Ashtavakra Gita – Chapter 9

Ashtavakra Gita

Vishnu Bapat

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Ch. 9 Sh.1

कृताकृते च द्वन्द्वानि कदा शान्तानि कस्य वा ।
एवं ज्ञात्वेह निर्वेदाद् भव त्यागपरोऽव्रती ॥ ९-१॥

कृता अकृते च द्वन्द्वानि कदा शान्तानि कस्य वा एवम् ज्ञात्वा एव निर्वेदात् भव त्यागपरः आव्रती

कृता-duties doneअकृते- not done च-and द्वन्द्वानि-pairs of opposites कदा- when शान्तानि-ended or pacified कस्य-whose वा-or एवम्- thus ज्ञात्वा-having known एव-only​ निर्वेदात्-from not knowing; indifference भव-become त्यागपरः (त्याग-renunciation परः intent )- pro-renunciate आव्रती-not undertaking any vow

कृता अकृते च द्वन्द्वानि कदा शान्तानि कस्य वा-
To whom belong your duties performed or not, as well as the pairs of opposites, like joy and sorrow, success or failure, good and evil etc.? Life is a mixtureof opposites. These emotions come to you in cyclical range. We perform certain duties laid down by scriptures and on some occasions may fail to perform them. Similarly certain duties for which we have taken a vow may have been omitted. A person who has vowed not to take sweets after visiting the holy town of Kashi may willy-nilly partake some sweets. Similarly some duties as a sanyasi, as a grihastha may be or may not be done.
When do these pairs of opposites and restraint regarding performance or non performance end? To whom do they end?
एवम् ज्ञात्वा एव निर्वेदात् भव त्यागपरः आव्रती –
Having thus fully enquired, through complete indifference to the world become awake to the fact that you are not the part of the world. You are different god material. And be desireless and devoted to renunciation. Ashtavakra here has taken up a fundamental question. Swami Chinmayanda says, “It is the ego which is responsible for the sense of “ownership and enjoyership of such experiences. Ego is a projection on the self and therefore its conflicts and dereliction of duties does not affect the self. You are that self.
Two words need to be explained त्यागपरः means intent on renunciation or pro-renunciant. आव्रती without any vruta or vow.
Considering this, be ever desireless, let go of all things, and to the world turn an indifferent eye.

Ch. 9 Sh.2

कस्यापि तात धन्यस्य लोकचेष्टावलोकनात् ।
जीवितेच्छा बुभुक्षा च बुभुत्सोपशमः गताः ॥ ९-२॥

कस्य अपि तात धन्यस्य लोकचेष्टावलोकनात् ।
जीवितेच्छा बुभुक्षा च बुभुत्सा उपशमः गताः ॥ ९-२॥

कस्य-of whom अपि- even तात-my child धन्यस्य-of the blessed one लोकचेष्टावलोकनात्- by observing the ways of men जीवितेच्छा- desire for living बुभुक्षा-desire to enjoy च-and बुभुत्सा-desire to know उपशमः-has cessation गताः-have attained, gone.

Rare and blessed is one whose desire to live, to enjoy and to know,
has been extinguished by observing the ways of men.
Rare indeed, my child, is thal: blessed person whose desire for life, enjoyment and learning have been extinguished by observing^ the ways of men. Observing etc .—Some people learn from observation the hollowness of the world, that is, by observing the sufferings of others, they realize that the world cannot give eternal happiness. Others who are dull-witted get this lesson only after plunging in the world and experiencing for themselves the ills of life.
Verses 3, 4, and 5 inculcate dispassion for life, enjoyment and learning respectively.

Ch. 9 Sh.3

अनित्यं सर्वमेवेदं तापत्रितयदूषितम् ।
असारं निन्दितं हेयमिति निश्चित्य शाम्यति ॥ ९-३॥

अनित्यम्-impermanent सर्वम्-all, everything एवindeed- इदम्-this तापत्रितयदूषितम् (ताप-trouble त्रितय-three –fold दूषितम्-vitiated)-vitiated with triple misery असारम्-inessential, insubstantial निन्दितम्-contemptible हेयम्-to be rejected इति-thus निश्चित्य- having ascertained शाम्यति-comes to peace.

Seeing all things as three-fold suffering, the sage becomes still. He realizes that the world is insubstantial, transient, contemptible and fit only for rejection

अनित्यम् सर्वम् एव इदम् तापत्रितयदूषितम् (ताप त्रितय दूषितम्) असारम् निन्दितम् हेयम् इति निश्चित्य शाम्यति

अनित्यम् सर्वम् एव इदम् तापत्रितयदूषितम् –This world is three fold suffering. The world is अनित्यम् limited by desha, kala and vastu. इदम् सर्वम् एव indicates the external world of plurality and the internal world of emotion and thought. Both are not permanent because it is subject to six modification of अस्ति जायते वर्धते विपरिणमते अपक्षीयते विनश्यतीति to exist, to take birth, to grow, to mature, to decay and to die.
तापत्रितयदूषितम्-vitiated by three problems or worries. The three source of worries refer to आधिदैविक, आधिभौतिक, and आध्यात्मिक. आधिदैविक refers to problems caused by the organism (body, mind and intellect), आधिभौतिक problems are miseries caused by living and non living beings in the world. आध्यात्मिक problems are from cosmic accidents like flood, earthquake and act of God. These problems together is called triple worries

असारम् निन्दितम् हेयम् इति निश्चित्य शाम्यति –The stillness or serenity of the sage is the result of his conviction that the world is fleeting in nature, worthless and reprehensible. So he has an attitube of indifference to the world and he always abides in the self.

Ch. 9 Sh.4

कोऽसौ कालो वयः किं वा यत्र द्वन्द्वानि नो नृणाम् ।
तान्युपेक्ष्य यथाप्राप्तवर्ती सिद्धिमवाप्नुयात् ॥ ९-४॥

कः–what असौ-that कालः- time वयः-age किम्-what वा –or यत्र-where द्वन्द्वानि- pairs of opposites नः-not नृणाम्-for men तानि-those उपेक्ष्य-forsaking यथाप्राप्तवर्ती (यथा-of itself प्राप्त-attained वर्ती-abiding)-one who rests contended with what comes unasked सिद्धिम्-perfection अवाप्नुयात् (अवाप्नु- attainment यात्-comes to)-reaches

Was there any age or time when men existed without opposites? It is when these troubling opposites are left behind that someone comes to rest fulfilled, content, wth what occurs on its own happening

कः असौ कालः वयः किम् वा यत्र द्वन्द्वानि नः नृणाम्- was there any age or time in which there was unalloyed good and joy, happiness and sorrow? No. Life is a mixture of high and low, good and bad. We cannot hope to get infinite joy and happiness in life. It is like ECG, which without spikes represents death. If you want supreme joy without a dash of grief in life you have to seek another means of attaining peace.
तानि उपेक्ष्य यथाप्राप्तवर्ती सिद्धिम् अवाप्नुयात्-he reaches perfection who remains indifferent to such sets of opposites in life. He remains unaffected and unattached to such life’s experiences and be contented with what comes to him unasked without complaining.

Gita 2:24 says:
मात्रास्पर्शास्तु कौन्तेय शीतोष्णसुखदुःखदाः ।
आगमापायिनोऽनित्यास्तांस्तितिक्षस्व भारत ॥२:१४॥
O son of Kunti (Arjuna), the contacts of the senses with sense objects give rise to the feelings of cold and heat, pleasure and pain. They are transitory and therefore bear with them bravely.

Ch. 9 Sh.5

नाना मतं महर्षीणां साधूनां योगिनां तथा ।
दृष्ट्वा निर्वेदमापन्नः को न शाम्यति मानवः ॥ ९-५॥

नाना-diverse मतम्-doctrine, belief महर्षीणाम्-of great seers साधूनाम्-of sages योगिनाम्-of yogis तथा-likewise दृष्ट्वा-having seen निर्वेदम्-indifference आपन्नः-attained कः-who न –not शाम्यति-come to peace, attain tranquility मानवः-man

When this is noticed, who of us
ko na samyati manavah .. could reasonably not attain
to that detached indifference
where peace and harmony are found?

