By Swami Harshananda
The Bhagavadgitā of the Mahābhārata has become a very well-known and highly respected scripture, forming base scripture of several Gitās authored later on. Some of them are the parts of other bigger works like the Adhyātma Rāmāyana and the Bhāgavatagītā, while others like Astāvakragitā and the Avadhutagitā are independent works. The Devigītā belongs to the independent category and is considered to be a later work of the Devī sampradaya. It is a dialogue (split into 9 chapters) between the Devī Pārvatī (as the Guru) and her father Himavān (as the disciple).
Teachings of Devigītā
Devī Pārvatī teaches the advaita doctrine as expounded by Śaṅkara (A. D. 788-820). Advaitic experience can be obtained only by meditation on the Upaniṣadic texts like "tat tvam asi". Such meditation becomes possible only to those who have a strong and pure mind.This, again, can be obtained only by the proper performance of one’s duties as per one’s varṇa (caste) and āśrama (station in life) system.
Topics Dealt in Devigītā
Other subjects dealt with include:
- Viśvarupa - universal form of the Devī
- Aṣṭāṅga yoga - the eight steps of Yoga as taught by Patañjali (200 B. C)
- Other yogas viz., those of jñāna, karma and bhakti
- Temples of Devī and her worship (both Vedic and tāntrik)
- Rāmagītā, Kapilagītā and Bhikṣugītā
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore