04 April 2010


Ashtavakra said:

Praise That, which is bliss itself,
which is by nature stillness and light,
and which by its knowing
reveals the world as a dream.

One may enjoy the abundant pleasures of the world,
but will never be happy
until giving them up.

How can one whose innermost heart has been scorched
by the sun of sorrow that comes from duty
be happy until the sweet rain
of torrential stillness?

The universe is but a thought in consciousness.
In Reality it is nothing.
One who sees the true nature of existence and non-existence
never ceases to exist.

The Self, which is absolute,
effortless, timeless, immaculate,
is without limits and at no distance from you.
You are forever It.

For those whose vision becomes unclouded,
illusion evaporates and Self becomes known.
All sorrow is instantly dispelled.

Seeing everything is imagination,
knowing the Self as timelessly free,
the sage lives as a child.

Knowing himself as Absolute,
knowing existence and non-existence
to be imagination only,
what is there for the desireless one
to learn, say, or do?

Knowing for certain that all is Self,
the sage has no trace of thoughts
such as, “I am this” or, “I am not that.”

The yogi who finds stillness
is neither distracted nor focused.
He knows neither pleasure nor pain.
Ignorance dispelled, he is free of knowing.

Heaven or poverty,
gain or loss, society or solitude,
to the yogi free of conditioning
there is no difference.

Religious merit, sensory pleasure, worldly prosperity,
discrimination between this and that —
these have no significance to the yogi free of opposites,
such as, “I do this” and, “This I do not.”

The yogi who is liberated while living
has no duties in this world,
no attachments in his heart.
His life proceeds without him.

For the great soul who abides beyond desire,
where is illusion?
Where is the universe?
Where is meditation on That?
Where even is liberation from them?

He who sees the world
may try to renounce it.
But what can the desireless one do?
He sees there is nothing to see.

He who has seen the supreme Brahma
thinks, “I am Brahma.”
But he who has transcended all thought,
what can he think?
He knows no other than Self.

He achieves self-control
who sees his own distraction.
But the great soul is not distracted.
He has nothing to achieve.
He has nothing to do.

The man of knowledge may live as an ordinary man,
but he is not.
He sees he is neither focused nor distracted,
and finds no fault with himself.

He who is beyond existence and non-existence,
who is wise, satisfied, and free of desire,
does nothing, though the world may see him in motion.

The wise one is not troubled by action or inactivity.
He lives happily,
doing whatever gets done.

Like a leaf in the wind,
the liberated one is untethered from life —
desireless, independent, free.

For one who has transcended the world
there is no joy or sorrow.
With a stilled mind,
he lives on with no body.

One who knows Self,
whose mind is serene and spotless,
does not desire to give up anything,
nor does he miss what is not there.

His mind being in a natural state of emptiness,
the wise one knows nothing
of honor and dishonor.
He does what comes to be done.

One who acts knowing,
“This is done by the body, not by I, the Self,”
indeed does nothing,
no matter how much acting takes place.

The liberated one acts without claiming to be acting,
but he is no fool.
He is blessed and happy,
even though in the world.

Having had enough of the endless workings of the mind,
the wise one comes to rest.
He neither thinks, nor knows, nor hears, nor sees.

Beyond stillness, beyond distraction,
the great soul thinks nothing of liberation or bondage.
Having seen the universe is void —
even though it seems to exist —
he is God.

He who believes he is a person is constantly acting,
even when the body is at rest.
The sage knows he is not a person
and therefore does nothing,
even when the body is in motion.

The mind of the liberated one
is neither troubled nor pleased.
It is actionless, motionless, desireless,
and free of doubt.

The liberated one does not exert effort
to meditate or act.
Action and meditation just happen.

Hearing ultimate Truth,
the dull-witted man is bewildered.
The wise man hearing Truth
retreats within and appears dull-witted.

The ignorant practice meditation and no-thought.
The wise, like men in deep sleep,
do nothing.

The ignorant man finds no peace
either by effort or non-effort.
The wise man by Truth alone is stilled.

Though they are by nature Self alone,
pure intelligence, love and perfection —
though they transcend the universe and are clearness itself —
men of the world will not see this
through meditation and practices.

The ignorant man will never be liberated
by his repetitious practices.
Blessed is he who, by simple understanding,
enters timeless freedom.

Because he desires to know God,
the ignorant man can never become That.
The wise man is God
because he is free of desire
and knows nothing.

Unable to stand steady and eager for salvation,
the ignorant perpetuate the illusion of world.
Seeing the world as the source of all misery,
the wise cut it off at the root.

The fool thinks peace comes by controlling the mind.
He will never attain it.
The wise one knows Truth,
and is stillness itself.

For he who thinks knowledge is things and ideas,
how can there be Self-knowledge?
The wise do not see separate things,
only the timeless Self.

The fool tries to control the mind
with the mind — what folly!
The wise one delights in Self alone.
There is no mind to master.

Some believe in existence.
Others believe nothing exists.
Rare is the one who believes nothing
and is never confused.

Weak intellectuals may believe
the Self is One without other.
But being mired in illusion
they do not actually know Self,
so live out their lives in misery.

The mind of one seeking liberation
depends on things for perception.
The mind of the liberated one perceives no-thing
and is free of desire.

Timid men fear sensory experience
much as they do tigers.
They seek refuge in caves
and try to un-think the world.

Sensory experiences are like elephants who,
upon encountering a desireless man,
see him as a lion.
They immediately turn on their heels,
or if unable to escape,
stay on to flatter and serve him.

A man with no doubts,
who knows only Self,
has no need of practice or liberation.
Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating,
he lives happily as he is.

One whose mind is emptied and unconflicted
by the mere hearing of Truth,
sees nothing to do, nothing to avoid,
nothing to warrant his indifference.

The sage does whatever appears to be done,
without thinking of good or bad.
His actions are those of a child.

Depending on nothing, one finds happiness.
Depending on nothing, one attains the Supreme.
Depending on nothing, one passes through tranquility
to One Self.

When one realizes he is neither the actor
nor the one who watches,
the mind-storm is stilled.

The actions of the sage,
free of pretence and motive,
shine like clear light.
Not so those of the deluded seeker
who affects a peaceful demeanor
while remaining firmly attached.

Unbounded, unfettered,
untethered from the projections of mind,
the wise are free to play and enjoy,
or retire to mountain caves.

Whether honoring a spiritual scholar, a god, or holy shrine,
whether seeing a desirable woman, a king, or beloved friend,
the heart of the sage is unmoved.

Though his servants, sons, wives, daughters, grandchildren,
and all his relatives ridicule and despise him,
the sage is undismayed.

Though pleased he is not pleasured,
though pained he does not suffer.
This wonderful state is understood
only by those like him.

The belief in duty creates a relative world
for its performance.
The wise one knows Himself to be formless,
timeless, all-pervasive, immaculate,
and thus transcends duty and world.

Even doing nothing,
the dull one is anxious and distracted.
Even amidst great action,
the wise one remains still.

Even in practical life
the wise one remains happy.
Happy to sit,
happy to sleep,
happy to move about,
happy to speak,
happy to eat …

Because he knows Self,
the wise one is not disrupted by practical life.
He is deep and still, like a vast lake.
He is not like ordinary people.
His sorrows have vanished.

For the deluded, even rest is an activity.
For the wise, even action
bears the fruit of stillness.

The deluded are often adverse to the things of life.
To one with no thought for body,
attachment and aversion have no meaning.

The deluded mind is caught up
in thinking and not thinking.
Though the mind of the wise one
may think what thoughts come,
he is not aware of it.

The sage sees nothing being done,
even when performed by his hands.
Like a child, he is pure
and acts without reason.

Blessed indeed is he who knows Self.
Though seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating,
he never desires nor changes.

For one who is void and changeless,
where is the world and its imaginings?
Where is the end?
Where is the possibility of it?

Glorious indeed is he who, free of desire,
embodies bliss itself.
He has become absorbed in Self.

