to piety. Cf. Śvetāśvatara, p. 370; Muṇḍaka, p. 297.


So literally, doubtless Brāhmaṇas only are intended here.


I. e., I presume, they lose all their merits, their good points are destroyed by this dereliction of duty.


Cf. p. 291 supra. Arjuna Miśra begins a fresh chapter with 'I shall now,' &c.


Knowledge of the truth, Arjuna Miśra.


I. e. action performed for the purpose of obtaining the fruit of it. The next five items refer to the five elements and their characteristic properties. Nīlakaṇṭha's explanation, that all these are merely parallels not stated for their own relevancy here, but as illustrations, seems to be the only available one.


I. e. the learning of other people, Nīlakaṇṭha. The meaning seems to be that we know speech only in its manifestation in the form of words.


The text here is rather unsatisfactory; I have adopted that which I find in the copy containing Arjuna Miśra's commentary.


Frequent pondering on matters learnt from Śāstras or common life, Nīlakaṇṭha. Why mind comes twice the commentators do not explain.


Does this refer to, what is said at Sanatsujātīya, p. 159.


Devotion means here, as in the Gītā, action without desire of fruits. For action the word here is the same as at Gītā, p. 115, note  2.


Cf. Gītā, p. 52, note  7.


This is Arjuna Miśra's interpretation, and appears to me to be correct. Nīlakaṇṭha's is different, but seems to omit all account of abhyeti, repairs.'


Arjuna Miśra's interpretation seems to be different, but our copy is not quite intelligible.


See p. 337 supra. The wind is the presiding deity of the nasal organ.


I. e. that is its function. Arjuna Miśra says, 'it is pondered on,' which is not clear.


Cf. Gītā, p. 74, as to taste and water.


This cannot be the presiding deity here, though one expects such deity to be mentioned; see p. 337 supra.


The text of more than one of the lines here is rather doubtful; we follow Nīlakaṇṭha, who takes this to mean the jīva, the individual soul. Cf. p. 239, note  2 supra.


I. e. thought, as Nīlakaṇṭha points out.


Mahat is properly the same as buddhi, understanding, but as it is here mentioned separately, I suppose, it signifies Ahaṅkāra. Nīlakaṇṭha takes its operation, here called knowledge, to mean 'the feeling I am,' which agrees with our interpretation, for which some support is also to be derived from p. 333 supra.


I here follow Arjuna Miśra, though somewhat diffidently. The knowledge 'this is I,' and the knowledge 'this is so and so and nothing else' is presided over by the unperceived--the Prakriti.


See Sanatsujātīya, p. 146. See also p. 309 supra.


See Gītā, p. 102 seq.


I. e. he who knows the Kṣetra.


Enlightenment, activity, and delusion, Nīlakaṇṭha.


I. e. do not know the self, Nīlakaṇṭha; better, I think, the qualities do not know themselves, only the Kṣetrajña knows them.' Cf. Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa Dharma), chap. 194, st. 41.


I. e. production, existence, and destruction, Nīlakaṇṭha. This must, however, mean their manifestation, continuance, and dissolution in any particular form. For the prakṛti, which is made up of the three qualities, is beginningless. Cf. Gītā, p. 104.


I. e. the actual physical manifestations, as we may say, of the qualities.


The original, sattva, Nīlakaṇṭha renders by buddhi, and qualities by visible objects. In the familiar Sāṅkhya phrase sattvapuruṣānyatāpratyaya sattva means creation, or what is other than puruṣa (cf. Sāṅkhyatattvakaumudī, pp. 9-144). That is the meaning here. See too p. 371 infra, and Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa Dharma), chap. 194, st. 38 seq. and comments there.


See p. 324 supra.


See Gītā, p. 101. Unmoving probably means 'not perturbed by the qualities' (Gītā, p. 110), or perhaps the same thing as 'of steady mind' at Gītā, p. 101. The sense is pretty much the same in both places.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: