Ashtavakra Gita —
10. Quietude


Striving and craving,
For pleasure or prosperity,
These are your enemies,
Springing up to destroy you
From the presumptions of virtue.
Let them all go.
Hold on to nothing. (10.1)

Every good fortune,
Wives, friends, houses, lands,
All these gifts and riches. . .
They are a dream,
A juggling act,
A traveling show!
A few days, and they are gone. (10.2)

Wherever there is desire,
There is the world.
With resolute dispassion
Free yourself from desire,
And find happiness. (10.3)

Desire binds you,
Nothing else.
Destroy it, and you are free.
Turn from the world.
Fulfill yourself,
And find lasting happiness. (10.4)

You are one.
You are pure awareness.
The world is not real.
It is cold and lifeless.
Nor is ignorance real.
So what can you wish to know? (10.5)

Life after life you indulged
In different forms,
Different pleasures,
Sons and kingdoms and wives.
Only to lose them all. . . (10.6)

Enough of the pursuit of pleasure,
Enough of wealth and righteous deeds!
In the dark forest of the world
What peace of mind can they bring you? (10.7)

How you have toiled,
Life after life,
Pressing into painful labor
Your body and your mind and your words.
It is time to stop.
Now! (10.8)

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* Translated by Thomas Byrom