Gurudev and AnuGita
Prof R D Ranade, while discussing Characteristics of Saints (Chp IX Pathway to God in Kannada Literature 1989 ed. Page 137) as depicted in the song of Mahalingaranga “hegiddara canda jnaniyu” has remarked “…It has been customary to speak about Janaka as having attained Moksa though he was an emperor. I have not yet found that reference in Anugita, but I am told by a reliable authority that according to Anugita Janaka could not attain Liberation until he had become a Samnyasin …”
Background of Anugita
‘Anu’ means ‘after’ and Anugita literally means Gita occurring ‘after’. Bhagavad Gita known to many is recited by the Lord in Parva No 6 of the Mahabharata. Whereas Anugita’s occasion is found in Parva No 14 of the great epic.
The great war has been won by the Pandavas and peace and rule being established Krishna expresses his desire of returning to Dwarka to Arjuna. Hearing this, Arjuna then admits that he has forgotten the teachings of Krishna on the battlefield and in right earnest requested Krishna to once again impart the knowledge. The result of Krishna’s teaching is Anugita running into 36 chapters and thousands and odd shlokas.
Coming to Janaka’s liberation, the same is the subject of chp 32 of Anugita and runs thus: King Janaka (on a certain occasion), desirous of punishing him, said unto a Brahmana who had become guilty of some offence, ‘Thou shalt not dwell within my dominions.’ Thus addressed, the Brahmana replied unto that best of kings, saying, ‘Tell me, O king, what the limits are of the territories subject to thee. I desire, O lord, to dwell within the dominions of another king. Verily, I wish to obey thy behest, O lord of Earth, agreeably to the scriptures.’ – Thus addressed by that celebrated Brahmana, the king, hearing repeated and hot sighs, said not a word in reply. Like the planet Rahu overwhelming the Sun, a cloudedness of understanding suddenly overwhelmed that king of immeasurable energy as he sat plunged in thought. When that cloudedness of understanding passed away and the king became comforted, he spoke after a short while these words unto that Brahmana.’
Janaka said, “Although a (large) inhabited tract is subject to me within this ancestral kingdom of mine yet I fail to find my dominion, searching through the whole Earth. When I failed to find it on the Earth, I then searched Mithila (for it). When I failed to find it in Mithila, I then searched for it among my own children. When I failed to find it even there, a cloudedness of understanding came over me. After that cloudedness of understanding passed away, intelligence came back to me. Then I thought that I have no dominion, or that everything is my dominion. Even this body is not mine, or the whole Earth is mine. At the same time, O best of regenerate persons, I think that that is as much mine as it is of others. Do thou, therefore, dwell (here) as long as thy wish.”
The Brahmana said, “When there is a large inhabited tract in thy ancestral kingdom, tell me, depending upon what understanding, has the idea of meum been got rid of by thee. What also is that understanding depending upon which thou has come to the conclusion that everything constitutes thy dominion? What, indeed, is the notion through which thou hast no dominion, or everything is thy dominion?”
Janaka said, “All conditions here, in all affairs, have been understood by me to be terminable. Hence, I could not find that which should be called mine. (Considering) whose is this, I thought of the Vedic text about anybody’s property, I could not, therefore, find, by my understanding, what should be (called) mine. Depending upon this notion, I got rid of the idea of mineness. Hear now what that notion is depending upon which I came to the conclusion that I have dominion everywhere. I do not desire for my own self those smells that are even in my nose. Therefore, the earth, subjugated by me, is always subject to me. I do not desire for my own self those tastes that exist in contact with even my tongue. Therefore, water, subjugated by me, is always subject to me. I do not desire for my own self the colour or light that appertains to my eye. Therefore, light subjugated by me, is always subject to me. I do not desire for my own self those sensations of touch which are in contact with even my skin. Therefore, the wind, subjugated by me, is always subject to me. I do not desire for my own self those sounds which are in contact with even my ear. Therefore sounds, subjugated by me, are always subject to me. I do not desire for my own self the mind that is always in my mind. Therefore the mind, subjugated by me, is subject to me. All these acts of mine are for the sake of the deities, the Pitris, the Bhutas, together with guests.
Brahmin’s reply in original was:
Meaning – Thereupon the Brahmin smiled and addressed Janaka “O righteous emperor Janaka, know that I am Dharma in disguise and came to test you. (You have passed the test). You are verily the one person for setting this wheel in motion, this wheel that has the quality of Goodness (sattva) for its circumference, Brahman for its nave and the understanding for its spokes, and which never turns back!”” (meaning Janaka was completely sattva and Jivan mukta and firmly established in the highest state of spiritual attainment.)
In Gurudev’s words “….. But in fact a Saint is really beyond all these qualities Yoga or Bhoga does not matter to him ……”
Note : Janaka story is reproduced from Mahabharata translated by KISARI MOHAN GANGULI.