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 XXXVI

Brahman said:

Since the mind is ruler of these five elements, in (the matter of) absorbing or bringing (them) forth[1], the mind itself is the individual self[2]. The mind always presides over the great elements. The understanding proclaims its power[3], and it is called the Kṣetrajña. The mind yokes the senses as a charioteer (yokes) good horses. The senses, the mind, and the understanding are always joined to the Kṣetrajña[4]. That individual self, mounting the chariot to which big horses[5] are yoked, and in which the understanding is the drag[6], drives about on all sides. the great chariot which is pervaded by the Brahman[7], has the group of the senses yoked (to it), has the mind for a charioteer, and the understanding for a drag. That learned and talented person verily, who always understands thus the chariot pervaded by the Brahman, comes not by delusion in the midst of all entities[8]. This forest of the Brahman[9] begins with the unperceived, and ends with the gross objects[10]; and includes movables and immovables, receives light from the radiance of the sun and moon, is adorned with planets and nakṣatras, and is decked on all sides with nets of rivers and mountains, and always beautified likewise by various (descriptions of) waters; it is (the means of) subsistence for all entities[11], and it is the goal of all living creatures. In this the Kṣetrajña always moves about. Whatever entities (there are) in this world, movable or immovable, they are the very first[12] to be dissolved; and next the developments produced from the elements[13]; and (after) these developments, all the elements. Such is the upward gradation[14] among entities. Gods, men, Gandharvas, Piśākas, Asuras, Rākṣasas, all have been created by nature[15], not by actions, nor by a cause. These Brāhmaṇas[16], the creators of the world, are born here again and again. And whatever is produced from them[17] is dissolved in due time in those very five great elements, like billows in the ocean. The great elements are in every way (beyond) the elements that make up the world[18]. And he who is released, even from those five elements, goes to the highest goal. The Lord Prajāpati created all this by the mind[19] only. And in the same manner[20] the sages attained the godhead[21] by means of penance[22]. And in like manner, those who have achieved perfection, who have acquired concentration by a course of penance, and who likewise feed on fruits and roots, perceive the triple world[23] here by penance. Medicines, and herbs, and the various sciences are all acquired[24] by means of penance alone. For all acquisition[25] has penance for its root. Whatever is difficult to obtain[26], difficult to learn, difficult to vanquish, and difficult to pass through; all that can be accomplished by penance, for penance is difficult to overcome. One who drinks spirituous liquors, one who kills a Brāhmaṇa, one who steals, one who destroys an embryo, one who violates the bed of his preceptor[27], is released from, that sin only by penance well performed. (Those) men, Pitris, gods, (sacrificial) animals[28], beasts and birds, and all other creatures movable or immovable, (who are) constantly devoted to penance, always reach perfection by penance. And in like manner the noble(-minded) gods went to heaven[29]. Those who without sloth perform actions with expectations, and being full of egoism, they go near Prajāpati[30]. Those high-souled ones who are devoid of (the thought that this or that is) mine, and devoid of egoism, by means of a pure concentration (of mind) on contemplation, obtain the great and highest world. Those who best understand the self, attaining concentration (of mind) on contemplation[31], and having their minds always tranquil, enter into the unperceived accumulation of happiness[32]. Those who are free from (all thought that this or that is) mine, and who are free from egoism, attaining concentration (of mind) on contemplation[33], enter the highest world of the great, which is the unperceived. Born from that same unperceived[34] (principle), again acquiring knowledge, and getting rid of the (qualities of) passion and darkness, and resorting to the pure (quality of) goodness, a man gets rid of all sins, and abandons everything as fruitless. He should be understood to be the Kṣetrajña. He who understands him understands the Vedas[35]. Withdrawing from the mind the objects[36] of mental operations, a sage should sit down self-restrained. (He) necessarily (becomes) that on which his mind[37] (is fixed). This is the eternal mystery. That which begins with the unperceived and ends with the gross objects[38] is stated to be of the nature of ignorance[39]. But (you should) learn that whose nature is devoid of qualities. Two syllables[40] are death; three syllables the eternal Brahman. Mine is death, and not mine is the eternal[41]. Some men of dull understandings extol action. But as to the high-souled ancients they do not extol action[42]. By action a creature is born with a body and made up of the sixteen[43]. Knowledge brings forth[44] the being, and that is acceptable and constitutes immortality. Therefore those who are far-sighted have no attachment to actions. This being is stated to be full of knowledge, not full of action[45]. The self-restrained man who thus understands the immortal, changeless, incomprehensible, and ever indestructible and unattached (principle), he dies not[46]. He who thus understands the self to which there is nothing prior, which is uncreated, changeless, unmoving[47] and not to be restrained[48], in consequence of these means[49].

