Ashtavakra Gita —
3. Test of Self-Realization

Self in All and All in the Self

You know the Self,
By nature one
Without end.
You know the Self,
And you are serene.
How can you still desire riches? (3.1)

When from ignorance
You see silver in mother-of-pearl,
Greed arises.
From ignorance of the Self
Desire arises
For the world where the senses whirl. (3.2)

Knowing yourself as That
In which the worlds rise and fall
Like waves in the ocean,
Why do you run about so wretchedly? (3.3)

For have you not heard?
You are pure awareness,
And your beauty is infinite!
So why let lust mislead you? (3.4)

The man who is wise
Knows himself in all things
And all things in himself.
Yet how strange!
He still says, "This is mine.” (3.5)

Determined to be free,
He abides in the oneness
Beyond all things.
Yet how strange!
Indulging in passion, he weakens,
And lust overwhelms him. (3.6)

Feeble with age,
Still he is filled with desire,
When without doubt he knows
That lust is the enemy of awareness.
Indeed how strange! (3.7)

He longs to be free. . .
He has no care for this world
Or the next,
And he knows what is passing
Or forever.
And yet how strange!
He is still afraid of freedom. (3.8)

But he who is truly wise
Always sees the absolute Self.
Celebrated, he is not delighted.
Spurned, he is not angry. (3.9)

Pure of heart,
He watches his own actions
As if they were another's.
How can praise or
blame disturb him? (3.10)

With clear and steady insight
He sees this world is a mirage,
And he no longer wonders about it.
How can he fear the approach of death? (3.11)

Pure of heart,
He desires nothing,
Even in despair.
He is content
In the knowledge of the Self.
With whom may I compare him? (3.12)

With clear and steady insight
He knows that whatever he sees
Is by its very nature nothing.
How can he prefer one thing to another? (3.13)

He is beyond all duality.
Free from desire,
He has driven from his mind
All longing for the world.
Come what may,
Joy or sorrow,
Nothing moves him. (3.14)

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* Translated by Thomas Byrom