Ashtavakra Gita

Chandran, Nanda (NBC) Nanda.Chandran at NBC.COM
Fri May 8 14:59:09 CDT 1998

Amidst all this discussion about varnas and who's eligible to study the
shruti, I came across something very interesting in Ashtavakra Gita (on
Giri's site). The text is a dialogue between Ashtavakra, cousin of
Svetaketu (info from Amar Chitra Katha :-) and King Janaka.

Quite a few of us on this list feel that external Samnyasam is necessary
for sincere sadhana, as the distractions of the empirical world is not
conducive for jnana. In the text Janaka expounds his attitude from a
different perspective :

"The inner freedom of having nothing is hard to achive, even with just a
loin cloth, but I live as I please abandoning both renunciation and

Sometimes one experiences distress because of one's body or tongue or
mind. Abandoning all these in the goal of being human I live as I

Recognising that in reality no action is ever committed, I live as I
please, just attending what presents itself to be done.

Mystics who identify themselves with bodies are insistent on fulfilling
and avoiding certain actions, but I live as I please abandoning
attatchment and rejection.

I lose nothing by sleeping and gain nothing by effort. So consequently I
live as I please, abandoning loss and success.

Frequently observing the drawbacks of such things as pleasent objects,
abandoning pleasent and unpleasent.

He who by nature is empty minded and who thinks of things only
unintentionally is freed from deliberate remembering like one awakened
from a dream.

Realising my supreme self- nature in the Person of the Witness, the
Lord, and the state of desirelessness in bondage and liberation, I feel
no inclination for liberation".

At the end he makes another controversial statement :
"There is no being or non-being, no unity or dualism. What more is there
to day? Nothing emnates from me".

Isn't this contradicting the Upanishadic Seers who stressed on the
existence of the Absolute Eternal *Being* as the underlying reality?

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