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 XXXIII

Brahman said:

Some (think of) the Brahman as a tree; some (think of) the Brahman as a great forest; and some (think of) the Brahman as unperceived; and some as transcendent and without misery[1]; and they[2] think all this to be produced from and absorbed into the unperceived. He who even for (the space of) a (single) exhalation, at the time of the termination (of life[3]) becomes equable[4], attaining to the self, becomes fit for immortality. Restraining the self in the self[5], even for (the space of) a wink, he repairs to the inexhaustible acquisition[6] of those who have knowledge, through the tranquillity of the self[7]. And restraining the life-winds again and again by control of the life-winds[8], of ten or twelve[9] (modes), (he repairs to) that which is beyond the twenty-four[10]. Thus having first a tranquil self, be obtains whatever he desires. When the quality of goodness predominates in the unperceived[11], that fits one for immortality. The men of knowledge extol nothing else beyond goodness. By inference[12] we understand the (attainment to the) being to depend on goodness. It is not possible otherwise[13] to attain to that being, O best of the twice-born! Forgiveness, courage, harmlessness, equability, truth, straightforwardness, knowledge, abandonment[14], and also renunciation are laid down as (constituting) conduct of the quality of goodness. By this very inference the wise verily believe in the Being and nature as one, there is no doubt of that. Some learned. men, who are devoted to knowledge, assert the unity of the Kṣetrajña and nature[15]. But that is not correct. That they are always distinct (from one another) is also (said) without (due) consideration[16]. Distinction and also association[17] should be accurately understood. Unity and diversity[18] are likewise laid down. Such is the doctrine of the learned. Between the gnat and the udumbara[19] there is observed unity and diversity also. As a fish is in water distinct (from it), such is their relation; (such is) the relation of the drops of water with the leaf of the lotus.

The preceptor said:

Then those Brāhmaṇas, who were the best of sages, having again felt doubts, interrogated the grandsire of the people who spoke to them thus.

Footnotes and references:


As to the first two clauses comp. pp. 284-371 supra; the last two are said by Arjuna Miśra to represent the Sāṅkhya and Yoga doctrines respectively.


I presume this means all teachers. But Nīlakaṇṭha takes it to mean the Sāṅkhyas, and he takes the preceding words as indicating two views based on Śruti texts, viz. the first, that the world is a development of the Brahman, and the other that the Brahman does not undergo any development or change. Anāmaya he takes to mean changeless, and Brahmamaya he takes to mean developed from the Brahman.


Cf. Gītā, pp. 77, 78.


One who sees the supreme as the only real entity, Arjuna Miśra. Nīlakaṇṭha takes it to mean one who identifies himself with everything. See Gītā, p. 65, and note  4 there.


See p. 344 supra.


I. e. the goal to be acquired.


'Tranquillity'--the original may also be rendered by 'favour,' p. 373 as to which cf. p. 234 supra, but further on the phrase 'having a tranquil self' occurs, where the latter sense is not quite suitable. See Gītā, p. 51, and Yoga-sūtra I, 33.


I. e. the specific modes which are mentioned of control of life-winds, e. g. at Gītā, p. 61, or Yoga-sūtra II, 49 seq.


Nīlakaṇṭha proposes two interpretations of this. He says the ten are the eight mentioned in Yoga-sūtra II, 29, and in addition tarka and vairāgya (as to which see Yoga-sūtra I, 15 and 17). To make up the twelve he substitutes for the last two the four named at Yoga-sūtra I, 33. He also suggests that 'ten or twelve' may mean twenty-two, which he makes up thus. The five modes of yama (Yoga-sūtra II, 30), five of niyama (ibid. 32), the remaining six in Yoga-sūtra II, 29, the four in Yoga-sūtra I, 33, and tarka and vairāgya as before.


The twenty-four are the elements according to the Sānkhya system. See Sāṅkhya-sāra, p. 11, and p. 368 supra. That which is beyond them is Puruṣa.


The unperceived, it should be noted, is made up of the three qualities; the predominance of goodness indicates enlightenment or knowledge. Cf. Gītā, p. 108.


The middle term in the inference being, says Arjuna Miśra, the enlightening effect of the quality in question.


Cf. p. 167 supra.


The original is tyāga, which Arjuna Miśra renders by 'abandonment of all belongings;' renunciation, scil. of fruit. Cf. Gītā, p. 121, and p. 114.


Here, says Nīlakaṇṭha, the author indicates an objection to the proposition stated just before. But the passage is not clear.


This, says Nīlakaṇṭha, is a reply to the Sāṅkhyas, who hold the two to be distinct. Nīlakaṇṭha adds, that if the two are distinct, nature will, conceivably, adhere even to an emancipated creature; and if they are one, then the being or self would be really engaging in action and so forth, and that activity being really a property of the self, could not be destroyed save by the destruction of the self. Hence that view is also wrong.


Like that of sea and wave, Nīlakaṇṭha.


Unity of Brahman and diversity of manifestation or nature, Arjuna Miśra, who adds--by reason of the association they are spoken of as one, by reason of the unity and diversity they are distinct. The next sentence contains three parallel cases.


Cf. as to all this, Śānti Parvan, chap. 194, st. 38 seq. (Mokṣa Dharma); chap. 249, st. 20 seq.; chap. 285, st. 33 seq.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: