Ashtavakra Gita.

|| Om Shanti Om Shanti Om Shanti || 


Ashtavakra Geeta

The Ashtavakra Gita: “The most unique conversation that has ever taken place on this earth” as described by H.H.Sri Sri Ravishankar
The Ashtavakra Gita documents the unveiling of the highest knowledge in the form of a dialogue between the sage Ashtavakra and the wise King Janaka many thousands of years ago. It is one of the most profound discourses that exists. H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar shows how, step-by-step, King Janaka is taken to deeper levels of understanding and how we too can apply this knowledge to our own lives.

Ashtavakra Gita.

Janaka uvāca

katha jñānamavāpnoti katha muktirbhaviyati
vairāgya ca katha prāpta etad brūhi mama prabho

Janaka said : How can knowledge be acquired? How can liberation be attained? How is dispassion possible? Tell me this, O Lord.


Aṣṭāvakra uvāca

mukti icchasi cettāta viayān viavattyaja
kamārjavadayātoasatya pīyūavad bhaja

Ashtavakra said:  If you aspire liberation, my child, shun the objects of the senses as poison. Practise forgiveness, sincerity, compassion, contentment and truthfulness as nectar.


na prthvī na jalam nāgnirna vāyurdyaurna vā bhavān
esām  sāksinamātmānam cidrūpam viddhi muktaye

You are neither Earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air nor even ether.  In order to attain liberation, know the Self as the witness of all these and as Consciousness itself.


yadi deha pthak ktya citi viśrāmya tiṣṭhasi
adhunaiva sukhī śānto bandhamukto bhaviyasi

If you see yourself as distinct from the body and rest in Consciousness, you will at once be happy, peaceful and free from bondage


na tva viprādiko varo nāśramī nākagocara
asago’si nirākāro viśvasākī sukhī bhava

You do not belong to the Brahmin or any other caste, or to any dharma (Four dharmas are Brahmacharya, Grahasthya, Vanaprastha, Sanyasa). You are not perceived by the senses. You are Unattached, formless and the witness of all. Be happy.


dharmādharmau sukha dukha mānasāni na te vibho
na kartāsi na bhoktāsi mukta evāsi sarvadā

Righteousness and unrighteousness, pleasure and pain are of the mind, not of you, O all-pervading one. You are neither the doer nor the enjoyer. Verily you are ever free.


eko draṣṭāsi sarvasya muktaprāyo’si sarvadā
ayameva hi te bandho draṣṭāra paśyasītaram

You are the one seer of everything, and are always ever free. The cause of your bondage is that you see yourself not as the seer but as something other than this.


aha kartetyahamānamahākṛṣṇāhidaśita
nāha karteti viśvāsāmta pītvā sukhī bhava

You who have been bitten by the black serpant of egoism ‘I am the doer’, drink nectar of the faith, “I am not the doer”, and be happy.


eko viśuddhabodho’ha iti niścayavahninā
prajvālyājñānagahana vītaśoka sukhī bhava

Burn down the forest of ignorance with the fire of Knowledge “I am the the One and Pure Consciousness”, and be free from sorrow and be happy.


yatra viśvamida bhāti kalpita rajjusarpavat
ānandaparamānanda sa bodhastva sukha bhava

You are that Consciousness, Bliss – Supreme Bliss, in and upon which this Universe appears superimposed, like a snake on a rope. Be Happy.


muktābhimānī mukto hi baddho baddhābhimānyapi
kivadantīha satyeya yā mati sā gatirbhavet

He who considers himself free is free, and he who considers himself bound remains bound. ‘As one thinks so one becomes’ is a saying in the world, and it is quite true.


ātmā sākī vibhu pūra eko muktaścidakriya
asago nispha śānto bhramātsasāravāniva

The Self is witness, all pervading, perfect, One, free, Consciousness, actionless, unattached, dersireless and quiet.  Due to illusion it appears as if It is of the world.


astha bodhamadvaitamātmāna paribhāvaya
ābhāso’ha bhrama muktvā bhāva bāhyamathāntaram

Meditate on the Atman as motionless, Consciousness and non dual,  giving up the external and internal self modifications.


dehābhimānapāśena cira baddho’si putraka
bodho’ha jñānakhagena taniktya sukhī Bhava

My child, You have long been trapped in the noose of identification with the body. Sever it with the sword of knowledge “I am Consciousness”, and be happy.


nisago nikriyo’si tva svaprakāśo nirajana
ayameva hi te bandha samādhimanutiṣṭhati

You are unattached, actionless, self-effulgent and Without  any blemish. The cause of your bondage is that you are trying to quieten the mind.


tvayā vyāptamida viśva tvayi prota yathārthata
śuddhabuddhasvarūpastva mā gama kudracittatām

You pervade this Universe and this Universe exists in you. You are pure consciousness by nature. Do not be small-minded.


nirapeko nirvikāro nirbhara śītalāśaya
agādhabuddhirakubdho bhava cinmātravāsana

You are unconditioned, changeless, formless, of cool disposition, of unfathomable intelligence and unperturbed. Desire Consciousness alone.


sākāramanta viddhi nirākāra tu niścalam
etattattvopadeśena na punarbhavasabhava

Recognise that the apparent is unreal, while the unmanifest is abiding. Through this instruction you will escape from getting trapped in cycle of birth again.


yathaivādarśamadhyasthe rūpe’nta paritastu sa
tathaivā’smin śarīre’nta parita parameśvara

Just as a mirror exists within and without the image reflected in it, so the Supreme Self exists within and outside this body.


eka sarvagata vyoma bahirantaryathā ghae
nitya nirantara brahma sarvabhūtagae tathā

Just as one and the same all-pervading space exists within and without a jar, so the eternal, everlasting God exists in the totality of things.

Ashtavakra Gita.

Janaka uvāca

aho nirajana śānto bodho’ha prakte para
etāvantamaha kāla mohenaiva viabita

Janaka  said: Oh, I am spotless, tranquil, Pure Consciousness, and beyond Nature. All this time I have been deceived by illusion.


yathā prakāśayāmyeko dehamena tathā jagat
ato mama jagatsarvamathavā na ca kicana

As I alone give reveal this body, even so do I reveal this Universe, As a result this Universe is mine, or nothing is mine.


sa śarīramaho viśva parityajya mayādhunā kutaścit kauśalād eva paramātmā vilokyate

So now that I have renounced the Universe together with the body, by some good fortune I now perceive the Supreme Self.


yathā na toyato bhinnāstara phenabudbudā
ātmano na tathā bhinna viśvamātmavinirgatam

Just as waves, foam and bubbles are not different from water, so the Universe emanating from the Self is not different from it.


tantumātro bhaved eva pao yadvad vicārita
ātmatanmātrameveda tadvad viśva vicāritam

As a cloth, when analysed, is found to be just thread, so this Universe, when analysed, is nothing but the Self.


yathaivekurase klptā tena vyāptaiva śarkarā
tathā viśva mayi klpta mayā vyāpta nirantaram

Just as the sugar produced from the juice of the sugarcane is wholly premeated by the same juice, so the Universe produced in me is permeated by through and through.


ātmajñānājjagad bhāti ātmajñānānna bhāsate
rajjvajñānādahirbhāti tajjñānād bhāsate na hi

The world appears from the ignorance of the Self and disappeas with the knowledge of the Self, just as the snake appears from the non congnizance of the rope and disappears with its recognition.


prakāśo me nija rūpa nātirikto’smyaha tata
yadā prakāśate viśva tadāha bhāsa eva hi

Light is my very nature. I am no other than shining light. When the Universe manifests itself,  it is simply me that is shining forth.


aho vikalpita viśvamajñānānmayi bhāsate
rūpya śuktau phaī rajjau vāri sūryakare yathā

