By Swami Harshananda
Śampākagītā (‘didactic poem of Śampāka’)
The celebrated Bhagavadgitā has inspired the composition of many more such gītās. They are found mostly in the Mahābhārata itself as also the Bhāgavata. A few have been discovered to be independent works.
The Śampākagītā, comprising just 22 verses, is a part of the Mahābhārata (,Sāntiparva 176).
Yudhiṣthira poses a question to Bhīṣma as to the fate that overtakes a man, whether he is rich or poor. Bhīṣma recounts from his memory what he had heard once from Śampāka, a brāhmaṇa who was leading a life of tyāga or vairāgya (renunciation).
None in this world is always happy or always suffering without experiencing the other state.
To get true happiness and peace, it is not enough to give up desires. One should strive for śreyas, what is spiritually
Duties and responsibilities of a king (or a ruler) weigh heavily on the mind.
That naturally disturbs the mind and makes it go out of control.
Akiñcanatva, not possessing anything, is the best way to peace in life.
A man of total renunciation who does not keep any money or possessions, has nothing to fear. He is fully free, whereas a rich man lives in misery, being constantly overcome by anger, greed, delusion, pride and arrogance. These make him transgress all norms of dharma and hence a victim of the ruler’s wrath.
Hence one should give up all kinds of worldly desires and find the true remedy to dispel sorrows and sufferings through spiritual wisdom.
It is tyāga (renunciation) and tyāga alone that gives us fearlessness and happiness, and takes to paramapada or the highest abode (liberation).
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore