Shiva Gita (study and summary)

by K. V. Anantharaman | 2010 | 35,332 words

This page is entitled “shiva gita vis-a-vis bhagavad gita and upanishads” contained in the Shiva Gita (Study and English comments by K. V. Anantharaman). The Shiva Gita is a philosophical text from the Padma-purana in the form of a dialogue between Lord Shiva and Shri Rama. It deals with topics such as Advaita metaphysics and Bhakti and consists of 768 verses.

Appendix 2 - Śiva Gītā vis-a-vis Bhagavad Gītā and Upaniṣads

[Full title: Śiva Gītā vis -a-vis Bhagavad Gītā and Upaniṣads -Comparison and Contrast]

1.0 Setting of Śiva Gītā.

Śiva Gītā is a forthright exposition of Upaniṣadic truths preached by God descending to the level of the disciple in a language comprehensible to the seekers while, in the Bhagavad Gītā, the Lord has delivered from His supreme height and later has been interpreted by many scholars in different manner to suit the philosophies they wanted to propagate. In Śiva Gītā, the emphasis is on the eminence of the disciple, Śrī Rāma, whom Lord Śiva wants to make a repository of all knowledge of all the paths for liberation so that it may be passed on to posterity undiluted by time. One striking similarity in both these Gītas is; in the Bhagavad Gītā, when once Arjuna was beset with grief on account of his ignorance and ultimately surrendered himself to the Lord, an exellent pathway to liberation, a yoga, flowed from the divine lips of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the first chapter of that Gītā was rightly known Abhijñāna ŚākuntalaViṣāda Yoga\ In the same way, when Rāma feels unhappy and is crest -fallen and grieves over his separation from his beloved and surrenders himself at the feet of the Lord, the unparalleled compassion of the Lord flows out in the form of the Śiva Gītā. Further, once the instructions were over, both avowed that their delusion had been dispelled. [1] In Bhagavad Gītā; Kṛṣṇa finally exhorts Arjuna to take up his bow and arrow and fulfil his duties Abhijñāna Śākuntala kṣatriya by fighting with Kauravās.

1.1 The field of action in Bhagavad Gītā is the Kurukṣetra warfield where Pāṇḍava and Kaurava armies are locked in fight and arrayed face to face, just before the first arrow is released. The field for Śiva Gītā is on the banks of river Godāvari in the Daṇḍakāraṇya forest where Rāma is crest fallen along with his brother Lakṣmaṇa on account of Sītā’s abduction by Rāvaṇa.

1.2 The dramatis personae (characters speaking) are equal in both: In Śiva Gītā, Sūta, the ṛṣis of Naimiṣāraṇya to whom Sūta instructs the Gītā, Agastya Mahaṛṣi, Rāma and Śiva; while in Bhagavad Gītā Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Sañjaya, Duryodhana, Arjuna and Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

1.3 The preceptor lineage is mentioned in Bhagavad Gītā [2]

imaṃ vivasvate yogaṃ proktavānahamavyayam |
vivasvānmanave prāha manurikṣvākave'bravīt ||

I taught this immortal Yoga to Vivasvān (Sun God); Vivasvān conveyed it to Manu (his son); and Manu imparted it to (his son) Iṣvāku.

Śiva Gītā [3] gives the lineage Abhijñāna Śākuntala

purā sanatkumārāya skandenābhihitā hi sā |
sanatkumāraḥ provāca cyāsāya munisattamaḥ ||
mahyaṃ kṛpātirekeṇa pradadau bādarāyaṇaḥ ||

It was told to Sanatkumāra by Skanda and Sanatkumāra in turn gave it to the foremost of Ṛṣis, the great Veda Vyāsa and out of his abundant compassion Vyāsa Bhagavān presented the invaluable instructions to me (Sūta).

1.4 In Śiva Gītā, Lord instructs Śrī Rāma on the noble path of Kaivalya after educating him about the fickleness of mundane existence; this is because of the difference in the fitness (adhikāri bedha) of the respective devotees. While Bhagavad Gītā instructs Arjuna on the various yoga paths and sadhanās in plain unadorned language, in Śiva Gītā, the Lord intersperses his discourse with a lot of parables and other illustration to make the whole teaching very simple and picturesque.

