04 April 2010

Chapter One

Janaka asks:

How can knowledge be acquired?  How can liberation be attained?  How can renunciation come about?  (1)

Ashtavakra answers:

My child, if you are seeking liberation, shun the objects of the senses like poison; and seek forgiveness, sincerity, kindness, contentment and truth like you would seek nectar. (2)

You are neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air, nor space.  You are the witness of those five elements as Consciousness.  Understanding this is liberation.  (3)

If you detach yourself from the identification with the body, and remain relaxed in, and as Consciousness, you will, this very moment, be happy, at peace, free from bondage.  (4)

You do not belong to any caste like Brahmana, nor do you belong to any station in life.  You are not the object of any sense.  Unattached and formless, you are the witness of the entire universe.  Know this, and be happy.  (5)

Right and wrong, happiness and sorrow, are all attributes of the mind, not of You, O all-pervading One.  You are neither the doer nor the enjoyer, You who have ever and always been free of all such attachments  (6)

You are the one observer and, as such, you have, indeed, always been free.  Your only bondage has been that you see someone else as the observer.  (7)

You have been bitten by the deadly black serpent of the ego, and you therefore consider yourself as the doer.  Drink the nectar of the faith that you are not the doer, and be happy.  (8)

Having burnt down the forest of ignorance with the fire of the conviction ‘I am One, Pure Consciousness’, discard all grief and be happy.  (9)

You are that Consciousness – Supreme Bliss – upon which appears this phenomenal manifestation, like the illusion of a snake on a rope.  Live happily. (10)

The one who considers himself free is, indeed, free, while the one who considers himself bound remains in bondage.  The saying ‘As one thinks so one becomes’ is certainly a true one.  (11)

The Atman is the sole witness, all pervading, perfect, free Consciousness – actionless, unattached, desireless, at peace with itself.  It is only through an illusion that it appears to be involved with the samsara.  (12)

Give up the illusion that you are the individual self, together with all external and internal self-modifications, and meditate on the Atman, the immutable, non-dual Consciousness.  (13)

Dear child, long have you been caught in the bonds of identification with the body.  Sever it with the sword of Knowledge, and be happy.  (14)

You are unattached, actionless, self-effulgent, without blemish.  This, indeed, is your bondage, that you practice meditation.  (15)

It is you who pervade this universe, and this universe exists in you.  You are truly pure Consciousness by nature.  Be not petty-minded.  (16)

Know that which has form to be unreal, and the formless to be real.  Having understood this principle, there will be no possibility of rebirth.  (18)

Just as the surface of a mirror exists within and without the image reflected in the mirror, so also the supreme Self exists both within and without the physical body.  (19)

Just as the all-pervading space is both inside and outside the pot, so also the eternal and all-pervading Consciousness is immanent in all beings and objects.  (20)