Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Special Instruction


Ashtavakra said:

Although you often may discuss
or listen to what many different
scriptures say, you won’t by this
stand independent in your self.

That freedom cannot be attained
without forgetting everything
that memory has brought to mind.


As someone who has learned discernment,
you may find yourself engaged
in life’s enjoyments, or in work
that may be usefully achieved,
or else in states of mind’s absorption
back into the depth of heart.

But even so, your mind will long
to reach beyond the aims it seeks,
to where all wish and hope dissolve.


Each one of us is made unhappy
by exertion in pursuit
of objects that our minds desire.

But no one knows quite what it is
for which exertion may arise
or be returned to peace and rest.

Where someone fortunate receives
instruction from a living teacher,
there alone is freedom found.
It’s only thus that anyone
is freed from the conditioning
of personality and world.


There is a central principle,
inactive utterly, within.
It does not even blink. That would
be much too troublesome for it.

And yet, all acts arise from it,
inspired for its sake alone.

To it alone and to none else,
all happiness in truth belongs.


When opposites – like ‘this is done’
or ‘that not done’ – are left behind,
mind gets to be indifferent.
It seeks no pleasure, riches, good,
nor even freedom from all these.


It is when objects don’t attract
that someone is dispassionate.
And it’s through greed for objects that
a person gets to be attached.

But one who neither takes nor gives
can’t be attached to anything.
There, no attachment can apply;
nor can detachment from the world.


It’s from this sense of give and take
that the world tree of happening
comes into sprout and branches forth.

It is by standing in desire
that fancied thought fails to be clear,
fails to distinguish different things.

So long as anyone stands here,
the sense of give and take remains.
From it appears a seeming world,
obscured by a confusing show
of insufficient clarity.


It is engaged in doing that
attraction comes about. And in
abstention that aversion shows.

A person who attains to wisdom
lives there freely, like a child
quite innocent of opposites.


It’s only one who feels attached
that seeks escape from suffering
and wishes to renounce the world.

For some one who no longer feels
attached, no suffering remains,
not even in this changing world.

One who has thus attained detachment
stays untroubled everywhere,
throughout all change of happenings.


Whoever still has ego’s pride
in liberation, or who feels
a sense of ‘mine-ness’ toward body,
cannot rightly be a sage
(who is established in plain truth)
nor yet a yogi (joining back
into unchanged reality).

Each person, claiming pride or ‘mine-ness’,
thus partakes in suffering
that makes true self seem compromised.


No matter what great ‘Lord’ or ‘God’
may somehow be invoked to teach
you anything, you won’t by this
stand independent in your self.

That freedom cannot be attained
without forgetting everything
that memory has brought to mind.