What man is there, who having
observed the diversity’ of ojiinions among
the great seers, saints and Yogis, and
become completely indifterent (to learning)
does not attain quietude”?
Diversity etc.—^Referring to the different
schools of philosophy, the smmman honuvi of life
being different according to the different schools. Cf.
Gita II. 42-46. Vivekachudamani 58-61.

The greatest seers, saints and yogis agree on very little. Seeing this, who could not be indifferent to knowledge and become still?
नाना मतम् महर्षीणाम् साधूनाम् योगिनाम् तथा ।
Hey Man, having observed the diversity of doctrines and opinions of the learned men, how can one not become completely indifferent to learning and attain tranquillity? नाना मतम् refers to different doctrine and inerpretations of the scriptures. There are different schools of philosophy and all of them argue that their point of view is correct and the point of view of another school is wrong.
In Gita 2: 42 to 46 same opinion is supported. The Lord mentions about one school of thought who ardently believe that the rituals are the essence of vedas and there is nothing else in it. According to them the sole purpose of man is attainment of heaven and rebirth in a good family. Te Lord calls such people who are carried away by such flowery language and promis of rebirthare toally attached to pleasure and power. He calls them वसायात्मिका बुद्धिः
दृष्ट्वा निर्वेदम् आपन्नः कः न शाम्यति मानवः
When the intelligent student carefully reads various view points, he comes to the argument that intellectual learning and logical arguments are in no way beneficial for pacifying the mind. After discussion with the Guru, the sadhaka shoud cultivate and experience tranquillity of the self in himself. -Swami Chinmayananda

Ch. 9 Sh.6

कृत्वा मूर्तिपरिज्ञानं चैतन्यस्य न किं गुरुः ।
निर्वेदसमतायुक्त्या यस्तारयति संसृतेः ॥ ९-६॥

कृत्वा- having achieved मूर्तिपरिज्ञानम् (मूर्ति-embodiment परिज्ञानम्-full knowledge) realization of true nature चैतन्यस्य-of consciousness न-not किम्-what गुरुः-teacher निर्वेदसमतायुक्त्या (निर्वेद-indiffeerence समता-equanimity युक्त्या-logic, reason) – by indifference, equality and logical reasoning यः-who तारयति-crosses over, liberates himself सः-he संसृतेः-from samsara or rebirth

He who gains knowledge of the true nature of pure consciousness by means of complete indifference to the world, equanimity and reasoning and escapes illusion-is he not a true teacher?

Equanimity—in friendship and enmity, happiness
and misery, and the like.
^ He etc,—The previous verse disqualifies BisMs,
Sadhus and Yogis with their various opinions as
spiritual guides. The present verse shows that a man
who has realized the Truth himself can alone be a
spiritual guide. Not merely learned opinions, but
actual practice and realization are the sine qua non
of a Guru.]

कृत्वा मूर्तिपरिज्ञानम् चैतन्यस्य न किम् गुरुः –he, who has realized true nature of consciousness is he not true teacher? मूर्तिपरिज्ञानम् is one who has realized the true nature of embodied consciousness. The previous verse discussed about those who have their own set of doctrines and dogmas. It is only an ontellectual knowledge by which you can win over an argument by flowery language and perverted logic. Who is a true Guru? This is discussed in the second line.
निर्वेदसमतायुक्त्या यः तारयति सः संसृतेः-The essential qualification of a teacher is not his great knowledge of scriptures (श्रोत्रीयत्वम्) although this is basic qualification. But the essential qualification is his own inner awakening. Ashtavakra says three he inner awakening presupposes three qualifications. They are: निर्वेद समता युक्त्या , indifference, equanimity, and logical reasoning. He should have gained inner peace. Guru-Gita says, “He who knows no peace himself, how can he bring peace to the bosom of others?
निर्वेद समता युक्त्या

