Chapter One

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.

Chapter Two

1.  Janaka said:

How wonderful!  I am tranquil, taintless, pure Knowledge, transcending matter (Prakriti).  Until now, I have been deceived by illusion.

2.  As I, by my light, reveal this body, so do I reveal the whole Universe.  To me it belongs, or it is naught.

3.  Through renunciation of this great Universe together with this body, I now perceive the supreme Self, by the skill of my Yoga.

4.  As waves, foam, and bubble are not different from water, so in the in the light of true Knowledge, the Universe, born of the Self, is not different from the Self.

5.  As a piece of cloth is found, on reflection, not to be different from its threads, so this Universe, on reflection, is found not to be different from the Self.

6.  As the juice of sugar cane wholly pervades the sugar produced from it, so the Universe, produced phenomenonly in me, is pervaded by my Self.

7.  The world appears as a result of ignorance of the nature of Self, and it disappears when the nature of the Self is recognized.  The illusory snake is born of the absence of Knowledge of the rope, and it disappears when Knowledge of the rope is attained.

8.  My nature is Knowledge and nothing other than Knowledge. Verily, the Universe is revealed under the light of my Self.

9.  How strange that the world has its appearance in me, due to nescience, like the illusory silver in the mother-of-pearl, the snake in the rope, and the mirage in the rays of the sun.

10.  From me the world is born, in me it exists, to me it dissolves. As jars return to clay, waves to water, and bracelets to gold.

11.  Wonderful am I, my salutations to my Self!  I am beyond the range of decay.  When the whole world from Brahma to a blade of grass is destroyed, I still remain.

12.  Wonderful am I!  In spite of the body and its properties, I am one.  I go nowhere, I come from nowhere, I abide in my Self, pervading the whole Universe.

13.  All praise to me.  I am most skillful.  I, without a form, uphold the Universe through all eternity.

14.  I am wonderful, adoration to my Self.  I own nothing, and yet all that is thought or spoken of is mine.

15.  In reality, Knowledge, the Knowable, and the Knower do not exist in me.  That faultless Self and I, by whose want of Knowledge the three appear to exist.

16.  The conception of duality is the root of all suffering.  Its only cure is the perception of the unreality of all objects and the realization of myself as One, pure Intelligence and Bliss.

17.  I am pure Intelligence.  Through ignorance I have imagined the illusory conditions in myself. Meditating thus, all the time, I am the Absolute.

18.  I am neither bound nor free.  My illusion has ended.  The world, though appearing to exist in me, has in reality no existence.

19.  My conviction is that the Universe and the body have no reality. The Self is naught but Intelligence. How can the world be imagined in it?

20.  I am the Self, and my nature is pure Consciousness.  The body, heaven, hell, bondage, freedom, and fear are merely imagined, and I have no relationship with them.

21.  I see no duality.  Why should I become attached to a multitude of human beings who resemble a wilderness to me?

22.  I am not the body and the body does not belong to me.  I am pure intelligence.  My only bondage was my desire to live as a cognitive identity.

23.  I am the limitless ocean in which, on the rising of the wind of the mind, the worlds are produced, as waves on the sea.

24.  When the wind of the mind has died away in the ocean of my Being, then the ship of the Universe perishes, together with its trader, the Jiva.

25.  How strange that in me, the limitless ocean, the individualized selves, arise as waves.  They cross each other, play for awhile, and disappear, according to their respective natures.

Chapter Three

Ashtavakra said:

1.  Knowing the Self to be indestructible and one by nature, how is it that thou, having attained wisdom, art still concerned with the acquisition of wealth?

2.  A craving for the objects of the senses rises out of the illusion caused by ignorance of the real nature of the Self.  Just as the illusion of silver in the mother-of-pearl causes an attachment for it.

3.  Why should one who knows his Self to be That in which universes rise and fall like waves in the sea, run hither and thither like a suffering creature?

4.  Having heard that his Self is pure Consciousness, and of surpassing attraction, why is he still attached to lust which gives rise to increased body consciousness?

5.  How strange that the Sage who knows all beings to be in the Self, and the Self to be in all beings, should still continue to harbor the sense of possession.

6.  It is strange that one who is established in the great truth of non-duality, and is desirous of liberation, should allow himself to be weakened by the practice of amorous pastimes.

7.  Lust is radically opposed to Knowledge.  How strange that one who is physically enfeebled and has reached the end of his life, is still eager for sensual enjoyment.

8.  How strange that he who is indifferent to the objects of this world and the next, who discriminates between the eternal and the passing, and who yearns for emancipation, should still fear the loss of individuality, occasioned by release.

9.  The wise man who is serene within, ever perceives the absolute Self, and is neither pleased nor angry when abused and tormented.

10.  The Mahatma regards the actions of his body as not different from those of another body.  Whether praised or blamed, he abides in the Self, undisturbed.

11.  He who has realized the Universe as mere phenomenon, and has lost all real interest therein, does not fear the approach of death.

12.  He whose mind is desireless even in disappointment, and who is fully satisfied with the Knowledge of the Self, he is verily incomparable.

13.  Knowing the object of perception to be naught by nature, that steady-minded one neither accepts this nor rejects that.

14.  Having given up all attachment to external objects and transcended the influence of the pairs of opposites, the Sage, free from desire, does not feel pleasure or pain in anything he experiences.

Chapter Four

Ashtavakra said:

1.  The wise man who has known the truth about the Self plays the game of life, and there is no similarity between his way of living, and the deluded who live in the world as mere beasts of burden.

2.  The Gnani does not feel elated even in the supreme state which Indra and all other gods ardently desire and suffer through not obtaining.

3.  The knower of truth is not affected by vice and virtue, as the sky is not really affected by the smoke with which it is covered, though it appears to be.

4.  The knower of truth, the great-souled one, who has known the Universe to be nothing but his own Self, lives as he pleases.

5.  Of the four kinds of created beings from Brahman to a tuft of grass, the wise alone, renouncing desire and aversion, know all to be Brahman.

6.  Indeed, how rare is the great-souled one who has realized the Self to be the One without a second, and also the personal God.  He does what he considers to be worth doing. He is without any fear whatsoever.

Chapter Five

Ashtavakra said:

1.  Thou has no association with anything.  Pure art thou.  What is there to renounce?  Destroy the identity with the body and the mind, and enter into the state of noumenon.

2.  As bubbles arise in the ocean, so does the Universe arise in the Self.  Thus knowing the Self to be all, enter into the state of the noumenon.

3.  Though the Universe is perceptible by the senses, yet it has no factual existence, like the snake in the rope.  Therefore, enter into the state of the noumenon.

4.  Be equable in pleasure and in pain, in hope and in despair, in life and in death.  Thus enter into the state of the noumenon.

Chapter Six

Ashtavakra said:

1.  I am infinite like space.  The phenomenal world is like a jar.  This is true cognition.  The world has neither to be renounced, accepted, nor negated.

2.  I am like the Ocean in which the worlds are the waves. This is true Fnowledge, and renunciation, achievement, or negation have no place in it.

3.  I am like mother-of-pearl, and the imagined world is like the illusory silver in it.  This is true Knowledge, which does not admit of renunciation, achievement, or negation.

4.  I am in all things, and all beings abide in me.  This is true Knowledge, which does not admit of renunciation, achievement, or negation.

Chapter Seven

Janaka said:

1.  In me who am like an infinite sea, the boat of the world is driven here and there by the wind of its own nature.  I remain unaffected.

2.  I am the boundless sea.  Let the waves of the world rise and fall in it.  I am neither increased nor diminished thereby.

3.  In me, the infinite ocean, arises the imagined Universe. Tranquil and attributeless, my Self abides forever.

4.  The infinite and ever pure Atman is not in the object, nor is the object in it.  Free from attachment and desire, ever tranquil, in this Truth I abide.

5.  Indeed, I am Consciousness Absolute, and the world is a magic show.  The thought of acceptance and rejection does not exist in me.