Ashtavakra Gita – Sloka 2.1 to 2.7

Background

Summary of Chapter 1

  • ‘I’ or ‘You’ or ‘Self’ is just our ‘thoughts’ and not the physical bodies.
  • Make these thoughts as observers of what’s happening around. Make the ‘I’ (the thought that constitute the ‘I’) ‘not the doers’, but just observers.
  • There are multiple thoughts when attached to bodies, actions, forms, which keep changing continuously. There is one thought when un-attached to actions, forms, bodies and is just witnessing.
  • When there are are multiple thoughts, there is perception/illusion and another reality.
  • When there is one witnessing, thought un-attached to actions or forms, that thought is the reality. That reality is the Atman. That Atman is the ‘I’ or ‘You’ or ‘Self’.
  • This peak of knowledge is advaitam, the state of non-duality. This is the state where only reality is present and perception is removed. This is the state where there is only one thought that is un-attached to actions/forms/bodies and is just witness of everything.
  • The ‘I’ or ‘You’ or ‘Self’ is this liberated thought, the Atman, which is pure and unfathomable knowledge.
  • Those with forms keep changing ever, unlike those without any forms. The physical bodies and matter forms keep changing ever. In these bodies and matter forms, paramesvara and brahma are present inside of them and outside of them.
  • The one witnessing action-less thought is un-attached to any actions and formless. The formless does not change. This witnessing, un-attached to actions/bodies and hence formless thought, leads to peaceful and balanced bonding.

Chapter 2

Sloka 2.1

janaka uvāca

aho niraṁjanaḥ śānto bodho’haṁ prakṛteḥ paraḥ  

etāvantam ahaṁ kālaṁ mohenaiva viḍaṁbitaḥ

Oh Seer/Lord (aho), spotless (emotionless..?) (niramjana) , peaceful (zAnta), understanding/knowledgeable (bodha) Iam beyond the prakrti (prakrteh parah) all these (etavantam) time (kAlam) I am (aham) distorted (vidambita) by moha

Oh Seer/Lord, all this time my self (the detached observing thought) is distorted by ‘moha’ or attachment to world. But the ‘self’  (the liberated unattached observing thought) is spotless/emotionless, peaceful, understanding/knowledgeable and beyond the creations..

Sloka 2.2

yathā prakāśayāmy eko deham enaṁ tathā jagat  

ato mama jagatsarvamathavā na ca kiṁcana

Like (yatha) visibility/manifestation (prakaza) I go/progress/attain (yAmi) (by) body alone (deham eko) this (enam) sameway (tatha) worldly beings (jagay). therefore (ata) all world beings (jagat sarvam) are mine (mama) otherwise (athava) nothing (na ca)  at all (kimcana)

All worldly beings manifest by physical bodies like me. So all worldly beings are me or nothing is. Though the detached observing thought is the Atman, manifestation in Universe is by physical bodies alone. Hence all Universal beings (jagat) are mine (as my detached observing thought is the Atman) or alternatively nothing is (when the detached observing thought is not there).

Sloka 2.3

sa śarīram aho viśvaṁ parityajya maya adhunā

kutaścit kauśalād eva paramātmā vilokyate

This body (sa sariram) oh this universe (visvam) abandoned (parityajya) I/myself (maya)  now (adhuna) by some means (kutascit) good fortune (kausalAd) the paramatma becomes visible/apparent.

Now that I abandon this body and the Universe (with detached thought), by some good fortune, the paramAtma in me becomes visible/apparent.

So that’s why all the Universal beings are mine. Without this detached observing thought, nothing is mine.

Sloka 2.4

yathā na toyato bhinnāstaraṁgāḥ phena budbudāḥ  

ātmano na tathā bhinnaṁ viśvam ātma vinirgatam

Like (yatha) water (toya ta) is not different (na bhinna) from wave (taraMgah), foam (phena), bubble (budbuda), atman in the sameway (tatha) is no different (na bhinnam) from Universe (visvam) which came out (vinirgatam) of the Atman

Like water is not different from wave, foam, bubble, atman in the sameway is no different from Universe which came out of the Atman.

Why do I say all the universal beings are mine, when paramatma in me becomes visible with detached observing thought..? It is because like water is no different from wave, foam or bubbele, in the same- way the entire Universe came out of that Atman, that is my detached observing thought.

Sloka 2.5

tantumātro bhaved eva paṭo yadvad vicāritaḥ

ātma tanmātram evedaṁ tadvad viśvaṁ vicāritam


When in this way (yadvat) deliberated/discussed (vicAritah) a woven cloth (paTo) just (eva) manifests (bhaved) only (mAtra) as threads (tantu), then in this way (tadvad) deliberated/discussed (vicAritah), atma is the subtlest here (atma tanmAtram eva idam) in the Universe (visvam).

