Ashtavakra Gita —
18. Peace

Way and Goal of Natural Samadhi

Love your true Self,
Which is naturally happy
And peaceful and bright!
Awaken to your own nature,
And all delusion melts like a dream
. (18.1)

How much pleasure you take
In acquiring worldly goods!
But to find happiness
You must give them all up. (18.2)

The sorrows of duty,
Like the heat of the sun,
Have scorched your heart.
But let stillness fall on you
With its sweet and cooling showers,
And you will find happiness. (18.3)

For the world is nothing.
It is only an idea.
But the essence of what is
And of what is not
Can never fail. (18.4)

The Self is always the same,
Already fulfilled,
Without flaw or choice or striving.
Close at hand,
But boundless. (18.5)

When the Self is known,
All illusions vanish.
The veil falls,
And you see clearly.
Your sorrows are dispelled. (18.6)

For the Self is free
And lives forever.
Everything else is imagination,
Nothing more!
Because he understands this,
The master acts like a child. (18.7)

When you know you are God
And that what is and what is not
Are both imaginary,
And you are at last free of desire,
Then what is there left
To know or to say or to do? (18.8)

For the Self is everything.
When the seeker knows this,
He falls silent.
He no longer thinks,
"I am this, I am not that.”
Such thoughts melt away. (18.9)

He is still.
Without pleasure or pain,
Distraction or concentration,
Learning or ignorance. (18.10)

His nature is free of conditions.
Win or lose,
It makes no difference to him.
Alone in the forest or out in the world,
A god in heaven or a simple beggar,
It makes no difference! (18.11)

He is free of duality.
Wealth or pleasure,
Duty or discrimination
Mean nothing to him.
What does he care
What is accomplished or neglected? (18.12)

Finding freedom in this life,
The seeker takes nothing to heart,
Neither duty nor desire.
He has nothing to do
But to live out his life. (18.13)

The master lives beyond the boundaries of desire.
Delusion or the world,
Meditation on the truth,
Liberation itself—
What are they to him? (18.14)

You see the world
And you try to dissolve it.
But the master has no need to.
He is without desire.
For though he sees,
He sees nothing. (18.15)

When you have seen God
You meditate on Him,
Saying to yourself, "I am He.”
But when you are without thought
And you understand there is only one,
Without a second,
On whom can you meditate? (18.16)

When you are distracted,
You practice concentration.
But the master is undistracted.
He has nothing to fulfill.
What is there left for him to accomplish? (18.17)

He acts like an ordinary man.
But inside he is quite different.
He sees no imperfection in himself,
Nor distraction,
Nor any need for meditation. (18.18)

He is awake,
Free from desire.
He neither is nor is not.
He looks busy,
But he does nothing. (18.19)

Striving or still,
He is never troubled.
He does whatever comes his way,
And he is happy. (18.20)

He has no desires.
He has cast off his chains.
He walks on air.
He is free,
Tumbling like a leaf in the wind,
From life to life. (18.21)

He has gone beyond the world,
Beyond joy and sorrow.
His mind is always cool.
He lives as if he had no body. (18.22)

His mind is cool and pure.
He delights in the Self.
There is nothing he wishes to renounce.
He misses nothing. (18.23)

His mind is naturally empty.
He does as he pleases.
He is not an ordinary man.
Honor and dishonor mean nothing to him. (18.24)

"The body does this, not I.”
"My nature is purity."
With these thoughts,
Whatever he does,
He does nothing. (18.25)

But he pretends not to know.
He finds freedom in this life,
But he acts like an ordinary man.
Yet he is not a fool.
Happy and bright,
He thrives in the world. (18.26)

Weary of the vagaries of the mind,
He is at last composed.
He does not know or think,
Or hear or see. (18.27)

He does not meditate.
He does not seek freedom.
He sees the world,
But knows it is an illusion.
He lives like God. (18.28)

Even when he is still,
The selfish man is busy.
Even when he is busy,
The selfless man is still. (18.29)

He is free.
His mind is unmoved
By trouble or pleasure.
Free from action, desire or doubt,
He is still, and he shines! (18.30)

His mind does not strive
To meditate or to act.
It acts or meditates without purpose. (18.31)

When a fool hears the truth,
He is muddled.
When a wise man hears it,
He goes within.
He may look like a fool,
But he is not muddled. (18.32)

The fool practices concentration
And control of the mind.
But the master is like a man asleep.
He rests in himself
And finds nothing more to do. (18.33)

Striving or still,
The fool never finds peace.
But the master finds it
Just by knowing how things are. (18.34)

In this world
Men try all kinds of paths.
But they overlook the Self,
The Beloved.
Awake and pure,
Flawless and full,
Beyond the world. (18.35)

The fool will never find freedom
By practicing concentration.
But the master never fails.
Just by knowing how things are,
He is free and constant. (18.36)

Because the fool wants to become God,
He never finds him.
The master is already God,
Without ever wishing to be.

The fool has no foundation.
Fretting to be free,
He only keeps the world spinning.
But the master cuts at its root,
The root of all suffering. (18.38)

Because the fool looks for peace,
He never finds it.
But the master is always at peace,
Because he understands how things are. (18.39)

If a man looks to the world,
How can he see himself?
The master is never distracted by this or that.
He sees himself,
The Self that never changes. (18.40)

The fool tries to control his mind.
How can he ever succeed?
Mastery always comes naturally
To the man who is wise
And who loves himself. (18.41)

One man believes in existence,
Another says, "There is nothing!”
Rare is the man who believes in neither.
He is free from confusion. (18.42)

The fool may know that the Self Is pure and indivisible.
But because of his folly,
He never finds it.
He suffers all his life. (18.43)

The mind of a man who longs to be free
Stumbles without support.
But the mind of a man who is already free
Stands on its own.
It is empty of passion. (18.44)

The senses are tigers.
When a timid man catches sight of them,
He runs for safety to the nearest cave,
To practice control and meditation. (18.45)

But a man without desires is a lion.
When the senses see him,
It is they who take flight!
They run away like elephants,
As quietly as they can.
And if they cannot escape,
They serve him like slaves. (18.46)

A man who has no doubts
And whose mind is one with the Self
No longer looks for ways to find freedom.
He lives happily in the world,
Seeing and hearing,
Touching and smelling and tasting. (18.47)

Just by hearing the truth He becomes spacious
And his awareness pure.
He is indifferent To striving or stillness.
He is indifferent To his own indifference. (18.48)

The master is like a child.
He does freely whatever comes his way,
Good or bad. (18.49)

By standing on his own
A man finds happiness.
By standing on his own
A man finds freedom.
By standing on his own
He goes beyond the world.
By standing on his own
He finds the end of the way. (18.50)

When a man realizes
He is neither the doer
nor the enjoyer,
The ripples of his mind are stilled. (18.51)

The master's way is unfettered
And free of guile.
He shines.
But for the fool
There is no peace.
His thoughts are full of desire. (18.52)

The master is free of his mind,
And his mind is free.
In this freedom he plays.
He has a wonderful time!
Or he withdraws
And lives in a mountain cave. (18.53)

If the master encounters
A king or a woman
Or someone he dearly loves,
He is without desire.
And when he honors
A god or a holy place
Or a man versed in the scriptures,
There is no longing in his heart. (18.54)

None at all!
He is unperturbed
Even when his servants despise him,
Or his wives, sons, and grandsons mock him.
Even when his whole family makes fun of him,
He is undismayed. (18.55)

For him there is no pain in pain,
No pleasure in pleasure.
Only those who are like him
Can know his exaltation. (18.56)

He has no form.
His form is emptiness.
He is constant and pure.
He has no sense of duty,
Which only binds men to the world. (18.57)

The master fulfills his duties
And is always untroubled.
The fool does nothing
And is always troubled and distracted.

The master goes about his business
With perfect equanimity.
He is happy when he sits,
Happy when he talks and eats,
Happy asleep,
Happy coming and going. (18.59)

Because he knows his own nature,
He does what he has to without feeling ruffled
Like ordinary people.
Smooth and shining,
Like the surface of a vast lake.
His sorrows are at an end. (18.60)

The fool is busy
Even when he is still.
Even when he is busy
The master gathers the fruits of stillness. (18.61)

The fool often spurns his possessions.
The master is no longer attached to his body.
So how can he feel attraction or aversion? (18.62)

The awareness of the fool is always limited
By thinking, or by trying not to think.

The awareness of the man who lives within,
Though he may be busy thinking,
Is beyond even awareness itself. (18.63)

The master is like a child.
All his actions are without motive.
He is pure.
Whatever he does, he is detached. (18.64)

He is blessed.
He understands the nature of the Self.
His mind is no longer thirsty.
He is the same under all conditions, Whatever he sees or hears,
Or smells or touches or tastes. (18.65)

The master is like the sky.
He never changes.
What does the world matter to him,
Or its reflection?
What does he care about seeking,
Or the end of seeking? (18.66)

He is ever the same.
The victory is his.
He has conquered the world.
He is the embodiment
Of his own perfect essence,
By nature one with the infinite. (18.67)

