Asshtavakra Gita (also known as Ashtavakra Samhita) is a conversation between 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 a maximum number of 100 verses. As Janaka is a jnAni student (he is known as Janakavideha) the conversation is of the highest order and most of the verses are declarations 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
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.
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.
Ashtavakra: Indifference to sense objects is liberation and passion for them is bondage. Knowing thus, do as you wish.
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.