When a woven clothe is deliberated/discussed it becomes only just threads. Same way when Universe is deliberated/discussed Atma is the subtlest that makes the Universe. (like the subtle thread that makes the woven cloth).

The subtlest element of all matter and beings in the Universe is the Atman like the thread in the clothe. Hence all the Universal matter and beings came out of that detached observing thought. Hence when that thought is in me, the Universal matter and beings are mine.

Sloka 2.6

yatha iva ikṣurase klṛptā tena vyāptaiva śarkarā  

tathā viśvaṁ mayi klṛptaṁ mayā vyāptaṁ nirantaram

Like the (yatha iva) sugar-cane (iksura) prepared (klRpta) those (tena) filled with (vyapta iva) sugar (sarkara), in the same way (tatha) universe (visvam) is prepared of my self (mayi klrptam) myself (maya) pervading (vyaptam) constantly/fixedly (nirantaram)

The sweetness of sugar-cane manifests in all things made out of sugar-cane. In the same way, in all things made out of this detached observing thought called the Atman, the same Atman pervades.

Sloka 2.7

ātma jñānāj jagad bhāti ātma jñānān na bhāsate  

rajjva jñānādahirbhāti tajjñānād bhāsate na hi

The matter and beings are evidenced/perceived/knowledged (jagat bhAti) by knowledge of Atman (atma jnAna). The same atma jnAna makes them disappear (na bhAsate).  A snake is evidenced/perceived/knowledged (ahir bhAti) by knowledge of ‘rope’ or ‘string’ (rajjva jnAna). The same knowledge (tat jnAnad) makes it disappear (na bhAsate) only (hi)

We know what’s a rope of string or snake. They are of the same form. This knowledge of the form gives us the appearance of snake (when there is a rope). Thus our perception and reality could be different. There is duality.  But the same knowledge of rope, when we understand in-depth, makes the snake disappear and rope to appear (if it is a rope), as we know the rope.

In the same way, the knowledge of ‘form’ o f Atman makes this world appear in multiplicity to us. We see multiple worldly matter and beings. There is perception of Atman and then there is reality. These could be different.  When we understand the same Atman in depth (with the detached observing thought), the multiplicity disappears. We understand it is the same Atman everywhere. The Universe belongs to us, as ‘us’ is the detached observing/witnessing thought, that is the Atman itself.

Summmary of Slokas 2.1 to 2.7

Janaka understood what Ashtavakra said. He responds in this way.

Oh Seer/Lord, all this time my self (the detached observing thought) is distorted by ‘moha’ or attachment to world. But the ‘self’/Atman (the liberated unattached observing thought) is spotless/emotionless, peaceful, understanding/knowledgeable and beyond the creations..

Though the detached observing thought is the Atman, manifestation in Universe is by physical bodies alone. Hence all Universal beings (jagat) are mine (as my detached observing thought is the Atman) or alternatively nothing is.

Now that I abandon this body and the Universe (with detached thought), by some good fortune, the paramAtma in me becomes visible/apparent. So that’s why all the Universal beings are mine. Alternatively, without this detached observing thought, nothing is mine.

It is because like water is no different from wave, foam or bubble, in the same- way the entire Universe came out of that Atman, which manifests as my detached observing thought.

The subtlest element of all matter and beings in the Universe is the Atman like the thread in a woven cloth. Hence all the Universal matter and beings came out of that Atman, which is my detached observing thought. Hence when that thought is in me, the Universal matter and beings are mine.

The sweetness of sugar-cane manifests in all things made out of sugar-cane. In the same way, in all things made out of this  Atman (which manifests as my detached observing thought) the same Atman pervades.

We know what’s a rope or string or snake. They are of the same form. This knowledge of the form gives us the appearance of snake (when there is a rope). Thus our perception and reality could be different. There is duality. But the same knowledge of rope, when we understand in-depth, makes the snake disappear and rope to appear (if it is a rope).

In the same way, the knowledge of ‘form’ of Atman makes this world appear in multiplicity to us. We see multiple worldly matter and beings. There is perception of and then there is reality. These could be different.

When we understand the same Atman in depth (with the detached observing/witnessing thought), the multiplicity disappears. We understand it is the same Atman and its manifestations in everything and everywhere.

More to come

-TBT

References

1. https://vedabhasya.blogspot.com/2019/09/ashtavakra-gita-sloka-112-to-120.html

2. https://vedabhasya.blogspot.com/2019/08/ashtavakra-gita-sloka-17-to-111.html

3. https://vedabhasya.blogspot.com/2019/08/ashtavakra-gita-slokas-13-to-16.html

4. https://vedabhasya.blogspot.com/2019/08/ashtavakra-gita-sloka-11-and-12.html

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