Ashtavakra Gita Chalisa: 40 verses from Ashtavakra Gita

 Part 1 of 2

 Introduction

Asshtavakra Gita (also known as Ashtavakra Samhita) is a conversation between the king Janaka and sage Ashtavakra. Vakra means crooked. Ashtavakra’s body was crooked since birth because of a curse from his father. The Gita has 298 verses in twenty chapters. Chapter 18 has the maximum number of 100 verses. As Janaka is a jnani student (he is known as Janakvideha) the conversation is of the highest order and most of the verses are declaration of bare non-dual truths from the Absolute standpoint. There is no recourse to reason and explanation. It is tailor made for a seeker who has got reasonable success in shravan (listening) and manan (contemplation) and has crossed the intellectual threshold and his heart is ready to throb. The verses can be used for nidhidhyasana (vedantic meditation). With this view, 40 verses are selected with meaning and presented here. One can as well make another set of different verses.

Note: 1.2 means verse 2 in chapter 1            

1

जनक उवाच –
कथं ज्ञानमवाप्नोति, कथं मुक्तिर्भविष्यति।
वैराग्य च कथं प्राप्तमेतद ब्रूहि मम प्रभो॥1.1॥

Janaka uvāca
kathaṃ jñānamavāpnoti kathaṃ muktirbhaviṣyati;
vairāgyaṃ ca kathaṃ prāptametadbrūhi mama prabho.

Janaka asks the sage Ashtavakra. How is knowledge acquired, how is liberation  attained and how is renunciation possible? Please tell me all this; O great one.

2
अष्टावक्र उवाच –
मुक्तिमिच्छसि चेत्तात्, विषयान विषवत्त्यज।
क्षमार्जवदयातोष, सत्यं पीयूषवद्भज॥1.2॥

aṣṭāvakra uvāca
muktimicchasi cettāta viṣayānviṣavattyaja ;
kṣamārjavadayātoṣasatyaṃ pīyūṣavadbhaja.

Ashtavakra replies. My child, if you wish to attain liberation, shun the desires for sense objects as poison. Practice forgiveness, sincerity, compassion, contentment and truthfulness as nectar.

3
न पृथ्वी न जलं नाग्निर्न वायुर्द्यौर्न वा भवान्।
एषां साक्षिणमात्मानं चिद्रूपं विद्धि मुक्तये॥1.3॥

na pṛthvī na jalaṃ nāgnirna vāyurdyaurna vā bhavān;
eṣāṃ sākṣiṇamātmānaṃ cidrūpaṃ viddhi muktaye.

Ashtavakra: You are neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air, nor space. For liberation, know yourself as consciousness, the witness of all these.

4

यदि देहं पृथक् कृत्य चिति विश्राम्य तिष्ठसि।
अधुनैव सुखी शान्तो बन्धमुक्तो भविष्यसि॥1.4 ॥

yadi dehaṃ pṛthakkṛtya citi viśrāmya tiṣṭhasi;
adhunaiva sukhī śānto bandhamukto bhaviṣyasi.

Ashtavakra: If you think yourself distinct from the body and rest in consciousness, you will at once become peaceful, content and free from bondage.

5

धर्माधर्मौ सुखं दुखं मानसानि न ते विभो।
न कर्तासि न भोक्तासि मुक्त एवासि सर्वदा॥1.6॥

dharmādharmau sukhaṃ duḥkhaṃ mānasāni na te bibho;
na kartā’si na bhoktā’si mukta evā’si sarvadā .

Ashtavakra: Virtue and vice, pleasure and pain are connected with the mind and not with the all-pervading you. You are neither the doer nor the enjoyer of the actions. As such you are ever free.

6
अहं कर्तेत्यहंमान महाकृष्णाहिदंशितः।
नाहं कर्तेति विश्वासामृतं पीत्वा सुखं भव॥1.8॥

ahaṃ kartetyahammānamahākṛṣṇāhidaṃśitaḥ;
nāhaṃ karteti viśvāsāmṛtaṃ pītvā sukhī bhava.

Ashtavakra: As you are bitten by the black serpent of ego, you think that “I am the doer”. Drink the nectar of “I am not the doer” and be happy.

7

यत्र विश्वमिदं भाति कल्पितं रज्जुसर्पवत्।
आनंदपरमानन्दः स बोधस्त्वं सुखं चर॥1.10 II

yatra viśvamidaṃ bhāti kalpitaṃ rajjusarpavat;
ānandaparamānandaḥ sa bodhastvaṃ sukhaṃ cara.

Ashtavakra: The world arises in Consciousness as snake is imagined on a rope. You are the Consciousness which is the supreme bliss. Know this and move happily.

8

देहाभिमानपाशेन चिरं बद्धोऽसि पुत्रक।
बोधोऽहं ज्ञानखंगेन तन्निष्कृत्य सुखी भव॥1.14II

 dehābhimānapāśena ciraṃ baddho’si putraka;
bodho’haṃ jñānakhaḍgena tanniṣkṛtya sukhī bhava.

Ashtavakra: My child, you have long been in the noose of “I am body” identification. Cut asunder this by the sword of knowledge and be happy.

9
जनक उवाच –
अहो निरंजनः शान्तो बोधोऽहं प्रकृतेः परः।
एतावंतमहं कालं मोहेनैव विडम्बितः॥2.1॥

janaka uvāca
aho nirañjanaḥ śānto bodho’haṃ prakṛteḥ paraḥ;
etāvantamahaṃ kālaṃ mohenaiva viḍambitaḥ.

King Janaka says: Truly I am taintless, peaceful, pure consciousness and beyond nature. It is ironical that all this time I was afflicted by illusion.

10

यथा न तोयतो भिन्नास्- तरंगाः फेन बुदबुदाः।
आत्मनो न तथा भिन्नं विश्वमात्मविनिर्गतम् ॥2.4॥

yathā na toyato bhinnāstaraṅgāḥ phenabudbudāḥ |
ātmano na tathā bhinnaṃ viśvamātmavinirgatam

Janaka: As waves, foam and bubbles are not different from the water, in the same way, the universe which has emanated from the Self is not different from It.

11

मय्यनन्तमहांभोधा-वाश्चर्यं जीववीचयः।
उद्यन्ति घ्नन्ति खेलन्ति प्रविशन्ति स्वभावतः॥2.25॥
mayyanantamahāmbhodhāvāścaryaṃ jīvavīcayaḥ;
udyanti ghnanti khelanti praviśanti svabhāvataḥ.

Janaka: Wonderful indeed it is that in me, the infinite ocean, the waves of life arise, collide, play and dissolve according to their nature.

12

उदेति भवतो विश्वं वारिधेरिव बुद्बुदः।
इति ज्ञात्वैकमात्मानं एवमेव लयं व्रज॥5.2॥

udeti bhavato viśvaṃ vāridheriva budbudaḥ |
iti jñātvaikamātmānam evameva layaṃ vraja || 5.2 ||

Ashtavakra: As bubbles rise in the sea, the world emanates from non-dual Atma. Know this and dissolve into the state of one.

13

अष्टावक्र उवाच –
तदा बन्धो यदा चित्तं किन्चिद् वांछति शोचति।
किंचिन् मुंचति गृण्हाति किंचिद् हृष्यति कुप्यति॥8.1॥

 aṣṭāvakra uvāca
tadā bandho yadā cittaṃ kiñcidvāñchati śocati;
kiñcinmuñcati gṛhṇāti kiñciddhṛṣyati kupyati.

Ashtavakra says: It is bondage if the mind desires something, grieves about something, rejects or accepts something, and is happy or angry with something.

14

यदा नाहं तदा मोक्षो यदाहं बन्धनं तदा।
मत्वेति हेलया किंचिन्- मा गृहाण विमुंच मा॥8.4॥

 yadā nāhaṃ tadā mokṣo yadāhaṃ bandhanaṃ tadā;
matveti helayā kiñcinmā gṛhāṇa vimuñca mā.

Ashtavakra says: There is liberation when there is no feeling of ‘I’ and ‘my’ and there is bondage when there is feeling of ‘I’ and ‘my’. Thinking like this, refrain easily from accepting or rejecting anything.

15

अष्टावक्र उवाच –
विहाय वैरिणं काममर्थं चानर्थसंकुलं।
धर्ममप्येतयोर्हेतुं सर्वत्रानादरं कुरु॥10.1॥

 aṣṭāvakra uvāca –
vihāya vairiṇaṃ kāmamarthaṃ cānarthasaṃkulam;
dharmamapyetayorhetuṃ sarvatrānādaraṃ kuru.

Ashtavakra says. Give up the enemies of desires and wealth which are full of mischief. Thus rejecting these two will lead to righteousness and indifference to everything.

16

अष्टावक्र उवाच –
भावाभावविकारश्च स्वभावादिति निश्चयी।
निर्विकारो गतक्लेशः सुखेनैवोपशाम्यति॥11.1॥

 aṣṭāvakra uvāca
bhāvābhāvavikāraśca svabhāvāditi niścayī;
nirvikāro gatakleśaḥ sukhenaivopaśāmyati.

Ashtavakra says:  Existence, change and destruction are in the nature of things. One who has realized this easily finds peace and rest and is free from pain.

17

मोक्षो विषयवैरस्यं बन्धो वैषयिको रसः।
एतावदेव विज्ञानं यथेच्छसि तथा कुरु॥15.2॥

mokṣo viṣayavairasyaṃ bandho vaiṣayiko rasaḥ;
etāvadeva vijñānaṃ yathecchasi tathā kuru.

Ashtavakra: Indifference to sense objects is liberation and passion for  them is bondage. Knowing thus, do as you wish.

18

न त्वं देहो न ते देहो भोक्ता कर्ता न वा भवान्।
चिद्रूपोऽसि सदा साक्षी निरपेक्षः सुखं चर॥ 15.4॥

 na tvaṃ deho na te deho bhoktā kartā na vā bhavān;
cidrūpo’si sadā sākṣī nirapekṣaḥ sukhaṃ cara.

Ashtavakra: You are not this body, neither is this body yours. You are neither the doer of actions nor the reaper of the consequences of actions.  You are pure consciousness, eternal witness, without desires and ever blissful.

19

सर्वभूतेषु चात्मानं सर्वभूतानि चात्मनि।
विज्ञाय निरहंकारो निर्ममस्त्वं सुखी भव॥15.6॥

 sarvabhūteṣu cātmānaṃ sarvabhūtāni cātmani;
vijñāya nirahaṃkāro nirmamastvaṃ sukhī bhava.

Ashtavakra: Know that all beings exist in you, the Self and you, the Self exist in all beings. Thus knowing, give up the ego, ‘I and mine’ and attachment and be happy.

20

त्वय्यनंतमहांभोधौ विश्ववीचिः स्वभावतः।
उदेतु वास्तमायातु न ते वृद्धिर्न वा क्षतिः॥15.11॥

tvayyanantamahāmbhodhau viśvavīci svabhāvata;
udetu vā’stamāyātu na te vddhirna vā kati.

Ashtavakra: Let this world rise and subside naturally as waves in you, the great ocean. It means no gain or loss to you.

Contd