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Ashtavakra Gita

Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 5:39 am
by snowheight
Didn't want to pollute the beautiful thread by sunnyjo that motivated this question --> http://eckhart-tolle-forum.inner-growth ... f=5&t=7111

Ananda's post of that scripture led me to wiki the subject and this caught my attention:

"To continue indulging in Earthly things even after one has realised their true nature is said to be foolish and time wasting. Instead it paints a picture of The Master as someone who continues to keep up their responsibilities in the world, not because they believe they have to or due to any worldy attachments, but simply that it is in their nature to do so."

I am very curious about this idea and interested in what anyone here has to say about it. Especially in the context of these recent threads --> http://eckhart-tolle-forum.inner-growth ... f=4&t=7090, http://eckhart-tolle-forum.inner-growth ... f=4&t=7052, with, of course, the elephant in the room for many of us being the American way of life.



Re: Ashtavakra Gita

Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 7:44 am
by Sighclone
To continue indulging in Earthly things even after one has realised their true nature is said to be foolish and time wasting. Instead it paints a picture of The Master as someone who continues to keep up their responsibilities in the world, not because they believe they have to or due to any worldy attachments, but simply that it is in their nature to do so."
Part of the problem with Wikipedia is that there is unsupported commentary from unknown authors. This particular quote contains a contradiction (“foolish and time wasting” vs. “ in their nature to do so.”) Below are some direct translations of the AG by John Richards. It seems they present a “wise man” who is beyond concern for either being active or inactive in the workaday world. The principal message is non-attachment to senses and even concepts such as duality or nonduality. I’m always so pleased at how modern these ancient scriptures seem to me – or should I say ‘timeless and current.’ (Yup that’s a paradox.)

“In the world but not of it…”


* * * * * * *
from the Ashtvakra Gita --
When the sage has realised that he himself is in all beings, and all beings are in him, it is astonishing that the sense of individuality should be able to continue. 3.5
It is astonishing that a man who has reached the supreme non-dual state and is intent on the benefits of liberation should still be subject to lust and held back by sexual activity. 3.6
Whether feted or tormented, the wise man is always aware of his supreme self-nature and is neither pleased nor disappointed. 3.9
The great souled person sees even his own body in action as if it were some-one else's, so how should he be disturbed by praise or blame? 3.10
Who is to be compared to the great souled person whose mind is free of desire even in disappointment, and who has found satisfaction in self-knowledge? 3.12
How should a strong-minded person, who knows that what he sees is by its very nature nothing, consider one thing to be grasped and another to be rejected? 3.13
For someone who has eliminated attachment, and who is free from dualism and from desire, an object of enjoyment that comes of itself is neither painful nor pleasurable. 3
To know this is knowledge, and then there is neither renunciation, acceptance or cessation of it. 6.1

practice indifference to everything. 10.1
Look on such things as friends, land, money, property, wife, and bequests as nothing but a dream or a three or five-day conjuror's show. 10.2
Wherever a desire occurs, see samsara in it. Establishing yourself in firm dispassion, be free of passion and happy. 10.3
The essential nature of bondage is nothing other than desire, and its elimination is known as liberation. It is simply by not being attached to changing things that the everlasting joy of attainment is reached. 10.4
You are one, conscious and pure, while all this is just inert non-being. Ignorance itself is nothing, so what need have you of desire to understand? 10.5
Kingdoms, children, wives, bodies, pleasures - these have all been lost to you life after life, attached to them though you were. 10.6
Enough of wealth, sensuality and good deeds. In the forest of samsara the mind has never found satisfaction in these. 10.7
How many births have you not done hard and painful labour with body, mind and speech. Now at last stop! 10.8
The inner freedom of having nothing is hard to achieve, even with just a loin-cloth, but I live as I please abandoning both renunciation and acquisition

