The Secret of Life

by | May 1, 2024

Who I am? Why was I born? Why are people born in different conditions – some in poor families, some in rich, some in developed countries, some in conflict-prone areas and amidst astute poverty and depravity? And why is it not in their hands to call it quits? Countless people suffer disease, disability, bad relationships, and losses, and though they wish every day to die, death does not come to them. On the contrary, people in the pink of their health, at the pinnacle of their name and fame, drop down suddenly without a clue. Accidents and mishaps happen apparently for no rhyme or reason.

Every religion offers an idea of an all-powerful God, the Supreme Creator of the universe and the life on earth, and everything that exists here – people, animals, trees, minerals, and so on. So why doesn’t He just put us in a decent place, if not heaven, where we do not suffer? Why does He require our surrender, service, and prayer and keep us on wait? Though we are conditioned to see God as the all-merciful benefactor, His actions may at times seem to be like those of an uncaring and unsympathetic judge. Yet, devotees must not give way to such feelings and must patiently endure their suffering in good faith.

A lot of learning opportunities came my way. I have travelled extensively and read vociferously. My parents raised me to have an open mind, and all faiths appealed to me. I felt blessed when visiting religious places of all faiths –  mosques, churches, gurdwaras, Buddhist and Jain temples, besides Hindu shrines – and suffered no fanatism. Faith is undoubtedly a powerful force and a great help to pass through an uncertain, challenging, and somewhat tricky world. But then the question came: is faith a mere psychological trick? Are we imagining a saviour, a guardian, a redeemer, who shall help us to endure and carry on?

And then, a few months back, I arrived at the Anu Gita, towards the end of my long-drawn-out study of the Mahabharata that I took up during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kurukshetra war is over, the Pandavas have won their kingdom, and after living through an era of great conflict and awakening, it is time for Shri Krishna to return to his home in Dwarka. Arjuna requests Shri Krishna to repeat the message of the Gita to him. Shri Krishna chides him for his negligent attitude and says that even He cannot now recreate it exactly. But out of love, Shri Krishna agrees to tell Arjuna the gist by retelling some of the anecdotes.

This narrative of Shri Krishna’s is called Anu Gita. It forms chapters 16 to 51 of the Ashvamedhika Parva, the fourteenth of the eighteen books of the Mahabharata. Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita is also contained in Mahabharata in the sixth book, Bhishma Parva, covering chapters 25 to 42. There are three storylines in the Anu Gita. First, Shri Krishna tells Arjuna what he heard from a sage who visited him. The sage shared with him what transpired between Rishi Kashyapa and a Siddha (chapters 16 to 19). Then, a conversation between a Brahmin and his wife follows (chapters 20 to 34). Finally, Lord Brahma speaks to the Saptarishis (chapters 35 to 51). 

It is a tough-to-read account, missing the high-voltage drama, fascinating dialogues, and the brilliance of the Gita. Now advanced in age and primarily idle, I persisted in my study, and lo and behold, I found deep inside a dark cave the chest with the secret of life, which the writer of the Mahabharata kept for whoever succeeded in reaching there. I am happy that I was able to do that. I now know the secret of life by reading the 36 chapters of the Anu Gita, which makes 1041 shlokas. And why must I not share it?

Mine is perhaps the last generation of Indians still holding on to their scriptures. There is desperation, and I am afraid a little despair, that if not passed on to the coming generations, especially those who have left the country, it may be lost forever. Though excellent translations are available, a rendering in contemporary language and terms is needed. So, when my book No. 26, The Discovery of Anu Gita, was published last month, I finally felt satisfied.

Though biologically, humans are animals, they have this unique quality of free will and the desire to enjoy themselves separately from their given conditions. They are called Jivatma – mortal divinity – a term that brilliantly captures the uniqueness of humans over other creatures. Over the years, mankind has learned to grow crops, make tools, wheels, printing presses, and, of late, computers, manipulating the conditions around it rather than living by them, and achieving incredible efficiency in whatever work is done.

The cosmos, solar system, earth, and living beings on earth are explained as one Energy Field – there was an attributeless energy, and when it was triggered, it turned to three qualities – light, action, and inertia – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas as these are called. The interplay of these qualities created everything and continues to do that – an infinite chain of differentiation in motion. This flux of properties, names, and forms surrounds consciousness as if living upon it like fungus on a fruit. When one dies, the conscious carries the essence of deeds as fragrances riding the air. The deeds select a new body based on the best fit for their settlement. The deeds-consciousness complex is called Jivatma, the embodied soul.

Anu Gita explains, through simple stories, how Jivatma lives through the three modes of material nature in the body. In all cases, Jivatma enjoys or suffers the reactions of past and present activities performed in these modes. But as Jivatma continues to perform karmic activities, it stays locked in the endless cycle of repeated birth and death – a software loaded onto new machines forever expanded and updated. With machines learning all that humanity knows and more, the inflection point is not far away, akin to the enlightenment of Buddha, who attained Nirvana by deciphering the code and ending the game for good.

So, this is the secret of life. We are Jivatma, the deeds surrounding a pure, immortal essence, the soul. Like electricity passing through whatever circuit or device it is plugged into, the consciousness defines cosmic intelligence as of now; past deeds keep creating new situations, experiences, and, in turn, more deeds. Take the semantics out; my forefathers lived the same drama I lived in their old world, and my children and grandchildren will go through the same pains and pleasures with different forms and formations. Anu Gita tells us to mind our deeds. Watch your experiences as deeds pass rolling out. Nothing would or could change it. The best one can do is not to add to the muck. Renunciates – ascetics are respected, for they close this cycle by not producing children.

After translating the Anu Gita, verse by verse, I found a brilliant foresight left by the ancients for their posterity to discover as and when the right moment comes. I can see life as a mental act. Every day, we are put to sleep for one-third of our waking life to calibrate our minds. Whatever exists has emerged out of intent. What are now unseen intents will only manifest as events and endeavours in the future. Sync your life with the universal consciousness and flourish. Don’t fear intelligence; embrace it. The labels of “I” and “Mine” around which this world and its struggle move mean nothing much in the drama of life and death. All achievements and failures are left behind with death except the liability of one’s deeds, designed and rolled out in the next lives. As for God, it is all a game, “Lila”. One run of simulation is over, and another begins.

Please read the book; it is available on Amazon.

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12 Comments

  1. Thanks Prof Tiwariji, for sharing the synopsis of your latest publication on the secret of life !

    Your story telling prowess is a gift and every word you penned has the power to enlighten the coming generations !!

  2. The theory of Jivatma and Parmatma allows a beautiful way for one’s blissful existence with the mortal body. This is done by the realization that Jivatma and Parmatma are indeed non-different. Would surely read your new book, Anu Gita! Very much looking forward to.

  3. Thank you sir for a fascinating exploration of Jivatma in the Anu Gita! Thanks for sharing this glimpse into the concept of past actions and rebirth. Your work bringing ancient wisdom to modern audiences is valuable. I am sure your book would a captivating read.

  4. Sir, when you try to know why you are here in this world, try your best; like so many foreigners, we meet in Rishikesh and other spiritual places who are all trying to find it. And when you know that there is no answer to your inquiry, that you have attained knowledge that is sufficient for you. So why even start on this journey? Similarly, new generations will also come around…seeking the same…which has no answer.

  5. The Anu Gita is the last conversation between Shri Krishna and Arjuna. In this conversation, Shri Krishna did not stress himself as the Supreme Being but merely shared what he was told by a Siddha who transited from the highest subtle dimension. Then, there are two conversations – one between a husband and wife and another between the sages and Lord Brahma.

    These three narratives provide the essence of creation, leaving no doubts. The soul, divine in essence, is surrounded by deeds in physicality. These deeds, in motion, keep shifting souls to new bodies until they are exhausted, which is never easy and rarely happens.

