Immortal Sanskrit Literature & Scriptures

Discovering the Profound Wisdom of Vyadha Gita: The Inspiring Tale of a Butcher’s Spiritual Journey in Mahabharata

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

ॐ श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः ॐ श्री शिवानन्दाय नमः ॐ श्री चिदानन्दाय नमः

ॐ श्री दुर्गायै नमः 

Source of all Images in this Blog-post : Google Images : ‘Google Image Search’ will reveal the multiple sources of every single image shared in this Blog. For more details, kindly see ‘Disclaimer

If there’s something that I read and reread in The Hindu Epic Mahabharata, then it’s Vyadha Gita ( The Holy Butcher’s Gita  / The Holy Song of the Butcher) / Hindi : व्याधगीता.

Vyadha Gita of Mahabharata – Yogi burning the innocent bird in rage

The profound wisdom of the Vyadha Gita, a pivotal section in the revered Hindu Epic Mahabharata, continues to captivate my mind and soul. Each time I delve into its pages, I find myself immersed in the enlightening discourse of ‘The Holy Butcher’s Gita’ (Hindi: व्याधगीता), a sublime blend of spiritual insight and timeless philosophy. This sacred text, rich in its narrative and depth, is a treasure trove of knowledge that I passionately revisit, seeking guidance and enlightenment.

(1) The Story of Dharmavyadha – A YouTube Video

The Vyadha Gita (Meaning, Spiritual Teachings of a Butcher) is a part of the Hindu Epic Mahabharata and consists of the spiritual teachings imparted by a Vyadha (Butcher) to a Brahmin Sannyasin (Hindu Monk of the Highest Order).

The sacred story occurs in the Vana Parva section of Mahabharata and is told to the Pandava Prince Yudhisthira, by the enlighened Sage Markandeya

Vyadha Gita of Mahabharata – Yogi asking for Bhiksha

In the story, an arrogant Sannyasin is completely humbled by a Vyadha (Butcher), and learns about all the secrets of Spirituality & Dharma (righteousness) from the menial butcher.

The Vyadha teaches the Monk that ‘no duty is ever ugly, no duty is ever impure’, and it is only the way & the spirit in which the work is done, determines its worth.

Lord Krishna even mentions about this Butcher in Shrimad Bhagavata Purana as someone who attained Perfection / Emancipation / Realisation by Satsanga ( The Holy Company of Sages ).

Vyadha Gita of Mahabharata – Dutiful butcher serving his aged parents

The story has only three characters – a Brahmin Sannyasin, a housewife and a Vyadha (butcher). The story begins with a young Sannyasin going to a forest, where he meditates and practices spiritual austerities for a long time.

After years of practice, one day while sitting under a tree, dry leaves fall on his head because of a fight between a crow and a crane.

The angry Sannyasin had developed Yogic powers and burnt the birds with his mere look. This incident fills the Sannyasin with arrogance about his Yogic power. 

Shortly thereafter he goes to a house begging for food. Here the housewife who was nursing her sick husband requests the Sannyasin to wait.

To this, the Sannyasin thinks, “You wretched woman, how dare you make me wait! You do not know my power yet”, to which the housewife says that she is neither a crow nor a crane, to be burnt.

The Sannyasin is stunned and asks her how she came to know about the bird. The housewife says that she did not practice any austerities. But just by doing her duty with cheerfulness and wholeheartedness, she became illumined and thus could clearly read his thoughts.

She redirects him to a Dharma-Vyadha (meaning, the holy butcher) in the town of Mithila, and says that the Dharma-Vyadha would answer all his questions on Spirituality & Dharma (Righteousness).

(1) Stories from Swami Vivekanand – The young Sanyasin (Ascetic), the Woman and the Vyadha (Butcher) – YouTube

The Sannyasin goes to see the Vyadha and overcoming his initial hesitation, listens to his amazing spiritually enlightening teachings, which is referred to as Vyadha Gita in the Hindu Epic Mahabharata, and even puts them into practice in real life.

The utterly amazed Sannyasin inquired of the Vyadha how he could attain such a high level of enlightenment by engaging in such a lowly, unattractive menial work. The Vyadha says that his past Karma ( Deeds of Previous Life) had placed him in these circumstances.

The Vyadha further advises that no duty is ever ugly, no duty is ever impure, and that it is only the way & spirit in which the work is done that determines its worth.

The Vyadha advises that all work must be done with full involvement of heart, soul, mind & intellect by dedicating the work & the results of work to the God Almighty. And by sincere and detached performance of the alotted duty in one’s earthly life one can without a shade of doubt become fully illumined spiritually.

He further says that a decision on what is Dharma under difficult circumstances should be made by sticking to that course of action which leads to the highest good of beings.

The Vyadha, teaches with all humility that not birth but Dharma and virtuous deeds & conduct makes one a Brahmin (A man of the highest social order).

The story describes the importance of performance of Swadharma (prescribed duty or one’s duty in life or one’s own duty).

According to the story, a Vyadha (butcher), considered absolutely low by birth, but engaged in Dharma and doing his own prescribed duty and doing good to others is capable of imparting spiritual knowledge to a Brahmin, considered highest in the society by birth but practices austerities just for his own good.

The attainment of enlightenment, by the performance of Swadharma, is also one of the central teachings of the Holy Bhagavad Gita

Swami Vivekananda, describes this sacred story of Vyadha Gita in one of his lectures on Karma Yoga and emphatically declares that it contains one of the ‘Highest Messages of the Vedanta of Hinduism‘.

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - a specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

But Mala doesn't stop at just sharing her own thoughts and ideas. She welcomes constructive criticisms and suggestions to improve her blog and make it even more impactful. And if you share her passion for India's culture and heritage, she extends a warm invitation for high-quality guest blog posts.

Ready to dive into the world of India's ageless beauty? Follow Mala on LinkedIn and join her in spreading the magic of ancient India to the world.

LinkedIn Profile :