Wednesday, September 12, 2012



Ashtavakra said:

In the arising of whose knowing,
does delusion come about,
so much made up as in some dream
created by imagining?

It’s that which shines as happiness,
at peace with its own clarity.
To that alone is due respect.


Acquiring all kinds of things
brings much experience, many joys.

But happiness cannot be found
except by giving up all objects
sought by mind to be possessed.


The thought of duty to be done
burns painfully into the heart,
devouring tenderness within.

How then can there be happiness,
without a welling up inside
of undisturbed tranquility
that keeps refreshing heart inside?


This world of things that come to be
is all imagined in our minds.
It’s nothing but imagining.

In ultimate reality,
this world that seems to be imagined
is not anything at all.

There is no ceasing of these beings
that are here thought self-conceived,
these that discriminate between
what has occurred or not occurred.

We think of these as persons who
inhabit bodies in the world.


Where does one stand in one’s own self?
That stand is not found far away,
by looking out extensively
across the universe at large.

Nor can it be attained from something
limited or small in size;
within some body, sense or mind.

It has to be found effortless,
unchanged by all activity,
unmixed with any differences
that may appear to compromise
its unaffected purity.

It is forever thus attained.


The moment that illusion ends,
from that same instant when the truth
of self is realized, they who
seemed to be bound now find true self
presiding always free at heart.
There, seeing is found clarified,
dissatisfaction is dispelled.


All of this put-together world
is made of mind’s imagining.
The self that knows is always free,
beyond all thought of passing time.

Why then should one who knows correctly
be in need of practices
that help achieve desired traits
of cultured personality,
as in the training of a child?


True self, within each mind and heart,
is all that's real everywhere,
throughout all space and time in world.

Whatever happenings occur
or don’t occur, are nothing else
but supposition shown created
by the mind’s imagining.

But, through its wishful fantasies,
this mind is driven, stupefied
by wanting objects of desire.

Who knows this comes to certainty
where knowing is at last found free
of mind that’s driven by desire.

But what then may be known
or said or done, by someone who is thus
found free of all desires in mind?


A yogi who turns silent thus
comes to exhaust all differentiating
thoughts, like ‘This is what
I am’ or ‘No, I am not this’.

But just what this exhaustion means
is understood by finding out
that ‘Everything is self alone’,
beyond the slightest trace of doubt.


A yogi who has come to peace
finds no distraction, concentration;
no excess of cleverness,
no blind unthinking foolishness;
no pleasure, nor unpleasantness.


In self-supported sustenance,
in dire need; in gain, in loss;
at home in friendly company,
or in withdrawal far away
into a lonely wilderness ...

these cannot make much difference
to one whom yoga has released,
from habit-driven tendencies
induced by past conditioning.


Then, where is virtue, where enjoyment,
where are riches, where discernment,
for the yogi who is freed
from dual thought: like this that’s ‘done’,
opposed to that which is ‘not done’.


There is no duty to be done,
nor any compromising taint at heart;
not for that yogi who is liberated inwardly,
though seen to live conditioned
outwardly in an external world.

This kind of yogi takes to any
way of life spontaneously,
in consonance with happenings
that take place of their own accord.


Where is delusion? Where is world?
Where contemplation upon that?
And where is liberation, for
that someone who is great at heart?

Who, at the limit of conception,
comes to rest in peace itself,
where all conceiving is dissolved?


One who perceives this world may well
make out that it does not exist.

But what is there to do for one
who has no inclination left?

That one, though seeing, does not see
what is imagined to be seen.

There’s only seeing in itself
unmixed with anything thought seen.


By one who’s seen the ultimate
reality of everything,
it may be thought: ‘That’s what I am,
that one complete reality.’

But what of one who sees no second,
nothing but one self alone?

That someone is then free of thought
which goes from self to something else.
Thus freed from mind’s duality,
how does that someone think at all?


It is from seeing self distracted
that one practices control.

One who is noble does not get
distracted. Having nothing to
achieve, what does that someone do?


A sage, who stands established in
true knowing, is thus different
from most of us who take ourselves
to stand in an uncertain world.

Just like the rest of us, a sage
appears to stand on shifting ground:
as circumstances in the world
get changed, with such uncertainty.

But, inwardly, a sage lives free,
where nothing seen is thought possessed.

There, no absorption, no distraction,
no conditioned act is seen.
No act of ego covers self
with any taint of compromise.


One who is wise remains content,
not driven by desiring
for what may or may not occur.

By such a one, there’s nothing done;
not even when observed as acting,
from the sight of those in world.


Remaining steadfast in true knowledge,
whether doing or not doing,
such a one takes nothing ill.

As what needs doing comes about,
it is then done; while that same self
from which the doing issues forth
is found completely undisturbed,
in its unchanging happiness.


One who breaks free from inclinations
gets to be thus independent,
motivated from within
and free from bondage to the world.

Thus, in such moving from within,
someone who’s liberated may
be found to act spontaneously.

Each act is a dried leaf that’s blown
by wind inspired from pure self.
Each leaf shows self alone,
through an inherited conditioning.


For one who’s free of changing world,
there’s nowhere any joy or grief.
Cool-minded always, such a one
presides in body unaffected,
as though disembodied here.


There’s nowhere any sense of loss
nor wish to give up anything,
for one who stands established where
untroubled self is realized,
enjoying its own happiness.


For one whose natural state of mind
is free of calculating thought,
what’s done comes up spontaneously:
from standing back in truth of self.

There, standing back in self alone,
no sense of pride or shame is found
like that affecting what is done
by most of us – who take our stand
in troubled bodies, senses, minds.

This is the stand of ego-mind:
inevitably compromised,
as mind confuses knowing self
with acting personality.


‘This work is done by me as body,
not by me in my true nature
as pure self.’ One who adheres
to thinking thus, attains that self
which seems to act but does not act.

It, even in the midst of action,
stays completely actionless.

It is that knowing light from which
all actions are inspired to rise.
It’s that alone which truly knows,
beneath all acts that come from it.


One who is free in living body
may well seem to act as though
maintaining quite the opposite.
But such a one is not a fool.

Seen even as a person here
engaged in world, that person who
is free within shines truly bless’d,
finds happiness unqualified
by what may or may not occur.


Grown tired of conflicting thoughts
that reason in such different ways,
someone steady in true knowing
has at last returned to rest.

Found there established, such a one
does not see any sight, nor hears
a sound, nor thinks a thought, nor knows
an object other than what knows.


One who is truly great at heart
stays unaffected by distractions
or by states of concentration
drawing outward thoughts back in.

Thus, such a one does not aspire
to liberation from the world;
nor seeks out objects fancied here
by partial personality.

One great at heart has come to know,
beyond the shadow of a doubt,
that all this world is nothing more
than fictional imagining.

Attaining to that certainty,
one lives oneself identified
as all of the reality
that anyone experiences.

Throughout all seeing of a world
made up of mind’s imagining,
one lives at heart unlimited
and utterly unchanged.


It’s only one possessed of ego
who may act or may not act.
By one who knows unwavering,
unmixed with ego’s falsity,
there’s nothing done or left undone.


One who is free must be released
from agitation in the mind.
Thus, no one free can be a doer:
getting driven into trouble,
or made somehow gratified.

In someone who is liberated,
mind must shine desireless,
with its uncertainties resolved.


In one thus free, there is no mind
that sets out to reflect within,
or to engage in outward acts.

And yet – inspired from within,
unmotivated from outside –
mind sometimes may be found reflecting,
sometimes acting in the world.


On hearing truth directly told,
some unreceptive person thus
becomes bewildered and confused.

But someone more intelligent
may get withdrawn back into mind.

Through this withdrawal, thoughts are
silenced, showing mind as if perplexed.


It’s only them who are confused
that keep repeating practices
of concentration and control.

They who discern what knowing is
do not see anything to do.
Each stands, as though in depth of sleep,
in just that state which is one’s own,
where one’s own self alone abides.


For one who’s blindly ignorant,
no idleness nor effort can
result in happiness found free
of our conflicting differences.

It’s only by determining
what’s true and right that one who knows
finds peace, and is there satisfied.


True self is pure intelligence.
It’s what we love, found always
perfect, unaffected by all ill,
completely free of any world
made up from seeming differences.

There in the world, as people take
to a variety of different practices,
they do not know that self.


One who stays blindly ignorant
does not attain to liberation
through repeated practices.

But one who’s bless’d – by nothing more
than knowing truly – stands thus free,
devoid of all activities.


A person who is ignorant
does not attain to all the world’s
reality. For that is what
this person wishes to become.

But one who knows most definitely
realizes its true nature,
even without wishing so.


Those who don’t know are found in want
of true support for their beliefs.
They seek to grasp at what they can,
and thus perpetuate this show
of passing fiction in our minds.

Those who know better get to cut
the root of this absurdity
that mind believes to be a world
made up of change and happening.


One who stays ignorant does not
find peace. For it is then desired
as though it has to be obtained.

But one who knows has ascertained
a truth that doubt can never change.
Such certainty establishes
a peace that’s present at all times,
can’t ever disappear from mind.


Just where is seeing rightly known
to come from self, for any person
who depends on objects seen
through changing personality?

Those who know clearly don’t see things
as ‘this’ or ‘ that’. They see no more
or less than self, which does not change.


Where is restraint or mind control,
for one who obstinately strives,
while still remaining ignorant
of where it’s from that guidance comes,
and where control originates?

For one established in true knowing,
mind is guided and controlled
from happiness of self within.

That guidance is no changing act
of any artificial mind.
It is completely natural:
inspired of its own accord.

Thus, at all times, a timely guidance
is found present: timelessly
inspired from that inmost self
which shines unchanged as knowing light.


Some think about a universe
that is made up of happenings.

Some others think these happenings
(which are thus taken to occur)
may not, in stricter truth, exist.

One who does not think either way
gets thereby calm and unconfused.
That’s all the more remarkable.


Conceiving of subjective self
as ‘pure’ or ‘one without a second’,
it appears objectified,
by those of sorry intellect.

But they don’t rightly know that self,
from this confusion in their minds.
So long as the confusion lasts,
their lives are troubled, ill at ease.


The mind of one who longs for freedom
cannot function independent
of what’s thought to be outside.

But, for one who stands in freedom,
mind is always independent:
functioning desireless,
inspired only for the sake
of unaffected self within.


On seeing objects seemingly
like fearsome tigers, those afraid
seek hurried refuge in a cave:
where concentration and control
may, hopefully, be found attained
through solitude and exercise.


On seeing personality
from where it is desireless,
it’s like a lion reigning free
out in some forest wilderness.

The objects of our senses then
turn out to be like elephants.

They lumber off contentedly;
or if they can’t, they gather round
performing courtly services
that make a show of flattery.


One who is free from any doubt,
whose mind is found at one with self,
does not have need of treatises
that say how freedom should be found.

In seeing, hearing, smelling odours,
touching objects, eating food ...

whatever life may bring about
accords with that same happiness
for which all happenings take place.


By the mere hearing of what’s true,
someone whose intellect is pure
gets thereby clear, and comes to peace
that shines completely undisturbed.

There, nothing proper nor improper
may be seen, nor even plain
indifference to the both of them.


One who is open and straightforward
does what’s present here to do.
That person’s actions are like those
done by a child: not calculating
what looks good, or what looks ill.


From freedom of self-governance,
a person comes to happiness.

Through freedom, someone may transcend
beyond this personality.

Through freedom, clarity of peace
that shines from self, uncompromised.

Through freedom, one’s own stand in self,
which is described as ‘ultimate’.

From there, there’s nothing else to find.


When someone comes to recognize
that one is not oneself a doer,
nor a personal enjoyer;
then all changing states of mind
get tired out and are destroyed.

This thought – that one is neither doer
nor enjoyer – thus destroys
all other thoughts. It then must turn
back on itself and get destroyed;

so that none else but self remains,
just as it is, unmodified.


One who knows rightly, leads a life
that is by nature unrestrained.

And yet that life is found to shine
with light that guides it, from within,
to function of its own accord,
unforced by anything outside.

