Instruction on Self-Realization

Janaka said:

1. 1

Just how can knowledge be attained?
And how can freedom come about?
How is dispassion to be found?
Please tell me what you can of this.


Ashtavakra said:

If you want freedom, you will have
to turn away from outward things.
See objects as objectionable
scraps of waste: produced by
partiality of outward sight
perceiving an unwholesome world.

Thus you may join back into truth:
in patience and straightforwardness,
in sympathy and quiet joy.
Such virtues are your nourishment
to seek undying life within.


You are not made of ‘earth’,
nor ‘water’, nor of ‘fire’, nor ‘air’, nor space
and time, nor anything of world.

You are the witness of all these:
the self that shines as consciousness.
Know only this, and you are free.


If separating body out,
you stand at rest in consciousness,
then here and now you come to peace
and happiness, where you are free
from all restraining ties and bonds.


You don’t belong to any class.
You’re not born high, nor lower down.
Nor have you any stage of life
that changes what you were before.

Unseen by sense, untouched by form,
remaining always unattached,
you’re just the witness of the world.

Be that ... and come to happiness.


All pain and pleasure, right and wrong,
pertain to mind. They do not in
the least pertain to you yourself:
who carry on unlimited,
continuing through everything.

You do not act or fail to act.
You don’t enjoy or suffer what
results. Thus you remain completely free,
always and everywhere.


You are the one who sees, the only
see-er: who sees everything.

At heart, you’re always free. Your
only bondage is then this: that you,
who are in truth the see-er, look
upon yourself as something else
(as just a doing instrument,
a petty doer who is seen).


When bitten by the great black snake
of ego’s self-regard, you say
that ‘I do this’ or ‘I do that.’

But only take conviction in,
that ‘I am not this acting thing’;
and come – beyond all passing on –
back home, to lasting happiness.


Convinced of truth, you realize:
‘I am the one, pure consciousness:
just one, not made of many things.’

Thus, in the fire of this conviction,
may the dense entanglement
of ignorance be burned away:

to free you from all thought of grief
and bring you back to rest content,
at peace with what you really are.


Just as a seeming snake appears
upon a rope that’s falsely seen,
so too this seeming universe –
extending through all space and time –
is just imagination, misperceived
on nothing else but consciousness
unaltered by imagining.

Just that unaltered, knowing light
is true enjoyment: always found
unlimited and ultimate,
no matter what seems to take place.
Live thus, as happiness itself.


Whoever’s free has realized
that freedom as one’s very own:
as what one always is, oneself.

Whoever’s bound remains imprisoned
in the thought that one is bound,
by things that limit what one is.

Such is the truth of what is said,
that: ‘As one thinks so one becomes.’
Of this, the changing world is made.


Self is the witness, manifested
everywhere; one simple,
perfect consciousness; completely free
and unattached, desireless,
untouched by any seeming act.

Thus unaffected and at peace,
delusion shows it as a flow
of life that passes through a world
of seeming change and passing acts.


Reflecting back into your self,
you stand above all seeming else.

Unmixed with body, sense and mind,
your individuality
is undivided consciousness,
with nothing else beside itself.

Thus, free yourself from the delusion
‘I am this apparent person
who has somehow come to be –
perceived outside or felt within.’


You’ve long been caught up in the noose
of fancying that this imagined
body is your real self.

Cut off that fancy,
with the sword of knowing: ‘I am consciousness.’
Thus come to rest in happiness,
at one with what you really are.


There, unattached and actionless,
you shine alone, by your own light,
quite unaffected by all ill.

Your only bondage is just this:
that you keep after altered states
where mind is shown absorbed in bliss.


Just you are present everywhere,
pervading through this universe
made up of your own thoughts and feelings.
Everything is made of you.

Your nature is pure consciousness.
That’s what you really are. Don’t go
from there to pettiness of mind.


Come back to that unfathomable
depth of pure intelligence
where you stay always unaffected –
cool beyond all expectation,
unencumbered, undisturbed.

Let all your tastes and inclinations
show their nature – as they are.
That is of consciousness alone.


Just realize that nothing with
some seeming form can be quite right.
That only what remains unformed,
beneath appearances, is found
unshakable and therefore real.

Where this is rightly taught and learned,
there’s nothing more to be produced.
No more becoming there occurs;
no reborn life is born again.


Just as a mirror is implied
within the image it reflects,
but also stands beyond the show;
so too the highest principle
that rules the world is found within
the body, and beyond as well.


As one pervading principle
of space extends within a pot
and goes beyond outside as well,
through everywhere and everything;

so too, one full reality
is always present everywhere,
found unconfined within all things
and in all groups and kinds of things.