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Ashtavakra Gita - Sloka 1.12 to 1.20

thebigthinkg

Active member
Background
Janaka asks Ashtavakra

  • How do we obtain jnAna (Knowledge/wisdom)..?
  • How will we become muktir (free from desires/worries)..?
  • How do we arrive at vairagyam (indifferent to pulls and pressures)..?
Ashtavakra explains in this way.
  • Being patient and Candid/sincere are necessity for gaining more and more knowledge (jnAna).
  • Being kind and contended are needed to be free from desires (mukti).
  • Being Truthful is needed to be indifferent from pulls and pressures (vairagya).
Hence the characteristics of Ksama (Patience), arjva (sincerity/candidness), dayA (kindness), toSa (Contentment) and Satyam (Truthfulness) have to be accepted like ‘nectar'.

All these characteristics arise from our thoughts. So it is our thoughts that we have to work on.

'You' are neither earth, fire, water, air or ether. 'You' are not any physical form. To become free, realize/understand 'you' represents just the 'thoughts' and not really the physical body (made of pancha-bhutas). Make these 'thoughts' the observers/witness of the Atman.

As long as our thoughts are operating around our physical world, we are bound. Once our thoughts move away from the physical world, our thoughts become free and happy.

When our thoughts are around the physical world, we consider ourselves belonging to varna, asrama, as dwelling place of senses etc. But once our thoughts move away from the physical world, they become unattached, vacant observers of the Universe, ever happy.

Our thoughts bring in the concepts of dharma, adharma, pleasure and pain, as long as our thoughts operate around the physical world. These concepts are not the greatest or they don't really have to lord us over.

It's all in our thoughts. Thoughts manifest all the movements. Bonding or liberation is all in our thoughts.

The thought 'I am not the doer' is the fire that burns down the ignorance. Where this pure knowledge appears, the understanding/knowledge that we are always imagining between snake and rope, leads us to joy, supreme joy and to peace.

Contrarily, the thought that 'I do', 'I am the manas' is nothing but bitten by a black snake (poisonous).

Being an observer of everything is being liberated of everything. When the seer does see more, then alone the bonds (happen).

So two key principles we can summarize out of above

  1. 'I' or 'You' or 'Self' is just our 'thoughts' and not the physical bodies.
  2. Make these thoughts as observers of what's happening around. Make the 'I' (the thoughts that constitute the 'I') 'not the doers', but just observers.
Sloka 1.12
ātmā sākṣī vibhuḥ pūrṇa eko muktaś cid akriyaḥ
asaṁgo niḥspṛhaḥ śānto bhramāt saṁsāravān iva


Atma is witness (sAkshi), far extending (vibhu), complete (purna), one liberated actionless thought (eko mukta cit akriya) , unattached (asamga), desireless (nihsprhah), peaceful (zAnta), material existence illusion (samsaravan bhramAt iva).

Atma is witness, far extending, complete, one liberated actionless thought, unattached, desireless, peaceful, material existence only illusion/perception
Sloka 1.13
kūṭasthaṁ bodham advaitam ātmānaṁ paribhāvaya
ābhāsa ahaṁ bhramaṁ muktvā bhāvaṁ bāhyam atha antaram

Situated (stham) on the peak (kUta) of knowledge/understanding (bodham) is advaitam of the Atma (atmAnam) the embarrassments/insults (paribhAvaya) of appearance/perception (AbhAsa) self liberates (mutva) wandering/confusion (bhramam) nature/existence (bhAvam) internal and external (bAhyam atha antaram)

The peak of knowledge or understanding is advaitam of Atman. There is nothing other than Atman is the peak of knowledge. That Atman is our action-less thought, un-attached, desire-less etc. The material existence is only illusion. Liberates from this embarrassing appearance, confusion of Self nature internally and externally.
Sloka 1.14
dehābhimāna upāśena ciraṁ baddho'si putraka
bodho'haṁ jñānakhaṁgena taḥnikṛtya sukhī Bhava

By serving (upasena) with love the body (physical forms, deha abhimana) from long times (ciram), the bonds (baddha) become (asi) little sons (putraka). By the sword of (khaggena) wisdom (jana), the understanding of 'I' (bodho aham) , those (tAhni) are made (krtya) to manifest (bhava) peacefully/joyously (sukhi).