Expelling all impressions[50], and restraining the self in the Self[51], he understands that holy Brahman, than which nothing greater exists. And when the understanding is clear, he attains tranquillity[52]. And the nature of tranquillity is as when one sees a dream[53]. This[54] is the goal of those emancipated ones who are intent on knowledge. And they see all the movements[55] which are produced by development. This is the goal of those who are indifferent (to the world). This is the eternal piety. This is what is acquired by men of knowledge. This is the uncensured (mode of) conduct. This goal can be reached by one who is alike to all beings[56], who is without attachment, who is without expectations, and who looks alike on everything[57]. I have now declared everything to you, O best of Brāhmaṇa, sages! Act thus forthwith; then you will acquire perfection.

The preceptor said:

Thus instructed by the preceptor Brahman, those high-souled sages acted accordingly, and then attained to the worlds[58]. Do you, too, O noble person, of pure self! duly act according to the words of Brahman which I have stated. Then will you attain perfection.

Vāsudeva, said:

That pupil thus instructed in the highest piety by the preceptor, did everything (accordingly), O son of Kuntī! and then attained final emancipation. And the pupil, having done all he should have done, attained to that seat, O supporter of the family of the Kauravas! going to which one grieves not[59].

Arjuna said:

Who, indeed, was that Brāhmaṇa, O Kṛṣṇa! and who the pupil, O Janārdana! If this verily, is fit to be heard by me, O Lord! then tell it me.

Vāsudeva said:

I[60] am the preceptor, O you of mighty arms! and know the mind to be my pupil. And, O Dhanañjaya! I have related this mystery to you out of love for you. If you have love for me, O supporter of the family of the Kauravas! then having heard this (instruction) relating to the self, always duly act[61] (according to it). Then when this piety is duly practised, you will attain the absolute final emancipation, getting rid of all sins. It was this same thing I stated to you before[62] when the time for battle had come, O you of mighty arms! Therefore fix your mind on this. And now[63], O chief of the descendants of Bharata! it is long since I saw the lord my father. I wish to see him, with your consent, O Phālguna[64]!

Vaiśampāyana said,

When Kṛṣṇa spoke these words, Dhanañgaya replied (saying), 'O Kṛṣṇa! let us verily go to-day to the city of Gajasa[65]. Be pleased, O you who understand piety! to see there king Yudhiṣṭhira, who is of a devout heart, and after taking leave of him to go to your own city.'

Footnotes and references:


The elements are perceived or are not perceived by the senses tinder the direction of the mind; absorbing = destroying; bringing forth = producing, Nīlakaṇṭha. See p. 268 supra, and Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa), chap. 240, st. 12.


The word is the same as at Maitrī, p. 41, the comment on which should be seen.


I. e. the mind 's power is to be perceived by itself, Nīlakaṇṭha. The meaning seems to be that the understanding can only operate on what the mind places before it.


The passage at Kaṭha, p. 111 seq., and Saṅkara's commentary there, throw light on this, though the figure is not drawn out in the same way in both places. For a definition of Kṣetrajña, see Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa), chap. 187, st. 23.


I. e. the senses.


I. e. that which holds the horses in check. Nīlakaṇṭha seems to render it by 'whip,' but that is not correct, I think.


So Arjuna Miśra. Nīlakaṇṭha says, 'The senses, &c., when they turn towards the outer world make the self drive about, as an individual self; when turned inwards they show him that he is the Brahman.' Nīlakaṇṭha thus likens this to the Kaṭha passage. See also p. 187 and notes there.


