Utathyagitā

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Utathyagita, UtathyagitA, Utathyagitaa


Utathyagitā literally means ‘the teaching of the sage Utathya’.

Significance of Utathyagitā

This is one of the several minor Gītās found in the Mahābhārata.[1] It is the teaching given by the sage Utathya to the king Māndhātā of the solar dynasty. This has been recounted by Bhīṣma to the king Yudhiṣṭhira. The total number of verses is 96. It delineates in detail the duties of a king, what he is expected to do and what he was to abjure.

Contents of Utathyagitā

The work repeatedly stresses that the primary duty of a king is to protect dharma and the people under his care and not selfish enjoyment of the pleasures of life. The following are some of his duties and responsibilities:

  • Sticking to the path of dharma in his personal life and ruling the kingdom according to it
  • Performing the Vedic sacrifices as prescribed by the scriptures and honoring the priests generously
  • Employing honest and efficient persons as ministers and high officers
  • Preventing his subjects from going astray and committing sins
  • Punishing the wicked
  • Protecting the brāhmaṇas who are the custodians of dharma
  • Earning and spending money as per the rules of dharma
  • Developing enough strength to protect himself and his kingdom
  • Protecting the weak against the strong
  • Not burdening people by high taxation
  • Meting out impartial justice
  • Earning the goodwill of the people by all righteous means
  • Destroying the enemies and strengthening the bonds with genuine friends


References

  1. Śāntiparva, chapters 90 and 91
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore