First Chapter

Old king Janaka asks the young Ashtavakra:  How knowledge is attained, how liberation is attained and how non-attachment is attained, please tell me all this.  1

Sri Ashtavakra answers: If you wish to attain liberation, give up the passions (desires for sense objects) as poison. Practice forgiveness, simplicity, compassion, contentment and truth as nectar.  2

You are neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air or space. To liberate, know the witness of all these as conscious self.  3

If you detach yourself from the body and rest in consciousness, you will become content, peaceful and free from bondage immediately.  4

You do not belong to 'Brahman' or any other caste, you do not belong to 'Celibate' or any other stage, nor are you anything that the eyes can see. You are unattached, formless and witness of everything, so be happy.  5

Righteousness, unrighteousness, pleasure and pain are connected with the mind and not with the all-pervading you. You are neither the doer nor the reaper of the actions, so you are always almost free.  6

You are the solitary witness of all that is, almost always free. Your only bondage is understanding the seer to be someone else.  7

Ego poisons you to believe: “I am the doer”. Believe “I am not the doer”. Drink this nectar and be happy.  8

The resolution "I am single, pure knowledge” consumes even the dense ignorance like fire. Be beyond disappointments and be happy.  9

Feel the ecstasy, the supreme bliss where this world appears unreal like a snake in a rope, know this and move happily.  10

If you think you are free you are free. If you think you are bound you are bound. It is rightly said: You become what you think.  11

The soul is witness, all-pervading, infinite, one, free, inert, neutral, desire-less and peaceful. Only due to illusion it appears worldly.  12

Meditate on unchanging, conscious and non-dual Self. Be free from the illusion of 'I' and think this external world as part of you.  13

O son, you have become habitual of thinking: “I am body” since long. Experience the Self and by this sword of knowledge cut that bondage and be happy. 14

You are free, still, self-luminous, stainless. Trying keep yourself peaceful by meditation is your bondage.  15

You have pervaded this entire universe; really, you have pervaded it all. You are pure knowledge, don't get disheartened.  16

You are desire-less, changeless, solid and abode to calmness, unfathomable intelligent. Be peaceful and desire nothing but consciousness.  17

Know that form is unreal and only the formless is permanent. Once you know this, you will not take birth again.  18

Just as form exists inside a mirror and outside it, Supreme Self exists both within and outside the body.  19

Just as the same space exists both inside and outside a jar, the eternal, continuous God exists in all.  20

Second Chapter

King Janaka says: Amazingly, I am flawless, peaceful, beyond nature and of the form of knowledge. It is ironical to be deluded all this time. 1

As I illumine this body, so I illumine the world. Therefore, either the whole world is mine or nothing is.  2

Now abandoning this world along with the body, Lord is seen through some skill. 3

Just as waves, foam and bubbles are not different from water, similarly all this world which has emanated from self, is not different from self. 4

On reasoning, cloth is known to be just thread, similarly all this world is self only.  5

Just as the sugar made from sugarcane juice has the same flavor, similarly this world is made out from me and is constantly pervaded by me. 6

Due to ignorance, self appears as the world; on realizing self it disappears. Due to oversight a rope appears as a snake and on correcting it, snake does not appear any longer. 7

Light is my very nature and I am nothing else besides that. That light illumines the ego as it illumines the world. 8

Amazingly, this imagined world appears in me due to ignorance, as silver in seashell, a snake in the rope, water in the sunlight. 9

This world is originated from me and gets absorbed in me, like a jug back into clay, a wave into water, and a bracelet into gold.  10

Amazing! Salutations to me who is indestructible and remains even after the destruction of whole world from Brahma down to the grass.  11

Amazing! Salutations to me who is one, who appears with body, neither goes nor come anywhere and pervades all the world.  12

Amazing! Salutations to me who is skilled and there is no one else like him, who without even touching this body, holds all the world. 13

Amazing! Salutations to me who either does not possess anything or possesses anything that could be referred by speech and mind. 14