I live as I please, just doing what presents itself to be done.
I live as I please whether standing, walking or sleeping. 13.5
I lose nothing by sleeping and gain nothing by effort, so consequently I live as I please, abandoning loss and success. 13.6
There is no distinction between pleasure and pain, man and woman, success and failure for the wise man who looks on everything as equal. 17.15
There is no aggression or compassion, no pride or humility, no wonder or confusion for the man whose days of running about are over. 17.16
The liberated man is not averse to the senses and nor is he attached to them. He enjoys himself continually with an unattached mind in both achievement and non-achievement
The wise man, unlike the worldly man, does not see inner stillness, distraction or fault in himself, even when living like a worldly man. 18.18
Nothing is done by him who is free from being and non-being, who is contented, desireless and wise, even if in the world's eyes he does act.
The wise man who just goes on doing what presents itself for him to do, encounters no difficulty in either activity or inactivity. 18.20
He who is desireless, self-reliant, independent and free of bonds functions like a dead leaf blown about by the wind of causality. 18.21
There is neither joy nor sorrow for one who has transcended samsara. He lives always with a peaceful mind and as if without a body. 18.22
He whose joy is in himself, and who is peaceful and pure within has no desire for renunciation or sense of loss in anything. 18.23
For the man with a naturally empty mind, doing just as he pleases, there is no such thing as pride or false humility, as there is for the natural man. 18.24
The straightforward person does whatever arrives to be done, good or bad, for his actions are like those of a child

The wise man has the joy of being complete in himself and without possessions, acting as he pleases, free from duality and rid of doubts, and without attachment to any creature. 18.87
The wise man excels in being without the sense of 'me'. Earth, a stone or gold are the same to him. The knots of his heart have been rent asunder, and he is freed from greed and blindness.
There is neither dissolute behaviour nor virtue, nor even discrimination of the truth for the sage who has reached the goal and is the very embodiment of guileless sincerity

The liberated man is self-possessed in all circumstances and free from the idea of 'done' and 'still to do'. He is the same wherever he is and without greed. He does not dwell on what he has done or not done. 18.98
He is not pleased when praised nor upset when blamed. He is not afraid of death nor attached to life. 18.99
A man at peace does not run off to popular resorts or to the forest. Whatever and wherever, he remains the same.

Re: Ashtavakra Gita

Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 5:10 pm
by runstrails
This is great stuff. Many thanks! I'm excited to read the whole scripture now.

SighClone writes:
I’m always so pleased at how modern these ancient scriptures seem to me – or should I say ‘timeless and current.’
I agree. Of course this implies that humanities problems are also timeless. We seem to be in the same place (stuck as it were) as we were thousands of years ago. So much is different today (science, technology, material comforts) from the world of when the AG was probably written, but the human condition is essentially the same.

Snowheight writes:
of course, the elephant in the room for many of us being the American way of life.
Actually I am grateful that the american/western way of life affords us the opportunity to focus on our inner life. We are not struggling for survival, we have some level of material comfort and so we have the luxury to focus on our inner purpose, if we choose to. Its also the most decadent and material lifestyle which eventually becomes unsatisfying and necessitates looking inward. So lets bash it and be grateful for it :D

Re: Ashtavakra Gita

Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 5:39 pm
by Webwanderer
I agree with Andy's take on Wikipedia. While filled with information, it cannot be considered an authority. It's content is too often based on the whims and bias of its administrators, intentionally limiting contradicting information. Such bias is too often applied to re-create history and facts to suite the particular world view of the gate keepers and guide the opinions of readers, rather than reporting the full spectrum of information available.

As to your subject, Tim Freke has an interesting take on life. He says - sometimes my body is a Temple, and sometimes it is a nightclub. Tim, who calls himself a stand-up philosopher, is a very interesting guy. I recommend him highly. There are a number of YouTubes available and his recent books, Lucid Living and How Long is Now? are excellent.

You reference "the American way of life". Just what is that? What we see now,or what it was originally intended? For me it's the focus on individual liberty and the constitutional limitation of government, which inherently becomes corrupt. What it has become today is not what it was created to be. American Government was created to protect inherent human rights, not distribute them based on some arbitrary standard of "social justice", a standard that only serves to enslave proponents and detractors alike. The American way of life, as originally designed, is dying. It's being murdered by collectivism and the special interest of money and power.

I could easily go on a long rant here, but this forum has a more focused intent. Fortunately, that intent - the awakening to our true nature - may be the very thing that saves us from our egoic ignorance and stupidity. As awakening continues to spread, it may eventually find its way into the corrupted power centers that are spreading so rapidly, and in that bring forward some genuinely enlightened leadership. Time will tell.


Re: Ashtavakra Gita

Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 11:16 pm
by snowheight
Webwanderer wrote:You reference "the American way of life". Just what is that?
While I actually agree with your assessment (see Brodie's 90's book "Virus of the Mind" for the most succinct expression of THAT problem that I've seen to date), my agreement is neither here or there, as I was referring more, as 'trails responded to, the challenges and apparent contradictions presented by day-to-day life in a material-obsessed culture.

The only way that I can "feel Presence" is by remaining completely non-judgmental, but daily existence (work, media, consumption) forces me into the familiar role of being a "judgment machine".

Of course, one option is to take the AG literally: change my life radically, stop worrying about where my next meal is going to come from, turn off CNN and tune out current events, leave whatever impact that I have on the world to the whims of the moment.

Being even more self-aware of consumption choices than I've been in my life notwithstanding, this "literal" interpretation is of course, quite impractical, and I feel that I have a responsibility to my wife to not give up on my material goals. I am free of the conceit that I would ever be another Ramana Maharishi.

That is where I found the Wiki-author's reference to following one's nature to be helpful, and I'm actually happy to accept the "paradox" inherent in the "foolishness" of my continuing material pursuits: to paraphrase ET: "perhaps I want to suffer a little more". Heck, as an example, I will GLADLY suffer getting up at 6 am, driving 100 miles and strapping on ski boots that leave me with welts for the Presence of some high-speed turns down some steeps! But in a more serious vein, what Andy and kiki have written here about the metaphor as approaching my "role" as a "person" in this culture have been immensely helpful. This has given me a logical framework in which I can let go of the attachment to my material goals while still accepting the inevitable pursuit of them. Perhaps this framework is not completely necessary, and perhaps it will be only transitional, but it is comforting nonetheless.

In fact, there is much posted here that I find helpful to this conundrum. Everything from the "koan"-like one-liners to the seeming digressions into topics other than Nowness which I find very interesting.

Along those lines, and getting back to what 'trails wrote: this dualistic, material-obsessed culture gave us, among other things, the Hubble Telescope. Now, eventually I want to start another thread on the topic of what a purpose based on discovery of one's "true nature" really means, but for now I simply ask, how do we reconcile the value of such an accomplishment with the apparent urging of the Ashtavakra Gita to turn away from the material? This is kind of related to another thread, a paraphrase of "All it takes for evil men to succeed is for good men to do nothing" (yes, based on an inherent assumption of duality, but ...).

And I want to emphasize that I'm not trying to be disrespectful. It is, in fact, my recognition of the great beauty and truth of this tract, and the cognative dissonance between that and my cultural context that prompt my listening ear.



Re: Ashtavakra Gita

Posted: Sun May 02, 2010 12:47 am
by Webwanderer
Thanks for your comments snowheight. Understand, I am leery of any source that claims, or is held, to be an authority. I have just found Wikipedia to be a significant offender. That being said, it is well known on this forum and its like that truth is only found within. All sources are but pointers to what must be realized directly to be of any real value. It's apparent by your post that you are no stranger to that awareness.


Re: Ashtavakra Gita

Posted: Sun May 02, 2010 2:08 am
by snowheight
Webwanderer wrote:All sources are but pointers to what must be realized directly to be of any real value.
Yes, and my "mini-me's" are simultaneously VERY terrified and QUITE exhilarated at the prospect of hangin' a right-turn onto the the AG off-ramp. Your response to Ralph in the other thread ("so there IS a doer!"), was absolutely brilliant. 48% of my "mini-me's" interpret his response to that post as urging suicide, another 48% take it as a cue to jump off a bridge ... but to FLY. The 2% that read ET are just really curious as to what the practical impact on my life situation will be.

Perhaps the other point by the wiki-author was also important, in that mabe PON is a green circle to the AG's double-black diamond. :oops:



Re: Ashtavakra Gita

Posted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:09 pm
by Craig
It needs to be posted:

The full text of the Ashtavakra Gita:

Re: Ashtavakra Gita

Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:22 pm
by Ananda
Ah, it is one of the very best texts one could read, I hope you all find it illuminating :).

Earth, fire and water,
The wind and the sky -
You are none of these.

If you wish to be free,
Know you are the Self,
The witness of all these,
The heart of awareness.

Set your body aside.
Sit in your own awareness.

You will at once be happy,
Forever still,
Forever free.

Re: Ashtavakra Gita

Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:23 pm
by snowheight
This is somewhat of a tale of synchronicity in that I finally circled back to Ashtavakra's text about a week ago, a few days before this conversation presented itself.

And then, this morning, before I opened the forum, I read this:

Rare indeed, my son, is the lucky man whose observation of the world's behavior has led to the extinction of his thirst for living, thirst for pleasure, and thirst for knowledge.

9.2 of the Astavakra Gita

Now before you read any further, realize that what I'm writing is just mind-stuff ... some might find it interesting or amusing, but it is definitely a product of the mind in as much anything can be said to be so. If there is noone reading this to be interested or amused then there is no reading of it.

So the meaning of the text here is a great bit of wisdom: how much is ever enough? The answer, for an apparent someone, of course, is that there is never enough.

Well, there is no shortage of this in the world. Plenty of characters, for example, who pursue money when they have more than they could ever possibly spend over hundreds of lifetimes.

But in Ashtavakra's samsara nothing ever remains the same, even, of course, as what is at our core is changeless.

Is there an "enough" for the mind these days, as opposed to the days of the Vedas? Is that man still rare?

To extend the analogy between the 1st and 3rd thirsts, consider how most educated people in the modern developed world live. Most of them, after completing their education, settle on a career path and budget their resources and build families. To them, to the prototypical bourgeoisie, head-in-the-sand-packed-life-know-nothing-of-enlightment family folk ... to them, there seems to be an "enough".

Sure, they might get ahead of themselves and live paycheck-to-paycheck for a time, but there are still lots more people outside of bankruptcy than in.

Most of these people go through life without ever needing to drill down to the level on spirituality that we witness here. To them, superficial notions of a creator and right and wrong seem to be enough. It's easy to listen to the loud voices about the few who are the exception and let the din drown out the soft hum of the frequency holders.

That text is timeless wisdom in that there will always be those for whom there is never enough ... but what is wonderfully ironic to witness is that this huge pile of knowledge that builds up in the wake of all that perhaps increases the probability of finding those for whom what we've learned is enough. As this probability increases so the rarity referenced decreases, and the referenced man can be someone who understands the pile of knowledge or who recognizes what he can't understand.

For this mind, the double-slit experiment, and what it means ... yeah, that's enough. At least for now.

They didn't have that back in Astravakra's day.

I'd like to express special notes of gratitude to Ananda for having introduced me to this text to begin with and to Ashley72 for all those great links and the constant reminder of late of the profound stillness directly behind our eyes.

Re: Ashtavakra Gita

Posted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:06 pm
by HermitLoon
Yes - it is possible to experiece the essence and the totality of Being - and that's all the mind needs to know/accept - there is nothing further to know or to do.

Re: Ashtavakra Gita

Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:59 pm
by ashley72
HermitLoon wrote:Yes - it is possible to experiece the essence and the totality of Being - and that's all the mind needs to know/accept - there is nothing further to know or to do.
Agree... Here's a nice supporting quote...
Keep steadily in the focus of consciousness the only clue you have: your certainty of being. Be with it, play with it, ponder over it, delve deeply into it, till the shell of ignorance breaks open and you emerge into the realm of reality.  Nisargadatta