1.5 Bhagavad Gītā gives step by step treatment to Arjuna’s malady in the form of Karma Yoga, Upāsanā Yoga and Jñāna Yoga and is virtually an exposition of the ‘Tattvamasi Mahāvākya’, wherein the first six chapters explain Tat Padārtha, while next six chapters explains Tvam Padārtha and the last six chapters Asi Padārtha Abhijñāna Śākuntala explained by Śrī Madhusūdana Sarasvatī[4] Bhagavad Gītā has been interpreted by Śrī Śaṅkarācārya in his bhāṣyam Abhijñāna Śākuntala support to his Advaitic philosophy whilst the very same Gītā in the hands of Madhvācārya extols Dvaita philosophy and under the dextrous handling of Śrī Rāmānujācārya, a poem of Viśiṣṭādvaita. The seeds of all the three have been sown in this great epic lyric.

2.0 Superior Religio-Philosophical treatise.

Śiva Gītā is a religio-philosophical treatise advocating superiority of Śiva worship and is of predominantly advaitic in nature. ‘It gives great prominence to Śatarudrīya which describes God Abhijñāna Śākuntala all, all in all and transcending all and the goal of human existence is to comprehend and apprehend the oneness of things in eternal spirit’ [5]. Chronologically Śiva Gītā is anterior to Bhagavad Gītā . While Bhagavad Gītā is an advice from God to man, Śiva Gītā is an advice from one of the Trinity of Gods to another one, which gives it an edge over Bhagavad Gītā .

3.0 Dṛk-dṛśya viveka.

Man must realize that he is only seer, dṛṣṭā or subject, entire perceptible universe, dṛśya being the object. The Yogavāsiṣṭa Rāmāyaṇa[6] which is veritable encyclopedia of the philosophy of Advaita stresses that ‘all bondage is due to the existence of the universe (dṛśya) due to the imagination of mind like dreamland or fairyland’.

4.0 Chain of future Embodiment

There is a popular saying, like intentions, like becoming. “Yad bhāvam tat bhavati.” Bhagavad Gītā says -whatever appearance a person thinks of at the time of death, when he leaves the body, that he reaches, whose desires conform to that particular embodiment [7]. The Dhammapada also observes “All that we are is the result of what we have thought”

5.0 Self -the operative cause.

The self is the operative cause because there is no other ruling principle, the material cause, Abhijñāna Śākuntala there is no other substance from which the world could originate. [8]

5.1 The three fold characteristics of the self and the world are different from the Cartesian affirmation, “I am, hence the world exists”. [9]


aho ahaṃ namo mahyameko'haṃ dehavānapi |
kvacinna gantā nāgantā cyāpya viśvamavasthitaḥ || [10]

“Oh, marvellous am I. I adore myself who though with a body am one. I have neither coming or going anywhere (outside myself) and encompass the universe. The Avadūta Gītā observes “One which goes or returns cannot be taintless”.

kāyakṛtyāsahaḥ pūrvaṃ tato vāgvistārasahaḥ |
atha cintāsahastasmādevamevāhamāsthitaḥ || [11]

At first I would not stand physical exercise (Yogic) thus expansion of the word (mantra) and thus meditation. Thus verily do I therefore abide (in myself).

6.0 Contemplative’s gradual cessation.

The contemplative has gradually to give up all activity, beginning with yogic physical exercise and prayer or silent recital of mantra (japa) and then to refrain even from contemplation itself. Thus he can rise to his pure self beyond word, meaning and action, beyond all relativity. Thus here the contemplative reaches the state of complete physical poise or impassivity. The same idea is found in Śiva Gītā XII-18

tīrthakṣetrādigamanaṃ śrāddhaṃ tatra parityajet |
sacittaikājñatā yatra tatrāsīta sukhaṃ dvijaḥ ||

6.1 Same is a reflection of Amritabindu Upaniṣad[12]

granthamabhyasya medhāvī jñānavijñānatatparaḥ |
palālamiva dhānyārthī tyajedgranthamaśeṣataḥ ||

