Thursday, July 28, 2011

Uddhava Geetha


Out of the numerous Geethas extant today, the Bhagavadgeetha and the Uddhava Geetha are given the maximum importance as both of them have come out of the mouth of Lord Srikrishna, who was verily the Brahman Absolute. The Uddhava Geetha is not a part of the Mahabharata but it is a part of the epic Srimad Bhagavatham. The main difference is that the Bhagavadgeetha [sung by Lord Srikrishna] has been so titled so as to emphasize that the author is Bhagavan Srikrishna as also the subject matter. However, in Uddhava Geetha, the emphasis is on the eminence of Krishna’s close friend and disciple, Uddhava, whom Krishna wants to make a repository of all the knowledge of all the paths of liberation so that it may be passed on to posterity undistorted by time.

The Uddahava Geetha occurs in the 11th Skandha [Part] of the Bhagavatham and has 1030 shlokas in all. The Bhagavatham describes Uddhava as the best among those belonging to the lineage of Vrishni and as the most beloved of Krishna and the most intelligent who was both a minister and companion to Krishna. There is striking similarity between the two Geethas: In the Bhagavadgeetha, when Arjuna was beset with grief on account of ignorance and ultimately surrendered himself to the Lord, an excellent pathway to liberation, Yoga, flowed out of the divine lips of Krishna and the first chapter of the Geetha was rightly titled ‘Vishada Yoga’. Similarly, when Uddhava feels unhappy and grieves over the impending separation from Krishna who is preparing to depart for his Divine Domain, he surrenders himself at the feet of the Lord when again the unparalleled compassion of the Lord flows out in the form of the Uddhava Geetha. Further, when once the instructions were over, both avowed that their delusion [Maya] had been dispelled.

In the Bhagavadgeetha, Krishna finally exhorts Arjuna to take up his bow and arrow and fulfill his duties as a Kshatriya by fighting with the Kauravas. In the Uddhava Geetha, Krishna commands Uddhava to return to the forest of Badarinath and live the life of a Sanyasin practicing all the austerities as taught by him, merging his speech and the mind with the Lord. This is because of the difference in fitness [Adhikara Bheda] of the two respective devotees. While the Bhagavadgeetha instructs Arjuna on the various Yoga paths and the Sadhanas in plain unadorned language, in Uddhava Geetha Krishna intersperses his discourse with a lot parables and other illustrations.

Krishna commences his teaching with an ancient story. King Yadu [founder of the Yadava dynasty] once saw an Avadhuta [presumed to be Lord Dattatreya himself]. An Avadhuta is a person who has shaken off all bonds and ties with the mundane world. The king asked him how he had attained that Supreme state of Bliss. The Avadhuta replied by narrating how he was taught by 24 Gurus [teachers]—all from nature like earth, air, water, ocean , elephant, fish , a child, a maiden, a prostitute , a spider etc—from whom he learnt the various lessons as to how to get liberated.. Then Krishna proceeds to tell Uddhava the theory of Karma and how Karma binds a person to transmigratory existence and how one should cross over the ocean of Samsara by practicing ordained actions without the anticipation of any results.
At the specific request of Uddhava, Krishna delineates the various signs of Sadhus and Sanyasis and how the association with such saintly persons leads one in the path of liberation. He thereafter dwells on the importance of unalloyed devotion to God, truthfulness, self-control, equanimity of mind and such other noble qualities found in saintly persons. Continuing his discourse, Krishna describes the three Gunas namely Satva, Rajas and Tamas and stresses the importance of and the need to overcome Rajas and Tamas and augment Satva alone. Krishna explains as to how the cultivation of total Satva Guna leads one to the path of liberation.

The Lord then takes up the topic of meditation and the various Sadhanas like Pranayama, Dhyana etc, the Ashta Siddhhis like Anima, Mahima, Gharima etc and how a Yogin should not evince interest in the Ashta Siddhis, as they would be an obstacle to spiritual attainment. Going further, the Lord stresses the importance Jnana and Bhakthi which alone would lead to Liberation. After stressing again that the external world is only an appearance and that the Self is the Spirit beyond the body-mind complex, Krishna instructs Uddhava in some methods of Yoga which help in overcoming the obstacles to Self Realization.

Krishna concludes the discourse thus: “I have now told you the summary of the knowledge of Brahmavidya. One who hears this Uddhave Geetha daily with faith and with a concentrated mind will get transcendental Bhakthi and will be released from all bondages of Karmas.
When a man, after having renounced all activities, has completely surrendered himself to me, he gets immortality and is transformed into my own form on account of his having merged with me”

At the bidding of the Lord to go to the Badarinath forest and to live there practicing the disciplines as instructed by him, Uddhava, after having prostrated before the Lord time and again, being reluctant to be separated from the Lord, went away carrying the sandals of the Lord on his head.


Created:Friday, May 28, 2010 9:17 PM


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