Ch. 9 Sh.7

पश्य भूतविकारांस्त्वं भूतमात्रान् यथार्थतः ।
तत्क्षणाद् बन्धनिर्मुक्तः स्वरूपस्थो भविष्यसि ॥ ९-७॥

पश्य- upon seeing भूतविकारान् (भूत-elements विकारान्-modifictions)-modifications of the great element त्वम्-you भूत-elements मात्रान्-alone यथार्थतः-in reality or truth तत्क्षणात् (तत्-that क्षणात्-instant)-at once बन्ध-bondage निर्मुक्तः-freed स्वरूपस्थः-abiding in your own nature भविष्यसि-you will become

In the myriad forms of the universe see the primal element alone. You will be instantly free from bondage and abide in true self.

पश्य भूतविकारान् त्वम् भूत मात्रान् यथार्थतः –Look upon the names and forms of the world as nothing but modifications of the five elements. The five elements पञ्चभूतः are ether, air, fire, water and earth. Tattvabodha says:

ततः आकाश: सम्भूतः । आकाशाद्वायुः ।
वायोस्तेजः । तेजस् आपः । अद्भ्यः प्रथिवी ।।

Material world of plurality is nothing but five great elements differingly only in the patterns of combination. The different patterns makes us to consider as one desirable and another avoidable. That which is made out of gold cannot be anything but gold. The effect (कारण) is nothing but a modification of the cause (कार्य). When one considers that all objects are made up of the same lelements, then all our desires, likes and dislikes cease to seduce us. ​
तत् क्षणात् बन्ध निर्मुक्तः स्वरूपस्थः भविष्यसि – Our mind is trained to consider the world as an object which creates a desire to acquire and hoard. Once we consider that the entire perceived world is a play of inert and transient elements, there is an immediate dawn of real awareness. Removal of ignorance is the birth of awareness. बन्ध or bondage consists in attraction to the body and things of the world, which are nothing but different modifications of the primary elements. Freedom lies in foregoing such attraction.
When you become free from bondage, you abide in the self रूपस्थः भविष्यसि

Ch. 9 Sh.8
वासना एव संसार इति सर्वा विमुंच ताः ।
तत्त्यागो भवति वासनात्यागात्स्थितिरद्य यथा तथा ॥ ९-८॥

वासना एव संसारः इति सर्वा विमुंच ताः तत् त्यागः वासनात्यागात् स्थितिः अद्य यथा तथा
वासना एव संसारः इति सर्वा विमुंच ताः तत् त्यागः वासनात्यागात् स्थितिः अद्य यथा तथा

वासना-desire or conditioned inclinations एव-only संसारः-the world इति-thus सर्वा-all विमुंच-renounce ताः- them तत्-that त्यागः-renunciation वासनात्यागात् (वासना- desire त्यागात्-by giving up)-by the renunciation of desires स्थितिः-stand अद्य- now यथा-however तथा- may be

Desire alone constitutes the world. So renounce it. Renounciation of desire is renounciation of world. Now you become completely free and can live anywhere you please.

वासना एव संसारः इति सर्वा विमुंच ताः –Desire alone is the cause of the world. Give up desire and give up the world. वासना or subtle tendencies carried in the mind over several births. As Swami Chinmayananda says all the vasanas put together in an individual constitutes his ‘causal body’. It is responsible for the quality and actions of the person. Total vasanas of all living creatures become ‘maya’. The supreme Lord expresses through ‘maya’ as Ishwara or creator. For general purpose vasana is normally translated as desire. As Swami Chinmayananda says vasana is the seed of desire.

तत् त्यागः वासनात्यागात् स्थितिः अद्य यथा तथा- Give up vasana and give up the world. Desire binds us to the world and makes us think that it is real, and thus subject us to the rounds of births and deaths. The moment we become free from desire, the reality of the world will vanish and there will be no more samsara.
When you are free you have no attachment with the world and you may live wherever you want.