6.2 In Bhagavad Gītā the parallel verse in chap II -46

yāvānartha udapāne sarvataḥ saṃplutodake |
tāvānsarveṣu vedeṣu brāhmaṇasya vijānataḥ ||

“A Brahmin, who has obtained enlightenment, has same use for all the Vedas Abhijñāna Śākuntala one has for a small reservoir of water in a place flooded with water on all sides”

7.0 Influence of Guṇas on Knowledge.

Guṇas have a great influence on knowledge. The well known instance is that of Virocana who fails to obtain the supreme knowledge from Brahmā himself.[13]

mā saṃkalpavikalpābhyāṃ cittiṃ kṣobhaya cinmaya |
upaśāmya sukhaṃ tiṣṭha svātmanyānandavigrahe ||

“O pure intelligence, do not agitate your mind with (the thought of) affirmation and denial. Silencing these abide happily in your own self-embodiment of bliss itself. Aṣṭāvakra’s teaching regarding the mystical non-dual intuition or anubhava of the self is practical and has few parallels.

8.0 Kaivalyam Brahma.

Kaivalya means isolation from the senses and the world and one’s solitary enjoyment of the self Abhijñāna Śākuntala the all or Brahman. It, therefore, integrates the notions of non-duality, completeness, evenmindedness and aloneness. This is a condition of complete transcendence or beyond humanness (Anara) and release from all earthly conditions -Man’s supreme state Param Padam according to Yogatatvopaniṣad. The Tejobindu Upaniṣad says, Brahman is the all and all alone. “Sarvam Brahmaiva kevalam[14]

8.1 The Kulārṇava Tantra observes in the same manner “Some prefer the non-dual, others dual. Know the essence of my knowledge; it is devoid of the attributes of duality and non-duality.”[15]

8.2 Adoration to the self for whom there is neither source nor becoming, neither the past nor the present nor the future, neither space nor eternity, neither illumination (Vidyā) nor illusion (Avidyā). The only-lonely (Kevala) is silent (Mouna). The silence of the self is its own inherent and preferred attitude (Maunam iti vyākhyānam sāntam śivam advaitam sarva sākṣin).

9.0 Śiva Gītā on the lines of Brhadāraṇyaka.

In Śiva Gītā, too, just Abhijñāna Śākuntala Yājñavalkya says to Maitreyī, this Ātmā is to be seen (draṣṭavya), i.e. Ātmic realization is through Mokṣa and thus for attaining Mokṣa self realization is sine qua non, and this self realization is possible through śravaṇa (Vedāntānām tātparya nirṇayaḥ), manana (yuktyā saha cintanam) and nididhyāsana (Brahmābhyāsa) and śravaṇa is to hear the vedic truths from the mouth of a living, erudite, guru possessing self knowledge and manana is the continued reflection on these vedāntic truths for a length of time in a logical manner and nididhyāsana is to completely realize the difference between self and non-self, which hinders the atmic knowledge and the thought flow to be directed on the one and only Brahman by internalizing the knowledge acquired and by these one acquires Brahman realization. For effecting good śravaṇa, one has to have non-attachment and dispassion, because by this purity of thought and removal of sins takes place; and by desireless action one gets purity of thought and through all these disciplines Karma, Upāsanā and Jñāna interdependent on each other, one achieves the purpose of human birth and existence. Karma for attainment depends on Upāsanā; Upāsanā depends on Karma and Jñāna and Jñāna needs both Karma and Upāsanā for fructification; in short from Karma and Upāsanā one gets Jñāna, from Karma one gets internal purity (Cittasuddhi) and from Upāsanā concentration of thought occurs and through Jñāna one gets Mukti (“jñānāgniḥ sarvakarmāṇi bhasmasātkurute tathā”—Bhagavad Gītā . IV-37) and through all these eternal immeasurable Bliss. Śiva Gītā teaches one that all these ways are not opposed to each other but are complimentary and supplimentary.

10.0 Śiva Gītā and Padma Purāṇa.

