By Swami Harshananda
Origin of Prapannagītā
Imitation has been a natural characteristic of human beings. The Bhagavadgitā of the great epic Mahābhārata more popularly known as the Gitā has given rise to many other tracts of various lengths composed in verse form, to which the appellation Gitā is given. Sixteen of such Gītās are from the Mahābhārata, twenty from various purāṇas and four found as independent works untraced to any other known epic or purāṇa. The Prapannagītā, also called as Pāndavagitā, belongs to the last group.
Overview of Prapannagītā
There are eighty verses in different metres. They contain prayers addressed to Kṛṣṇa as Viṣṇu-Nārāyaṇa, the sentiment of prapatti being predominant. Hence the title Prapannagītā is very apt. The number of bhāgavatas or devotees of God whose prayers are included here exceeds sixty. Apart from the five Pāṇḍavas and a few persons prominent in the Mahābhārata like Bhiṣma, Droṇa and Vidura, many important sages figure in this work. Some of them are Agastya, Dhaumya, Nārada, Viśvāmitra, Jamadagni, Bharadvāja, Gautama, Atri, Vasiṣṭha, Kaśyapa, Bhṛgu, Parāśara, Vyāsa and Suka.
Content of Prapannagītā
The subjects dealt with are, briefly, as follows:
- Homage to the great devotees like Prahlāda, Puṇḍarīka, Saunaka, Bhīṣma, Nārada and others
- Verses in praise of the five Pāṇḍavas who were great devotees of Kṛṣṇa
- Description of the physical beauty of the Lord Viṣṇu-Nārāyaṇa
- Prayer for devotion
- Various names of the Lord
- Obeisance to Him
- Devoted meditation on the Lord is superior to all religious acts
- Power of the divine name
- ↑ Bhismaparva 25-42
- ↑ Prapatti means surrender to God.
- ↑ Prapanna means the one who has surrendered to God.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore