By Krishnananda (Swami)
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Extra info for A Short History of Religious and Philosophic Thought in India
The contents of the Anu-Gita are not so inspiring as those of the Bhagavadgita and they touch upon the usual themes of Sankhya and Vedanta, which we shall have occasion to discuss elsewhere. The Anu-Gita exhorts us to overcome the world by self-mastery. King Janaka says that he does not enjoy things for his pleasure, not even the smell that attaches to his nose, and hence he has conquered the earth-principle. He does not enjoy the taste that attaches to his tongue, and hence he has conquered the water-principle.
The other gods also find their proper places in the recountings of these texts in suitable contexts. As far as the essential content, philosophical profundity and religious impressiveness of the Puranas are concerned, the most important among them are the Vishnu Purana and Srimad-Bhagavata. The Srimad-Bhagavata, in particular, deals with the creation of the world, following the trend of Sankhya and Vedanta; the various incarnations or Avataras of Vishnu, which are twenty-two or twenty-four in number (including the ten great Avataras); the dynasties of gods and demons, sages and kings, as following from the original progenitors issuing from the Creator; the lives of great devotees of God such as Dhruva, Rishabhadeva, Jadabharata, Ajamila, Prahlada, A Short History of Religious and Philosophic Thought in India by Swami Krishnananda A Short History of Religious and Philosophic Thought in India by Swami Krishnananda 32 31 Gajendra, Ambarisha, Sudama and the like; philosophical discourses on Sankhya, Yoga and Vedanta, especially those delivered by Kapila to Devahuti and Sri Krishna to Uddhava; astronomy and geography; the principles of the Dharmas of castes (varna) and orders of life (ashrama); and a description of time cycle (kalpa), the four ages (yuga) and the four kinds of dissolution of things (pralaya), etc.
And the answer of Krishna to the query of Arjuna is the gospel of God to humanity as a whole. A peculiar human difficulty evoked an astounding reaction from Krishna. The Bhagavadgita commences with a dramatic setting described in its first chapter, wherein the spiritually blind Dhritarashtra’s question is followed by the entry of the proud Duryodhana into the scene of the battlefield. The self-aggrandising boast of the Kaurava king revealed his secret anxieties over the result of war and he was suspicious over the qualitative strength of his quantitatively larger army.