Avadhutha Gita

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Avadhuta Gita (Original Sanskrit Text)

Avadhuta Gita (Devanagari: अवधूत गीता, IAST:Avadhūta Gītā) is a Hindu text based on the principles of Advaita Vedanta (nondualism). The singer of the Avadhuta Gita is Dattatreya, an Avadhuta, and according to the Nath Sampradaya, the work was heard and transcribed by two of Dattatreya's disciples—Swami and Kartika. Ashokananda (1893–1969) in Katz (2007: p. 47) holds that "[t]he Avadhuta Gita is a text of Vedanta representing extreme Advaita or Nondualism...", that is Advaita Vedanta with an emphasis on "extreme". As such, this text may also be considered a forerunner of Tantric literature as the themes, motif and orientation of this 'song' (Sanskrit: gita) are common to Shaivite Tantras, Buddhist Tantras and Vaishnava Agamas (which are also tantric literature) and ancient Yoga philosophy.

Nomenclature, orthography and etymology

"Avadhuta Gita" (Devanagari: अवधूत गीता, IAST:Avadhūta Gītā)


'Avadhuta Gita' is also orthographically rendered as 'Avadhoota Gita' in English as this spelling realizes a natural intuitive approximation of the phonemes of the Sanskrit.



अव 'ava' (Devanagari: अव):
1. [masculine gender] favour (as per usage in ऋग्-वेद i , 128 , 5)[3]
2. [indeclinable] (as a prefix to verbs and verbal nouns expresses) and holds the semantic field: off , away , down.[4]

धूत 'dhUta' (Devanagari: धूत):
1. [masculine, feminine and neuter; or adjective] shaken , stirred , agitated (सोम = धौत "rinsed" as in the text साम-वेद)
2. fanned , kindled
3. shaken off, removed, destroyed
4. judged
5. reproached
6. [neutral gender] morality (Buddhist literature)

अव-धूत 'avadhUta' (Devanagari: अवधूत):

1. अव-धूत "shaken off (as evil spirits)" as in the text वाजसनेयि-संहिता
2. removed , shaken away
3. discarded , expelled , excluded
4. disregarded , neglected , rejected
5. touched
6. shaken , agitated (especially as plants or the dust by the wind), fanned
7. that upon which anything unclean has been shaken out or off
8. unclean[18]
9. one who has shaken, off from themselves worldly feeling and obligation, a philosopher
10. [neuter gender] rejecting , repudiating

'gItA' (Devanagari: गीता):

1. [masculine, feminine and neuter; or adjective] ( √ गै) sung , chanted , praised in songs (as in the texts मनु-स्मृति ix; and महाभारत 42)
2. [neuter gender] singing, song as in the texts: वाजसनेयि-संहिता xxx; तैत्तिरीय-ब्राह्मण iii; शतपथ-ब्राह्मण iii , vi आपस्तम्ब-धर्म-सूत्र
3. [feminine] a song, sacred song or poem, religious doctrines declared in metrical form by an inspired sage
4. [neuter gender] name of a metre (poetic literature)

Date of work
Abhayananda (1992, 2007: p. 10) opines as to the dating of the Avadhuta Gita through its terminology and style and importantly implies that it may be the subject if not product of an oral lineage:

"The actual date of authorship of the Avadhut Gita is unknown, but, judging by its terminology and style, it appears to have been written, not in the millennia prior to the Current Era, as legend would have it, but sometime around the 9th or 10th centuries of our Current Era. This does not, of course, preclude the possibility of an oral transmission to that point in time."[25]

English discourse
Vivekananda (1863–1902) held the Avadhuta Gita in esteem and introduced it to his Western students and he translated aspects of it in the following talk he gave on July 28, 1895, transcribed by his disciple Waldo:

"He who has filled the universe, He who is Self in self, how shall I salute Him!" To know the Atman as my nature is both knowledge and realisation. "I am He, there is not the least doubt of it." "No thought, no word, no deed, creates a bondage for me. I am beyond the senses, I am knowledge and bliss." There is neither existence nor non-existence, all is Atman. Shake off all ideas of relativity; shake off all superstitions; let caste and birth and Devas and all else vanish. Why talk of being and becoming? Give up talking of dualism and Advaitism! When were you two, that you talk of two or one? The universe is this Holy One and He alone. Talk not of Yoga to make you pure; you are pure by your very nature. None can teach you.[26]

Originally a work of seven chapters, an interpolation, a spurious and misogynistic eighth chapter may be a later attempt to append sexual morality to the Nath tradition by an unknown conservative ascetic.


The brief introduction with attendant English translation of the Avadhuta Gita by Ashokananda (1893–1969) from the Sanskrit is reproduced in Katz (2007: p. 48) and Ashokananda with a flair of hyperbole provides an overview of the Avadhuta Gita a song of the "experience of Brahman" which he invests with metaphorical language of 'lifebreath' ("spirited"; "breathes") metonymic of Prana and Vayu and the Air 'process' of the Mahabhuta:

"The Avadhuta Gita is a small book of only eight chapters and is written in spirited Sanskrit verse, which breathes the atmosphere of the highest experience of Brahman. It goes into no philosophical argument to prove oneness of reality, but is content to make the most startling statements, leaving the seeker of truth to imbibe them and be lifted from illusion into the blazing light of Knowledge (jnana)."[27]

Chapter One
The opening verse of Chapter One 1.1 ventures that the inspiration for the nondual view arises within the mind of the wise due to the divine grace of Ishvara.

The term 'svabhāva' is mentioned in six verses of Chapter One: 1.5, 1.6, 1.44, 1.54, 1.58, 1.76.

The hymn is addressed to 'Īśvarā' (ईश्वरा) 'the controller', 'the Lord'. Shaktipat

Chapter Two
Shloka 15 and 16 discuss 'contemplation' (Sanskrit: ?). 2.17 binds 'sahaja' to 'amrita' with what Rigopoulos (1998: p. 203) glosses "sahaja amṛitam" 'nectar of naturalness'.[28] Rigopoulos (1998: p. 203) proffers that the Avadhuta Gita 2.26 may be usefully compared to Bhagavad Gita 8.5.
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Gita, as class of literature

The Avadhuta Gita text is only one gita amidst a class of Gita literature; the most well known and the gita having received the most attention and treatment in English discourse and Western scholarship even if not the premier example of the class, is unarguably the Bhagavad Gita.
[edit] Primary sources: Sanskrit and English translations

* Avadhuta Gita as a Sanskrit text rendered in Devanagari script and encoded with Unicode font is held at Wikisource: CLICK HERE.
* Avadhuta Gita (Sanskrit) transcribed in ITRANS
* Avadhuta Gita (Sanskrit) in Devanagari, PDF
* Avadhuta Gita (multiple scripts and languages), install legacy fonts for viewing
* Avadhuta Gita (Sanskrit only) in Sri Unicode
* A rendering of the Avadhuta Gita into English with attendant Devanagari for probity encoded in Unicode is available online: CLICK HERE.
* Swami Abhayananda (1992, 2007). Dattatreya: Song of the Avadhut: An English Translation of the 'Avadhuta Gita' (with Sanskrit Transliteration). Classics of mystical literature series. ISBN 0-914557-15-7 (paper)

Exegetical tradition and commentaries
* Yogiraj Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasaya (composition in Sanskrit); Yoga Niketan Team (English translation (2006). Avadhuta Gita: Spiritual Commentary. Kriya Yoga Shrine and Library. [Free PDF downloadable from online library once an affirmation has been made to respect copyright] Source:  (accessed: Tuesday February 23, 2010)














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