10.1 Relevance of Śiva Gītā Abhijñāna Śākuntala it is a part of Padma Purāṇa, second longest after Skānda can be known from deep analysis. It gives out messages to all type of seekers and advises the seeker on the mode of further improvement of his spiritual status.

10.2 Sūta Saṃhitā[16] says—

itihāsapurāṇābhyām vedārthāhi prakāśyate |
yaścaturvedavidvipraḥ purāṇaṃ vetti nārthataḥ |
taṃ dṛṣṭvā bhayamāpnoti vedo māṃ pratariṣyati ||

Even if a brāhmaṇa has acquired felicity in all four Vedas and has not studied the Purāṇas, Vedas become really wary of him for his lack of full knowledge.

11.0 Śiva Gītā and Rāmāyaṇa[17]

11.1 On the question why Śiva Gītā is not mentioned in Rāmāyaṇa if it is true that this was delivered by Śiva and heard by Rāma and is a pramāṇa, the answer is self-evident:

11.2 According to Indian ethos only Vedas are pramāṇas or authority Abhijñāna Śākuntala they have come from Gods direct, being apauruṣeya and have been revealed to ancient Ṛṣis who are mantra draṣṭāraḥ. After Vedas, prominence is in the order of Āgama, Smṛti, Itihāsa and Purāṇa, if they are not contradicting with vedapramāṇa.

11.3 Rāmāyaṇa is neither Veda, Āgama, Purāṇa or Smṛti but a classic poem of a poet-par-excellence Vālmīki, the father of classic Sanskrit literature, and is a mahākāvya.

11.4 Sāhitya Darpaṇa of Viśvanātha defines a Kavya Abhijñāna Śākuntala “Vākyam rasātmakam kāvyam doṣatasyāpaharṣakaḥ”. So it abounds in rasa which is its life line. Hence a kāvya can not be termed pramāṇa and Purāṇa alone supercedes kāvya in authority and Abhijñāna Śākuntala Śiva Gītā is enunciated by Vyāsa Bhagavān in Padma Purāṇa, it becomes a forceful pramāṇa. Abhijñāna Śākuntala Rāmāyaṇa is a kāvya some features are omitted for the delineation of its main rasa viz. karuṇā and omission of Śiva Gītā in Rāmāyaṇa has to be seen in this light.

12.0 Lack of commentary from Śaṅkara.[18]

12.1 To the often asked question why a bhāṣya has not been written by Śaṅkarācārya for Śiva Gītā unlike Bhagavad Gītā, the reasoning is obvious. Usually bhāṣya or gloss is written for any text when the meaning of its content are obtruse and difficult. Śiva Gītā is written in plain unambiguous language appealing to the least educated common man even with a little knowledge of Sanskrit, its main theme being exaltation of Śiva worship and explanation of advaitic philosophy in very simple poetry making sense to all and sundry.

12.2 The Bhagavad Gītā on the other hand is liable to be interpreted in many angles Abhijñāna Śākuntala one finds diametrically opposite conclusion being drawn by erudite scholars like Śrī Śaṅkarācārya, Śrī Mādhvācārya and Śrī Rāmānujācārya while deciphering the meaning of one and the same verse. Since the matter, content and meaning were complex Bhagavad Gītā required the explanation of learned scholars for its understanding. This is the reason why Śiva Gītā has not been commented on by great Advaitic scholars like Śaṅkarācārya. Even a great text of invaluable information like Brahma Gītā which is treasure embedded in Sūta Saṃhitā which is age old, has no commentary. It does not take the shine out of it, but is held in great veneration and esteem by learned scholars. So too, non availability of commentary does not detract Śiva Gītā ’s importance nor does it dim its lustre.

13.0 Elusiveness of Śiva Gītā quotes.[19]

Another oft repeated question is why verses of Śiva Gītā are not quoted widely in other texts, like Bhagavad Gītā being quoted? Usually while quoting Bhagavad Gītā in others books after quoting, the word used is “iti smṛteḥ.” This is because the words used in Bhagavad Gītā are in variance with earlier quoted Upaniṣadic quotation or are of differing import. This is not the case with Śiva Gītā Abhijñāna Śākuntala it abounds with Upaniṣadic quotes verabatim. Thus there is no necessity to quote Śiva Gītā after quoting the Upaniṣadic pramāṇas. Śiva Gītā has plethora of quotes word for word from many leading Upaniṣads like Taittirīya, Kaivalya, Śvetāśvatara, Bṛhatjābāla [Bṛhadjābāla?], Bhasmajābāla, Rudrākṣajābāla, Garbopaniṣad, Muṇḍaka, Kaṭha, Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Chāndokya [Chāndogya?], Īśāvāsya, Brahmopaniṣad and Amṛtabindu to mention a few and all Śaivopaniṣadic juice form the nectarine cascade of Śiva Gītā.

14.0 Lineage of preceptors.[20]

Many wonder why Śiva Gītā is not transmitted through a lineage of preceptors. There is no basis for this argument Abhijñāna Śākuntala there is no rule that Śiva Gītā can not be learned through a preceptor. A gem is valuable in one’s hand only if one recognizes it to be a gem. Same way Śiva Gītā is a monumental gem whose value has been appreciated by many whether one gets it to know through a preceptor or not. Abhijñāna Śākuntala a matter of fact Śiva Gītā was given to Sanatkumāra by Skanda, which in turn Sanatkumāra transmitted to Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa and Vyāsa Bhagavān subsequently advised it to Sūta. Thus there is a hoary past for Śiva Gītā too and it is learned widely by people. There are many even now who do not learn Bhagavad Gītā too through a preceptor.

15.0 Is Śiva Gītā sectarian?[21]

15.1 Another thomy question by many is to know why Śiva Gītā is not accepted by all religions unlike Bhagavad Gītā .

15.2 It is absolute falsity to mention that Śiva Gītā admits only superiority of Śiva, while Bhagavad Gītā is widely acceptable because it does not point out to single godhead.

Even in Bhagavad Gītā we find quotes like—XVIII-61

īśvaraḥ sarvabhūtānāṃ hṛddeśe'rjuna tiṣṭhati |
bhrāmayansarvabhūtāni yantrārūḍhāni māyayā ||

So Śrī Kṛṣṇa openly and whole heartedly admits that it is Īśvara (Śiva) who works in everybody’s mind. So too Śiva Gītā also quotes that there is no difference between Śiva and Viṣṇu. Śiva Gītā never, never advocates sectarianism.

Yo māṃ guruṃ pāśupatavrataṃ dveṣṭi dharādhipa |
viṣṇuṃ vā na sa mucyeta janmakoṭiśatairapi || Śiva Gītā . XVI.6 ||
agnihotre keśavasya saṃnidhau vā japettu yaḥ |
naivāsya vighnaṃ kurvanti dānavā yakṣarākṣasāḥ || Śiva Gītā . XVI.35 ||

15.3 Śiva Gītā is an advice from Lord Śiva to whole humanity through the guise of administering to Rāma while under Arjuna’s pretext Kṛṣṇa has given Bhagavad Gītā on a platter to humanity at large. It is a fact that Bhagavad Gītā accepts the preponderance of Śiva and Kṛṣṇa himself is an ardent devotee of Śiva.

rudrāt pravartate bījaṃ bījayonirjanārdanaḥ |
yorudraḥ sa svayaṃ brahma yo brahmā sa hutāśanaḥ ||
umāśaṃkarayoryogaḥ sa yogo viṣṇurucyate |
yastu tasmai namaskāraṃ kuryādbhaktisamanvitaḥ || Rudrahṛdayopaniṣad . 7 and 10

16.0 Śiva Gītā Vairāgya Śataka Bhagavad Gītā

16.1 While Bhagavad Gītā runs to eighteen chapters and seven hundred verses, Śiva Gītā has sixteen chapters with seven hundred and sixty eight verses. Śiva Gītā gives the order of preceptors in I.4 and 5 and Bhagavad Gītā gives in IV.1.

16.2 Śiva Gītā is unique in giving an elaborate description of formation and development of human embryo in chapter eight under the caption Piṇḍotpatti Kathanam almost on the lines of Garbhopaniṣad, providing astonishing details, vivid descriptions which can be the envy of the modem medical fraternity. Śiva Gītā places paramount importance on Śiva Upāsanā and Oṃkāra, Bhasma, Rudrākṣa and Pāśupata vrata and these are extolled Abhijñāna Śākuntala means of Śiva realization and with the lavish help of Upaniṣads the door to attain Kaivalya mukti has been shown to be wide open.

16.3 Bhagavad Gītā is really an essence of Upaniṣads and Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the cowherd milks the Upaniṣadic cows and provides the milk akin to nectar to the calf Arjuna and incidentally to all mankind; a beautiful imagery painted on the canvass by Śrī Madhusūdana Sarasvathī in the Bhagavad Gītā dhyāna śloka Abhijñāna Śākuntala below:

sarvopaniṣado gāvo
dogdhā gopālanandanaḥ |
pārthā vatma sudhīrbhoktā
dugdham gītāmṛtaṃ mahat ||

16.4 Both Bhagavad Gītā and Śiva Gītā vie with each other in borrowing from Kaṭha Upaniṣad and they have the picturesque Ratha kalpanā occupying a pride of place. Actually this appears in two chapters in Śiva Gītā where body is compared to a chariot, Ātmā the indweller of the chariot, the intellect the charioteer and mind the reins and sense organs are compared to the horses drawing the chariot and samsāra Abhijñāna Śākuntala the path and Mokṣa, the destination, which can be reached by a shrewd person by proper control of the horses by directing the mind through the intellect. This beautiful picture is painted in Śiva Gītā in Chapter XII.21 to 25 and XIV.16.

16.5 There are six verses which are verbatim reproduction of Śiva Gītā in Bhagavad Gītā (reproduced in Appendix) which points to the fact of their close connection and another thirty two verses which are very similar in form and content and carry the same import and sense.

16.6 A comparative chart of Nyāsa of Śiva Gītā and Bhagavad Gītā is provided highlighting the importance of these two Gītās:

Comparison of Nyāsa of Śiva Gītā and Bhagavad Gītā

  Śiva Gītā Bhagavad Gītā
Ṛṣi Vedavyāsarūpya Agastya ṛṣi Vedavyāsa ṛṣi
Chandas Jagatī Anuṣṭubh
Devatā Śrī Sadāśiva Śrī Kṛṣṇa
Bījam Praṇavam Aśocyānanva śocastvam
Śakti Sarva vyāpakam Sarva dharmān parityajya
    mamekam śaraṇam vraja
Kīlakam Hrīm Aham tvā sarvapāpebhyo
Viniyoga Brahmātmasakṣatkārārtham Śrī Kṛṣṇa prītyartham

16.7 It is to be pointed out that both disciples absolutely surrender to the respective Lords before the invaluable advice is given. This appears in verse 7 of Chap II of Bhagavad Gītā —Śiṣyasteham śādhi mām tvām prapannam and in Śiva Gītā Chap III verse 12—tvatto nānyosti me guruḥ.

16.8 Both Śiva Gītā and Bhagavad Gītā have chapters on Vibhūti Yoga giving exhaustively the glories of God, followed by Viśvarūpa darśanam, giving the divine vision of the Lord to the disciples; by giving them special vision to prove the points made in the enumeration of glories which the disciples were not able to properly comprehend.

divyaṃ cakṣuḥ pradāsyāmi tubhyaṃ daśarathātmaja”—Śiva Gītā . VII.10

“divyaṃ dadāmi te cakṣuḥ paśya me yogamaiścaraṃ”—Bhagavad Gītā . xi.8

16.9 After the divine vision in both Gītas the disciples request the respective Lords to return to normality and show them the original form:

“kirīṭinaṃ gadinaṃ cakrahastamicchāmi tvāṃ draṣṭum ahaṃ tathaiva”—Bhagavad Gītā . XI.46

“upasaṃhara viśvātmanviśvarūpamidaṃ tava |

pratītaṃ jagadekātmyaṃ śaṃbho bhavadanugrahāt || Śiva Gītā . VII.39

16.10 Bhakti yoga is chapter XII of Bhagavad Gītā while the penultimate chapter forms Bhakti yoga in Śiva-gītā. It is elaborate one in Śiva Gītā discussing the holy aspects of Vibhūti, lengthy treatise on Oṃkāra and its efficacy and various ways and means of propitiating Lord Śiva.

16.11 The chapter on the five vestures is a unique feature of Śiva Gītā which elaborately discusses the same in chapter XIV—Pañcakośopapādanam on the lines of Taittirīya Upaniṣad. This takes us to investigation of human personality from subtle to subtler and this intellectual acclimatization is continued till the ultimate Release viz. Jīvan Mukti, the realization of the subtler than the subtlest.

16.12 So too the anatomy and physiology of human body in chapters on Dehasvarūpanirṇayam and Jīvasvarūpakathanam and the entire human biochemistry, furthering the process of human life before and after death on Jīva gatyādi nirūpaṇam.

16.13 Also the gradation of human joy and happiness step by step upto the happiness of Brahmānanda is vividly described in chapter XI—31 to 38 on the lines of Tattirīya Upaniṣad-Brahmānandavallī.

16.14 Bhagavad Gītā has in it the most famous Carama Śloka (Concluding verse) in chapter XVIII-66:

sarvadharmānparityajya māmekaṃ śaraṇaṃ vraja |
ahaṃ tvā sarvapāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ ||

Which gives the Śāstropadeśa samāpti (Conclusion of philosophical advice), which is popularly known Abhijñāna Śākuntala Śaraṇāgati Tattvam (principle of surrender or Prapatti) Abhijñāna Śākuntala karmayogena Jñānayoga prāpti, Abhijñāna Śākuntala Karma yoga gives Jñāna yoga yogyatā. This is the summum bonum of Bhagavad Gītā teaching giving Ātma Jñānam and Ātmaniṣṭhā. The same is verbatim available in Śiva Gītā, a precursor to Bhagavad Gītā , in chapter XIV verse 40.

16.15. Abhijñāna Śākuntala is found in various esoteric literatures here too, it is stressing the need for secrecy and this knowledge is not to be revealed to those who are not qualified. Mention of this is made in Bhagavad Gītā chapter XVIII in the verse 67 Abhijñāna Śākuntala below:

idaṃ te nātapaskāya nābhaktāya kadācana |
na cāśuśrūṣave vācyaṃ na ca māṃ yo'bhyasūyati ||

“This secret teaching should never be imparted to a man without austerity, nor to one without devotion; nor even to him who is unwilling to hear, nor again to him who finds fault with Me.”

In Śiva Gītā, the mention is in the first chapter itself verse 6:

uktaṃ ca tena kasmaicinna dātavyamidaṃ tvayā |
sūtaputrānyathā devāḥ kṣubhyanti ca śapanti ca ||

Sūtaputra, you should not transfer this (knowledge) to anybody, if you do the Gods will get angry and will curse you too”.

16.16 The colophons of Śiva Gītā and Bhagavad Gītā after each chapter are identical which describe both of them Abhijñāna Śākuntala an Upaniṣad, Brahmavidyā and Yoga Śāstra. Yoga is a hill with a serene life of contemplation at the top and an active life of service at the base. A yogin is one who has attained union with Him, is both a man of action and a man of contemplation. He is a crusader Abhijñāna Śākuntala well Abhijñāna Śākuntala a psalmist. In partaking of the nature of God the yogin becomes like Him -Abhijñāna Śākuntala active-passive entity, Īśvara and Brahman in one. Incessant work and eternal rest are mysteriously reconciled in one and the same person.

