Ashtavakra Gita —
16. Special Instruction

Forget Everything

My child,
You may read or discuss scripture
As much as you like.
But until you forget everything,
You will never live in your heart. (16.1)

You are wise.
You play and work and meditate.
But still your mind desires
That which is beyond everything,
Where all desires vanish. (16.2)

Striving is the root of sorrow.
But who understands this?
Only when you are blessed
With the understanding of this teaching
Will you find freedom. (16.3)

Who is lazier than the master?
He has trouble even blinking!
But only he is happy.
No one else! (16.4)

Seeing to this,
Neglecting that. . .
But when the mind stops setting one thing against another,
It no longer craves pleasure.
It no longer cares for wealth
Or religious duties or salvation. (16.5)

Craving the pleasures of the senses,
You suffer attachment.
Disdaining them,
You learn detachment.
But if you desire nothing,
And disdain nothing,
Neither attachment nor detachment bind you. (16.6)

When you live without discrimination,
Desire arises.
When desire persists,
Feelings of preference arise,
Of liking and disliking.
They are the root and branches of the world. (16.7)

From activity, desire.
From renunciation, aversion.
But the man of wisdom is a child.
He never sets one thing against another.
It is true!
He is a child. (16.8)

If you desire the world,
You may try to renounce it
In order to escape sorrow.
Instead, renounce desire!
Then you will be free of sorrow,
And the world will not trouble you. (16.9)

If you desire liberation,
But you still say "mine,”
If you feel you are the body,
You are not a wise man or seeker.
You are simply a man who suffers. (16.10)

Let Hari teach you                                                        
Or Brahma, born of the lotus,
Or Shiva himself!
Unless you forget everything,
You will never live in your heart.

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* Translated by Thomas Byrom