This text is a conversation between Sita’s father, King Janaka, and Ashtavakra, his guru. Ashtavakra Gita has been called the purest among scriptures. It enraptures in its transparency and flawless purity.
The Aware Self and Illusion
This tome is not speculative philosophy. Ashtavakra found his way to his ever-aware inner self, and shares his experience with us. His language is simple, direct and physical. He says that our real self is pure awareness. And, this awareness is God.
All else is an illusion: the universe, the world, and our selfish desires. These phenomena occur because of the ‘I’ thought, which creates a separate identity. ‘I’ is concerned with the material universe, which we strive to sustain in our ignorance. We forget our original oneness, as we are bound to our separate identities. This condition gives us a false sense of value and purpose. Our desires consume us.
How to Realize the Self
Ashtavakra says our essential nature is choiceless awareness. So, there is no need for striving, or for the ‘I’ feeling. So, how do we conquer the illusion of a separate identity and realize our true awareness? Ashtavakra has the answers: Be happy, live simply, love yourself, do not be judgmental and give up all desires except for true awareness. Stop identifying with the senses and the body. Do not accept or reject anything. Learn to be still and happy.
The Mind of a Master
Striving leads to sorrow, says the practical Ashtavakra. The book also narrates the frame of mind of a realized master. The master is utterly free inside. He cares not for rules, nor for those who poke fun at him. He is always in a playful mood, enjoying himself. His mind is unblemished, like a cloudless sky, or the shining, smooth surface of a clear lake.
In fact, Ashtavakra says since our true nature is bliss, happiness belongs to the supremely lazy person for whom even opening the eyes is a chore.