Knowledge, object of knowledge and the knower, these three do not exist in reality. The flawless self appears as these three due to ignorance. 15

Definitely, duality (distinction) is the fundamental reason of suffering. There is no other remedy for it other than knowing that all that is visible, is unreal, and that I am one, pure consciousness.  16

I am of the nature of light only, due to ignorance I have imagined other attributes in me. By reasoning thus, I exist eternally and without cause.  17

For me there is neither bondage nor liberation. I am peaceful and without support. This world though imagined in me, does not exist in me in reality.  18

Definitely this world along with this body is non-existent. Only pure, conscious self exists. What else is there to be imagined now?  19

The body, heaven and hell, bondage and liberation, and fear, these are all unreal. What is my connection with them who is conscious.  20

Amazingly, I do not see duality in a crowd, it also appear desolate. Now who is there to have an attachment with. 21

I am not the body, nor is the body mine. I am consciousness. My only bondage is the thirst for life.  22

Amazingly, as soon as the mental winds arise in the infinite ocean of myself, many waves of surprising worlds come into existence. 23

As soon as these mental winds subside in the infinite ocean of myself, the world boat of trader-like 'jeeva' gets destroyed as if by misfortune. 24

Amazingly, in the infinite ocean of myself, the waves of life arise, meet, play and disappear naturally.  25

Third Chapter

Ashtavakra says: Know self as indestructible and one. How could a wise man having self-knowledge can like acquiring wealth?  1

Not knowing self leads to attachment in false sense objects just as mistakenly understanding mother of pearl as silver invokes greed. 2

This world originates from self like waves from the sea. Recognizing, "I am That", why run like a poor? 3

After hearing self to be pure, conscious and very beautiful, how can you be attracted to sexual objects and get impure? 4

For a sage who knows himself to be is in all beings and all beings in him, retaining attachment is surprising! 5

For the one aspiring for highest non-dual Lord and fully aware of the meaning of liberation, subjugation to desires is surprising. 6

For a person having reached his last time, incapable of enjoying and knowing it to be enemy of the gained knowledge, it is surprising to be after sexual desires. 7

Surprise, unattached to this and the other world, those who can discriminate between the permanent and the impermanent, and wish to liberate are afraid of liberation. 8

The wise who always see self only, are neither pleased nor get angry whether they are feted or tormented. 9

How can noble men be perturbed by praise or blame who see their bodies alike to others.  10

Devoid of any questions, seeing this world as imagined in Maya, how can one with resolute intelligence be fearful of even the incident death? 11

Who can be compared to the saint, free from desires even in disappointment and satisfied with the knowledge of self? 12

Know this world to be visible due to its very nature, it is non-existent actually. How can a person with resolute intelligence discriminate things as to be taken or to be rejected? 13

One who has given up inner passions, is beyond doubts and is without any desires does not feel pain or pleasure due to random events. 14

Fourth Chapter

Ashtavakra says: The self-aware wise man takes the worldly matter sportively, he just cannot be compared to a deluded person taking burdens of the situations. 1

A yogi feels no joy even after attaining a state for which Indra and all other demigods yearn for. 2

He who has self-knowledge remains untouched by good and bad even internally, as the sky cannot be contaminated by the presence of smoke in it. 3

Who can prevent a great man from living in the present as per his wish as he knows himself as this whole world. 4

From Brahma down to the grass, in all four categories of living creatures, who else can give up desire and aversion except an enlightened man. 5

It is very rare to know Self as One and Lord of the world, and he who knows this does not fear anyone or anything. 6

Fifth Chapter

Ashtavakra says: You are not connected with anything. You are pure. What do you want to renounce? Dissolve this unreal connection and be one with Self. 1

As bubbles rise in the sea, the world originates from non-dual Self. Know this and be one with Self. 2

In spite of being visible from eyes, this world is unreal. You are immaculate and this world does not exist in you like an imagined snake in a rope. Know this and be one with Self. 3

Know yourself equal in pleasure and pain, complete, equal in hope and disappointment, equal in life and death and eternal and be one with Self. 4