Ashtavakra Gita —
2. Joy of Self-realization

The Infinite Self Beyond Nature — Awareness

I lived bewildered,
In illusion.
But now I am awake,
Flawless and serene,
Beyond the world. (2.1)

From my light
The body and the world arise.
So all things are mine,
Or nothing is. (2.2)

Now I have given up
The body and the world,
I have a special gift.
I see the infinite Self. (2.3)

As a wave,
Seething and foaming,
Is only water
So all creation,
Streaming out of the Self,
Is only the Self. (2.4)

Consider a piece of cloth.
It is only threads!
So all creation,
When you look closely,
Is only the Self. (2.5)

Like the sugar
In the juice of the sugarcane,
I am the sweetness
In everything I have made. (2.6)

When the Self is unknown
The world arises,
Not when it is known.
But you mistake
The rope for the snake.
When you see the rope,
The snake vanishes. (2.7)

My nature is light,
Nothing but light.
When the world arises
I alone am shining. (2.8)

When the world arises in me,
It is just an illusion:
Water shimmering in the sun,
A vein of silver in mother-of-pearl,
A serpent in a strand of rope. (2.9)

From me the world streams out
And in me it dissolves,
As a bracelet melts into gold,
A pot crumbles into clay,
A wave subsides into water. (2.10)

I adore myself.
How wonderful I am!
I can never die.
The whole world may perish,
From Brahma to a blade of grass,
But I am still here. (2.11)

Indeed how wonderful!
I adore myself.
For I have taken form
But I am still one.
Neither coming or going,
Yet I am still everywhere. (2.12)

How wonderful,
And how great my powers!
For I am without form,
Yet till the end of time
I uphold the universe. (2.13)

For nothing is mine,
Yet it is all mine,

Whatever is thought or spoken. (2.14)

I am not the knower,
Nor the known,
Nor the knowing.

These three are not real.
They only seem to be
When I am not known.
For I am flawless. (2.15)

Two from one!
This is the root of suffering.
Only perceive
That I am one without two,
Pure awareness, pure joy,
And all the world is false.
There is no other remedy! (2.16)

Through ignorance
I once imagined I was bound.
But I am pure awareness.
I live beyond all distinctions,
In unbroken meditation. (2.17)

I am neither bound nor free.
An end to illusion!
It is all groundless.
For the whole of creation,
Though it rests in me,
Is without foundation. (2.18)

The body is nothing.
The world is nothing.
When you understand this fully,
How can they be invented?
For the Self is pure awareness,
Nothing less. (2.19)

The body is false,
And so are its fears,
Heaven and hell, freedom and bondage.
It is all invention.
What can they matter to me?
I am awareness itself. (2.20)

I see only one.
Many men,
One wilderness.
Then to what may I cling? (2.21)

I am not the body.
Nor is the body mine.
I am not separate.
I am awareness itself,
Bound only by my thirst for life. (2.22)

I am the infinite ocean.
When thoughts spring up,
The wind freshens, and like waves
A thousand worlds arise. (2.23)

But when the wind falls,
The trader sinks with his ship.
On the boundless ocean of my being He founders,
And all the worlds with him. (2.24)

But O how wonderful!
I am the unbounded deep
In whom all living things
Naturally arise,
Rush against each other playfully,
And then subside. (2.25)

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* Translated by Thomas Byrom