In short, the great soul who has realized Truth
is free of desire, enjoyment, and liberation.
In all of space and time,
he is attached to nothing.

What remains for One who is consciousness itself,
who sees the non-existence of a phenomenal world
created by the mere thought of a name?

Peace is natural for one
who knows for certain nothing exists,
who sees appearances are illusion,
to whom the inexpressible is apparent.

Rules of conduct, detachment, renunciation, asceticism —
what are these to one who sees the unreality of things,
who is the Light of Awareness?

How can there be joy or sorrow, bondage or liberation,
for one who perceives non-existence
and lights the infinite?

Until Self-realization, illusion prevails.
The sage lives without thoughts of “I” or “mine.”
His connection to illusion is severed.

What is knowledge?
What is universe?
What are thoughts like, “I am the body,” or “The body is mine”?
The sage is imperishable and sorrowless.
He is Self alone.

When a weak man gives up meditation
he falls prey to whims and desires.

Even hearing Truth,
the man of dull intellect holds on to illusion.
Through effort and suppression
he may appear outwardly composed,
but inside he craves the world.

Though others may see him working,
the sage does nothing.
Knowledge has banished effort.
He finds no reason to do or say.

The sage is fearless, unassailable.
No darkness, no light, nothing to lose.

Patience, discrimination, even fearlessness —
what use are these to the yogi?
His nature cannot be described.
He is not a person.

No heaven, no hell, no liberation for the living.
In short, consciousness is void.
What more can be said?

The sage neither yearns for fulfillment
nor frets over non-attainment.
His mind is cool and brimming with sweetness.

Detached from desire,
the sage neither praises peace nor blames the wicked.
Equally content in happiness and misery,
he would not change a thing.

The sage neither rejects the world nor desires Self.
He is free of joy and sorrow.
He does not live,
and cannot die.

The wise one lives without hope.
He has no attachment to his children, wife, or anyone.
Pleasure means nothing to him.
His life is glorious.

The sage wanders about as he pleases
and lives on whatever may come.
Contentment ever dwells in his heart.
And when the sun sets,
he rests where he is.

Rooted in being, no thought of being born or reborn,
the great soul is indifferent
to the death or birth of his body.

The wise one stands alone,
caring for nothing, bereft of possessions.
He goes where he will,
unhindered by opposites, his doubts rent asunder.
He is truly blessed.

The wise one has no sense of “mine.”
To him, earth, stone, and gold are the same.
The knots of his heart have unraveled.
He knows neither ignorance nor sorrow.
He is excellent in every way.

The liberated soul has no desire in his heart.
He is content and indifferent.
He has no equal.

Only one free of desire
knows nothing of knowing,
says nothing needs saying,
sees nothing to see.

He who is without desire excels,
be he beggar or king.
He no longer sees good or bad.

What is lust, or restraint, or the desire for Truth
to the yogi who has reached life’s goal,
and who embodies virtue and sincerity?

The inner experience of one
who is free of desire and suffering,
who is content and reposes in Self —
how can it be described,
and of whom?

The wise one’s state never varies.
Sleeping soundly, he is not asleep.
Lying in reverie, he is not dreaming.
Eyes open, he is not wakeful.

The man of knowledge seems to think,
but has no thoughts.
He seems to have sense perceptions,
but does not experience.
He seems to have intelligence,
but is empty-minded.
He appears to be a person,
but is not.

The man of knowledge
is neither happy nor miserable,
neither detached nor attached,
neither liberated nor seeking liberation.
He is neither this nor that.

Even while distracted, the blessed one is still.
In meditation, he does not meditate.
In ignorance, he remains clear.
Though learned, he knows nothing.

The liberated one,
who abides unconditionally in Self,
who is free of the concept of action and duty,
who is always and everywhere the same,
is desireless.
He does not worry about what he did or did not do.

The wise one is neither pleased by praise
nor annoyed by blame.
He neither rejoices in life
nor fears death.

One of tranquil mind
seeks neither crowds nor wilderness.
He is the same wherever he goes.