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10. Astavakra reiterates the highest teachings
Again Astavakra reiterates the highest teachings leading to knowledge of the self. He enjoins Janaka to remain alert not to fall back into delusion and bondage, for even an instant.
A man whose intellect is free from darkness and passion and is filled with light, realizes the self whenever and however the wisdom teachings are imparted to him by the guru. For such a qualified aspirant, even a little instruction casually imparted is enough to awaken him to his truth. But a man of impure intellect who has not prepared himself with the necessary disciplines, is bewildered in trying to realize the self even after seeking self-knowledge throughout his life.
Liberation is nothing more than non-attachment to the illusory objects of the senses whereas bondage is attachment to the sense-objects. This is the essence of all the teachings. It is the recognition of the unchanging non-dual nature of the self, which is the only reality. Knowing this, do as you wish.
Once the self is realized and the truth is known there is nothing more to be attained. Knowledge of the truth makes an eloquent, wise and active person mute, inert and inactive. Therefore, self-knowledge is shunned by those who want to enjoy the world.
You are consciousness itself. You are not the body, nor is the body yours. You are not the doer who performs actions, nor are you the enjoyer or sufferer of the results of actions. You are the eternal witness, forever free. Go about happily.
Desire for what the mind finds attractive and repugnance for what the mind finds repulsive are what keep you bound. But, the mind is never yours. Its characteristics have nothing to do with you. You are changeless. You are pure awareness itself, ever free from conflict. Move about happily.
You are the one self. You are all there is. Everything is within you and you are within everything. You are forever free of egoism and the sense of 'I' and 'mine'. You are the ocean in which all the worlds manifest themselves like waves. Worlds come and go, created by the mind, but you are not affected. Be happy.
Have faith, my child, have faith. Never confuse yourself in this. Be free from the fever of the mind. You are the one reality, the unchanging truth. You are knowledge itself, you are the self, you are the lord, you are ever beyond nature.
The body, like all things of the illusory world, is made up of the five elements. It is governed by the three qualities of nature... inertia, activity and balance. It is born, it stays for awhile and it dies.
The self is eternal and unchanging; it neither comes nor goes. Why, then, do you mourn for this ephemeral body? Let the body last to the end of the age or let it go this very day. How does that affect you? Where is the increase or decrease in you who are pure consciousness and ever free?
In you, the infinite ocean, the universe is like the waves that rise and fall according to their own nature; you, the ocean, are neither enhanced nor diminished thereby. Endlessly, the universe cycles through its stages of creation and dissolution, but you, who are ever beyond time and space, are not affected by its comings and goings. Where then can there be any gain or loss for you, whatever happens to the universe?
My child, you are pure intelligence, you are wisdom itself. When you search out the true basis of the universe you will find it to be your very own self. In reality, the universe is not different from you, for you alone exist. Can gold ornaments such as rings, necklaces and bracelets be anything other than the gold out of which they were made? Are waves anything other than the ocean from which they arose? Completely give up all distinctions. Consider all as the self and be happy.
What can you desire or reject, knowing that all there is is one with you? What can ever be separate from you? What can be born and what can die? Who is there to act or remain actionless? Where is the room for an ego when all there is is you, the one immutable, stainless, pure consciousness?
Through ignorance you conceive a separate universe, but the universe has no existence apart from you. A separate universe is just an illusion; it is nothing. There is no individual self and there is no supreme self other than you, the one self. When you realize this, you become desireless and enveloped in peace.
In the ocean of the world only one ever was, is, and will be. O pure intelligence, do not disturb your mind with affirmations and negations. You have neither bondage nor liberation. Completely give up even the practice of contemplation and meditation. Be calm and contented. Hold nothing whatsoever in your mind. What will you achieve by thinking? What could there still be for you to desire? You are ever free. Abide happily in your own self which is bliss itself.
My child, the self alone exists; all else is unreal. When consciousness of the body or the things of the world engage your attention you cannot abide in the self. The self cannot be known through the intellect. Even filling your mind with the highest spiritual teachings will not lead you to self-knowledge. To realize the self you must forget all.
O dear one, you may strive and be active in the world, you may pursue enjoyment of the things of the world, you may choose to be inactive in the world and engage yourself in various spiritual practices. Whatever you do, your heart will ever yearn to be free of all doings and desires, and to abide peacefully in its own true nature.
All are unhappy because they exert themselves. Exertion presupposes desire, and desire, whether satisfied or unsatisfied, is the cause of all misery. The blessed one may be active or inactive outwardly, but he is ever inactive inwardly, having eradicated all his desires. He abides steadily in the self, completely detached from all mental and physical activities. True happiness belongs to such a master idler in whom even the intentional closing and opening of the eyelids would be an affliction.
When the mind is free from the sense of duty and no longer dwells on the opposites such as 'this is to be done' and 'this is not to be done', it gives up its pursuit of sensual enjoyment and worldly prosperity. It becomes totally indifferent to all desires and life goals. Even the quest for religious merit and liberation are meaningless to it.
One who covets the sense-objects becomes attached to them; one who abhors or renounces the sense-objects becomes non-attached to them. But he who realizes that all is the self, is neither attached nor unattached. For him there can be no thought of accepting or rejecting anything.
As long as the feelings of attachment and repulsion or desire and aversion continue, they becloud your understanding of the true nature of the world. These pairs of opposites stem from ignorance; they make up the roots and branches of the tree of phenomenal life. They delude you into considering the unreal to be real and the real to be unreal.
Activity prompted by desire begets attachment; abstention from activity begets aversion. The man of wisdom is free from all pairs of opposites. He is equally at peace in inactivity or activity. He is playful like an innocent child, free of attachment or aversion for anything.
Thinking that the cause of all sorrow is in the world, you seek to renounce the world to avoid all further sorrow. But it is not the world which is the root of your misery, it is your attachment to it that gives rise to sorrow. When you are fully free from attachment, sorrow cannot touch you. You will not feel miserable even in the world.
If you consider the body as your own, if you are caught up in the sense of I and mine and harbor egoistic feelings regarding your spiritual attainments, you are neither a yogi nor a wise man, but only a deluded sufferer of misery.
Even if the Lord of the Universe were to come and instruct you in the highest teachings, the splendorous self will not shine forth and reveal itself unless you forget all and totally transcend the mind.
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