Or it, may mean, among all men.


See p. 164 supra, note  2; and p. 295, note  4.


That is to say, it includes all Saṃsāra, all the elements recognised by the Sāṅkhya philosophy, save the Being or Puruṣa.


Cf. p. 371 supra.


Another reading means 'they are dissolved in the waters.' As to the order, cf. Vedānta Paribhāṣā, p. 48, and p. 335 supra.


I take these to mean the gross elements of which things movable and immovable may be said to be made, if one may use a non-idealist phrase in the Sāṅkhya philosophy. Then the elements next spoken of are the subtle ones or tanmātras. Cf. the references in note  2. As to developments, see p. 382, note  4.


Viz. gross object, gross element, subtle element.


The original is svabhāva, which Arjuna Miśra renders by Prakṛti. 'Actions' both Nīlakaṇṭha and Arjuna Miśra take to mean sacrifices, &c., and 'cause' the former interprets by Brahman; the latter by tanmātras or subtle elements, and adds, 'the sense is not by sacrifice or tanmātras only.' Nīlakaṇṭha says, 'The gods, &c., are produced by nature, as the gods, &c., seen in a dream.' The meaning seems to be that there are energies in nature which evolve these forms of being. Cf. also Gītā, p. 65.


I presume this means that the patriarchs (Marīki and others, says Nīlakaṇṭha) are also born again and again--that is to say, in different kalpas, I suppose--by nature only.


I think this must mean the elements, though it might at first sight be referred to the Brāhmaṇas.


I. e. the gross elements, I take it; the others are. the tanmātras.


I. e. the meditation which constitutes true knowledge, Arjuna Miśra. But see Gītā, p. 87, note  1, and Sāṅkhya-sūtra.


I. e. by the mind, as to which cf. Taittirīya, p. 89; Kaṭha, p. 164. Arjuna Miśra says, 'This apparent deviation from the ordinary modes of cause and effect is not altogether without parallel, so he adds this to show that.'


Literally, 'the gods,' but the meaning seems to be that given in the text, as Arjuna Miśra says.


This is only the concentration of mind and senses on one object, Nīlakaṇṭha. See p. 166, note  1 supra.


See p. 174 supra.


Literally, 'are accomplished,' which seems to mean that they are acquired so as to be practically at one's command when required.


The original word is derived from the same root as the subject of the last note.


Difficult to obtain = the seat of Indra, &c.; to learn = Vedas, &c.; to vanquish = fire. &c.; to pass through = a great deluge, &c., p. 389 Nīlakaṇṭha. Arjuna Miśra seems to interpret the last word, where his reading is doubtful, to mean 'difficult to do.'


Cf. Chāndogya, p. 361. Except the destruction of the embryo (see Taitt. Āraṇ. p. 870, but at Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 795, Kauṣītaki, p. 77, and Āpastamba I, 6, 19, 16, the commentators render Bhrūṇa by learned Brāhmaṇa), the rest are the great sins. But note that stealing gold, not theft generally, is mentioned as a great sin.


Or, perhaps, cattle. The original is paśu.


See p. 160 supra, and cf. p. 178.


I. e. Kaśyapa, as gods, &c. This seems to be Arjuna Miśra's interpretation. This condition is inferior to that described in the following sentence.


See p. 162, note  1.


Nīlakaṇṭha 's rendering is 'that by which (worldly) happiness is p. 390 heightened.' He compares Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 816. See also Taittirīya, p. 112.


See Gītā, p. 128, note  1, where dhyāna and yoga are taken separately. Here the compound is in the singular. Nīlakaṇṭha's reading is different.


The sense here is not quite clear. It seems, however, to be this. The acquisitions mentioned in the preceding sentence take the acquirers to some temporary world from which they afterwards return; but when they get rid of the qualities, they get final emancipation. As to the unperceived, cf. inter alia Gītā, p. 112, note  2.


Cf. Gītā, p. 111, and note  2 there. That seems to approach the question from the opposite point of view.


So Arjuna Miśra. At Gītā XVI, 16, citta means the operation itself. That also will do here.


Cf. Gītā, p. 78; Maitrī, p. 178; Praśna, p. 194; and the quotations at Sāṅkhya-sāra, p. 3.


This phrase has occurred before; it means all the developments which make up worldly life. See Sāṅkhya-sāra, p. 5.


See p. 371 supra.


See Śānti Parvan (Rājadharma) XIII, 4. Cf. Maitrī, p. 180 This means the two and three syllables of 'mama' and 'na mama,' mine and not mine. Cf. Bṛhadāraṇyaka p. 970, and Chāndogya, p. 118, and p. 548, for a similar conceit.


Final emancipation follows on abandoning the idea of 'mine;' bondage on harbouring it.


See Muṇḍaka, p. 279.


The eleven organs and the five great elements which go to form the body. See Sāṅkhya-kārikā 3, and comment thereon; Śānti Parvan, chap. 210, st. 32 seq.; chap. 242, st. 7 seq.; Praśna, p. 230.


I. e. shows.


Cf. Gītā, p. 118; Śānti Parvan, ch. 242, st. 15.


See p. 367 supra, note  6; and cf. Kaṭha, pp. 155, 156.


I. e. which remains unconcerned, cf. Īśa, p. 10. Apūrvam (to which there is nothing prior), Arjuna Miśra renders by 'not familiarly known,' and Nīlakaṇṭha by 'not understood by any other means of knowledge.' See also Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 502, and Śaṅkara on that.


This is not very clear, but I suppose the meaning to be the same as that of 'unconquerable' at p. 161, and see p. 231.


I. e. the means mentioned further on, says Nīlakaṇṭha.


Impressions from external causes. Cf. inter alia Sāṅkhya-sūtra III, 83; see, too, pp. 247-358 supra and notes there.


I. e. restraining the mind in the lotus-like heart, Nīlakaṇṭha. Cf. as to this, pp. 248, 372 inter alia.


Cf. Gītā, p. 51. See also Maitrī-upaniṣad, p. 176, and Muṇḍaka, p. 314.


Arjuna Miśra says, 'The nature of tranquillity is this, that in that state you perceive everything to be unreal like what is seen in a dream' Nīlakaṇṭha says, 'The nature of tranquillity is this, that in that state the self abides without attachment to the body and any external objects, but working within itself as in a dream.' But see on this Kaṭha, p. 147.


Viz. tranquillity, Nīlakaṇṭha.


I. e., says Nīlakaṇṭha, they see all worldly objects past and future. Arjuna Miśra, 'They see the actions performed for some wealth and so forth.' I am not satisfied with either meaning. Arjuna Miśra's is besides based on a reading different from that adopted in the text, namely, Parimāṇajāh, instead of Pariṇāmajāh. I think 'pariṇāma' is the development which, according to the Sāṅkhya philosophy, produces the universe, and the movements are the actions which that development--namely, here the activity of egoism and its products--occasions. Cf. as to some extent supporting this, Sāṅkhya-sāra, p. 16.


See inter alia Gītā, pp. 68-70.


See inter alia Gītā, pp. 68-70.


I. e., I presume, Bhūr and the rest. But see also Chāndogya, pp. 212, 541, 620, and Bṛhadāraṇyaka, pp. 302, 608.


See p. 285 supra, and cf. inter alia Chāndogya, p. 550.


e. I, the Kṣetragña, am the preceptor, and the mind is that which has to be taught. This shows that one's instructor must be oneself, Nīlakaṇṭha. Arjuna Miśra says, 'I am the preceptor, the mind is the pupil. The meaning of this is that anybody who has not acquired knowledge is treated here as a pupil; there is no other special pupil intended.' Cf. also p. 310, supra.


Nīlakaṇṭha interprets the words without supplying anything, thus 'be devoted to yama niyama,' &c. Yama &c. are the eight requisites for Yoga or concentration of mind as taught by Patañjali.


That is to say, in the Gītā.


Here he takes up the thread of the story. In the first chapter it was hinted that Kṛṣṇa was anxious to go to Dvārakā.


This is a name of Arjuna.


I. e. Hastināpur, the capital of the Pāndavas. They were, when the dialogue was held, at Indraprastha. See p. 229 supra.

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