By Swami Harshananda
Avadhutagitā literally means ‘song of the Avadhuta’.
The Avadhutagitā is one of the 36 minor philosophical poems composed similar to the Bhagavadgitā. It is an independent treatise on Advaita Vedānta which preaches an uncompromising non-dualism. Its author was Avadhuta Dattātreya. Hence it is also called as Dattagītā or Datta-gitā-yogaśāstra. It is also titled, though rarely, as Vedāntasāra.
This small treatise of 271 verses is divided into 28 chapters. The first chapter deals with the nature of the ātman, which is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent; which has no birth, no death, no bondage and no liberation either.
The second deals with the proofs for the same. Duality is born out of ignorance of the real nature of the Divine one. Incidentally, even the great Avadhuta is hinted by the need for a spiritual guide in realizing the ātman. The next two chapters deal with the inner nature of the ātman in highly poetical tones.
The fifth chapter advises a man to avoid all the lamentations, as the ātman is the same in all conditions. The sixth chapter negates all the kinds of distinctions whether of caste or family, of senses or their objects, of the mind or the intellect or their activities because none of these exists when looked at from the standpoint of the ātman. The seventh describes the state of the avadhuta. The eighth gives a definition of the word ‘avadhuta’ by interpreting each of the four syllables (a, va, dhu, ta) of that word.
- Avadhutagitā 2.23
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore