Author Topic: Part 2 - Ashtavakra Gita translated by John Richards  (Read 2839 times)


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Part 2 - Ashtavakra Gita translated by John Richards
« on: October 08, 2010, 01:01:57 PM »
Ashtavakra said:

Knowing yourself as truly one and indestructible, how could a wise man possessing self-knowledge like you feel any pleasure in acquiring wealth? 3.1

Truly, when one does not know oneself, one takes pleasure in the objects of mistaken perception, just as greed arises for the mistaken silver in one who does not know mother of pearl for what it is. 3.2

All this wells up like waves in the sea. Recognising, "I am That," why run around like someone in need? 3.3

After hearing of oneself as pure consciousness and the supremely beautiful, is one to go on lusting after sordid sexual objects? 3.4

When the sage has realised that he himself is in all beings, and all beings are in him, it is astonishing that the sense of individuality should be able to continue. 3.5

It is astonishing that a man who has reached the supreme nondual state and is intent on the benefits of liberation should still be subject to lust and in bondage to sexual activity. 3.6

It is astonishing that one already very debilitated, and knowing very well that its arousal is the enemy of knowledge, should still hanker after sensuality, even when approaching his last days. 3.7

It is astonishing that one who is unattached to the things of this world or the next, who discriminates between the permanent and the impermanent, and who longs for liberation, should still be afraid of liberation. 3.8

Whether feted or tormented, the wise man is always aware of his supreme self-nature and is neither pleased nor disappointed. 3.9

The great-souled person sees even his own body in action as if it were someone else's, so how should he be disturbed by praise or blame? 3.10

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? 3.11

Who can be compared to the great-souled person whose mind is free from desire even in disappointment, and who has found satisfaction in self-knowledge? 3.12

How should a strong-minded person who knows that what he sees is by its very nature nothing, consider one thing to be grasped and another to be rejected? 3.13

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. 3.14

Ashtavakra said:

The wise person of self-knowledge, playing the game of worldly enjoyment, bears no resemblance whatever to samsara's bewildered beasts of burden. 4.1

Truly the yogi feels no excitement even at being established in that state which all the Devas from Indra down yearn for disconsolately. 4.2

He who has known That is untouched within by good deeds or bad, just as space is not touched by smoke, however much it may appear to be. 4.3

Who can prevent the great-souled person who has known this whole world as himself from living as he pleases? 4.4

Of all four categories of beings, from Brahma down to the last clump of grass, only the man of knowledge is capable of eliminating desire and aversion. 4.5

Rare is the man who knows himself as the nondual Lord of the world, and he who knows this is not afraid of anything. 4.6

Ashtavakra said:

You are not bound by anything. What does a pure person like you need to renounce? Putting the complex organism to rest, you can find peace. 5.1

All this arises out of you, like a bubble out of the sea. Knowing yourself like this to be but one, you can find peace. 5.2

In spite of being in front of your eyes, all this, being insubstantial, does not exist in you, spotless as you are. It is an appearance like the snake in a rope, so you can find peace. 5.3

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 find peace. 5.4

Ashtavakra said:

I am infinite like space, and the natural world is like a jar. To know this is knowledge, and then there is neither renunciation, acceptance, or cessation of it. 6.1

I am like the ocean, and the multiplicity of objects is comparable to a wave. To know this is knowledge, and then there is neither renunciation, acceptance or cessation of it. 6.2

I am like the mother of pearl, and the imagined world is like the silver. To know this is knowledge, and then there is neither renunciation, acceptance, or cessation of it. 6.3

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. 6.4

Janaka said:

In the infinite ocean of myself the world boat drifts here and there, moved by its own inner wind. I am not put out by that. 7.1

Whether the world wave of its own nature rises or disappears in the infinite ocean of myself, I neither gain nor lose anything by that. 7.2

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. 7.3

My true nature is not contained in objects, nor does any object exist in it, for it is infinite and spotless. So it is unattached, desireless and at peace, and I remain as such. 7.4

I am pure consciousness, and the world is like a magician's show. How could I imagine there is anything there to take up or reject? 7.5

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



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Re: Part 2 - Ashtavakra Gita translated by John Richards
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2010, 02:38:36 PM »

Dear prasanth,

In Chapter III, of Ashtavakra Gita, I am of the view that the following
verses are worth considering in the light of Bhagavan Ramana's life.

The Verse 3 says:  Having known yourself to be That, in which the
universe appears like waves on the ocean, why, do you run about
like a miserable thing?

In Sri Ramana Ashottaram, ther is one versde of benediction which
is translated as under:-

Let us meditate in the Heart on Ramana, the
Boundless ocean of Being-Awareness-Bliss, of which
the universe is but a wave, the steadfast one
established firmly in the Heart-Cave's depth,
free from distracting thought.

Again, Verse 8:

It is strange that one who is unattached to the objects of this
world, and the next, who discriminates the eternal from the transient, and who longs for emancipation, should yet fear dissolution of the body!

The Jnanis normally do not fear the dissolution of the body.  But
many a times, extreme ailments, and pain make them cry.  They
do not cry for dissolution of the body at all, but the pains are
insufferable. We find this phenomenon in the lives of Swami Sivananda, Sri Ramakrishna and a few others.  But Bhagavan Ramana
never feared dissolution of the body or the pains of the sarcoma.

He said:  After the meal has been taken, who will keep the leaf-

He has also said:  Yes, there is pain.  The body is paining!  But He
never cried. 

During final moments, when every devotee in front of the Nirvana  Room chanted in chorus, Arunachala Siva, Arunachala Siva....He shed only tears of joy.

Arunachala Siva.       


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Re: Part 2 - Ashtavakra Gita translated by John Richards
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2010, 02:46:47 PM »

In Ashtavakra Gita, Ch. IV, I like the verse No. 3:

Surely, the heart of one who has known the Self is not touched by
virtue and vice, just as the sky is not touched by the smoke, even
though it appears to be.

Bhagavan Ramana has always lived beyond the dyads and triads.
He Himself had no vice but only all virtues.  He was simple, humble,
compassionate and self contained in any situation.  He also displayed
the same to the people who were vicious and who were virtuous.

We all know Perumal Swami's story.  But Bhagavan Ramana never
displayed anger towards him.  Even in his final days, Bhagavan Ramana told some devotee, to go and fetch some gruel and give to
Perumal Swami.  With virtuous people, His compassion knew no bounds.  Regarding Ramanatha Brahmachari and Mudaliar Patti,
He used to say:  If these two come to me, I am afraid. Because I
can never refuse what they ask!

Bhagavan Ramana says in one of His poems:  The virtuous devotees
take the punya of a Jnani and the vicious ones take away his sins.
Jnani remains beyond these two.  He is beyond triads and dyads.

Arunachala Siva. 


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Re: Part 2 - Ashtavakra Gita translated by John Richards
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2010, 03:02:52 PM »

Dear prasanth,

Under Chapter V of Ashtavakra Gita, I like the Verse 1: 

You are free from contact with anything whatsoever.  Therefore,
pure as you are, what do you want to renounce?  Destroy the body-
complex and in this way and enter into the state of dissolution.

In this chapter, Ashtavakra describes four different methods through
which the state of dissolution can be attained.  The first is dissolution of body-mind complex.  The second is treating the universe as a bubble in the ocean of Sat Chit Ananda.  The third
is to treat the universe as a snake in the real rope of the Substratum.  The fourth is to go beyond misery and happiness, hope and despair and life and death.

Bhagavan Ramana himself has said, Bhandha moksha brandhi.  The
fear of bondage and liberation.  Both should be eschewed and one should be in one's real nature.

Bhagavan Ramana threw away the mind-body complex, along with
the sweetmeats in Ayyankulam tank.  Where is the mind, where is the body for Him? 

Once due to grinding a good quantity of chutney in the old type
grinding stone, His fingers became bruised but He did not care.

In the Hill, when Amma was there, once a huge boulder fell on His
fingers and the thumb got badly damaged and got dislodged and
there was a lot of bleeding.  Bhagavan Ramana simply refixed it
as if He is fixing the cover over the open pen and moved further!
There were a lot of thorn sticking to His sole.  Once a devotee
got stuck by a thorn and Bhagavan asked to him to lift his leg and He helped him to remove the thorn.  When the devotee asked Him:
Bhagavan!  Are not the thorns paining you.  Are you removing them?
Bhagavan smiled and asked:  Which thorn should I remove, the old
ones or the new one?  He showed His sole.  The sole was full of thorns.  He used to just stamp the sole on a rock, remove the jutting portion of the thorn and further walk.

Arunachala Siva.     


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Re: Part 2 - Ashtavakra Gita translated by John Richards
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2010, 03:13:01 PM »

The Chapter VI consists only of four verses. These are replies
of Janaka to Ashtavakra. While in the previous chapters Ashtavakra
spoke about the dissolution of the body-mind complex, here Janaka
speaks of a higher outlook in which even this attempt at dissolution
arises out of vestige of ignorance.  For the pure Self was never at any time limited.

Bhagavan Ramana has said:  The body itself is a disease.  When a
disease comes to the body, we should only say that there is a disease for the disease. 

The verse 4 reads:

I am indeed in all beings, and all beings are in me.  This is Jnanam.
So it has neither o be renounced nor accepted nor destroyed.

When Nayana was strolling on the Hill along with Bhagavan in a
night, the former showed Him the stars and their names as per
astronomy.  Bhagavan Ramana stood for a while and said:  Nayana!  I am seeing that all these stars are revolving around my waist!
Nayana became speechless.  He wondered Bhagavan Ramana's state of oneness with all living and non living beings!

Bhagavan Ramana considered everyone as His own Being.  When
some coolies came for rice mixed with water, on a hot summer day,
Bhagavan told Mother Azhagamma:  give them something.  Amma had not finished her food still.  So she hesitated for the sake of purity.  Bhagavan Ramana said:  Amma, whom do you think these people are?  They are all Arunachala Swarupam!  Amma looked at them and every male was Arunachaleswara and every female was
Unnamulai.  She stood dumbfounded and quickly went into Skandasramam and brought food.

The same idea is refelcted in Verse 5 of Sri Arunachala Pancharatnam also.

Arunachala Siva. 


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Re: Part 2 - Ashtavakra Gita translated by John Richards
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2010, 03:23:28 PM »

Dear prasanth,

In the Chapter VII of Ashtavakra Gita, Janaka gives the nature of self realization in another five verses.

The Verse 1, which I like most a beauty.  Janaka says:  In me,
the boundless ocean, the ark of the universe moves hither and thither, impelled by the wind of its own inherent nature.  I am not impatient.

When the wind rises on the ocean, it tosses a ship hither and thither
and even, through its impact, sends it down.  But the ocean is not
affected by the movements of the ship.  Similarly, the universe, which rests on the reality of the Self, is ever changing under the impulsion of its inherent laws.  But the changing world does not affect the Self in the least.

Some thieves came and wanted to plunder the things when Bhagavan, Kunju Swami and a few others were living on the Hill.
They came, demanded the key.  They barged into the Cave.  On the way, they gave nice blows to Bhagavan on His legs. Inside they found there were nothing excepting some puja items, a few coins.  Bhagavan Ramana remained without any disturbance within.
The thieves were driven out with the help of some people from downhill.  In a few days, they were arrested and police brought them before Bhagavan Ramana.  Bhagavan Ramana said:  No one came to the Cave. No one thieved anything.  Kunju Swami and others were astounded at His real nature of boundless compassion.

Arunachala Siva.         


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Re: Part 2 - Ashtavakra Gita translated by John Richards
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2010, 04:31:33 PM »

In the chapter VIII of Ashtavakra Gita, Ashtavakra summarizes the
nature of bondage and liberation, in 4 verses.

I like the verses 3 and 4 in this chapter.

It is bondage when the mind is attached to any sense experience.
It is liberation when the mind is detached from all sense experiences.

When there is no 'I' there is liberation and when there is 'I' there is
bondage.  Considering thus, easily refrain from accepting or rejecting

The whole process of self inquiry is contained in subsiding the 'I'
and 'mine'.  Egoism is bondage, constituting as it does the identification of the Self with body and mind.  And egolessness
is liberation.  Where then there is no ego, there is no identification
of the Self with body and mind.  And the Self is realized as One without a second, pervading the whole universe.  Having this knowledge one becomes perfectly tranquil and free from desire
or aversion.  This is the same idea of Bhagavan Ramana's Naan

Bhagavan Ramana says in Who am I?

