Parāśaragitā

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
Revision as of 09:19, 12 October 2014 by HindupediaSysop (Talk | contribs) (upload missing article from Harshananda)

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Parasaragita, ParAZaragitA, Paraasharagitaa


Parāśaragitā

The epics and the purāṇas contain several religious discourses that go by the name ‘Gītā,’ in imitation of the famous Bhagavadgitā. One such, from the epic, the Mahābhārata, is the Parāśaragitā. It forms a part of the Sāntiparva (chapters 290 to 298). It has nine chapters, the total number of verses being 288. The sage Parāśara is the teacher while the king Janaka is the recipient of the teaching.

A brief summary of the same may now be given:

Chapter 1 (26 verses)

Dharma is the best means of obtaining śreyas or spiritual welfare. Karmas give their results, good or bad. Cultivation of virtues like dama (self control), kṣamā (forgiveness), satya (truth) leads to happiness. People ruin themselves by going against their svadharma (duties allotted to them).

Chapter 2 (23 verses)

Since a human birth and a long life are difficult to obtain, one should do only good actions and avoid bad actions. The law of karma is inexorable. Sins committed out of ignorance can be erased through proper expiations but not the ones committed intentionally.

Chapter 3 (23 verses)

Money earned through dharma, the righteous means, is good. Serving guests is a pious act.

Everyone is born under certain rnas or debts like deva-ṛṇa and ṛṣi-ṛṇa, debts towards gods and sages, and should

discharge oneself from them as described in the holy scriptures.

Prayer to God and performance of good actions are of great help in life.

Chapter 4 (21 verses)

Eulogy of the benefits wrought by the company of holy men is stressed here. So also, the importance of following the dharmas (duties) that accrue to one as per his varṇa and āśrama, is highlighted.

Chapter 5 (31 verses)

This chapter describes as to how the people of the four varṇas should live. They should abandon all forbidden actions.

When the āsuri or demoniac tendencies rose in the hearts of human beings making them inclined towards evil, Lord Śiva destroyed them. The decimation of the Tripuras (the three cities of the demons and the demons themselves) by Lord Śiva is symbolic of this.

Chapter 6 (39 verses)

A person deeply attached to sense-pleasures gradually goes down whereas the one who performs his duties properly and also tapas or austerities, raises himself and attains perfection in course of time. This is the gist of the teachings of this chapter.

Chapter 7 (39 verses)

While continuing the topic of the varṇas, Parāśara declares here that a person born in a higher varṇa, automatically goes down to the lower ones if he neglects

his duties. On the other hand, persons of lower varṇas can raise themselves to higher levels through tapas.

Chapter 8 (40 verses)

This chapter deals with the following subjects: importance of sweet speech; various kinds of death; some rules regarding wars and battles; realisation of the ātman puts an end to transmigration; greatness of a person, who being born as a human being, attains ātmajṅāna or realisation; auspiciousness of dying in the uttarāyaṇa (northern solstice); need for serving the spiritually great ones; condemnation of suicide; eulogy of performing good deeds as also giving gifts and bathing in sacred rivers.

Chapter 9 (46 verses)

Importance of asaṅgatva (non-attachment) and a beautiful description of a man who has attained that state is the main topic of this concluding chapter.

This short work is definitely a useful addition to the Gītā-literature.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

Parāśaragitā The epics and the purāṇas contain several religious discourses that go by the name ‘Gītā,’ in imitation of the famous Bhagavadgitā. One such, from the epic, the Mahābhārata, is the Parāśaragitā. It forms a part of the Sāntiparva (chapters 290 to 298). It has nine chapters, the total number of verses being 288. The sage Parāśara is the teacher while the king Janaka is the recipient of the teaching. A brief summary of the same may now be given: Chapter 1 (26 verses) Dharma is the best means of obtain¬ing śreyas or spiritual welfare. Karmas give their results, good or bad. Cultivation of virtues like dama (self control), kṣamā (forgiveness), satya (truth) leads to happi¬ness. People ruin themselves by going against their svadharma (duties allotted to them). Chapter 2 (23 verses) Since a human birth and a long life are difficult to obtain, one should do only good actions and avoid bad actions. The law of karma is inexorable. Sins committed out of ignorance can be erased through proper expiations but not the ones com¬mitted intentionally. Chapter 3 (23 verses) Money earned through dharma, the righteous means, is good. Serving guests is a pious act. Everyone is born under certain iṇas or debts like deva-ṛṇa and ṛṣi-ṛṇa, debts towards gods and sages, and should discharge oneself from them as described in the holy scriptures. Prayer to God and performance of good actions are of great help in life. Chapter 4 (21 verses) Eulogy of the benefits wrought by the company of holy men is stressed here. So also, the importance of following the dharmas (duties) that accrue to one as per his varṇa and āśrama, is highlighted. Chapter 5 (31 verses) This chapter describes as to how the people of the four varṇas should live. They should abandon all forbidden actions. When the āsuri or demoniac tenden¬cies rose in the hearts of human beings making them inclined towards evil, Lord Śiva destroyed them. The decimation of the Tripuras (the three cities of the demons and the demons themselves) by Lord Śiva is symbolic of this. Chapter 6 (39 verses) A person deeply attached to sense- pleasures gradually goes down whereas the one who performs his duties properly and also tapas or austerities, raises him¬self and attains perfection in course of time. This is the gist of the teachings of this chapter. Chapter 7 (39 verses) While continuing the topic of the varṇas, Parāśara declares here that a per¬son born in a higher varṇa, automatically goes down to the lower ones if he neglects his duties. On the other hand, persons of lower varṇas can raise themselves to higher levels through tapas. Chapter 8 (40 verses) This chapter deals with the following subjects: importance of sweet speech; various kinds of death; some rules regard¬ing wars and battles; realisation of the ātman puts an end to transmigration; greatness of a person, who being born as a human being, attains ātmajñāna or realisation; auspiciousness of dying in the uttarāyaṇa (northern solstice); need for serving the spiritually great ones; condem¬nation of suicide; eulogy of performing good deeds as also giving gifts and bathing in sacred rivers. Chapter 9 (46 verses) Importance of asaṅgatva (non-attach¬ment) and a beautiful description of a man who has attained that state is the main topic of this concluding chapter. This short work is definitely a useful addition to the Gītā-literature.