17.0 Punarukti in Śiva Gītā

It is a general practice in Indian mystic literature to repeat verses more than once to stress their importance and to highlight the main theme and Abhijñāna Śākuntala reinforcement for the intellectual appeal. When Śiva Gītā is examined, three verses are repeated twice and they are the following:

yonimanye prapadyante śarīratvāya dehinaḥ |
sthāṇumanye'nusaṃyanti yathākarma yathāśrutam || II.34 and XI.19
yato vāco nivartante aprāpya manasā saha |
ānandaṃ brahma māṃ jñātvā na bibheti kutaścana || VI.49 and X.9
yatkaroṣi yadaśnāti yajjuhoṣi dadāti yat |
yattapasyasi rāma tvaṃ tatkuruṣva madarpaṇam || XIII.7 and XIV.44

17.1 These are significant verses succinctly summarising the message of Śiva Gītā and hence the punarukti. It a very interesting coincidence that same “yato vāco nivartante” is the oft repeated verse in Taittirīya Upaniṣad pointing the finger to a sādhaka, the path to realization.

17.2. The verse “yonimanye prapadyante” is borrowed verbatim from Kaṭhopniṣad Vallī—verse verse 7 and is the oft quoted śruti pramāṇa in support of punarjanma or rebirth.

17.3. The verse “yatkaroṣi yadaśnāsi”is a prapatti śloka exhorting the devotee to surrender everything, not only all actions but life breadth itself to the Almighty and is considered the easiest route for self realization, which has been practised successfully by many a mystic. This verse appears in Bhagavad Gītā Abhijñāna Śākuntala it is in IX.27.

18.0 Śiva Gītā—Happy Synthesis

From the foregoing analysis it can be seen that but for the lack of popularity, Śiva Gītā has all requisites to make it on par with Bhagavad Gītā , if not a place ahead of it. Śiva Gītā is very much to be read and re-read to understand its message of liberality and ways and means suggested for Bhakti, Upāsanā and Jñāna and it is upto the learned scholars to convey its message to people at large, to reap the benefit of the great spiritual teachings offered. For this purpose the field is open for more research on this invaluable Gītā and the chapter is concluded with the following verses with pregnant meaning which appears Abhijñāna Śākuntala the concluding verse in chapter VIII and 2nd verse in chapter I.

garbhe puṃsaḥ śukrapātādyaduktaṃ maraṇāvadhi |
tadetasya mahāvyādhermatto nānyo’sti bheṣajam ||
na karmaṇāmanuṣṭhānairna dānaistapasāpi vā |
kaivalyaṃ labhate martyaḥ kiṃtu jñānena kevalam ||

“What was described (by Me) Abhijñāna Śākuntala the condition of man from moment of conception upto the time of death, the great malady, there is no remedy except Me”.

“The mortal being does not get liberation either by the meticulous performance of religious duties, or by gifts or by penance but only through right knowledge”.

Footnotes and references:


Vide Bhagavad Gītā XVIII.73—“naṣṭo mohaḥ smṛtirlabdhā tvatprasādānmayācyuta”
Vide Śiva Gītā VII.39—“pratītaṃ jagadaikātmyaṃ śaṃbho bhavadanugrahāt”


Vide Bhagavad Gītā IV.1


Vide Śiva Gītā 1-4 and 5


Vide Bhagavad Gītā by Madhusūdhana Sarasvatī-Introduction, Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta-1998.


Vide Luminous Eye p -50


Vide Quietitude of the Mind-p-76


Vide Bhagavad Gītā VIII-6

yaṃ yaṃ vāpi smaranbhāvaṃ tyajatyante kalevaram |
taṃ tamevaiti kaunteya sadā tadbhāvabhāvitaḥ ||


Vide Max Mueller[Ed] The Sacred Books of the East chapter XXXIV p-288


Ibid chap II verse -12


Ibid. chapter XII-verse -1 by Janaka.


Vide Amritabindu Upaniṣad verse -18

After studying the Vedas the intelligent one who is solely intent on acquiring knowledge and realisation, should discard the Vedas altogether, Abhijñāna Śākuntala the man who seeks to obtain rice discards the husk.


Vide Aṣṭāvakra Gītā p 104—chap XV-verse -19


Ibid p-129-130


Ibid Aṣṭāvakra Gītā . p-185 -187


Vide Sūta Saṃhitā —Śivamāhātmyakhaṇḍa—Adhyāya-1-verse -34.


Vide Tamil Commentary on Śiva Gītā by Śrī Muthukumaraswamy Gurukkal preface p. III.


Ibid p-VI.


Ibid p-VII-XI





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