Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Test of Self-Realization


Ashtavakra said:

Now that you know your real self
as one and indestructible,
quite unaffected by all change;

if you’re established in this knowledge,
how could you have any interest
in such work as earns your keep
and builds a store of useful wealth?


It’s only from one first mistake –
from falsely knowing one’s own self –
that fondness and affection rise
for objects seen, deludedly,
as physical or mental things.

It’s like the greed of someone who
has misperceived plain shell of pearl,
confused by a mistaken dream
of costly silver fancied here.


Now you have realized: ‘I’m that
in which all things appear and
disappear, throughout experience –
like waves in water, on the sea.’

Then why should you keep running after
things, as though you were in need?


Where self is known as pure awareness,
its surpassing beauty shines:
in all its perfect clarity,
unstained by any otherness.

When this is heard and understood,
how can one yet be passionate
to join in physical embrace
that’s always somehow limited
and compromised, by body’s
imperfections and impurities?


It’s strange to see a sense of mineness –
treating certain things as ‘mine’ –
remaining in a sage who knows
one self called ‘I’ in everything
and everything in that one self.


It’s strange that one who’s come to rest
in final non-duality,
who is established in the truth
that makes one absolutely free,
should yet keep leading (in the world
of people and society)
a life affected by desire:
degraded by the artful games
that the infatuated play.


It’s strange that someone, having reached
that truth where time has come to end,
should live on impotent in time:
awaiting fond desire to rise
and drive all our activities;

though having fully understood
desire’s partiality,
as contrary to knowing right.


For one who is disinterested
in this world perceived by sense
and in the subtle realms beyond,
who knows the truth that lives unchanged
beneath all change of seeming things,
and who awaits deliverance
of body’s final passing on …

it’s strange that till the time is right
this same deliverance may be
avoided, and occasion fear.


No matter whether praised or feasted,
nor tormented and condemned,
a sage – established in the truth
of self seen always absolute –
is not made pleased nor gets enraged.


To be great-hearted is to see
one’s mind and body acting just
like other minds and other bodies
acting in the object world.

With every act found thus apart
from unaffected self within,
how then could any praise or blame
disturb the one who sees like this?


When all the seeming things of world
are seen as just illusory,
all interest in them is gone.

How then can one of deep conviction –
past all vacillating doubt –
be found to shake in fear and trembling,
even face to face with death?


For one whose greatness lies within,
there’s no desire left in mind:
not even for desirelessness.

To whom or what can be compared
someone who’s found that happiness
is only knowing one’s own self?


When someone knows (from one’s own
nature), all that’s seen (through mind and
body) turns out to be no such thing.
The different objects that appear
when seen through personality,
are shown not to exist at all
when known from what one really is.

With diff’ring things found nonexistent,
how can one of deep conviction –
past all vacillating doubt –
make out one thing fit to accept
and something else fit to refuse?


With interest in object things
renounced by falling back within,
there one is found desireless,
beyond all pairs of opposites.

For one who’s there, disint’rested,
enjoyment is spontaneous:
quite unconcerned with seeking pleasure,
or avoiding any pain.