Not so the made-up show of calm
that’s artificially produced
by those who are still ignorant –
whose minds are driven by desire.


Those who know surely may appear
sometimes in great enjoyments; or,
it may be that at other times
they find retreat in mountain caves.

But they are always free in mind,
unfettered at the depth of heart.
There, no imagining remains.
It has completely been removed
from what is rightly understood.


From seeing or performing worship –
whether to a scholar or a god,
a holy place, a woman
or a king or someone loved –

no driven inclination can
at all remain, there in the heart
of one who stands in truth unchanged
by mixing it with falsity.


A yogi is not in the least
affected – even when reproached
and made to look ridiculous
by servants, children, wives, grandchildren
and by other relatives.


Though pleased, a sage is not found pleased.
Though pained, a sage is not distressed.

It’s only someone else like that –
some other sage – who understands
this quite extraordinary state.


The sense of duty makes it seem
that something needs to be achieved.
This sense of needed doing is
what makes the changing world appear.
The world is made of this alone.

But those who have attained to wisdom
do not see this world made up
from thought of what needs to be done.

They see that any thought of need
shows mind in want, and thus admits
this thinking to be compromised.

No world made up of needy thought
is seen by those who know it right.

Such knowers see their seeming selves
as empty personalities
appearing formed from nothingness.

Accordingly, they realize
that self which has itself no form.
It’s that which cannot be transformed,
stays unaffected by all ill.


One who stays ignorant in mind
is worried and distracted always:
never free from restlessness,
not even when there’s nothing done.

But one who’s truly capable
stays unconfused and unexcited,
through all duties that get done.


One who finds peace in depth of mind
thereby returns from changing acts,
to stand in peace which does not change
throughout all actions that take place.

Established there, a person may
thus keep on living undisturbed
through all activities in world.

No matter if that person sits,
lies down, or comes or goes away,
or speaks or eats. None of these acts
can undermine that happiness
which always stays uncompromised.


One who knows truth is self-possessed,
acts for the sake of self within.

But most of us act from a sense
of wanting what we don’t possess.
This sense of want makes us distressed.

No such distress is felt by one
who rightly knows, not even when
shown acting in the world outside.

Seen even in the midst of action,
one who knows retains the calm
of waters infinitely deep.

All troubles are thus found dissolved
in peace that shines uncompromised.


The very inactivity
of one who’s ignorant gives rise
again to action in the world.

And even the activity
of one who knows partakes of fruits
that come from what is actionless.


One who is ignorant may show
aversion towards things possessed.

For one in whom all bodily …
attachment has dissolved away,
where is desire, where disgust?


For one who does not rightly know,
what’s taken to be ‘seeing’ is
found always caught in thinking or
unthinking what’s been thought about.

But, for that someone who would stand
in self, it is by thinking what
ought to be thought that self appears.

It paradoxically appears,
shown formed as blank ‘unconsciousness’:
which knows no objects seen by body,
sense or mind in seeming world.


A sage is one who, like a child,
is moved to act spontaneously:
quite innocent of calculation
tied to objects of desire.

For such a one, who’s motivation
is thus pure, no taint is left
by anything that may be done.


Bless’d is the one who knows true self.
That knower always is the same,
no matter in what circumstance.

No matter whether seeing, hearing,
touching objects, smelling odours ...
one who knows is found the same:
untouched by personal desire,
disinterested in wanting mind.


Where is there any world that changes?
Where some show of changing things?
Where is achievement to be found?
Where any striving to achieve?

How can such questions rise at all,
for one whose knowing carries on
unchanged throughout all space and time,
beyond all thought of difference?


Whoever truly wins success
is freed from all objective aims.

A person who thus finds release
may then be recognized as an
embodiment of perfect peace
and unaffected happiness.

Just that is savoured as the essence
of one’s own true nature: not
as seen through personality
from some imagined world outside,
but realized returned within
to one’s own true identity.

For someone standing back in self,
absorption in plain truth is only
natural and spontaneous.

No further effort is requir’d.
There is no need to interfere,
as living functions carry on
completely of their own accord.


What need is there to say much here?
One great at heart – who’s come to
realize plain truth – is thereby freed
from fancied want for life’s enjoyments
and for freedom from such want.

But, one thus free is utterly
disinterested everywhere.

In such a one, no interested
expectation can be found.
No act is ever driven by
some fantasy of wish and hope
for any personal reward.

All acts that may seem personal
must none the less in truth turn out
to be impersonally done.


All of this dualistic world
 – seen here extended forth into
the vast expanse of space and time –
is a description made from words
that need to be interpreted.

This play of words and what they mean
must finally be left behind,
by one who realizes self
as nothing else but consciousness.

But, when all words are thus transcended,
what can there be left to do,
by one who is pure consciousness?


In fact, this world does not exist.
It’s all a product of confusion,
wrongly showing what appears.

By coming to be sure of this,
the inexpressible becomes
expressed to someone rightly pure,
who thus comes naturally to peace.


For one whose nature is pure shining –
never found perceiving objects
that mind thinks are ‘to be seen’ –

just where are any rules of conduct,
where dispassion, where renouncing,
where withdrawal of the senses
or of mind from seeming world?


For one who shines unlimited –
not caught in seeing nature’s realm
of actions leading to more actions –

where indeed can there be bondage,
where can there be liberation,
where excitement or despair?


Up to the limits of the mind,
a world of change is manifest.
But it is shown mistakenly,
through a deceptive functioning.

Beyond this tricky show in mind
no world nor any change appears.

One who is wise lives free of any
sense of ‘mine-ness’; free of ego’s
falsely claimed identity
to be at once a changing doer
and a changeless, knowing ‘I’.

The changing doer is a person
felt attached to fond desire.
The ‘I’ that knows can’t be attached.

It’s thus that one who rightly knows
shines free of all desiring,
lives utterly impersonal
in changing personality.


For one who sees correctly that
true self cannot be tired out,
can’t suffer any pain or grief ...

just where is knowledge? Where a world?
And where can there be any feelings:
‘I am body’, ‘This is mine’?


If someone unintelligent
stops practicing restraint of mind
and other forms of artificial
exercise, it takes no time
for mind to get caught up again
in unexamined foolishness
of fancies driven by desire.


A person who is lazy-minded –
unprepared to ask sharp questions –
will not give up ignorance,
not even when what’s plainly true
is heard with due formality.

Through efforts made in world outside,
such a person may achieve
a state where mind seems to be free
of all its fond imagining.

But, deep within such ‘no mind’ states,
blind cravings stubbornly persist
for objects fondly fantasized.


For one who comes to know plain truth,
all need to act is thereby found
dissolved away. And yet that someone
may still seem engaged in acts
performing various kinds of work,
as seen by people in the world.

But even while thus seen engaged,
someone who realizes truth –
as seen from where that someone stands –
can find no opportunity
to do or to say anything.


For one who knows, unaltering,
beyond all trace of doubt or fear,
where is there dark? Where light? Where
giving up? Where anything at all?


Where is there steadfast clarity?
Where is discernment, fearlessness?

What are these, to a yogi whose
own character can’t be described
and who is thus ‘impersonal’?


There is no heaven, nor hell. Nor
even liberation, here in life.

In short, there’s nothing that exists
as seen in yogic consciousness.


Someone who’s steadfast in plain truth
does not seek gain, nor gets upset
by failure to achieve success.

The mind of such a one stays cool.
It gets refreshed perpetually,
by that clear light which does not die.


Someone desireless does not
heap praise on those who’ve come to peace,
nor look to blame those doing wrong.

For such a one remains content –
the same in grieving as in joy –
finds always nothing to be done.


Someone who knows does not dislike
the ebb and flow of changing world,
nor wishes to perceive the self.

Free thus from all excited joy
or driven anger, such a one
is neither dead to that which lives,
nor is alive to outward things
that make a dying show of life.


Not bound by family affection,
nor by objects of desire,

not caring even for this body
that is thought to be ‘one’s own’,

no expectations bind a sage
who shines as nothing else but light
that lives in every one of us.


Someone established in true knowing
finds contentment everywhere;
and lives at peace with what occurs,
no matter how things may turn out.

All movements are thus found inspired
spontaneously, from self alone.
Such movements go from place to place,
inspired of their own accord.

And when it’s time, a sage may rest
wherever energy runs out
and gets returned back home to self:
in which all movements are dissolved.


Not caring whether body falls
back into death or rises into
life again, one great at heart
has utterly forgotten all
the ebb and flow of death and birth ...

and now rests only on the ground
of one’s own being, as it is.


Possessing nothing, moving freely
from the depth of heart within,
a sage is always found untouched
by conflict of opposing things.

By standing free of conflict thus,
all troubled doubts get torn away.
No shadow of a doubt remains.
What’s true is found uncompromised.

One thus, who has attained to wisdom,
is completely unattached
to anything that may occur.

That one finds perfect happiness
in self alone: found absolute,
unmixed with any other thing.


One who is wise lives free of ‘mine-ness’.
Earth, stone, gold ... are found the same.

All knots of heart are cut completely.
Neither striving to achieve,
nor dragging laziness takes hold
of driven personality.

With strife and laziness removed,
what seemed a ‘person’ is found free
of personal identity.


For someone who stays everywhere
indifferent, quite unconcerned
with anything, there is at heart
no habit-driven inclination
towards objects of desire.

Who then can bear comparison
with such a one who stays content,
established in that truth of self
where each of us is always free?


It is from there that one may know,
but not by any act of knowing
formed and understood by mind.

It is from there that one may see,
but not by any act of seeing
shown by changing sense of sight.

And, it’s from there, that one may speak,
though not by any act of speaking
formed by breath and heard by ears.

Who else but one desireless
could know or see or speak like that?


Be it a starving beggar or
a wealthy king, it’s only one
desireless that truly shines.

For, paradoxically, no person
can achieve true excellence
until all fondly held belief,
in good or bad things happening,
has dropped away entirely.

It’s only then that self shines clear,
as utterly impersonal.


What of ungoverned wantonness,
or of restrained humility?
And what about discerning truth
found so confusingly mixed up
with our mistaken falsities?

What can these be, for one whom yoga
has joined back to truth of self?

That one, who’s called a ‘yogi’, has
attained the goal that we all seek.
Abiding there, that yogi may
be seen to stand uncompromised:
as an embodiment of plain,
uncomplicated honesty.


For one who rests content in self,
untainted by desiring,
all pain and trouble is destroyed.

How and of whom can be described
what is experienced within,
by one who speaks from such a state?


Not sleeping in the soundest sleep,
not even in the wildest dream
withdrawn from world of waking sense,

not even in the waking state
aware of anything perceived
in world outside or thinking mind,

one who is steadfast in true knowing
stays contented everywhere,
throughout all change of passing states.


A sage is always free of thinking,
even when engaged in thought.

So also free of any senses,
even though possessed of them.

So also free of intellect,
although in full control of it.

So too completely free of ego,
even when the self that knows
is wrongly thought to be engaged
in acts of body, sense and mind.


One such can’t rightly be described
as ‘happy’ or as ‘suffering’,
as ‘unattached’ or as ‘attached’,
as ‘seeking freedom’ or as ‘free’,
as anything that’s ‘here’ or ‘there’.


One who is truly fortunate
stays undistracted even in
what seem distracted states of mind ...

cannot be found to disappear
in states where mind is thought dissolved ...

can’t even be insensitive
in states where no sense can be made
of what seems utter senselessness ...

can’t be made capable or skilled
by any learned accomplishment.


One who is free stands self-possessed,
untroubled by all sense of what’s
been done and what needs doing still.

One thus attained to self-possession
is found everywhere the same.
No fancied want drives needful thought
of what has or has not been done.


Though praised, someone who is thus free
does not feel flattered or feel pleased;
though blamed, does not become enraged.

One such is not afraid in dying;
nor feels happy to be living
here in body, sense and mind.


One who at heart has come to peace
does not seek crowds and company,
nor any lonely wilderness.

One such lives utterly unchanged:
the same however things turn out,
no matter where or when perceived.