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Janak asked: Oh lord, how does one attain to wisdom? How does liberation happen? And how is nonattachment attained? Please tell me this. Ashtavakra replied: Oh beloved, if you want liberation then renounce the passions as poison, and take forgiveness, innocence, compassion, contentment and truth as nectar.
You are neither earth, nor air, nor fire, nor water, nor ether. To attain liberation, know yourself as the witnessing consciousness of all these. If you can separate yourself from the physical body and rest in consciousness, then this very moment you will be happy, at peace, and free of bondage.
You are not a brahmin or other caste, you are not in any of the four stages of life, you are not perceived by the eyes or other senses. Unattached and without form, you are the witness of the whole universe. Know this and be happy. Oh expansive one, religion and atheism, happiness and misery — all are of the mind, they are not for you.
You are not the doer nor the enjoyer. You have always been liberated. We are embarking on a rare journey. Man has many scriptures, but none are comparable to the Gita of Ashtavakra. Before it the Vedas pale, the Upanishads are a mere whisper. Even the Bhagavadgita does not have the majesty found in the Ashtavakra Samhita — it is simply unparalleled. The most important thing is that neither society, nor politics, nor any other institution of human life had any influence on the statements of Ashtavakra.
There are no other statements anywhere that are so pure, transcendental, and beyond time and space. He is more concerned with synthesis than with truth.
It is difficult to find any tradition whose voice is not found in the Gita. It is difficult to find anyone who does not take solace from the Gita. Ashtavakra is not a synthesizer; he is a speaker of truth. He has spoken the truth as it is without any ifs and buts. He is not worried about the listener. The listener may understand, or may not understand — he is not concerned with that.
This kind of purest statement of truth had not happened before and did not happen after. No such tricks are possible with Ashtavakra. With him two plus two is exactly four. He says things as they are, without any sort of compromise. The karma yogi extracts his belief because Krishna has spoken on karma yoga, the yoga of action. The believer in knowledge finds what he wants because Krishna has spoken on knowledge as well. Somewhere Krishna calls devotion the ultimate, somewhere else he calls knowledge the ultimate, again elsewhere he calls karma yoga the ultimate.
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