The Ashtavakra Gita is an amazing book. It is perhaps written some time later than the more famous Bhagavad Gita. Till a year the Bhagavad Gita was my favourite book but now my preference has shifted to the Ashtavakra Gita.
Unlike the Bhagavad Gita which mixes and synthesizes different schools of thought laying it more open to interpretations and misinterpretations, the Ashtavakra Gita has an uncompromising language. It does not waste time in laying down preliminaries. In fact it does not mention any morality or duties and therefore, is seen by commentators as ‘godless’. Not mincing words, it comes out with it’s central message without playing to the gallery.
While different people may find a different central message in the Ashtavakra Gita, for me it’s central message is the role of action and time to attain freedom and enlightenment. Like J Krishnamurti, I find Ashtavakra Gita bold and uncompromising in the fact that no action can lead to enlightenment because all action is born in the field of time. It is only an insight into the nature of time that takes one to stillness. In that state of stillness, which Krishnamurti calls passive awareness or attention, is there cessation of conflict. Enlightenment or the ending of the “I” has a chance only in a mind which has fallen silent naturally by an insight into the nature of time. Such a mind, seeing that it can do nothing, falls effortlessly into a state of awareness and stillness.
All striving for enlightenment is the very denial of enlightenment. The very desire for enlightenment arises from a perceived sense of limitation. It is this sense that is the basis of all desires and fears, which starts the whole chain of psychological becoming. Any action born from this sense of limitation, be it meditation, prayer or reading scriptures cannot lead to enlightenment because limitation can never know freedom. The Ashtavakra Gita constantly harps on the uselessness of all motivated activity. There is great fear associated with non-action.
So I thought it is time to give laziness it’s due by quoting some striking verses from the Ashtavakra Gita 🙂
This laziness is of course not to be confused with indolence. This is enlightened laziness, which is arrived at, by understanding the nature of fear, desire and time. “Striving is the root of sorrow“, declares the Ashtavakra Gita. It goes on to add further, “With the understanding of this teaching, Will you find freedom“
Very reminiscent of the Buddha isn’t it? 🙂
The Ashtavakra Gita, Chapter 16.1 to 16.4
My child, 1
You may read or discuss scripture
As much as you like.
But until you forget everything,
You will never live in your heart.
You are wise. 2
You play and work and meditate.
But still your mind desires
That which is beyond everything,
Where all desires vanish.
Striving is the root of sorrow. 3
But who understands this?
Only when you are blessed
With the understanding of this teaching
Will you find freedom.
Who is lazier than the master? 4
He has trouble even blinking!
But only he is happy.
No one else!
The translation of the verses of Ashtavakra Gita by Thomas Byron, found at http://bhagavan-ramana.org/ashtavakragita2.html
The picture is taken from http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/94/2f/3e/942f3ec261f4fe6384eacca3bc9a4440.jpg