Book review : The eternal truth


Anugita The Follow-up Gita (Sanskrit Text and English Translation)

Dr Jagadish Sharma

Parimal Publications, Shakti Nagar, Delhi

Pages: 228

Price: INRs 300

Following their resounding victory over the Kauravas in the epic battle of Mahabharata, the Pandavas solemnise Ashwamedhyagna (a ritual involving sacrifice of horses) to commemorate

the momentous occasion. At the end of the event as Lord Krishna is preparing to leave for his home in Dwarika, Arjuna forestalls his departure and expresses his desire to listen to Shreemadbhagavad Gita one more time, as, the amnesic disciple laments, he’s forgotten the lessons of the holy sermon of his charioteer, offered prior to the biggest battle the world has ever witnessed.

Lord Krishna, though not amused by his beloved devotee’s blackout, agrees to put forth a different version of his much-famous discourse. This, the Devakinandan explains, as he’s not able to bring to mind his pre-war recital (that is, the Shreemadbhagavad Gita) because he had been in a different yogic state at the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Hence, Anugita.

Anu, a Sanskrit prefix, literally means after or following: Anugita, with its 36 adhyayas and 1,042 shlokas — making for a much bigger volume as compared to Shreemadbhagavad Gita — may thus be translated as “The Follow-up Gita”.

Though the main concern of Anugita is the same as that of Shreemadbhagavad Gita, the need for self-realisation, while the original Kurukshetra version focuses on equal measures on various aspects of karma, bhakti and gnana (knowledge), the prevailing theme of Anugita, recited in the confines of the cavernous sabhamandap in Indraprasta, is the need for liberation from all worldly bondages.

The significance of Anugita lies in the fact that as Shreemadbhagavatam is widely held as Vedavyasa’s final commentary on his earlier tour de force, Brahmasutra; the much less known exposition of Anugita might well be considered Lord Krishna’s final annotation on Shreemadbhagavad Gita, which confers it eminent importance among religious scholars.

Dr Jagadish Sharma’s English translation of the Sanskrit version of Anugita will certainly help it garner a much-broader audience and make it easy to grasp the ageless message of Lord Krishna in these troubled times.