Oh, the Universe appears in me, conceived due to ignorance, just as silver appears in the mother of pearl, a snake in the rope and water in the sunlight.


matto vinirgata viśva mayyeva layameyati
mdi kubho jale vīci kanake kaaka yathā

Just as a jug dissolves into clay, a wave into water, or a bracelet into gold, so the universe which as emanated out of me will dissolve into me.


aho aha namo mahya vināśo yasya nāsti me
brahmādistabaparyanta jagannāśo’pi tiṣṭhata

How wonderful am I! Adoration to myself, who knows no destruction, surviving even beyond the destruction of the entire world from Brahna down to a clump of clay.


aho aha namo mahya eko’ha dehavānapi
kvacinna gantā nāgantā vyāpya viśvamavasthita

Wonderful am I! Glory to myselfe who, though with a body, am One, who neither goes anywhere nor comes from anywhere but abide forever, pervading the Universe.


aho aha namo mahya dako nāstīha matsama
asaspśya śarīrea yena viśva cira dhtam

Wonderful am I! I bow down to myself! There is no one so clever as I, who is bearing the Universe for all eternity without even touching it with my body!


aho aha namo mahya yasya me nāsti kicana
athavā yasya me sarva yad vāmanasagocaram

Wonderful am I! I bow down to myself! I who possess nothing at all, or possess everything that is thought or spoken of.


jñāna jñeya tathā jñātā tritaya nāsti vāstavam
ajñānād bhāti yatreda so’hamasmi nirajana

Knowledge, knower and tue knowable — these three do not exist in reality. I am the spotless Self in which the triad appears because of ignorance.


dvaitamūlamaho dukha nānyattasyā’sti bheajam
dśyametan mṛṣā sarva eko’ha cidrasomala

Duality is the root of suffering. There is no other remedy for it except the realisation that all all objects of experience are unreal, and that I am pure, One, consciousness and Bliss.


bodhamātro’hamajñānād upādhi kalpito mayā
eva vimśato nitya nirvikalpe sthitirmama

I am the pure Consciousness. Through ignorance I have imposed limitations upon myself. Constatntly reflecting in this way, I am abiding in the Absolute.


na me bandho’sti moko vā bhrānti śānto nirāśrayā
aho mayi sthita viśva vastuto na mayi sthitam

For me here is neither bondage nor liberation. Having lost its suppot, the illusion has ceased. Oh, the universe, though existing in me, does not reality so exist.


saśarīramida viśva na kiciditi niścitam
śuddhacinmātra ātmā ca tatkasmin kalpanādhunā

I have kown for certain that the body and the Universe are nothing and the self is nothing but pure consciousness, so what is there for the imagination work on now?


śarīra svarganarakau bandhamokau bhaya tathā
kalpanāmātramevaitat ki me kārya cidātmana

The body, heaven and hell, bondage and liberation, as also fear, all these are mere imagination. What have I to do with all these – I whose nature is pure Consciousness?


aho janasamūhe’pi na dvaita paśyato mama
arayamiva savtta kva rati karavāyaham

Oh, I do not find any duality. Even the multitude of human beings, therefore has become like a wilderness. To what should I attach myself?


nāha deho na me deho jīvo nāhamaha hi cit
ayameva hi me bandha āsīdyā jīvite sp

I am not the body, nor is the body mine. I am not a living being. I am  Pure Consciousness. This indeed was my bondage that I had thirst for life.


aho bhuvanakallolairvicitrairdrāk samutthitam
mayyanatamahābhodhau cittavāte samudyate

Oh, in me, the limitless ocean, on the rising of the wind of the mind, diverse waves  of worlds are produced forthwith.


mayyanatamahābhodhau cittavāte praśāmyati
abhāgyājjīvavaijo jagatpoto vinaśvara

With the calming of the wind of mind in the infinite ocean of myself,  the world boat of the trader like living being meets destruction.


mayyanantamahābhodhāvāścarya jīvavīcaya
udyanti ghnanti khelanti praviśanti svabhāvata

How wonderful ! In me, the shoreless ocean, the waves of individual selves rise, according to their nature strike each other, play for a while and disappear.

Ashtavakra Gita.

Aṣṭāvakra uvāca

avināśinamātmāna eka vijñāya tattvata
tavātmajñānasya dhīrasya kathamarthārjane rati

Ashtavakra said: Having known yourself as truly indestructible and One, how is it that you, the knower of the Self, feel any pleasure in acquiring wealth?


ātmājñānādaho prītirviayabhramagocare
śukterajñānato lobho yathā rajatavibhrame

Truly, when one does not know oneself, one takes pleasure in the objects of mistaken perception, just as greed arises from the illusion of silver caused by ignorance of the mother of pearl.


viśva sphurati yatreda taragā iva sāgare
so’hamasmīti vijñāya ki dīna iva dhāvasi

Having known yourself to be That in which the universe appears like waves on the sea, why do you run liabout like a miserable being?


śrutvāpi śuddhacaitanya ātmānamatisundaram
upasthe’tyantasasakto mālinyamadhigacchati

After hearing oneself to be Pure Consciousness and supremely beautiful, how can one go on lusting after sensual  objects and thus become impure?


sarvabhūteu cātmāna sarvabhūtāni cātmani
munerjānata āścarya mamatvamanuvartate

When the wise one has realised that he himself is in all beings, and all beings are in him, it is strange that the sense of individuality should still continue.


āsthita paramādvaita mokārthe’pi vyavasthita
āścarya kāmavaśago vikala keliśikayā

It is strange that a man who abiding in the supreme nonduality and intent on liberation should still be subject to lust and weakend by sexual activity.


udbhūta jñānadurmitramavadhāryātidurbala
āścarya kāmamākāket kālamantamanuśrita

It is strange that knowing lust to be an enemy of knowledge, a man who has grown extremely weak and reached his last days, should still hanker after sensual enjoyment.


ihāmutra viraktasya nityānityavivekina
āścarya mokakāmasya mokād eva vibhīikā

It is astonishing that one who is unattached to objects  of this world and the next, who discriminates the permanent from the impermanent, and who longs for emancipation, should still be afraid of dissolution of the body.


dhīrastu bhojyamāno’pi pīyamāno’pi sarvadā
ātmāna kevala paśyan na tuyati na kupyati

Feted and feasted or tormented, the wise person is always aware of the Absolute Self and is thus neither pleased nor displeased.


ceṣṭamāna śarīra sva paśyatyanyaśarīravat
sastave cāpi nindāyā katha kubhyet mahāśaya

The high- souled person witnesses his own body in action as if it were another’s.  As such, how can he be disturbed by praise or blame?


māyāmātramida viśva paśyan vigatakautuka
api sannihite mtyau katha trasyati dhīradhī

Seeing this world as mere illusion, and losing all interest in it, how can one of steady mind feel fear, even at the approach of death?


nispha mānasa yasya nairāśye’pi mahātmana
tasyātmajñānatptasya tulanā kena jāyate

Who can be compared to the great-souled one who is content with Self-knowledge and does not even hanker after liberation.


svabhāvād eva jānāno dśyametanna kicana
ida grāhyamida tyājya sa ki paśyati dhīradhī

How should a steady-minded person who knows the object of perception to be in  its very nature nothing, consider one thing acceptable and another  unacceptable?


atastyaktakaāyasya nirdvandvasya nirāśia
yadcchayāgato bhogo na dukhāya na tuṣṭaye

An  experience coming as a matter of course causes neither pleasure nor pain for someone who has given up worldly attachment from his mind, who is beyond the pair of opposites and free from desire.

Ashtavakra Gita.

aṣṭāvakra uvāca

na te sago’sti kenāpi ki śuddhastyaktumicchasi
saghātavilaya kurvannevameva laya vraja

Ashtavakra said: You are free from contact with anything whatsoever. Therefore, pure as you are, what do you want to renounce? Accordingly, dissolve away this body complex mix and merge back into your unmixed reality.


udeti bhavato viśva vāridheriva budbuda
iti jñātvaikamātmāna evameva laya vraja

The universe arises out of you, like bubbles rising out of the sea. Knowing all of them as just one self, get merged there, in your own reality.


pratyakamapyavastutvād viśva nāstyamale tvayi
rajjusarpa iva vyakta evameva laya vraja

The universe, because it is unreal, being manifested like the snake in the rope, does not exist in you who are pure, even though it is present to the senses.  Therefore get merged  back into what you really are.


samadukhasukha pūra āśānairāśyayo sama
samajīvitamtyu sannevameva laya vraja

Equal in pain and in pleasure, equal in hope and in despair, equal in life and in death, and perfect as you are, may you come to be dissolved

Ashtavakra Gita.

janaka uvāca

hantātmajñānasya dhīrasya khelato bhogalīlayā
na hi sasāravāhīkairmūhai saha samānatā

Janaka: Oh, the wise man, the knower of the Self, who plays the game of life bears no resemblance whatever to deluded beasts of burden of the world.


yat pada prepsavo dīnā śakrādyā sarvadevatā
aho tatra sthito yogī na haramupagacchati

Truly the yogi does not feel elated even at being established in that state which Indra and all other Gods hanker after and thus become unhappy


tajjñasya puyapāpābhyā sparśo hyantarna jāyate
na hyākāśasya dhūmena dśyamānāpi sagati

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


ātmaiveda jagatsarva jñāta yena mahātmanā
yadcchayā vartamāna ta nieddhu kameta ka

Who can prevent the great-souled person, who has known this Entire Universe to be the Self alone, from acting spontaneously?


ābrahmastabaparyante bhūtagrāme caturvidhe
vijñasyaiva hi sāmarthyamicchānicchāvivarjane

Of all four categories of beings, from Brahma down to a clump of grass, it is the wise one alone who is capable of renouncing craving and aversion.


ātmānamadvaya kaścijjānāti jagadīśvaram
yad vetti tatsa kurute na bhaya tasya kutracit

Rare is the man who knows the Self as One without a second  and as Lord of the Universe.  He does what he considers worth doing and is not afraid of anything.

Ashtavakra Gita.

janaka uvāca

ākāśavadananto’ha ghaavat prākta jagat
iti jñāna tathaitasya na tyāgo na graho laya

Janaka said: I am unbounded like space, and the phenomenal world is like a jar; this is knowledge. It has neither to be renounced, nor accepted nor destroyed.


mahodadhirivāha sa prapaco vīcisa’nnibha
iti jñāna tathaitasya na tyāgo na graho laya

I am like the ocean, and the multiplicity of objects is comparable to a wave;  this is Knowledge. It has neither to be renounced, nor accepted nor destroyed.


aha sa śuktisakāśo rūpyavad viśvakalpanā
iti jñāna tathaitasya na tyāgo na graho laya

I am like the mother of pearl, and the imagined world is like the silver; this is Knowledge. It has neither to be renounced, nor accepted nor destroyed.


aha vā sarvabhūteu sarvabhūtānyatho mayi
iti jñāna tathaitasya na tyāgo na graho laya

I am indeed in all beings, and all beings are in me. This is Knowledge. It has neither to be renounced, nor accepted nor destroyed

Ashtavakra Gita.

janaka uvāca

mayyanatamahābhodhau viśvapota itastata
bhramati svātavātena na mamāstyasahiṣṇutā

Janaka said: In the infinite ocean of myself the world boat drifts here and there, impelled by the wind of its own inner nature. I am not impatient.


mayyanatamahābhodhau jagadvīci svabhāvata
udetu vāstamāyātu na me vddhirna ca kati

In me, the limitless ocean, let the wave of the world rise or vanish of itself. I neither increase nor decrease thereby.


mayyanatamahābhodhau viśva nāma vikalpanā
atiśāto nirākāra etadevāhamāsthita

In me, the boundless ocean, is the imagination of the universe. I am supremely peaceful and formless. In this alone do I abide.


nātmā bhāveu no bhāvastatrānante nirajane
ityasakto’spha śānta etadevāhamāstita

My true nature is not contained in objects, nor does any object exist in it, for it is infinite and spotless. It is tranquil and free from attachment and desire. In this alone do I abide.


aho cinmātramevāha indrajālopama jagat”
iti mama katha kutra heyopādeyakalpanā

Truly, I am Consciousness itself. The world is like a juggler’s show. So how and where can there be any thought of rejection and acceptance in me?

Ashtavakra Gita.

aṣṭāvakra uvāca

tadā bandho yadā citta kincid vāchati śocati
kicin mucati gṛṇhāti kicid dṛṣyati kupyati

Ashtavakra said: Bondage is when the mind desires or grieves for anything, rejects or accepts anything, feels happy or angry at anything.


tadā muktiryadā citta na vāchati na śocati
na mucati na gṛṇhāti na hṛṣyati na kupyati

Liberation is attained when the mind does not desire or grieve or reject or accept or feel happy or angry.


tadā bandho yadā citta sakta kāśvapi dṛṣṭiu
tadā moko yadā cittamasakta sarvadṛṣṭiu

Bondage is when the mind is attached to any sense experience. Liberation is when the mind is detached from all sense experiences.


yadā nāha tadā moko yadāha bandhana tadā
matveti helayā kicinmā ga vimuca mā

When there is no “I” that is liberation, and when there is “I” there is bondage. Considering thus, refrain from accepting or rejecting anything.

Ashtavakra Gita.

aṣṭāvakra uvāca

ktākte ca dvandvāni kadā śāntāni kasya vā
eva jñātveha nirvedād bhava tyāgaparo’vratī

Ashtavakra said:  Duties done and not done, as well as the pairs of opposites – when do they cease and for whom? Knowing thus, be desireless and intent on renunciation through complete indifference to the world.


kasyāpi tāta dhanyasya lokaceṣṭāvalokanāt
jīvitecchā bubhukā ca bubhutsopaśama gatā

Rare indeed, my child, is the lucky person whose observation desire for life, enjoyment and learning have been extinguished by observing the ways of the men.


anitya sarvameveda tāpatrayadūitam
asara nindita heyamiti niścitya śāmyati

The wise man becomes calm by relaising that all this is impermanent and vitiated by the threefold misery and is unsubstantial and omtemptible and should be rejected.


ko’sau kālo vaya ki vā yatra dvandvāni no nṛṇām
tānyupekya yathāprāptavartī siddhimavāpnuyāt

When was that age or time of life when the dualism of extremes did not exist for men? Abandoning them, one who is content with whatever comes of itself  attains perfection.


nā mata maharīā sādhūnā yoginā tathā
dṛṣṭvā nirvedamāpanna ko Ena śāmyati mānava

Who does not attain peace and indifference to learning when he has seen the differences of opinions among the great sages, saints and yogis?


ktvā mūrtiparijñāna caitanyasya na ki guru
nirvedasamatāyuktyā yastārayati saste

Is he not a guru who, endowed with dispassion and equanimity, gains full knowledge of the nature of Pure Consciousness, and saves himself from the round of birth and rebirth.


paśya bhūtavikārāstva bhūtamātrān yathārthata
tatkaād bandhanirmukta svarūpastho bhaviyasi

If you would just see the transformations of the elements as nothing more than the elements, then you would at once be free from all bonds and abide in your true self.


vāsanā eva sasāra iti sarvā vimuca tā
tattyāgo vāsanātyāgātsthitiradya yathā tathā

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