By Swami Harshananda
Vṛtragitā literally means ‘the teaching given to Vṛtra by the sage Sanaka’.
Significance of Vṛtragitā
This is one of the minor Gītās that appears in the Mahābhārata. Vṛtra, the king of the dānavas or asuras asked his guru Śukrācārya about the secret of karma and its resultant births. When Sukrācārya was about to answer, Sanatkumāra, the great sage arrived there. He was requested to answer the questions.
Content of Vṛtragitā
The discourse of Sanatkumāra is quite long and complicated. Only the gist may be given here:
- Mahāviṣṇu is the Supreme Lord who creates, sustains and then dissolves the whole creation.
- All the worlds and all the beings are established in him only.
- The jīvas or the embodied souls pass through the rounds of births and deaths because of their vāsanās brought about by their karmas or actions, good or bad.
- After experiencing the result of their karmas in higher worlds like heaven or lower worlds like hell, they return to the world of men.
- If they perform spiritual sādhanas and realize their true nature as ātman, they will attain the supreme world of Viṣṇu.
- Vṛtra realized it by the grace of Mahāviṣṇu and got liberation.
- Śāntiparva 279 and 280
- Śāntiparva 104 ślokas
- Asuras means demons.
- Vāsanās means strong mental impressions.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore