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5.  Janaka responds to Astavakra's challenge


Janaka calmly responds to Astavakra's challenge:

O illumined master! The knower of the self who is ever conscious of his truth, plays the game of life in the world but is untouched by it. How can he be compared with the ignorant worldly man who is beset with attachments like a deluded beast of burden?

The man of self-knowledge abides effortlessly in that serene, contented state which is his true nature, feeling no pangs of desire or yearning, while even the heavenly hosts unhappily pine for the experience of that exalted state.

How can the heart of one who has known the eternal self ever be touched by virtue or vice? He is like the sky which is not affected by the clouds that appear to darken it or by the rainbow which appears to beautify it.

That great-souled one who has known the entire universe to be the self alone, will always act spontaneously and naturally, without any trace of desire. Fearlessly, he does what is worth doing without concern for praise or blame.

Of all created beings, from the lowest clump of grass to the highest celestial being, the wise one alone acts without desire or aversion. Blessed indeed is that rare enlightened one who always abides in the absolute, and knows the supreme self to be all there ever was and is.