The "Anugita"

The "Anugita"

An Exploration Review

        

The Anugita together with the Sanatsugatiya and  Bhagavad-Gita form three of the songs that were at once distinct compositions and also formed a portion that would be assimilated into the vast Maharabharata.  The Anugita is the final installment in the this particular volume translated by Kashinath Trimbak Telang. It is longer than the Sanatsugatiya though not as long as the Bhagavad-Gita.

      This Gita opens much as the other Gitas do with one of the characters asking for an exposition and answers to various questions that they have in mind.  Seeming somewhat reluctant, the Brahmin and others begin the expositions.  What is distinct about the Anugita is the much more prevalent use of simile, metaphor, and allegory.  Stories and traditions are given a much higher place as well, and remain encapsulated within the dialogue. The poetic and prose images conveyed by the speakers are the strongest here in this particular Gita.

      The western reader may find some issue with some of the material discussed by the Brahmin.  For example, there is a lengthy and recurring discourse concerning the senses and how they are distinct.  This is unfortunately, not the case as shown by synaesthesia (Greek "syn"=together, "aesthesia"=sensation), where the senses come together.  Synaesthetes (those who have this particular neurological condition) often report interesting sensations mixing between the senses.  Historically, Sir Isaac Newton was such a person and for his particular situation, he would see a color and at the same time hear a musical note.  So, in his case, for example, he would see the color "red" (in a painting, on a wall, or a barn, etc.) and hear the musical note "C#".   Newton could walk through the world of color and hear also the world of music at the same time.  However, pointing this issue out is in no way intended to detract from the overall message given by the Brahmin.   

      The Anugita also makes use of the very interesting image of "the chariot" (the divine chariot).  Upon reading of this image, immediately the image of Ezekiel's Chariot of the divine (the Ma'aseh mercabah) also entered into the reviewer's mind.  This image is considered by many scholars, (including Maimonides, please see Guide For The Perplexed Part III for his lengthy and knowledgeable discussion), to be among the most profound, prophetic revelations given to mankind.  It was very interesting to see and note the parallels of thought between these two great traditions of human thought and experience.