04 April 2010

Test of Self-Realization

Ashtavakra said:

Having realized yourself as One,
being serene and indestructible,
why do you desire wealth?

Just as imagining silver in mother-of-pearl
causes greed to arise,
so does ignorance of Self
cause desire for illusion.

Having realized yourself as That
in which the waves of the world rise and fall,
why do you run around in turmoil?

Having realized yourself as pure awareness,
as beautiful beyond description,
how can you remain a slave to lust?

It is strange that in a sage who has realized
Self in All, and All in Self,
this sense of ownership should continue.

Strange that one abiding in the Absolute,
intent on freedom,
should be vulnerable to lust
and weakened by amorous pastimes.

Strange that knowing lust
as an enemy of knowledge,
one so weak and nearing death
should still crave sensual pleasure.

Strange that one who is unattached
to the things of this world and the next,
who can discriminate between the transient and the timeless,
who yearns for freedom,
should yet fear the dissolution of the body.

Whether acclaimed or tormented
the serene sage abides in Self.
He is neither gratified nor angered.

A great soul witnesses his body’s actions
as if they were another’s.
How can praise or blame disturb him?

Realizing the universe is illusion,
having lost all curiosity,
how can one of steady mind fear death?

With whom can we compare the great soul
who, content knowing Self,
remains desireless in disappointment?

Why should a person of steady mind,
who sees the nothingness of objects,
prefer one thing to another?

He who is unattached,
untouched by opposites, free of desire,
experiences neither pleasure nor pain as events pass through.