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Essence of Uddhava Gita
The present world of materialism with consumerism and commercialization is full of miseries and calls for lessons from the wisdom in the epics. There is a strong case for spiritually guided materialism flowing from Bhagwad Gita justifying 'needonomics' confining to the needs of the people only. There is no room for greed which is the cause of causes for miseries in all aspects of life.
Uddhava Gita also known as Hamsa Gita consists of Krishna's final discourse to Uddhava before his worldly avatar and lila to completion. The part of Bhagavatam from chapter 06 to chapter 29 is popularly known as Uddhava Gita.

The Gitas that find place in Srimad Bhagavata such as the Uddhava-Gita, the Rudra-Gita, the Bhikshu-Gita, the Sruti-Gita, the Hamsa-Gita . The names Uddhava Gita and Hamsa Gita are popularly interchangeable but Hamsa Gita also specifically denotes a subset of the Uddhava Gita and the Bhagavata Purana proper.

Hamsa is a metaphor for the Paramahamsa as well as a natural teacher of grace evident in nature. The Hamsa often written hansa is a swan or goose, often considered to be the Mute Swan. It is used in Indian culture as a symbol and a decorative element. The term 'Gita' means literally "song" in Sanskrit Devanagari.

It is said that Indra and the Gods visited Lord Krishna in Dwarka and requested him to return to, heavenly abode (vaikuntha). Lord Krishna assured them that he will be leaving the world very soon and returning to heaven. Hearing this, Uddhava begs Krishna to take him along. Lord Krishna then gives a discourse to Uddhava.

In essence it is the same as Bhagwad Gita. But instead of a battle field setting where Krishna urges Arjuna to kill his enemies as a part of his duty, here the same philosophical doctrines are explained in a more somber atmosphere. We need to understand that although Uddhava Gita contains instructions similar to those imparted to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra; it also contains very confidential teachings that are not available even in Bhagwad Gita.

The five truths that embody the teachings of Bhagwad Gita- Isvara (the Supreme Lord), Jeva (the living entities), Prakrati (material nature), Kala (time), and karma (activities) - are fully elaborated upon in the Uddhava Gita with practical application in life for salvation.

(The writer is professor of economics & former Dean, faculty of Social Sciences, former Chairman, Dept. of Economics & Dept. of Journalism & Mass Communication, Kurukshetra University, Haryana. He can be reached at

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