Ashtavakra Gita

Posted: June 29, 2011 in Spirit

by Osho


Before you Begin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

 Chapter 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

 Chapter 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

 Chapter 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

 Chapter 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

 Chapter 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8


Before you Begin

How to understand Ashtavakra’s Gita:

Of all the scriptures, this is one of the most, if not the single

most, radical and direct scripture as it comes as close to

inducing immediate truth and enlightenment as one could possibly

get to with words. It is old; yet it remains controversial

in that it defies all practices, religions, spiritual dogmas, scriptures

and traditions as being useless and blinding, and if you

read carefully, even condemns the very cause of our bondage

to be those practices and paths.

The Ashtavakra Gita is simple, yet bound to be misunderstood:

It is all-comprehensive, yet it explains to you no structure to

follow and no path to go by. It’s not like most yoga methods

where there are outlined steps and techniques. This is utterly

naked truth expressed in words as good as you’ll probably ever

get it and as immediate as it is available in any of the scriptures;

this Samhita cuts through all illusion and systems of belief,

whether believed to be material, sacred, or spiritual. Ready to

drop all your concepts? Ready to stop clinging to whatever

spiritual teachers have taught you? Are you ready to drop

whatever has ever been taught to you?

Try to read with an open mind: Don’t try to collect knowledge

out of this scripture. You may do that with all other scriptures

if you like; you may spoil them to whatever degree your mind

wants you to. But let this scripture be as it is as you read

it with an openness of awareness. Don’t collect knowledge,

instead, just listen and let wisdom understanding dawn on its

own. Just listen with an intensely relaxed consciousness as you

read each line carefully and attentively. You can also choose

to say it out loud to yourself slowly as you read it.

Just be open. Don’t try, leave all effort to understand behind

and just go with the flow of the words. Enlightenment or any

form of ’enlightenening’ realizations are a result of letting be,

not of strive and effort. So let it be as it is while your eyes,

ears and attention reads through the text; Don’t actually read

this scripture, instead; let it be read.



A little background information:

The Ashtavakra Gita, also known as the Ashtavakra Samhita,

is a teaching between the fully realized 12-year old master Ashtavakra

and the King of Mithila, known as Janak who comes

to Ashtavakra to beg for his wisdom after having recognized

in him the presence and wisdom of an enlightened one. This

scripture comes from Advaita Vedanta

Ashtavakra means one who is deformed in eight places. This is

what his body was like: deformed in eight places. Said to be so

due to a curse uttered by his father when Ashtavakra was still

in the uterus of his mother. Much more is not known about

him, only that this conversation/teaching took place when he

was of the age of 12.

The first part of this text comes from Ashtavakra, teaching

to Janak. Note that Janak is one of the most open-minded

students Ashtavakra could wish for. He has fully ripened to

understanding the words of Ashtavakra. So while Ashtavakra

is expressing the Ultimate Truth in his words, the spark hits

its target and Janak, for the first time in his live, can fully see,

and realizes the same as all the sages of all times have realized;

simply by listening with a completely open attitude. His entire

being was as open and ready to receive as the mounth of

whomsoever has not eaten anything in months.

So then the second part of this scripture comes from Janak, expressing

his new-found enlightenment in similar words as Ashtavakra

did. This part basically consists of some pwerful statements

about the ultimate reality, which Janak is referring to

as ”I”. Note that in fact it is the same truth speaking through

both. At first it is Ashtavakra expressing his wisdom, then

Janak expresses his; but both are one and the same, beyond

body and mind. You could say both are Janak, or both are

Ashtavakra his words.

Enjoy 🙂

Chapter 1

Janak Asked: “Oh Lord, how does one attain to wisdom? How

does liberation happen? And how is non-attachment attained?

Please tell me this.”

Ashtavakra replied: “Oh beloved, if you want liberation then

renounce the passions as poison, and take forgiveness, innocence,

compassion, contentment and truth as nectar. To attain

liberation, know yourself as the witnessing consciousness

of all these.

If you can seperate yourself from your physical body and rest

in consciousness, then this very moment you will be happy, at

peace and free of bondage.

You are not a Brahmin or any other caste, you are not in any

of the four stages of life, you are not perceived by the eyes

or other senses. Unattached and without form, You are the

witness of the whole universe. Know this and be happy.

Oh expansive one, religion and atheism, happiness and misery

– all are of the mind, they are not for you. You are not the

doer nor the enjoyer. You have always been liberated.”

Chapter 2

Ashtavakra said: “You are the one observer of all, and in

reality always free. Your bondage is this: You see the other –

not yourself – as the observer.

“I am the doer,” thus has the black serpent of ego bitten you.

“I am not the doer,” drink this divine nectar of trust and be


“I am the one pure awareness,” thus having burned the forest

of your ignorance with this fire of certainty and being beyond

sorrow, be happy.

You are that bliss, that ultimate bliss, Within which this imaginary

world is projected like a snake on a rope. Knowing this,

thus wander happily. He who considers himself free is free,

and he who considers himself bound is bound; because in this

world the proverb is true: “As you think, so you are.”

The soul is the witness, all-pervading, perfect, one, free, conscious,

free from doing, absolutely alone, non-attached, desireless,

peaceful. Because of illusion, it looks like the world.

“I am an individually projected life,” drop this illusion and also

the feeling of inner and outer, and awaken in the feeling that

you are the unchanging, conscious, nondual soul.”

Chapter 3

Ashtavakra said: “Oh son, long have you been caught in the

bondage of perceiving yourself as the body. Cut this bondage

with the sword of knowing: “I am awareness” and be happy.

You are alone, void of action, self-illuminated and innocent.

Your bondage is this: that you practice samadhi.

You are permeating this universe, you are the thread within

it. You are pure consciousness by nature, do not become

small-minded. You are without expectations, unchanging, selfsufficient,

the abode of serenity, of boundless intelligence, and

unperturbed. Hence have faith only in consciousness.

Know that which has form is false, and know the formless as

unchangeable and everlasting. From this true understanding

one is not born in the world again. Just as a mirror exists

in the image reflected in it, and also exists apart from the

reflection; God is within and outside this body. Just as the

one all-pervading sky is the same within and outside a pot;

the eternal everlasting Brahman is the same in all.”


Chapter 4

(Note: From now on, Janak is speaking, as he just realized

the infinite just by listening to Ashtavakra)

Janak said: “Amazing! I am pure, flawless, I am peace, I am

awareness, I am beyond nature. Alas, I have been fooled by

illusion all this time!

Just as I allone illumine this body, do I illumine the universe

too. Either this whole universe is mine, or nothing at all.

Amazing! Having renounced the body and the world, now

through the skill of your teaching I see only the divine.

Just as waves, foam and bubbles are not other than water, so

this individual soul is not other than the universal soul.

Just as cloth when analyzed is nothing but thread, this universe

when analyzed is nothing but the soul.

Just as sugar produced from sugarcane juice is wholly pervaded

by it, the universe produced from me is permeated by me

through and through.

From the ignorance of the soul this world then appears; from

knowing the soul it does not appear. From the ignorance of

the rope a snake appears; from knowing the rope it does not



Chapter 5

Janak Said: “Light is my self-nature. I am not other than

that. When the universe is illuminated, it is illuminated by my


Amazing that through ignorance the imaginary world appears

in me, just as silver appears in mother of pearl, a snake in a

rope, or a mirage in the rays of the sun.

The universe which has emanated from me will dissolve into

me, just as a pot dissolves into clay, a wave into water, or a

bracelet into gold.

Amazing am I, I bow down to myself. When the whole world

shall perish from Brahma down to the very blade of grass I

shall not perish. I am eternal.

Amazing am I, I bow down to myself. Although embodied, I am

the nondual. I neither go anywhere nor come from anywhere;

I just exist, I pervade the universe.

Amazing am I, I bow down to myself. None here is as capable

as I, who have been maintaining this universe for an eternity

without even touching it with the body.

Amazing am I, I bow down to myself. I have nothing at all, or

I have all that can be encompassed by speech or thought.”


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