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  1. Awareness
  2. One's Self
  3. Recognition
  4. Self Knowledge
  5. Rest
  6. Knowledge
  7. Formlessness
  8. Bondage
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  10. Understanding
  11. Acceptance
  12. Ignorance
  13. Freedom
  14. Fearlessness
  15. Achievement
  16. Discrimination
  17. Desire
  18. Imagination
  19. Opinions
  20. The Self

Links of Similar Interest

  1. Ribhu Gita
  2. Avadhut Gita
  3. Adi Shankara Teachings
  4. Sri Ramakrishna Teachings
  5. Raman Maharshi Teachings
  6. Buddha Sangha WebLog


Astavakta Gita, Chapter 15 -- Of Imagination

Sage Ashtavakra

Praise be to that by the awareness
of which delusion itself becomes dream-like,
to that which is pure happiness, peace and light.

One may get all sorts of pleasure
by the acquisition of various objects of enjoyment,
but one cannot be happy except by
the renunciation of everything.

How can there be happiness for one who is burnt inside
by the blistering sun of the pain of things that need doing,
without the rain of the nectar of peace?

This existence is just imagination.
It is nothing in reality, but there is no non-being
for natures that know how to distinguish being from non being.

The realm of one's own self is not far away,
and nor can it be achieved
by the addition of limitations to its nature.
It is unimaginable, effortless, unchanging and spotless.

By the simple elimination of delusion
and the recognition of one's true nature,
those whose vision is unclouded live free from sorrow.

Knowing everything as just imagination,
and himself as eternally free,
how should the wise man behave like a fool?

Knowing himself to be God
and being and non-being just imagination,
what should the man free from desire learn, say or do?

Considerations like "I am this" or "I am not this"
are finished for the yogi who has gone silent
realising "Everything is myself".

For the yogi who has found peace,
there is no distraction or one- pointedness,
no higher knowledge or ignorance,
no pleasure and no pain.

The dominion of heaven or beggary, gain or loss,
life among men or in the forest,
these make no difference to a yogi
whose nature it is to be free from distinctions.

There is no religion, wealth, sensuality or discrimination
for a yogi free from the pairs of opposites
such as "I have done this" and "I have not done that".

There is nothing needing to be done,
or any attachment in his heart
for the yogi liberated while still alive.
Things are just for a life-time.

18.14 There is no delusion, world, meditation on That,
or liberation for the pacified great soul.
All these things are just the realm of imagination.

He by whom all this is seen
may well make out he doesn't exist,
but what is the desireless one to do?
Even in seeing he does not see.

He by whom the Supreme Brahma is seen
may think "I am Brahma",
but what is he to think who is without thought,
and who sees no duality.

He by whom inner distraction is seen may put an end to it,
but the noble one is not distracted.
When there is nothing to achieve,
what is he to do?

The wise man, unlike the worldly man,
does not see inner stillness, distraction or fault in himself,
even when living like a worldly man.

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.

He who is desireless, self-reliant, independent
and free of bonds functions like a dead leaf blown
about by the wind of causality.

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.

He whose joy is in himself, and who is peaceful
and pure within has no desire for renunciation
or sense of loss in anything.

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.

"This action was done by the body but not by me."
The pure-natured person thinking like this,
is not acting even when acting.

He who acts without being able to say why,
but not because he is a fool,
he is one liberated while still alive,
happy and blessed. He thrives even in samsara.

He who has had enough of endless considerations
and has attained to peace, does not think, know, hear or see.

He who is beyond mental stillness and distraction,
does not desire either liberation or anything else.
Recognising that things are just constructions of the imagination,
that great soul lives as God here and now.

He who feels responsibility within,
acts even when not acting -
but there is no sense of done or undone
for the wise man who is free
from the sense of responsibility.

The mind of the liberated man is not upset or pleased.
It shines unmoving, desireless, and free from doubt.

He whose mind does not set out to meditate or act,
meditates and acts without an object.

A stupid man is bewildered when he hears the real truth,
while even a clever man is humbled by it just like the fool.

The ignorant make a great effort to practise one-pointedness
and the stopping of thought, while the wise see nothing to be done
and remain in themselves like those asleep.

The stupid does not attain cessation -
whether he acts or abandons action,
while the wise man find peace within
simply by knowing the truth.

People cannot come to know themselves by practices -
pure awareness, clear, complete,
beyond multiplicity and faultless though they are.

The stupid does not achieve liberation
even through regular practice,
but the fortunate remains free and actionless
simply by discrimination.

The stupid does not attain Godhead
because he wants to become it,
while the wise man enjoys the Supreme Godhead
without even wanting it.

Even when living without any support and eager for achievement,
the stupid are still nourishing samsara,
while the wise have cut at the very root of its unhappiness.

The stupid does not find peace because he is wanting it,
while the wise discriminating the truth is always peaceful minded.

How can there be self knowledge -
for him whose knowledge depends on what he sees?
The wise do not see this and that,
but see themselves as unending.

How can there be cessation of thought
for the misguided who is striving for it?
Yet it is there always naturally for the wise man
delighted in himself.

Some think that something exists,
and others that nothing does.
Rare is the man who does not think either,
and is thereby free from distraction.

Those of weak intelligence think of themselves as pure nonduality,
but because of their delusion do not know this,
and remain unfulfilled all their lives.

The mind of the man seeking liberation
can find no resting place within,
but the mind of the liberated man is always free from desire
by the very fact of being without a resting place.

Seeing the tigers of the senses,
the frightened refuge-seekers at once
enter the cave in search of cessation of thought
and one- pointedness.

Seeing the desireless lion
the elephants of the senses silently run away,
or, if they cannot, serve him like courtiers.

The man who is free from doubts and whose mind is free
does not bother about means of liberation.
Whether seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling or tasting,
he lives at ease.

He whose mind is pure and undistracted
from the simple hearing of the Truth
sees neither something to do nor something to avoid
nor a cause for indifference.

The straightforward person does whatever arrives to be done,
good or bad, for his actions are like those of a child.

By inner freedom one attains happiness,
by inner freedom one reaches the Supreme,
by inner freedom one comes to absence of thought,
by inner freedom to the Ultimate State.

When one sees oneself as neither the doer
nor the reaper of the consequences,
then all mind waves come to an end.

The spontaneous unassumed behaviour of the wise is noteworthy,
but not the deliberate, intentional stillness of the fool.

The wise who are rid of imagination,
unbound and with unfettered awareness
may enjoy themselves in the midst of many goods,
or alternatively go off to mountain caves.

There is no attachment in the heart of a wise man
whether he sees or pays homage to a learned Brahmin,
a celestial being, a holy place, a woman, a king or a friend.

A yogi is not in the least put out even
when humiliated by the ridicule of servants,
sons, wives, grandchildren or other relatives.

Even when pleased he is not pleased ,
not suffering even when in pain.
Only those like him can know
the wonderful state of such a man.

It is the sense of responsibility which is samsara.
The wise who are of the form of emptiness, formless,
unchanging and spotless see no such thing.

Even when doing nothing the fool is agitated by restlessness,
while a skilful man remains undisturbed -
even when doing what there is to do.

Happy he stands, happy he sits, happy he sleeps
and happy he comes and goes. Happy he speaks, and happy he eats.
Such is the life of a man at peace.

He who of his very nature feels no unhappiness
in his daily life like worldly people,
remains undisturbed like a great lake,
all sorrow gone.

Even abstention from action leads to action in a fool,
while even the action of the wise man brings
the fruits of inaction.

A fool often shows aversion towards his belongings,
but for him whose attachment to the body has dropped away,
there is neither attachment nor aversion.

The mind of the fool is always caught
in an opinion about becoming or avoiding something,
but the wise man's nature is to have no opinions
about becoming and avoiding.

For the seer who behaves like a child,
without desire in all actions, there is no attachment
for such a pure one even in the work he does.

Blessed is he who knows himself and is the same in all states,
with a mind free from craving whether he is seeing, hearing,
feeling, smelling or tasting.

There is no man subject to samsara,
sense of individuality, goal or means to the goal
for the wise man who is always free from imaginations,
and unchanging as space.

Glorious is he who has abandoned all goals
incarnation of satisfaction, his very nature,
and whose inner focus on the Unconditioned
is quite spontaneous.

In brief, the great-souled man who has come to know the Truth
is without desire for either pleasure or liberation,
and is always and everywhere free from attachment.

What remains to be done by the man who is pure awareness
and has abandoned everything that can be expressed in words
from the highest heaven to the earth itself?

The pure man who has experienced the Indescribable
attains peace by his own nature, realising that all this
is nothing but illusion, and that nothing is.

There are no rules, dispassion, renunciation or meditation
for one who is pure receptivity by nature,
and admits no knowable form of being.

For him who shines with the radiance of Infinity
and is not subject to natural causality there is neither bondage,
liberation, pleasure nor pain.

Pure illusion reigns in samsara which will continue
until self realisation, but the enlightened man
lives in the beauty of freedom from me and mine,
from the sense of responsibility and from any attachment.

For the seer who knows himself as imperishable and beyond pain
there is neither knowledge, a world nor the sense
that I am the body or the body is mine.

No sooner does a man of low intelligence
give up activities like the elimination of thought
than he falls into the mental chariot racing and babble.

A fool does not get rid of his stupidity even on hearing the truth.
He may appear outwardly free from imaginations,
but inside he is hankering after the senses still.

Though in the eyes of the world he is active,
the man who has shed action through knowledge
finds no means of doing or speaking anything.

For the wise man who is always unchanging and fearless
there is neither darkness nor light nor destruction,
nor anything.

There is neither fortitude, prudence nor courage
for the yogi whose nature is beyond description
and free of individuality.

There is neither heaven nor hell nor even liberation during life.
In a nutshell, in the sight of the seer nothing exists at all.

He neither longs for possessions nor grieves at their absence.
The calm mind of the sage is full of the nectar of immortality.

The dispassionate does not praise the good or blame the wicked.
Content and equal in pain and pleasure,
he sees nothing that needs doing.

The wise man does not dislike samsara or seek to know himself.
Free from pleasure and impatience, he is not dead and he is not alive.

The wise man stands out by being free from anticipation,
without attachment to such things as children or wives,
free from desire for the senses, and not even concerned about his own body.

Peace is everywhere for the wise man
who lives on whatever happens to come to him,
going to wherever he feels like,
and sleeping wherever the sun happens to set.

Let his body rise or fall.
The great souled one gives it no thought,
having forgotten all about samsara
in coming to rest on the ground of his true nature.

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.

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.

Who can compare with that contented, liberated soul
who pays no regard to anything and has no desire
left in his heart?

Who but the upright man without desire -
knows without knowing, sees without seeing
and speaks without speaking?

Beggar or king, he excels who is without desire,
and whose opinion of things is rid of "good" and "bad".

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.

How can one describe what is experienced within
by one desireless and free from pain,
and content to rest in himself - and of whom?

The wise man who is contented in all circumstances
is not asleep even in deep sleep,
not sleeping in a dream, nor waking when he is awake.

The seer is without thoughts even when thinking,
without senses among the senses -
without understanding even in understanding
and without a sense of responsibility even in the ego.

Neither happy nor unhappy, neither detached nor attached,
neither seeking liberation nor liberated,
he is neither something nor nothing.

Not distracted in distraction, in mental stillness not poised,
in stupidity not stupid, that blessed one
is not even wise in his wisdom.

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.

He is not pleased when praised nor upset when blamed.
He is not afraid of death nor attached to life.

A man at peace does not run off to popular resorts
or to the forest. Whatever and wherever, he remains the same.