What more is there to say?
He knows the truth.
He has no desire for pleasure or liberation.
At all times, in all places,
He is free from passion. (18.68)

He has given up the duality of the world
Which arises with the mind
And is nothing more than a name.
He is pure awareness.
What is there left for him to do? (18.69)

The man who is pure knows for certain
That nothing really exists;
It is all the work of illusion.
He sees what cannot be seen.
His nature is peace. (18.70)

He does not see the world of appearances.
So what do rules matter to him,
Or dispassion, renunciation, and self-control?
His form is pure and shining light. (18.71)

He does not see the world.
So what does he care for joy or sorrow,
Bondage or liberation?
He is infinite and shining. (18.72)

Before the awakening of understanding
The illusion of the world prevails.
But the master is free of passion.
He has no "I,"
He has no "mine,”
And he shines! (18.73)

He sees that the Self never suffers or dies.
So what does he care for knowledge
Or the world?
Or the feeling "I am the body,”
”The body is mine”? (18.74)

The moment a fool gives up concentration
And his other spiritual practices,
He falls prey to fancies and desires. (18.75)

Even after hearing the truth,
The fool clings to his folly.
He tries hard to look calm and composed,
But inside he is full of cravings. (18.76)

When the truth is understood,
Work falls away.
Though in the eyes of others
The master may seem to work,
In reality he has no occasion
To say or to do anything. (18.77)

He has no fear.
He is always the same.
He has nothing to lose.
For him there is no darkness,
There is no light.
There is nothing at all. (18.78)

He has no being of his own.
His nature cannot be described.
What is patience to him,
Or discrimination or fearlessness? (18.79)

In the eyes of the master
There is nothing at all.
There is no heaven.
There is no hell.
There is no such thing as liberation in life.
What more is there to say? (18.80)

Nothing he hopes to win,
Nothing he fears to lose.
His mind is cool and drenched with nectar. (18.81)

Free from desire,
He neither praises the peaceful
Nor blames the wicked.
The same in joy and sorrow,
He is always happy.
He sees there is nothing to do. (18.82)

He does not hate the world.
He does not seek the Self.
He is free from joy and sorrow.
He is not alive,
And he is not dead. (18.83)

He is not attached to his family.
Free from the desire of the senses,
He does not care about his body.
The master expects nothing,
And he shines. (18.84)

Whatever befalls him,
He is always happy.

He wanders where he will.
And wherever he finds himself
When the sun sets,
There he lies down to rest. (18.85)

He does not care if the body lives or dies.
He is so firmly set in his own being,
He rises above the round of birth and death. (18.86)

He is full of joy.
Attached to nothing,
Free from possessions,
He stands on his own.
His doubts dispelled,
He wanders where he will,
Never setting one thing against another. (18.87)

The master shines.
He never says "mine.”
Gold, stone, earth—
They are all the same to him.
He is not bound by sloth,
Nor consumed by his own activity.
He has severed the knots which bind his heart. (18.88)

Who can compare with him?
Indifferent to everything,
He is happy and he is free.
There is not the least desire in his heart. (18.89)

Only the man without desire
Sees without seeing,
Speaks without speaking,
Knows without knowing. (18.90)

In his view of things
Good and evil have melted away.
A king or a beggar,
Whoever is free from desire shines! (18.91)

He is utterly without guile.
He has found his way.
He is simplicity itself.
He cares nothing for restraint,
Or abandon.
He has no interest in finding the truth. (18.92)

He has no desires.
He rests happily in the Self.
His sorrows are over.
How can anyone tell what he feels inside? (18.93)

Even when he is sound asleep,
He is not asleep.
Even when he is dreaming,
He does not dream.
Even when he is awake,
He is not awake.
Step by step,
Whatever befalls him,
He is happy. (18.94)

He thinks without thinking.
He feels without feeling.
He is intelligent,
But he has no mind.
He has personality,
But with no thought for himself. (18.95)

He is not happy,
Nor is he sad.
He is not detached,
Nor is he bound.
He is not free,
Nor does he seek freedom.
He is not this.
He is not that. (18.96)

Amid distractions,
He is undistracted.
In meditation,
He does not meditate.
He is not a fool.
Knowing everything,
He knows nothing
. (18.97)

He always lives within.
He is everywhere the same.
Action or duty are nothing to him.
Because he is free from desire,
He never worries about what he has done
Or has not done. (18.98)

Blame does not disturb him,
Nor does praise delight him.
He neither rejoices in life,
Nor fears death. (18.99)

His mind is calm.
Never seeking the solitude of the forest,
Nor running from the crowd.
Always and everywhere,
He is one and the same. (18.100)

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* Translated by Thomas Byrom