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12.  Astavakra elaborates on the state of ulitimate peace  pI


Astavakra completes his discourse with a description of the sublime peace that marks the inner state of one who has realized the self:

Salutations to the supreme self which is utter calmness and bliss itself. When knowledge of that splendorous effulgence dawns in the awakened one, all delusion disappears, just as the dream of the night vanishes when one awakens from sleep.

True happiness can never arise from the accumulation of worldly objects, which are invariably attended by fear. Surely one can never be happy without renouncing one's attachment to sense objects and the illusory attractions of the world.

Thinking that the world is real and his actions in it have real value, the deluded person pursues the observance of duty and is scorched by it. How can his sorrow be relieved but by the sweet nectar of tranquillity? The divine bliss and inner peace which is the very nature of the self is always present, regardless of one's activities or inactivity.

The universe is merely a thought, a projection of the mind. It has no existence apart from the self. In reality it is nothing. Being nonexistent it ever remains nonexistent. The self alone is real. Being ever existent it is never nonexistent.

The immortal self is serene, spotless, immutable. It is the absolute, the one reality. Being neither far away nor limited, it is ever attained, shining as your true nature. When all illusions are dispelled, true vision is unveiled and the self is realized. Then all sorrows disappear.

Knowing for certain that the self alone exists, ever free and eternal, would you continue to act like a frightened, deluded child? Knowing that the phenomenal world which appears to actually exist, and that the subtle worlds of visions, dreams and fantasies which do not appear to actually exist, are all figments of your imagination, would you still be affected like an ignorant person?

Once you have become free of all desires, what would be left for you to know, say, or do? All such thoughts as 'I am this' and 'I am not that' would have no meaning when you have become utterly silent, knowing unequivocally that all there is is the self.

To the yogi who is unbound and ever at peace, there is no difference in heaven or in beggary, in gain or in loss, in society or in solitude. Having attained control over his senses, his mind is perfectly balanced and tranquil. Neither the practice of concentration nor the gaining of knowledge nor the experience of pleasure or pain can distract him from his equanimity.

Where are the goals of human life, where is performance of ritualistic or meritorious works? Where is worldly prosperity, where is sense-enjoyment? Where are the pairs of opposites? And where even is the practice of discrimination for the wise one who has transcended all dual notions such as 'this is to be done' and 'this is not to be done'?

Where is delusion, where is the universe? Where is renunciation, moreover where is liberation for the great-souled one who rests beyond the world of desires? One who sees the universe and then attempts to deny it is still in ignorance. What has the desireless to do who even as he sees, sees not. For him the universe has no substance or existence apart from the self.

One who has seen the supreme divinity will meditate, 'I am one with that ultimate reality', but what does he who has transcended all thoughts think, when he sees no second? One who sees distraction in himself will attempt to control himself, but what practices are appropriate for the great one for whom distraction has no meaning? Being established in non-duality what has he to accomplish in the world of duality?

The man of knowledge, though living like an ordinary man and appearing to be like him, is totally different from him, for he is not caught up in the illusory values of the world. With his ignorance completely dispelled he abides in the absolute. He lives happily doing spontaneously whatever presents itself.

The wise one feels neither satisfaction nor guilt for what is done or not done. He feels no eagerness in either activity or inactivity. For him there are no duties, attachments or desires of any kind. From the point of view of the world the liberated yogi appears to act, for his body continues to be influenced by the effects of his past karma. But, within himself, he is totally indifferent to the actions of his body. Without interruption he abides in the pure awareness of the self.

Completely free of all dependence on the world, the wise one moves about like a dry leaf blown by the wind of his past actions. Ever with a serene mind, he lives like one without a body. Having transcended worldly existence, he is neither affected by joy nor by sorrow. With his mind calm and pure, he delights in the self. He has no desire to hold on to anything or to renounce anything.

Naturally of a vacant mind and doing what comes of itself, the wise one, unlike an ordinary man, is not affected by accomplishments or failures, praise or blame, honor or dishonor. Though his body appears to be acting, he does not act, for, in his mind he dwells in his own true nature and knows only the unity of the blessed self.

Though in the world, the liberated man is never attached or bound by it. He is unconditionally happy. Having no distraction he has no need for meditation. Being free of all trace of egoism, his mind is neither troubled nor pleased, but remains actionless, motionless, desireless, and free from doubts. Sometimes he may appear to be acting with reason and purpose and at other times without any apparent reason or purpose. Sometimes he may even seem like a mindless fool. But he is no fool. Having found the ultimate truth, his inner condition is always one of absolute freedom and serenity.

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