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2.  Astavakra begins his discourse


Astavakra was very pleased with Janaka's one-pointed desire to know the truth. In answer to Janaka's fervent request, Astavakra began his discourse wherein he expounded to Janaka the ultimate truth of the infinite. Astavakra said:

My dear child, if you aspire after liberation turn away from your attraction to the five elements and the objects of the senses. Abandon your attachment to these, as you would shun poison. You are in no way connected with them. Fill yourself with the virtues of forgiveness, kindness, sincerity and contentment. Let these be your nectar, let these be your prime sustenance.

You are not made up of earth, water, fire, air or space. You are not the body. Nor are you the mind. You are not a particular name or form. You are not a member of a particular family or tribe. You are not connected with any nation or culture. You are not in any way related to the things of this world. You are not perceivable by the gross or the subtle senses. You are the witness of all these. You are the immortal self, the universal consciousness.

Once you detach yourself from the body and abide in pure awareness, you become your true self, ever peaceful, eternally happy. To know who you really are is liberation.

Concepts of right or wrong, virtue or vice, doing or enjoying, pleasure or pain are all of the mind. They are not of you. You are the self-luminous one, the one seer of all. You are forever free. Verily this has been your bondage that you have identified yourself as the doer rather than as the seer, the pure witness.

You are that all-pervading consciousness, that supreme bliss upon which this illusory universe has become superimposed, just as in the twilight of dusk, a fearsome snake can mistakenly get superimposed by the mind onto a harmless, neutral rope lying on the ground.

Now, burn down the forest of ignorance which has kept you from knowing your true self. Destroy the black serpent of the ego which has so completely hidden you from yourself that you have forgotten that you are the resplendent, pure, ever-free consciousness, eternally happy.

When you consider yourself to be free then you will surely become free. But if you continue to consider yourself as being bound then you will remain bound. As you think so you become. Think of the infinite and you become the infinite. In truth, you are the infinite. Realize it!

You are the immortal self, the all-pervading witness, perfect, actionless, unattached, desireless, non-dual, ever-aware, self-luminous, unborn and undying, forever immersed in the silence of infinite bliss.

But, my pure, blemishless child, through illusion you have allowed yourself to become involved with the world and you think you are part of it. You think you are the body and so you have become bound. You have been caught in the noose of body-consciousness.

Give up your wrong identifications and illusions! Sever all these false notions with the sword of self-knowledge! Abandon your small-minded belief of being an individual! Identify yourself only with the immutable universal self, the pure non-dual consciousness!

You are not a little body existing in this world. No! It is this world which exists in you! You are the pure spirit which pervades this whole universe and on which this whole universe rests. You are the permanent, formless, unconditioned, unfathomable, omnipresent intelligence.

You are the pure mirror on which this whole world appears as an image. This reflection comprising the world of multiplicity comes and goes, as universes appear and disappear in you, but you the supreme self remain unaffected.

Just as the all-pervading space is both inside and outside a jar, so do you the eternal truth exist within all things and beyond all things. You are the all of it, and you are the beyond. Be happy!

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