Answer No: 7:  When the mind, which is the cause of all cognition
and of all actions, becomes quiescent, and the world will disappear.

Answer No: 9:..... It is only after the rise of this [I thought] that the other thoughts arise.  It is after the appearance of the first personal pronoun that the second and the third personal pronouns appear.
Without the first personal pronoun, there will not be the second and the third.

Answer No: 13:   As the meditation on the Self rises higher and higher, the thoughts will get destroyed.

Answer No: 16: .... The Self is that where there is absolutely no
'I'-thought.  This is called Silence.  The Self itself is the world.
The Self itself is the 'I'; and the Self itself is God.  All is Siva, the

Answer: 19:....As thoughts arise, destroying them utterly without any residue in the very place of their origin is non attachment.....

Answer: 24:....In fact, what is called the world is only thought.
When the world disappears, i.e. when there is no thought, the mind
experiences happiness.  When the world appears, it goes through

Bhagavan Ramana completes His ULLadu Narpadu:

Ahandhai uru azhithale mukti.

Liberation is the destruction of the ego.

Arunachala Siva.   


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Re: Part 2 - Ashtavakra Gita translated by John Richards
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2010, 04:46:59 PM »

Dear prasanth,

The Chapter IX of Ashtavakra Gita is of 8 verses, all told by
Ashtavakra.  These deal with non-attachment, nirasai, is the
word used by Bhagavan Ramana.  Nirasai is nothing but desirelessness. 

Ashtavakra speaks about this in Verse 8.

Desires alone are the world.  Do you, therefore, renounce them all.
The renunciation of desire is the renunciation of the world.  Now,
you may live, anywhere.

Bhagavan Ramana says this in Who am I?  What is desire?  How
does it arise?  It is arises with the I thought.

Answer to Question No. 14 of M. Sivaprakasam Pillai:

.....The mind should not be allowed to wander towards worldly
objects and what concerns other people.  However bad other
people may be, one should bear no hatred for them.  Both desire
and hatred should be eschewed.  All that one gives to others,
one gives to one's self. If this truth is understood who will not
give to others?  When one's self arises, all arises.  When one's
self becomes quiescent all becomes quiescent.  To the extent we behave with humility, to that extent, there will be result that is good.  If the mind is rendered quiescent, one may be anywhere.

Ashtavakra :  Now you may live anywhere, if you renounce desires.

Bhagavan:  One may live anywhere, when one's self becomes quiescent.

Arunachala Siva.             


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Re: Part 2 - Ashtavakra Gita translated by John Richards
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2010, 06:59:16 PM »

Chapter X of Ashtavakra Gita speaks about quietude.  What is this
quietude, it is the state of silence without any desires.

In this chapter X,  I like the verse 4 very much.

Bondage consists only in desire, and the destruction of desire is said to be liberation.  Only by non attachment to the world does one attain the constant joy of the realization of the Self.

Bhagavan Ramana's life was the living example of this sloka.  He
desired nothing in this world.  When He was taking only rice gruel
[cold] or when He was served with many dishes in the Asramam,
[once a rich lady served bhiksha with 32 dishes], He kept the same
disposition.  He used to mix every dish as a lump and take two three such lumps.  No desire for anything in particular.

Once someone came and asked Bhagavan:  Bhagavan!  Can I take
your tiger skin on which you are sitting?  Bhagavan stood up and he
folded and took away the tiger skin!  When someone found him hurriedly leaving the Asramam, with that tiger skin, he caught hold of him and brought back the tiger skin and asked Bhagavan to sit on it as usual.  Bhagavan sat.  He then asked:  How come Bhagavan, he took away your tiger skin and you kept quiet?  Bhagavan said:  He
wanted it and I have given.  Now you brought it back and I am using
it again.

Bhagavan similarly quietly refused sandal wood walking stick with silver top, costly pens, note books, tonics etc.,

He lived a life of total desirelessness and left everything to

Have you not asked me to come?
I have come now.
Please measure the minimum needs for me.
It is your fate. How am I responsible?

            - Sri Arunachala Akshara Mana Maalai.

Arunachala Siva.