Ashtavakra Gita —
17. The True Knower

Beyond All — Absolute Aloneness of the Self

The man who is happy and pure
And likes his own company
Gathers the fruit of his practice
And the fruit of wisdom. (17.1)

The man who knows the truth
Is never unhappy in the world.
For he alone fills the universe. (17.2)

Just as the elephant loves
The leaves of the sallaki tree,
But not the neem tree,
So the man who loves himself
Always spurns the senses. (17.3)

It is hard to find
A man who has no desire
For what he has not tasted,
Or who tastes the world
And is untouched. (17.4)

Here in the world
Some crave pleasure,
Some seek freedom.
But it is hard to find
A man who wants neither.
He is a great soul. (17.5)

It is hard to find
A man who has an open mind,
Who neither seeks nor shuns
Wealth or pleasure,
Duty or liberation,
Life or death. . . (17.6)

He does not want the world to end.
He does not mind if it lasts.
Whatever befalls him,
He lives in happiness.
For he is truly blessed. (17.7)

Now that he understands,
He is fulfilled.
His mind is drawn within,
And he is fulfilled.
He sees and he hears,
He touches and smells and tastes,
And he is happy. (17.8)

Whatever he does is without purpose.                         
His senses have been stilled.
His eyes are empty.
He is without desire or aversion.
For him the waters of the world
Have all dried up! (17.9)

He is not asleep.
He is not awake.
He never closes his eyes Or opens them.
Wherever he is,
He is beyond everything.
He is free. (17.10)

And the man who is free
Always lives in his heart.
His heart is always pure.
Whatever happens,
He is free of all desires. (17.11)

Whatever he sees or hears or touches,
Whatever he smells or tastes,
Whatever he acquires,
He is free.
Free from striving,
And from stillness.
For indeed he is a great soul. (17.12)

Without blame or praise,
Anger or rejoicing.
He gives nothing.
He takes nothing.
He wants nothing,
Nothing at all. (17.13)

And whoever draws near him,
A woman full of passion
Or Death Himself,
He is not shaken.
He stays in his heart.
He is free indeed! (17.14)

It is all the same to him.
Man or woman,
Good fortune or bad,
Happiness or sorrow.
It makes no difference.
He is serene. (17.15)

The world no longer holds him.
He has gone beyond
The bounds of human nature.
Without compassion
Or the wish to harm,
Without pride or humility.
Nothing disturbs him.
Nothing surprises him. (17.16)

Because he is free,
He neither craves nor disdains
The things of the world.
He takes them as they come.
His mind is always detached. (17.17)

His mind is empty.
He is not concerned with meditation,
Or the absence of it,
Or the struggle between good and evil.
He is beyond all,
Alone. (17.18)

No "I,"
No ’’mine.”
He knows there is nothing.
All his inner desires have melted away.
Whatever he does,
He does nothing. (17.19)

His mind has stopped working!
It has simply melted away. . .
And with it,
Dreams and delusions and dullness.
And for what he has become,
There is no name. (17.20)

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* Translated by Thomas Byrom