Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 23 Mar 2020


What is the difference between the Bhagavad Gita and the Ashtavakra Gita?

Shri. Prakasa Rao, a retired Indian Navy officer asked: Aṣṭāvakra Gītā was supposed to have been taught to king Janaka by sage Aṣṭāvakra. What is the main difference between it and the Bhagavad Gītā?

Swami replied: The same spiritual knowledge is the basic subject of both the Bhagavad Gita and the Aṣṭāvakra Saṃhitā (Aṣṭāvakra Gita). The Gita was told directly by God, whereas, the Saṃhitā was told by God through the mouth of a great devotee, known as sage Aṣṭāvakra. The orientation of the Saṃhitā is that Aṣṭāvakra is advising king Janaka to give up the fascination for worldly bonds and proceed to the next spiritual stage, called vānaprastha āśrama. The orientation of the Gita is that Lord Krishna is advising Arjuna to give up his fascination for his worldly bonds with Bhīṣma and Droṇa. The two elders standing as his enemies were hurdles in the way of Arjuna’s fight for justice. The difference between the Gita and the Saṃhitā arises only due to the differences in orientation. As such, the subject matter of both is one and the same. It is to concentrate on God and do God’s work.

| Shri Dattaswami | Ashtaavakra Samhitaa Vaanaprastha Aashrama Gita