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 XXX

Brahman said:

The wheel of life[1] moves on; a wheel of which the spoke is the understanding, of which the pole[2] is the mind, of which the bonds are the group of the senses, of which the outer rim[3] is the five great elements, of which the environment is home[4]; which abounds in old age and grief, which moves in the midst of disease and misfortune, which rotates in[5] space and time; the noise of which is trouble and toil, the rotations[6] of which (constitute) day and night; which is encircled with cold. and heat of which pleasure and pain are the joints, and hunger and thirst the nails fixed into it, of which sunshine and shade are the ruts; which staggers in the opening or closing of an eyelid, which is enveloped in the fearful waters of delusion, which is ever revolving and void of consciousness[7], which is measured by months and half months, is ever-changing[8], which moves through (all) the worlds[9]; the mud[10] for which is penance and regulations, the mover of which is the force of the quality of passion[11]; which is lit up[12] by the great egoism, which is sustained by the qualities; the fastenings in which are vexations[13]; which revolves in the midst. of grief and destruction[14], which is full of actions and instruments of action[15], which is large, and which is extended by means of attachments[16], which is rendered unsteady by avarice and desire[17], which is produced by ignorance of various (matters)[18] which is attended upon by fear and delusion, and which is the cause of the delusion of all beings, which moves towards joy and pleasure[19], which has desire and wrath as its appurtenances, which is made up of (the entities) beginning with the Mahat and ending with the gross elements[20], which is unchecked, the imperishable source (of all)[21], the speed of which is like that of the mind, and which is (never) fatigued. This wheel of life, which is associated with the pairs of opposites, and which is devoid of consciousness, all the world, together with the immortals should cast away, abridge, and check[22]. That man: among all creatures, who always accurately understands the movement and stoppage[23] of the wheel of life is never deluded. (That) sage, released from all impressions[24], transcending all pairs of opposites, and released from all sins, attains the highest goal. The householder, and the Brahmacārin, the forester, and also the beggar[25], all these four orders are stated to have the order of householder for their basis. Whatever system of rules[26] is prescribed in this world, to follow it is good; this has been celebrated from ancient times[27]. He who has been first refined by ceremonies[28], and who has duly observed vows, being (born) in a caste of (high) qualifications[29], and who understands the Vedas, should return[30] (from his preceptor's house). Always devoted to his own wife, behaving like[31] good men, with his senses restrained, and full of faith, one should perform the five sacrifices[32] in this world. The sage who eats what remains after (offerings) to deities[33] and guests, who is devoted to Vedic rites, who duly performs sacrifices and gifts according to his means, who is not thoughtlessly active[34] with the hand or foot, who is not thoughtlessly active with the eye, and who is not thoughtlessly active with his speech or any of his limbs, to such a one the (word) good applies. One should always have the sacred thread and a clean cloth, and be of pure vows, and self-restrained, and should always associate with good men, making gifts, and with one's external organs restrained; one should restrain one's lust and hunger[35], should be kind, should behave like the good, and keep a bamboo stick and a water-pot filled with water[36]. One should learn and teach, should likewise perform sacrifices and officiate at others' sacrifices, and should give and receive gifts,--(thus) one should adopt the sixfold mode of life[37]. Know that three (of these) duties are the means of livelihood for Brāhmaṇas, the two teaching and officiating at sacrifices, and also receiving untainted gifts[38]. And as to the other remaining three duties, gift, study, and sacrifice, they are pious[39] duties. With regard to those three duties, the sage who understands piety, who is self-restrained, kind, possessed of forgiveness, and equable to all creatures, should avoid heedlessness[40]. The Brāhmana householder, who is of rigid vows, who is thus devoted, discharging all these duties as much as is in his power, conquers heaven.

Footnotes and references:


Literally, time; it seems, however, to stand for the vicissitudes of worldly life. Cf. Śvetāśvatara, p. 283. The body is called 'wheel of time' at p. 53 supra, but Arjuna Miśra there says 'it is the wheel which causes the rotation of the wheel of time.'


The cause of its being large in dimensions, Arjuna Miśra; the supporting pillar, Nīlakaṇṭha. I prefer the former, and take the sense to be that worldly life is co-extensive with the operations or 'fancies' of the mind.


What is outside the elements, the physical manifestations of Prakṛti, is beyond the domain of worldly life.


The possession of 'home' is equivalent to a dwelling in the midst of worldly life. Hence the idea of homelessness at inter alia Gītā, pp. 101-103.


This means, I presume, that worldly life is conditioned, so to say, by space and time. See p. 343 supra.


I. e. the cause of the rotation, Nīlakaṇṭha.


I. e. unintelligent.


Now takes the form of a man, now of an animal, and then of some other thing, Nīlakaṇṭha. I think, however, that the meaning is, that it is not alike to all; different persons are in different states in this world.


Arjuna Miśra says this means that it is the cause of the movements in all the worlds. That is the sense I extract from his words, which are not quite clear, lokānām samcaraṇe hetus. The rendering in the text follows Nīlakaṇṭha.


I. e., I presume, that which retards the revolutions of the 'wheel.' Instead of 'penance,' Nīlakaṇṭha's reading is 'the, quality of darkness.'


Cf. Sāṅkhya-kārikā, p. 13, and Vākaspati's commentary thereon.


'Animated,' Nīlakaṇṭha. Egoism is the cause of the world, and of all knowledge of it. Cf. Sāṅkhya-kārikā, p. 24.


The text here is unsatisfactory. I follow Nīlakaṇṭha, who says 'vexations = those arising from not obtaining what is desired.'


Revolves in the midst of, = lives upon, is fed by, Nīlakaṇṭha.


I. e. the organs of action, I presume.


The more attachments one has, the more one is tied down to worldly life, and the more comprehensive such life becomes.


Avarice is coveting another's wealth when one has one's own; desire is the wish for that which one has not.


Nīlakaṇṭha reads 'vicitra,' which he renders to mean diversified, as being made up of the three qualities, ignorance there being the same thing as Prakṛti, which is probably a better sense altogether than that obtainable from Arjuna Miśra's reading.


Which moves by attachment to eternal pleasures, &c., Nīlakaṇṭha. See p. 300 supra.


I. e. all the world developed from Prakriti--a common phrase.


This is Nīlakaṇṭha's forced meaning. But the text here is doubtful. Perhaps the sense is 'in which production and dissolution are going on unchecked.'


See p. 344 note. For the last word, the variant here is sthāpayet, make steady or stop.


I. e. the causes of the revolution and stoppage, Nīlakaṇṭha.


Impressions of previous actions, delusions, &c. And see p. 247 supra.


I. e. the Samnyāsin.


Śāstra. Cf. Gītā, p. 117.


'Such is the eternal fame,' literally.


I. e. on whom the Vedic rites or Saṃskāras are duly performed. And see Gītā, p. 122.


I. e. one of the three higher castes.


The original is the technical word for the return of a Brahmacārin after finishing his studies. He is describing the 'householder.'


I. e. following the rule of conduct sanctioned by the good.


Vide Williams' Dictionary, s.v. mahāyajña; Āśvalāyana Gṛhya III, 1, 3; Manu II, 69; IV, 21.


Cf. Gītā, p. 62; a guest must always be fed, and unless he is satisfied the host must not eat. Cf. Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa), chap. 192, st. 15; Manu III, 106; Āpastamba II, 3, 7, 3.


The same word as at Gītā, p. 114, there rendered 'vain activity.'


Cf. Āpastamba II, 1, 1, 2 seq.


Cf. Manu IV, 36; Āpastamba II, 1, 1, 15.


These are the well-known six duties of Brāhmaṇas as specified by Manu and others. See the discussion of this point in the Introduction.


Another reading is 'gifts from an untainted (source).'


What is the exact meaning of this here? I suppose the meaning is that the performance of them is a pure performance of duty; the others are duties the performance of which supplies ones own wants, and is therefore interested. Cf. Gautama X, 1 and 2.


I. e. omission or mistake in performance.

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