Ashtavakra Gita – Chapter 14

Ashtavakra Gita

Vishnu Bapat

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॥ जनक उवाच ॥

Ch. 14 Sh.1
प्रकृत्या शून्यचित्तो यः प्रमादाद् भावभावनः ।
निद्रितो बोधित इव क्षीणसंस्मरणो हि सः ॥ १४-१॥
prakr̥tyā śūnyacittō yaḥ pramādād bhāvabhāvanaḥ |
nidritō bōdhita iva kṣīṇasaṁsmaraṇō hi saḥ || 14-1||

प्रकृत्या शून्यचित्तः यः प्रमादात् भावभावनः निद्रितः बोधितः इव क्षीणसंस्मरणः हि सः
प्रकृत्या-by nature, spontaneously शून्यचित्तः (शून्य-void चित्तः-mind)- empty minded यः-who प्रमादात्-through inadvertence भावभावनः (भाव-object, thing भावनः-thinking)-thinking of objects निद्रितः-asleep बोधितः-awake इव-as if क्षीणसंस्मरणः (क्षीण-diminished, slackened संस्मरणः-recollection, memory)-one whose recollection of worldly life are exhausted हि-indeed सः-he

The realized one, whose interest in the world is exhausted, whose mind has been emptied out, who thinks only by inadvertence, though appearing asleep is in Reality awake.

प्रकृत्या शून्यचित्तः यः प्रमादात् भावभावनः- one who by nature is void minded, by inadvertence gets a flash of vague thought of sense objects
निद्रितः इव क्षीणसंस्मरणः हि सः बोधितः -One whose memory of worldy life is haze, and appears as if in sleep is in fact very much awake. क्षीणसंस्मरणः memory of worldly life, pairs of opposits, bondage of karma, the cycle of birth and death are diminished. निद्रितः इव as if in sleep, stupor. Since the man of perfection has no body connection, he is free from action, inaction, desire and ego. Since he is शून्यचित्तः free from chitta pravarti his mind is empty. He has attained the state of mental silence or samadhi. For all practical purpsoses he is awake and centred in the self, but he lives as if he is in sleep.
Ch. 14 Sh.2

क्व धनानि क्व मित्राणि क्व मे विषयदस्यवः ।
क्व शास्त्रं क्व च विज्ञानं यदा मे गलिता स्पृहा ॥ १४-२॥
kva dhanāni kva mitrāṇi kva mē viṣayadasyavaḥ |
kva śāstraṁ kva ca vijñānaṁ yadā mē galitā spr̥hā || 14-2||

क्व धनानि क्व मित्राणि क्व मे विषयदस्यवः क्व शास्त्रम् क्व च विज्ञानम् यदा मे गलिता स्पृहा

क्व-where, in whom धनानि-riches क्व- where मित्राणि-friends क्व-where मे-my विषयदस्यवः (विषय-object दस्यवः-thieves)-thieves in the form of sense objects क्व- where शास्त्रम्- scriptures क्व- where च-and विज्ञानम्-knowledge, reasoning यदा- when मे-my गलिता- has melted, dissolved स्पृहा-desires

When my desires melted away, I became indifferent to riches, friends, wisdom, bondage to sense objects and freedom.

यदा मे गलिता स्पृहा- When my desires are dissolved my connection with the body also was severed. I don’t desire or despise objects of enjoyment in this world or in the next world.
क्व धनानि क्व मित्राणि –What to speak of wealth and friends. They are all connected to my body and mind but not to me
क्व मे विषयदस्यवः-what to speak of the robbers in the form of sense objects. Sense objects per se are not a hindrance to spiritual growth. The trouble comes when the mind identifies with the sense objects and becomes a slave. विषयदस्यवः. This is in plural. Thre are five sense objects. They are शब्द Sound, स्पर्श touch रूप form रस taste गन्ध and smell. These five are the robbers of mind. They lead you astray. Since I have no body consciousness, I am beyond such mischief. The attraction of sense objects are nullified by me by practices of shama and dama.
क्व शास्त्रम् क्व च विज्ञानम् -Scriptures and wisdom to choose the right or wrong comes only for a beginner. They are of no use for a man of self-realization. विज्ञानम् or wisdom, knowledge are of two types – secular and scriptural. Secular knowledge is the learning of worldy object. That is no use for spiritual growth. Scriptural injunctions are only for those who are still in ignorance. Ashtavakra having directly experienced the self it becomes redundant to him. Gita says:
यावानर्थ उदपाने सर्वतः संप्लुतोदके ।
तावान्सर्वेषु वेदेषु ब्राह्मणस्य विजानतः ॥२:४६॥

To the brahmana, who has realized the true nature of Brahman, the Vedas are of no more utility than a reservoir when there is fllod from all sides.

Ch. 14 Sh.3

विज्ञाते साक्षिपुरुषे परमात्मनि चेश्वरे ।
नैराश्ये बंधमोक्षे च न चिंता मुक्तये मम ॥ १४-३॥

vijñātē sākṣipuruṣē paramātmani cēśvarē |
nairāśyē baṁdhamōkṣē ca na ciṁtā muktayē mama || 14-3||

विज्ञाते साक्षिपुरुषे परमात्मनि च ईश्वरे नैराश्ये बंधमोक्षे च न चिंता मुक्तये मम ॥ १४-३॥

विज्ञाते सति -having realized साक्षिपुरुषे-the ‘self’, who is witness परमात्मनि-the supreme self च ईश्वरे-the Lord नैराश्ये सति-in desireless-ness बंधमोक्षे-bondage and liberation च-and न-not चिंता-anxiety मुक्तये-for liberation मम- of me

As I have realized the Supreme Self, the Witness, and the Lord. I am indifferent to bondage and freedom. I have no need for liberation.

विज्ञाते साक्षिपुरुषे परमात्मनि च ईश्वरे नैराश्ये बंधमोक्षे च न चिंता मुक्तये मम –
In these four verses of chapter 14, Ashtavakra explains what it is to being the supreme self.
The pure consciousness is ever illuminating all activities of the समष्ठि (macrocosm) and व्यष्ठि (microcosm) or the cosmos. Its enlivening consciousness makes the insentient world dynamic and pulsating. It is responsible for regulating the activities of the whole universe. Ashtavakra has subjectively realized that he is nothing but the consciousness. So, he becomes the Lord or controller (ईश्वर) of the universe. The pure consciousness although responsible for all the activities does not take part in any of them. In its presence all the activities take place, just as good and bad activities happen in sunlight; but the sun is indifferent to them. Similarly, the consciousness is indifferent to what happens in its presence. So, it is called sakshi (साक्षी) or witness. I am indifferent to bondage and freedom. I have no need for liberation.

Ch. 14 Sh.4

अंतर्विकल्पशून्यस्य बहिः स्वच्छन्दचारिणः ।
भ्रान्तस्येव दशास्तास्तास्तादृशा एव जानते ॥ १४-४॥
aṁtarvikalpaśūnyasya bahiḥ svacchandacāriṇaḥ |
bhrāntasyēva daśāstāstāstādr̥śā ēva jānatē || 14-4||

अंत र्विकल्पशून्यस्य बहिः स्वच्छन्दचारिणः भ्रान्तस्य इव दशाः
ताः ताः तादृशाः एव जानते ॥ १४-४॥

अंत र्विकल्पशून्यस्य बहिः स्वच्छन्दचारिणः भ्रान्तस्य इव दशाः
ताः ताः तादृशाः एव जानते

अंत-withn र्विकल्पशून्यस्य (र्विकल्प-thought शून्यस्य-of one devoid of)-devoid of thoughts बहिः-outside स्वच्छन्दचारिणः (स्व- own छंद-pleasure चारिणः-one who moves)-one who roams about at his own pleasure भ्रान्तस्य–deluded, confused इव-like, as if दशाः-conditions ताः ताः-such and such तादृशाः-those like him एव- only जानते-knows.

A realized yogi, who is internally free from any thought or doubt, outwardly roams about at his pleasure like a deluded man. The condition of such a yogi can be understood only by a man like him.

अंतः र्विकल्पशून्यस्य बहिः स्वच्छन्दचारिणः भ्रान्तस्य इव दशाः
ताः ताः तादृशाः एव जानते

विकल्पशुन्यः-one who is devoid of thoughts, and doubts. He is a wise man who has perfect knowledge of the self. He has transcended his mind therefore the mind is silent and void of all thoughts (शून्य चित्तः). He has no desire, attachment and ego. No social, political and religious laws are applicable to him. He moves about like a sovereign (स्व- own छंद-pleasure चारिणः-one who moves about in the world). –Swami Chinmayananda. He is inspired by the happiness of the self.
His behaviour looks like a mad man. His condition will be understood only by a realized man like him.