1. Janaka said:
O Lord, tell me this: How does a man acquire Knowledge of Truth, and how liberation, and how the practice of renunciation?
2. Ashtavakra said:
O Friend! If thy aim in life is liberation, then shun sense objects as poison, and pursue as nectar, forgiveness, simplicity of life, compassion, contentment, and truth.
3. Thou art neither earth, water, fire, air, nor ether. Know thy Self (Atman) as Witness of all these, and different from them, if thou would’st attain liberation.
4. If, detaching thyself from thy sense of identity with the body, thou remains at rest in Intelligence, thine will be spontaneous bliss, eternal peace, and liberation from the imagined bondage.
5. Thou (as Atman) art not of the Brahmin or other castes. Neither dost thou belong to any of the four stages of life. Thou art not an object of sense perception. Thou art Witness alone, unattached by nature and without form. Be blissful!
6. O all-pervading Reality! Virtue and vice, pleasure and pain, are modes of the mind, and thy Self is independent of them. Thou art neither the doer nor the enjoyer. Ever free art thou.
7. Thou art the one subject of all and in fact ever free. The cause of thy imagined bondage is that thou attributest subjectivity to objects rather than to the Self.
8. Egoism in the form of, “I am the doer,” resembles a great black and poisonous serpent. The antidote to its poison is recognition of the fact, “I am not the doer.” This Knowledge leads to happiness.
9. The dark forest of ignorance (of the nature of Self) is the cause of grief and should be consumed by the conviction, “I am the one ever-pure Consciousness.”
10. Thou art that Consciousness, the supreme Bliss, in which the world appears as an imagined object, like a snake in a rope. Be happy! That thou art!
11. He who thinks himself to be free, is free, and he who thinks himself bound, is bound. True is the saying, “as a man thinks, so he becomes.”
12. The Self is the witness, all-pervading, perfect, free, one, consciousness, actionless, not attached to any object, desireless, ever-tranquil. It appears through illusion as the world.
13. Always contemplate the ever-fixed Intelligence, the non-dual Atman. Giving up all inner and outer identification of the Self with the non-self, abandon the notion of the individualized self.
14. O Child, the net of self-identification with the body has held thee imprisoned long enough. With the sword of the Knowledge, “I am Intelligence,” cut this illusion and be blissful.
15. Thou art wholly independent, actionless, self-luminous and without fault. Thy bondage is that thou deemest thyself to be liberated through the practice of Samadhi.
16. The Universe is pervaded by thee and exists in thee. Verily, by nature thou art Consciousness Absolute. Do not harbor narrowness of heart and think thyself to be otherwise.
17. Free art thou from modifications. Independent, calm, without dimension or form, imperturbable, thy nature unimaginable Intelligence. Know thyself to be pure Consciousness.
18. Know all that has form to be unreal, and the formless to be the Self. By means of this Knowledge, thou shalt avoid the possibility of rebirth.
19. Within and without the form reflected in the mirror, exists the mirror. Likewise, the Supreme Lord exists within and without the body.
20. As the jar is pervaded inside and outside by the same ether, so does the all-pervasive Reality (Brahman) abide in all things.