Ashtavakra Gita

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Part III

Ashtavakra said:

Bondage is when the mind longs for something, grieves about something, rejects something, holds on to something, is pleased about something or displeased about something. 8.1

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. 8.2

Bondage is when the mind is tangled in one of the senses, and liberation is when the mind is not tangled in any of the senses. 8.3

When there is no “me,” that is liberation, and when there is “me” there is bondage. Consider this carefully, and neither hold on to anything nor reject anything. 8.4

Ashtavakra said:

Knowing when the dualism of things done and undone has been put to rest, or the person for whom they occur has, then you can here and now go beyond renunciation and obligations by indifference to such things. 9.1

Rare indeed, my son, is the lucky man whose observation of the world’s behaviour has led to the extinction of his thirst for living, thirst for pleasure, and thirst for knowledge. 9.2

All this is transient and spoiled by the three sorts of pain. Knowing it to be insubstantial, ignoble, and fit only for rejection, one attains peace. 9.3

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. 9.4

Who does not end up with indifference to such things and attain peace when he has seen the differences of opinions among the great sages, saints, and yogis? 9.5

Is he not a guru who, endowed with dispassion and equanimity, achieves full knowledge of the nature of consciousness, and leads others out of samsara? 9.6

If you would just see the transformations of the elements as nothing more than the elements, then you would immediately be freed from all bonds and established in your own nature. 9.7

One’s desires are samsara. Knowing this, abandon them. The renunciation of them is the renunciation of it. Now you can remain as you are. 9.8

Ashtavakra said:

Abandon 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. 10.1

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. 10.2

Wherever a desire occurs, see samsara in it. Establishing yourself in firm dispassion, be free of passion and happy. 10.3

The essential nature of bondage is nothing other than desire, and its elimination is known as liberation. It is simply by not being attached to changing things that the everlasting joy of attainment is reached. 10.4

You are one, conscious and pure, while all this is inert non-being. Ignorance itself is nothing, so what is the point of wanting to understand? 10.5

Kingdoms, children, wives, bodies, pleasures — these have all been lost to you life after life, attached to them though you were. 10.6

Enough of wealth, sensuality, and good deeds. In the forest of samsara the mind has never found satisfaction in these. 10.7

How many births have you not done hard and painful labour with body, mind, and speech. Now at last, stop! 10.8

Ashtavakra said:

Unmoved and undistressed, realising that being, non-being and change are of the very nature of things, one easily finds peace. 11.1

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. 11.2

Realising that misfortune and fortune come in their own time from fortune, one is contented, one’s senses under control, and does not like or dislike. 11.3

Realising that pleasure and pain, birth and death are from destiny, and that one’s desires cannot be achieved, one remains inactive, and even when acting does not get attached. 11.4

Realising that suffering arises from nothing other than thought, dropping all desires one rids oneself of it, and is happy and at peace everywhere. 11.5

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. 11.6

Realising, “I alone exist, from Brahma down to the last clump of grass,” one becomes free from uncertainty, pure, at peace, and unconcerned about what has been attained or not. 11.7

Realising that all this varied and wonderful world is nothing, one becomes pure receptivity, free from inclinations, and as if nothing existed, one finds peace. 11.8

Janaka said:

First of all I was averse to physical activity, then to lengthy speech, and finally to thought itself, which is why I am now established. 12.1

In the absence of delight in sound and the other senses, and by the fact that I am myself not an object of the senses, my mind is focused and free from distraction — which is why I am now established. 12.2

Owing to the distraction of such things as wrong identification, one is driven to strive for mental stillness. Recognising this pattern I am now established. 12.3

By relinquishing the sense of rejection and acceptance, and with pleasure and disappointment ceasing today, brahmin — I am now established. 12.4

Life in a community, then going beyond such a state, meditation and the elimination of mind-made objects — by means of these I have seen my error, and I am now established. 12.5

Just as the performance of actions is due to ignorance, so their abandonment is too. By fully recognising this truth, I am now established. 12.6

Trying to think the unthinkable, is doing something unnatural to thought. Abandoning such a practice therefore, I am now established. 12.7

He who has achieved this has achieved the goal of life. He who is of such a nature has done what has to be done. 12.8

Janaka said:

The inner freedom of having nothing is hard to achieve, even with just a loin-cloth, but I live as I please, abandoning both renunciation and acquisition. 13.1

Sometimes one experiences distress because of one’s body, sometimes because of one’s speech, and sometimes because of one’s mind. Abandoning all of these, I live as I please in the goal of human life. 13.2

Recognising that in reality no action is ever committed, I live as I please, just doing what presents itself to be done. 13.3

Yogis who identify themselves with their bodies are insistent on fulfilling and avoiding certain actions, but I live as I please abandoning attachment and rejection. 13.4

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.13.5

I lose nothing by sleeping and gain nothing by effort, so consequently I live as I please, abandoning success and failure. 13.6

Continually observing the drawbacks of such things as pleasant objects, I live as I please, abandoning the pleasant and unpleasant. 13.7

Janaka said:

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. 14.1

When my desire has been eliminated, I have no wealth, friends, robbers, senses, scriptures or knowledge. 14.2

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. 14.3

The various states of one who is free of uncertainty within, and who outwardly wanders about as he pleases like an idiot, can only be known by someone in the same condition. 14.4

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