By Swami Harshananda
Bodhyagītā literally means ‘that which is sung by the sage Bodhya’.
The extreme popularity and importance of the Bhagavadgītā gave rise, in course of time, to a number of religio-philosophical tracts of varying lengths composed in verse form to which the title ‘Gītā’ was appended. The Mahābhārata alone contains sixteen of them, and the Bodhyagītā is one such scripture.
It is a short piece of only ten verses and contains the teaching given by the sage Bodhya to the king Yayāti. The sage declares that he learnt great lessons in his life by observing the following persons and animals during the course of his wanderings as a mendicant:
- Piṅgalā- Piṅgalā was a prostitute. He learnt the spirit of renunciation from her.
- Kurara or osprey- It is a bird. He learnt that that the attachment leads to misery from it.
- Serpent- He learnt from a serpent that one should be homeless.
- Cātaka bird (Cucculus melanolecucus)- Cātaka is a legendary bird that lives on rain drops. From cātaka he learnt that one should live on alms without being a burden to anyone.
- Blacksmith- He learnt the concentration of mind from the blacksmith who prepared arrows.
- An unmarried girl- He learnt to live all alone to avoid quarrels and misunderstanding from an unmarried girl.
- Śāntiparva 178.3-13
- Bhāgavata 11.7-9
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore