The Anugita

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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 XXXV

Brahman said:

Well then, I will declare to you what you ask of me, O best (of men)! Learn what a preceptor told a pupil who went to him. Hearing it all, deliberate on it properly. Non-destruction of all creatures, that is deemed to be the greatest duty[1]. This is the highest seat[2], free from vexation and holy in character. The ancients who perceived the established (truth) call knowledge the highest happiness. Therefore by pure knowledge one is released from all sins. And those who are constantly engaged in destruction, and who are infidels[3] in their conduct, and who entertain avarice and delusion, go verily to hell. Those who without sloth perform actions with expectations, rejoice in this world, being born again and again. But those wise and talented men, who perform actions with faith, free from any connexion with expectations, perceive correctly[4]. Now I will proceed to, state how the association and dissociation of Kṣetrajña and nature (take place). Learn that, O best (of men)! The relation here is said to be that between the object and subject[5]. The subject is always the being, and nature is stated to be the object. It has been explained in the above mode, as (having the relation) of the gnat and the udumbara[6]. Nature which is non-intelligent knows nothing, though it is the object of enjoyment[7]. Who enjoys and what is enjoyed[8] is learnt from the Śāstras. Nature is said always to abound in the pairs of opposites, and to be constituted of the qualities; the Kṣetrajña is free from the pairs of opposites, devoid of parts, and in essence free from the qualities. He abides in everything alike[9], and is connected with (all) knowledge[10]; and he always enjoys nature as a lotus-leaf (enjoys) water. Even brought into contact with all qualities, a learned man remains untainted[11]. There is no doubt that the being is unattached just like the unsteady drop of water placed upon a lotus-leaf[12]. It is established that nature is the property[13] of the being. And the relation of the two is like that of matter and the maker[14]. As one goes into (a) dark (place) taking a light (with him), so those who wish for the supreme go with the light of nature[15]. While there is oil and wick[16], the light shines; but the flame is extinguished when the oil and wick are exhausted. Thus nature is perceived[17]; the being is laid down (as being) unperceived. Understand this, O Brāhmaṇas! Well now, I will tell you something more. One who has a bad understanding does not acquire knowledge even with a thousand (admonitions). And one who is possessed of knowledge enhances (his) happiness even with a fourth share[18]. Thus should one understand the accomplishment of piety by (apt) means. For the talented man who knows (these) means, attains supreme happiness[19]. As a man travelling along some way without provisions for the journey, travels with great discomfort, and may even be destroyed on the way, so should one understand, that by action[20] the fruit is or is not produced. For a man to see within (his) self[21] what is agreeable and what is disagreeable to him is good. And as one who is devoid of a perception of the truth rashly travels on foot by a long way unseen before[22], while (another) goes by the same way in a carriage[23] drawn by horses, and going swiftly, such is the progress of the men of understanding. Having climbed up a mountain one should not look at the surface of the earth[24]. One sees a man travelling in a chariot, and void of intelligence, afflicted by reason of the chariot. As far as there is a carriage-path, he goes in the carriage; where the carriage-path stops, a learned man goes on abandoning the carriage. So travels the talented man, who understands the procedure respecting (knowledge of the) truth and devotion[25], and who knows about the qualities, comprehending the gradations[26] one above the other. As one who without a boat dives into the ocean with his arms only, through delusion, undoubtedly wishes for destruction; while a wise man likewise knowing distinctions[27] and having a boat with good oars, goes in the water without fatigue, and soon crosses the reservoir, and having crossed (it) goes to the other shore, throwing aside the boat, and devoid of (the thought that this or that is) mine. This has been already explained by the parallel of the carriage and pedestrian. One who has come by delusion through affection, adheres to that like a fisherman to his boat, being overcome by (the thought that this or that is) mine. It is not possible to move on land after embarking in a boat. And likewise one cannot move in water after entering a carriage. Thus there are various actions in regard to different objects[28]. And as action is performed in this world, so does it result to them[29]. That which sages by their understanding meditate upon, which is void of any smell whatever, void of taste, and void of colour, touch, or sound, that is called the Pradhāna[30]. Now that Pradhāna is unperceived; a development of the unperceived is the Mahat; and a development of the Pradhāna (when it is) become Mahat is egoism. From egoism is produced the development, namely, the great elements; and of the elements respectively, objects of sense are verily stated to be the development[31]. The unperceived is of the nature of seed[32], and also productive in its essence. And we have heard that the great self is of the nature of seed and a product. Egoism is of the nature of seed and a product also again and again. And the five great elements are verily of the nature of seed and products. The objects of the five elements are of the nature of seed[33], but they do not yield products. Learn about their properties. Now space has one quality, air is said to have two qualities; it is said that light has three qualities; and water, too, is of four qualities; and earth, abounding with movables and immovables, the divine source of all entities, full of examples of agreeable and disagreeable (things), should be understood to be of five qualities[34]. Sound, touch, colour likewise, taste, and smell as the fifth--these, O best of the twice-born! should be understood to be the five qualities of earth. Smell always belongs to the earth[35]; and smell is stated to be (of) numerous descriptions. I will state at length the numerous qualities of smell[36]. Smell is agreeable or disagreeable, sweet, sour, and bitter likewise, diffusive and compact also, soft, and rough, and clear also,[37]--thus should smell, which belongs to the earth, be understood to be of ten descriptions. Sound, touch, and colour likewise, and taste, are stated to be the qualities of water. I will now give (some) information about taste. Taste is stated to be of numerous descriptions. Sweet[38], sour, bitter, sharp, astringent, and saltish likewise-thus are the forms of taste, which is a development of water, said to be of six descriptions. Sound, touch, and likewise colour; thus is light said to have three qualities. The quality of light is colour, and colour is stated to be of numerous descriptions. White, black, red likewise, green, yellow, and grey likewise, short long, narrow[39], broad, square, and circular-thus is the colour of light said to be of twelve forms. It should be understood[40] by aged Brāhmaṇas, who speak the truth, and are conversant with piety. Sound and touch also should be understood; air is said to have (these) two qualities. And touch is the quality of air, and touch is stated to be of numerous descriptions. Rough, cold and hot likewise, tender and clear also, hard, glutinous, smooth, slippery, hurtful, and soft[41]--thus the quality of air is properly said by Brāhmaṇas who have reached perfection, who are conversant with piety and perceive the truth, to be of twelve descriptions. Now space has one quality, and that is stated to be sound only. I will speak at length of the numerous qualities of sound. Shadga, Ṛṣabha, together with Gāndhāra, Madhyama, and likewise Pañcama, and beyond. these should be understood to be Niṣāda and Dhaivata likewise[42]; agreeable and disagreeable sound also, compact, and of (many) ingredients[43]. Thus sound, which is produced in space, should be understood to be of ten descriptions. Space is the highest element[44], egoism is above that; above egoism is understanding, and above that understanding is the self[45]; above that is the unperceived, and above the unperceived is the being. One who knows which is superior and inferior among entities, and who knows the proper procedure in all actions, and who identifies himself with every being[46], repairs to the imperishable self.

Footnotes and references:


See p. 291 supra, and note  3 there.


So literally; the sense is--that which one is to aim at.


The original is nāstika, the contrary of that 'āstikya,' which at Gītā, p. 126, we have rendered by 'belief (in a future world),' following Śrīdhara. Rāmānuja, whose commentary came to hand too late for any other than a very occasional use in the translation of the Gītā, renders it by 'belief in the truth of the teaching of the Vedas'.


I. e. learn the truth.


I use the terms subject and object here in the philosophical sense explained by Sir W. Hamilton, viz. the thinking agent and the object of thought respectively. And cf. also the passage referred to in note  3 on p. 379 infra.


p. 374 supra. The relation is one of close connexion, coupled with some identity of nature (because, says Nīlakaṇṭha, an entirely extraneous thing could not get into the inside of the fruit, and the gnat's body therefore must have come from the fruit itself), but still the elements are distinct.


See p. 371, supra, note  4.


Cf. Maitrī, p. 109.


Cf. Gītā, pp. 105, 106.


Knowledge of the Kṣetrajña forms part of all real knowledge. Arjuna Miśra's reading and interpretation are different. He says, 'As he is seen coming to light everywhere alike, so,' &c.


Cf. Gītā, pp. 55-110.


Again the common simile.


The original is dravya, rendered 'matter' in the next sentence. Arjuna Miśra paraphrases it by 'upakarana,' paraphernalia.


So the original, the sense is not clear. But see Śvetāśvatara, p. 368.


Knowledge, which, says Nīlakaṇṭha, is a manifestation of nature. Arjuna Miśra says the knowledge of the truth which the p. 380 self acquires is by means of nature. Cf. Sānkhya-kārikā 56, and comment.


So Nīlakaṇṭha. Arjuna Miśra does not take guṇa here to mean 'wick.'


I. e., I presume, in its manifestations; it is perceived for some time and then vanishes. Cf. Sāṅkhya-kārikā 59-61; the Puruṣa is not 'perceived' in this sense.


Viz. of admonition, Arjuna Miśra.


Cf. Gītā, p. 70, where the same phrase occurs.


The fruit of this is uncertain; knowledge which is in one's self is the thing to be worked for.


I. e. the mind, Nīlakaṇṭha. The meaning is, he should not care for external pleasure and pain. Cf. Gītā, inter alia, p. 50.


This seems to be so left imperfect in the original. The construction seems to be this: the progress of the latter is as great as that of one who drives in a chariot as compared with that of one who goes on foot with much suffering. Cf. the construction on next page.


I. e. the Sāstras, says Nīlakaṇṭha. Cf. Gītā, p. 117.


When one has arrived at knowledge,--the highest seat, says Nīlakaṇṭha,--one need not perform the dictates of the Sāstras, which are only preliminary to the acquisition of knowledge. Cf. Gītā, pp. 48, 73. Cf. as to this figure of the chariot and the next one about the boat, Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 695.


I adopt Arjuna's rendering of the original here, viz. Yoga. The meaning, on that rendering, is the same as it is in the Gītā.


According to Arjuna Miśra, action with desire, action without desire, and lastly, knowledge. According to Nīlakaṇṭha, action laid down in the Śāstras, then Yoga, and then the condition of Haṃsa, Paramahaṃsa, &c.


Literally, one knowing divisions. I presume the meaning is distinctions between various things as to which suits which, and so forth. The boat, says Nīlakaṇṭha, is a preceptor, and even a preceptor is not to be sought for after a man has achieved Yoga; hence the text proceeds to speak further on of casting aside the boat. Wishes for destruction = is sure to meet destruction.


I. e. appertaining to the various orders of householders, &c., Nīlakaṇṭha. But I am not aware of any authority for this sense of viṣaya.


I. e. those who perform them.


Nīlakaṇṭha says, 'Having stated above the means of knowledge, he now states the proper object of knowledge.'


See p. 332 supra. The original for development is guṇa, literally quality.


The meaning of this passage seems to be identical with that of Sāṅkhya-kārikā 3. Productive (Prasavātmakam) is probably to be explained as Prasavadharmi is at Sāṅkhya-kārikā II (see commentary of Vācaspati, pp. 59, 60), viz. always undergoing development. The great elements are of course the tanmātras.


This is not clear, unless 'product' above means productive, and seed means a product, it being a product of the aṅkura or sprout. Nīlakaṇṭha says, 'seed = cause; product = effect. The unperceived is an effect, and so the contrary doctrine of the Sāṅkhya is here shown to be wrong. The objects are causes, as their enjoyment causes an impression.'


See pp. 285, 286 supra.


That is to say, smell is the special property of the earth only, the other qualities are common to it with the other elements. The word in the original is guna or quality everywhere.


See Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa Dharma), chap. 184, st. 27.


Bitter, Nīlakaṇṭha exemplifies by the smell of the chili, apparently interpreting kaṭvi, as it may be interpreted, to mean sharp; diffusive = overcoming all other smells, like Asafoetida; compact = made up of many smells, Nīlakaṇṭha adds, that soft is like that of p. 384 liquid ghee, rough of the oil of mustard, and clear as of cooked rice. The Śānti Parvan passage omits 'sour.'


Cf. Gītā, p. 118.


Literally, lean and fat. These are rather unusual qualities to attribute to colour. The Śānti Parvan passage gives more.


Sic. Does it mean 'it is understood?' Cf. Pāṇini III, 3, 113.


Tender = like the touch of a son, &c.; clear = like that of an excellent cloth, Nīlakaṇṭha; glutinous = like that of oil, smooth = like that of a gem; slippery = not really smooth, but appearing to be such, like that of saliva (?), Arjuna Miśra. The enumeration of these in the Śānti Parvan loc. cit. is again different.


This is the Hindu. Gamut.


These are not in the Śānti Parvan; of many ingredients = collection of sounds, Arjuna Miśra.


Being all-pervading, Arjuna Miśra. Cf. its position at Taittirīya, p. 67.


Cf. Kaṭha, pp. 114, 115, 149, and Saṅkarācārya's commentary there, for an explanation of the whole passage. And see Sāṅkya-sāra, p. 16, as to what are here called self and understanding.


Cf. Gītā, p. 64, where the words are identical.

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