Ashtavakra Gita Supreme Spiritual Knowledge
Ashtavakra Gita selected Verse
Translation by John Richards
You do not belong to the brahmin or any other caste, you are not at any stage, nor are you anything that the eye can see. You are unattached and formless, the witness of everything – so be happy
Righteousness and unrighteousness, pleasure and pain are purely of the mind and are no concern of yours. You are neither the doer nor the reaper of the consequences, so you are always free.
Burn down the forest of ignorance with the fire of the understanding that “I am the one pure awareness”, and be happy and free from distress.
If one thinks of oneself as free, one is free, and if one thinks of oneself as bound, one is bound. Here this saying is true, “Thinking makes it so”.
You are unconditioned and changeless, formless and immovable, unfathomable awareness and unperturbable, so hold to nothing but consciousness.
Just as a mirror exists everywhere both within and apart from its reflected images, so the Supreme Lord exists everywhere within and apart from this body.
From ignorance of oneself, the world appears, and by knowledge of oneself it appears no longer. From ignorance of the rope a snake appears, and by knowledge of it it appears no longer.
The body, heaven and hell, bondage and liberation, and fear too, all this is pure imagination. What is there left to do for me whose very nature is consciousness?
Knowing yourself as truly one and indestructible, how could a wise man possessing self-knowledge like you feel any pleasure in acquiring wealth?
The great souled person sees even his own body in action as if it were some-one else’s, so how should he be disturbed by praise or blame?
Seeing this world as pure illusion, and devoid of any interest in it, how should the strong-minded person, feel fear, even at the approach of death?
An object of enjoyment that comes of itself is neither painful nor pleasurable for someone who has eliminated attachment, and who is free from dualism and from desire.
Equal in pain and in pleasure, equal in hope and in disappointment, equal in life and in death, and complete as you are, you can go to your rest.
Alternatively, I am in all beings, and all beings are in me. To know this is knowledge, and then there is neither renunciation, acceptance or cessation of it.
It is in the infinite ocean of myself that the mind-creation called the world takes place. I am supremely peaceful and formless, and I remain as such.
Liberation is when the mind does not long for anything, grieve about anything, reject anything, or hold on to anything, and is not pleased about anything or displeased about anything.
When was that age or time of life when the dualism of extremes did not exist for men? Abandoning them, a person who is happy to take whatever comes attains perfection.
Abandoning desire, the enemy, along with gain, itself so full of loss, and the good deeds which are the cause of the other two – practice indifference to everything .
Look on such things as friends, land, money, property, wife, and bequests as nothing but a dream or a magician’s show lasting three or five days.
Kingdoms, children, wives, bodies, pleasures – these have all been lost to you, life after life, attached to them though you were.
How many births have you not done hard and painful labour with body, mind and speech. Now at last stop!
At peace, having shed all desires within, and realising that nothing exists here but the Lord, the Creator of all things, one is no longer attached to anything.
Realising that misfortune and fortune come in their turn from fate, one is contented, one’s senses under control, and does not like or dislike
Realising that suffering arises from nothing other than thinking, dropping all desires one rids oneself of it, and is happy and at peace everywhere.
Realising, “I am not the body, nor is the body mine. I am awareness”, one attains the supreme state and no longer remembers things done or undone.
By relinquishing the sense of rejection and acceptance, and with pleasure and disappointment ceasing today, brahmin – I am now established.
No benefit or loss comes to me by standing, walking or lying down, so consequently I live as I please whether standing, walking or sleeping.
He who by nature is empty minded, and who thinks of things only unintentionally, is freed from deliberate remembering like one awakened from a dream.
When my desire has been eliminated, I have no wealth, friends, robber senses, scriptures or knowledge?
Realising my supreme self-nature in the Person of the Witness, the Lord, and the state of desirelessness in bondage or liberation, I feel no inclination for liberation.
You are not the body, nor is the body yours, nor are you the doer of actions or the reaper of their consequences. You are eternally pure consciousness the witness, in need of nothing – so live happily.
Desire and anger are objects of the mind, but the mind is not yours, nor ever has been. You are choiceless, awareness itself and unchanging – so live happily.
My son, you consist of pure consciousness, and the world is not separate from you. So who is to accept or reject it, and how, and why?
How can there be either birth, karma or responsibility in that one unchanging, peaceful, unblemished and infinite consciousness which is you?
Whatever you see, it is you alone manifest in it. How could bracelets, armlets and anklets be different from the gold they are made of?
Give up meditation completely but don’t let the mind hold on to anything. You are free by nature, so what will you achieve by forcing the mind?
My son, you may recite or listen to countless scriptures, but you will not be established within until you can forget everything.
Happiness belongs to no-one but that supremely lazy man for whom even opening and closing his eyes is a bother.
When the mind is freed from such pairs of opposites as, “I have done this”, and “I have not done that”, it becomes indifferent to merit, wealth, sensuality and liberation.
The passionate man wants to be rid of samsara so as to avoid pain, but the dispassionate man is free from pain and feels no distress even in it.
If even Shiva, Vishnu or the lotus-born Brahma were your instructor, until you have forgotten everything you cannot be established within.
The man who is not attached to the things he has enjoyed, and does not hanker after the things he has not enjoyed, such a man is hard to find.