    The Anu Gita is the most scientific explanation of reality, though science as it exists today must leap to grasp it. Thank you for writing a book on the Anu Gita in English. This is the only way our ancient knowledge can be kept alive.

  6. Nice Arunji. Beautiful article to introduce Anu Gita to your broader audience. And congrats on successful publishing of one more meaningful book. We are currently trying to spend some time everyday on Gita and every chapter we end up reading, it feels like this is the best..

    On your point around “Mine is perhaps the last generation of Indians still holding on to their scriptures”, while this may be true from scale perspective, I can assure you that there is good interest even in GenZ on learning Shastras. There are still pockets across the country where noble souls are sacrificing their lives for ensuring the Shastra traditions and ancient knowledge systems are passed on successfully to next generations. With the academic path that we are on with our daughters, fortunately we get to meet such interesting souls regularly. And I am not just hopeful, but quite sure that Bharat will not be short of such learners for at least few more generations to come. And quite possible that one day, may be one of these learners will lead a cultural revolution to bring back Shastra knowledge to mainstream.

  7. Dear Sir, thank you for highlighting the pivotal role of reading the scriptures. They are essential to our growth and maturity and serve as a spiritual barometer that determines whether we are flourishing or withering in our spiritual lives. Our engagement with the Word of God, which all scriptures are, is like a compass that guides us through the complexities of life.

    I see three reasons why Scripture is central to discipleship and our spiritual growth. (1) Scripture is Truth. If they are not, they will not withstand the test of time. (2) Scripture becomes the standard and measuring rod to test everything against, including our lives, as multiple generations followed them; and (3) The Written Word reveals the Living Word – through scriptures, the metaphorical hand guides us.

  8. Dear Sir, Your blog delves into profound questions about existence, purpose, and the human experience, echoing the age-old inquiries that have puzzled minds for generations. The exploration of suffering, inequality, and the role of faith in navigating life’s uncertainties strikes a chord with many seekers of truth. Your journey through various religions and deep dive into ancient texts like the Anu Gita exemplify a quest for understanding that transcends cultural boundaries. The revelation of life’s secret, as depicted in the Anu Gita, offers a unique perspective on the nature of existence, urging readers to ponder the intricacies of karma, consciousness, and the cyclical nature of human experience. Your translation and interpretation of this ancient wisdom provide a valuable resource for those seeking clarity amidst life’s complexities. It’s inspiring to see your dedication to preserving and sharing this timeless knowledge, ensuring that future generations can access these profound insights.

  9. Sir, The beauty of Anu Gita lies in its profound concept of interdependence. While each is crucial, our five senses cannot perceive anything without the mind. Similarly, we, as individuals, rely on society to enrich our lives. This mutual reliance underscores the value of our interconnectedness.

    कामं तु नष्टेषु गुणेषु सङ्गः
    कामं च नान्योन्यगुणोपलब्धिः।
    अस्मान्विना नास्ति तपोपलब्धि-
    स्तामप्यृते त्वां न भजेत्प्रहर्षः।। (14. 22. 29)

    Even if we have our qualities and cannot know the qualities of others, we (senses) cannot experience any subject without your help (of mind). Because of you, we are deprived of any happiness.

    Therefore, let us express our gratitude to the less privileged individuals who make our world more convenient through their myriad of small contributions. Their efforts, often unnoticed, are a testament to the interconnectedness of our society and the value of their contributions.

  10. Thank you Arun ji for sharing. Excellent write up on Anu Gita, first time reading a different and interesting topic. Please keep it up.

  11. I fully agree with you, Prof

    Discovering one’s life’s purpose and understanding it’s finite nature in this bodily form is the ultimate source of fulfillment.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece.

  12. Prof Tiwari, Thank you for keeping our minds awake with such nuggets as you pick from your incesant appetite for wisdom and knowledge. Indeed, the old adage lives in what you are doing: ‘sharing what you got.’ May we all be inspired to live so that whatever gift The Good Lord has given us, we strive to share it with others, for it is in sharing that we find life! Please accept my congratulations on your new book, Anu Gita!

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