For a long time, we have been serving the physical forms and hence the bonding become little sons (which we cannot let go off). By the sword of wisdom, which is the understanding of the 'I' (it's all enclosed by that Atman, we are not the doers), these bonding manifest joyously.
Sloka 1.15
niḥsaṁgo niṣkriyo'si tvaṁ svaprakāśo niraṁjanaḥ
ayameva hi te bandhaḥ samādhim anutiṣṭhati

Unattached (ni-saMga), not doing (niSkriyo) you become (tvam asi) self-illuminating (sva prakAsa) simple (niranjana). This alone (ayam eva) those bonds (te bandhah) are situated (anu tisthati) in balance/equipoise (samAdhim)

Unattached, Not-doing you become self-illuminating, simple. In that (way) alone, these bonds gets situated in equipoise/balance.
Sloka 1.16
tvayā vyāptam idaṁ viśvaṁ tvayi protaṁ yathārthataḥ
śuddha buddha svarūpas tvaṁ mā gamaḥ kṣudra citta tām


In you (tvaya) fills the (vyaptam) this Universe (idam vizvam), In you (tvayi) is contained /sewed (protam), which factually/truly (yatha arthatah), you (tvam) are the form of (svarupa) clean (zuddha) knowledge (buddha), you (tvam) does not go path (ma gama) those tiny/dimunitive/narrow thoughts (ksudra citta tAm)

In you pervades/fills the Universe, in you is contained the Universe, which truly/factually is, you are the the form of clean knowledge. 'You' does not go those path of narrow thoughts
Sloka 1.17
nirapekṣo nirvikāro nirbharaḥ śītalāśayaḥ
agādha buddhir akṣubdho bhava cin mātra vāsanaḥ

Without expectation (nir-apekSa) unmoved/unchanged (nirvikAra) burdenless (nirbharah), lying cold or emotionless (zitala zaya), unfathomable knowledge (agAdha buddhir) unagitated/unshaken (a-kSubdho) become (bhava) the abode of (vAsanah) of just (mAtra) the thoughts (cit)

Without expectation, unmoved/unchanged, burdenless, lying cold or emotionless, with unfathomable knowledge, unagitated/unshaken by anything, become the abode of just the thoughts.
Sloka 1.18
sākāram anṛtaṁ viddhi nirākāraṁ tu niścalam
etat tattva upadeśena na punar bhava saṁbhavaḥ

With form/figure (sAkAram) unreal (anrtam) know it (viddhi) without form/formless (nirAkAram) but does not deviate/vary (niz-calam). By the teaching (upadesena) of that (etat) philosophy (tattva), not again (na punar) nature (bhava) possible (sambhava)

Know it that those with form/figure keep varying (not real), those formless do not vary at all (as they have no 'form' to vary). By this philosophical teaching, this nature (of thoughts attached to forms/actions and hence changing ever) is not possible again.
Sloka 1.19
yatha iva adarśam adhyasthe rūpa antaḥ paritas tu saḥ
tatha iva asmin śarīre antaḥ paritaḥ parameśvaraḥ

As like (yatha iva) the form (rUpa) placed over (adhyasthe) mirror (adarzam) internal (antah) all around (paritas), like wise (tatha iva) in this (asmin) internal (antah) all around (paritah) is paramesvara

Like a body is placed over mirror (reflected image) and around it also (external to mirror), paramesvara is placed on all the bodies and around it.
Sloka 1.20
ekaṁ sarvagataṁ vyoma bahir antar yathā ghaṭe
nityaṁ nirantaraṁ brahma sarvabhūtagaṇe tathā

The one (ekam) Universally diffused (sarva gatam) vyoma, externally (bahir) internally (antar) as a pot (ghate), always (nityam), endless brahma (nir-antaram brahma), in all molecules and their sets (sarva bhuta gane) (all matter forms) the same way (tatha)

vyoma is vAyu+Aum. In classical world vAyu is the air and Aum is the acoustic/mechanical energy which are the air vibrations. In a deeper quantum world, it is the set of molecules and their mechanical energy.

In either case this air and acoustic vibrations of air is present inside and outside a pot. The sound of a pot comes from both the acoustic vibrations of air inside the pot and outside the pot. Likewise brahma is always, endlessly inside the matter forms and outside the matter forms.
Summary of Sloka 1.12 to Sloka 1.20
The two key principles we can summarize out of previous slokas are
  1. 'I' or 'You' or 'Self' is just our 'thoughts' and not the physical bodies.
  2. Make these thoughts as observers of what's happening around. Make the 'I' (the thoughts that constitute the 'I') 'not the doers', but just observers.
This one liberated, action-less, witnessing, un-attached, desireless, thought is the 'Atma' in the physical body. It is the 'I' or 'You'. The physical existence is only a 'perception' (brahmai). The reality is this 'thought' that is 'witnessing', un-attached, desireless and liberated.

The peak of knowledge or understanding is this advaitam. Dvaitam is when perception and reality are two different things. Advaitam is when perception is removed and only reality remains.

When multiple 'thoughts' are attached to physical bodies and bondings manifest, when 'I' is seen as the 'do-er' then theire is dvaitam. There is a perception. There is a reality.

When it becomes one thought that is un-attached, desireless, witnessing, then that thought is the Atman. Atman is the reality. This is advaitam. In this there is no perception. There is only the reality of the un-attached, desireless, witnessing thought.

This knowledge of reality of Atman, liberates from this embarrassing appearance, confusion of Self nature internally and externally.

For a long time, we have been serving the physical forms and hence the bonding become little sons (which we cannot let go off). By the sword of wisdom, which is the advaitam', these bonding manifest joyously.

Unattached, Not-doing thought becomes self-illuminating, simple. In that (way) alone, the bonding gets situated in equipoise/balance.

Since Atman is that un-attached, witnessing thought that makes the 'You', the entire Universe pervades or fills 'You'. The entire Universe is contained in 'you', because the Atman is nothing but the un-attached witnessing thought of 'You'.

Truly 'you' are pure knowledge. 'You' this action-less, witnessing, desireless, far-extending, complete thought, does not go the way of narrow thoughts.

Without expectation, unmoved/unchanged, burdenless, lying cold or emotionless, with unfathomable knowledge, unagitated/unshaken by anything, become the abode of just the 'thought'.

Know it that those with form/figure keep varying (hence not real), those formless do not vary at all (as they have no 'form' to vary). By this teaching principle, the (same) manifestation /existence is not possible again/repeatedly, as those with forms keep varying.

Though there are multiple forms which keep changing through their repeated births, like an object is present inside the mirror and outside also, paramesvara is inside on all the bodies and outside them also. Though there are multiple forms which keep changing through their repeated births, like the air and acoustic vibrations of air are present inside and outside a pot, the endless, eternal brahma is present inside the matter forms and outside the matter forms.
Summary of learning till now
  1. 'I' or 'You' or 'Self' is just our 'thoughts' and not the physical bodies.
  2. Make these thoughts as observers of what's happening around. Make the 'I' (the thought that constitute the 'I') 'not the doers', but just observers.
  3. There are multiple thoughts when attached to bodies, actions, forms, which keep changing continuously. There is one thought when un-attached to actions, forms, bodies and is just witnessing.
  4. When there are are multiple thoughts, there is perception/illusion and another reality.
  5. When there is one witnessing, thought un-attached to actions or forms, that thought is the reality. That reality is the Atman. That Atman is the 'I' or 'You' or 'Self'.
  6. This peak of knowledge is advaitam, the state of non-duality. This is the state where only reality is present and perception is removed. This is the state where there is only one thought that is un-attached to actions/forms/bodies and is just witness of everything.
  7. The 'I' or 'You' or 'Self' is this liberated thought, the Atman, which is pure and unfathomable knowledge.
  8. Those with forms keep changing ever, unlike those without any forms. The physical bodies and matter forms keep changing ever. In these bodies and matter forms, paramesvara and brahma are present inside of them and outside of them.
  9. The one witnessing action-less thought is un-attached to any actions and formless. The formless does not change. This witnessing, un-attached to actions/bodies and hence formless thought, leads to peaceful and balanced bonding.
End of Chapter 1
More to come..

-TBT
 

Jaykay767

Well-known member
Well written and summarised !!

I don't necessarily agree with all of it. For eg, the difference between advaitam and dvaitam is not correct, similarly a few others. Rest are excellent !
 

thebigthinkg

Active member
Well written and summarised !!

I don't necessarily agree with all of it. For eg, the difference between advaitam and dvaitam is not correct, similarly a few others. Rest are excellent !
Hmm.. In this context, advaitam refers to what I wrote. But what is advaitam, dvaita, visistadvaitam here
 

thebigthinkg

Active member
Keep this going. Similar to this post, avoid the linkage to science :)-
When we do not understand something, in general, we go through five steps. First we call it silly. Then we call it mad. Then we ridicule it. Then we become indifferent to it. Then starts the recognition.

Enjoy.


-TBT
 

Jaykay767

Well-known member
TBT,

No it is not about understanding things. Rmember, you are in the midst of highly learned group of people.

The issue is you are attempting to link Vedic concepts (which is perfect and wholesome and complete in every aspect) to modern science (which is imperfect, evolving and most theories including quantum physics are being questioned and alternate theories proposed).

JK.
 

thebigthinkg

Active member
TBT,

No it is not about understanding things. Rmember, you are in the midst of highly learned group of people.

The issue is you are attempting to link Vedic concepts (which is perfect and wholesome and complete in every aspect) to modern science (which is imperfect, evolving and most theories including quantum physics are being questioned and alternate theories proposed).

JK.
New understanding may or may not have something to do with what we learnt in the past. In facJt our learning has the potential to block new understanding. That's a different debate.

Science is not imperfect. Knowledge, by very nature is 'imperfect'. So all methods of discoveries of knowledge are imperfect. But that imperfection grows towards perfection, which it will never attain.

The Standard Model is one such thing. It is not perfect, but much closer to perfection that anything we knew in the past. What I find is Vedic and Puranic literatures are simply the representations of that standard model, but memorized, interpreted by people who did not understand them and such (mis) representations have become institutions in themselves.

Even in the above slokas there are two science statements, which I did not dwell on. The sloka gives beautiful examples of how Paramesvara and Brahma are present inside and outside. But it uses two different metaphors for them, for those who care to delve deeper.

Paramesvara is present inside and outside like an object represented in the mirror, but actually is outside. Brahma is also present inside and outside, but like vibrations of air inside and outside a pot.

Paramesvara is Energy. Energy is actually present outside, originates from outside as object in front of mirror. The physical bodies get created out of this energy from outside, like an image gets created inside a mirror based on light/energy from outside. But when the outside energy is gone, the bodies no longer exist.

Brahma is the spacetime. Like air present inside and outside the pot, it is present inside and outside the bodies. Between quarks in proton, between proton and neutron, between nucleus and electron, between atoms, elements and compounds, there is space as much as there is space outside the bodies made of these matter.

If I extend it further, nArAyaNa is the energy that is 'impeded' or 'held' (unlike energy that is always moving at speed of light). Energy (paramesvara) when impeded by Higgs field gives rise to the 'Soul' of different particles. The Higgs field by coupling with force-fields differently gives rise to different particles and their nature, thereby creating their 'soul'. Various quarks, electrons neutrinos with different characteristics come to constitute this Universe.

Now the above understanding is one way of understanding. It is a 'theory' or 'thesis'. These theories and thesis keep originating.

In the ancient days, a theory or thesis got accepted when peers people review/debate it, accept it, propagate it and when common people started believing it based on who says it and it became philosophies.

In the modern days, a theory or thesis gets reviewed by peers, but needs physical verification by testing, measurement or backed by mathematical analysis and becomes science.

Will I be able to move my theories or thesis from 'domain' of philosophy to science, is a question, that I cannot answer, but that's where I want to go, if I find new theories that can be tested/experimented.

I post my work-in-progress in many sites, so that it triggers some feedback, thoughts and I improvise it further. Worst case, these kind of works could become the 'seed' of thought that blooms in another time, another era and help people that time.

I am observing what I am writing here, with same cynicism with which you are observing it.

:) - Easwaro rakshatu..

-TBT
 

Jaykay767

Well-known member
TBT Ji,
You may have a point here on new theories, and old understanding blocking the new ! You may very well be the Galileo or Archimedes of our times. ! No pun intended. I mean, in your search you may find something pathbreaking or new !!
All the best in your ventrures !
JK
 

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