Those who desire pleasure and those who desire liberation are both found in samsara, but the great souled man who desires neither pleasure nor liberation is rare indeed.
It is only the noble minded who is free from attraction or repulsion to religion, wealth, sensuality, and life and death too.
Thus fulfilled through this knowledge, contented and with the thinking mind emptied, he lives happily just seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting.
Surely the supreme state is eveywhere for the liberated mind. He is neither awake nor asleep, and neither opens or closes his eyes.
The liberated man is free from desires everywhere. He neither blames, praises, rejoices, is disappointed, gives nor takes.
There is no distinction between pleasure and pain, man and woman, success and failure for the wise man who looks on everything as equal.
There is no aggression nor compassion, no pride nor humility, no wonder nor confusion for the man whose days of in samsara are over.
The liberated man is not averse to the senses and nor is he attached to them. He enjoys hinself continually with an unattached mind in both achievement and non-achievement.
One may get all sorts of pleasure by the acquisition of various objects of enjoyment, but one cannot be happy except by the renunciation of everything.
Considerations like “I am this” or “I am not this” are finished for the yogi who has gone silent realising “Everything is myself”.
The dominion of heaven or beggary, gain or loss, life among men or in the forest, these make no difference to a yogi whose nature it is to be free from distinctions
There is no religion, wealth, sensuality or discrimination for a yogi free from such opposites as “I have done this,” and “I have not done that.”
There is no delusion, world, meditation on That, or liberation for the pacified great soul. All these things are just the realm of imagination.
The wise man, unlike the worldly man, does not see inner stillness, distraction or fault in himself, even when living like a worldly man.
He whose joy is in himself, and who is peaceful and pure within has no desire for renunciation or sense of loss in anything.
He who is beyond mental stillness and distraction, does not desire either liberation or its opposite. Recognising that things are just constructions of the imagination, that great soul lives as God here and now.
The mind of the liberated man is not upset or pleased. It shines unmoving, desireless, and free from doubt.
He whose mind does not set out to meditate or act, meditates and acts without an object.
The ignorant make a great effort to practise one-pointedness and the stopping of thought, while the wise see nothing to be done and remain in themselves like those asleep.
The stupid does not achieve liberation even through regular practice, but the fortunate remains free and actionless simply by discrimination.
The stupid does not find peace because he is wanting it, while the wise discriminating the truth is always peaceful minded.
Some think that something exists, and others that nothing does. Rare is the man who does not think either, and is thereby free from distraction.
The man who is free from doubts and whose mind is free does not bother about means of liberation. Whether seeing, hearing, feeling smelling or tasting, he lives at ease.
By inner freedom one attains happiness, by inner freedom one reaches the Supreme, by inner freedom one comes to absence of thought, by inner freedom to the Ultimate State.
There is no attachment in the heart of a wise man whether he sees or pays homage to a learned brahmin, a celestial being, a holy place, a woman, a king or a friend.
A yogi is not in the least put out even when humiliated by the ridicule of servants, sons, wives, grandchildren or other relatives.
Even when doing nothing the fool is agitated by restlessness, while a skilful man remains undisturbed even when doing what there is to do.
Happy he stands, happy he sits, happy sleeps and happy he comes and goes. Happy he speaks, and happy he eats. This is the life of a man at peace.
Even abstention from action leads to action in a fool, while even the action of the wise man brings the fruits of inaction.
The mind of the fool is always caught in thinking or not thinking, but the wise man’s is of the nature of no thought because he thinks what should be thought.
For the seer who behaves like a child, without desire in all actions, there is no attachment for such a pure one even in the work he does.
What remains to be done by the man who is pure awareness and has abandoned everything that can be expressed in words from the highest heaven to the earth itself?
Though in the eyes of the world he is active, the man who has shed action through knowledge finds no means of doing or speaking anything.
For the wise man who is always unchanging and fearless there is neither darkness nor light nor destruction, nor anything.
There is neither heaven nor hell nor even liberation during life. In a nutshell, in the sight of the seer nothing exists at all.
The wise man does not dislike samsara or seek to know himself. Free from pleasure and impatience, he is not dead and he is not alive.
Neither happy nor unhappy, neither detached nor attached, neither seeking liberation nor liberated, he is neither something nor nothing.
He is not pleased when praised nor upset when blamed. He is not afraid of death nor attached to life.
In my unblemished nature there are no elements, no body, no faculties no mind. There is no void and no despair.
There is no knowledge or ignorance, no “me”, “this” or “mine”, no bondage, no liberation, and no property of self-nature.
For him who is always free from individual characteristics there is no antecedent causal action, no liberation during life, and no fulfilment at death.
There is no world, no seeker for liberation, no yogi, no seer, no one bound and no-one liberated. I remain in my own non-dual nature.
There is no emanation or return, no goal, means, seeker or achievement. I remain in my own non-dual nature.
For me who am always free from deliberations there is neither conventional truth nor absolute truth, no happiness and no suffering.
For me who am forever pure there is no illusion, no samsara, no attachment or detechment, no living being and no God.
For me who am forever unmovable and indivisible, established in myself, there is no activity or inactivity, no liberation and no bondage.
For me who am blessed and without limitation, there is no initiation or scripture, no disciple or teacher, and no goal of human life.