Ashtavakra Samhita, Chapter 2
The Wonder That is Self

Ashtavakra and King Janaka

Translation and Commentary by Jayaram V

The second chapter expresses the joy of Self-realization (ascharyam) and the unity of the Self. It describes creation as a projection or a formation of the Self. It contains 25 verses. The following are the links to each verse. Since this is an ongoing work on the translation and commentary of the Ashtavakra Samhita, will continue to update our progress until the last chapter.


Verse 1: Janaka said, Oh I have become aware that I am without blemish, peaceful, and beyond Nature. Until this time, I was troubled by delusion. Commentary

Verse 2: Just as I alone illuminate this body so do I the whole universe. Therefore, the whole universe is mine, or nothing is. Commentary

Verse 3: Oh, having renounced the body together with the universe, I now perceive the Supreme Self with the discernment of my stable intelligence. Commentary

Verse 4: Just as the waves, the foam and the bubbles that are not different from the water, so does the universe that emanate from the Self is not different from the Self. Commentary

Verse 5: Just as upon close examination the cloth is found to be made up of the cotton thread only you will find upon close examination that this universe is made up of the Self only. Commentary

Verse 6: Just as the sugar which is produced by the sugarcane juice is wholly permeated by that juice so is the whole universe which is created in me is permeated by me uninterruptedly. Commentary

Verse 7: The world is reflected in the ignorance of the Self, but verily does not reflect in the knowledge of the Self, just as the snake is reflected in the ignorance of the rope and does not reflect in the knowledge of it. Commentary

Verse 8: Light is my true nature. I am not different from it or other than it. When this universe shines, then it is I who only shines. Commentary

Verse 9: Oh, the universe shines in me as an alternative due to ignorance just as silver in the mother of pearl, snake in the rope, and water in the sunlight. Commentary

Verse 10: The universe that has emanated from me will become dissolved in me just as the pot into the clay, the wave into water and the bracelet into gold. Commentary

Verse 11: Oh, my Self! Salutations to my Self, who is indestructible and remains firmly established even when the whole world, from Brahma and the life down to a clod of grass, is destroyed. Commentary

Verse 12: Oh, my Self! Salutations to my Self. I am One even with the body, neither going nor coming anywhere, but established pervading the whole universe. Commentary

Verse 13: Oh my Self! Salutations to my Self. There is no one as skillful as I, who am steadily holding the universe without touching it with the body. Commentary

Verse 14: You have been caught for long in the bonds of body love, son. Knowing the Self by cutting that (the attachment) with the sword of knowledge, you will be happy. Commentary

Verse 15: Knowledge, the knowable, and the knower, these three do not exist in reality. I am that spotless Self in which this triad appears because of ignorance. Commentary

Verse 16: Oh, the duality is the root cause of sorrow. For that there is no better remedy except the realization that all that is seen is unreal, and that I am the one, pure, blissful consciousness. Commentary

Verse 17: I am pure intelligence. Because of ignorance I have created attributes for myself. By constantly reflecting upon this I establish myself in the formless state of self-absorption. Commentary

Verse 18: I have neither bondage nor liberation. Without the support, my illusion has subsided. Oh, the universe is established in me, but truly it does not exist in me. Commentary

Verse 19: This body together with the universe is nothing. This is certain. The self is pure consciousness only. Therefore, now why to seek the imaginary ones? Commentary

Verse 20: The body, heaven and hell, bondage and liberation, so also fear all this is mere formation. What purpose they serve me who is pure consciousness? Commentary

Verse 21: Oh, I do not see any duality in the midst of people. Then, what do I have to do with attachments that grow (or become) like a forest? Commentary

Verse 22: I am not the body, nor do I possess the body. I am also not a jiva, the living being. I am verily consciousness only. Longing for life, surely this one alone was the cause of my bondage. Commentary

Verse 23: Oh, in the limitless great ocean of myself by the winds of consciousness are produced instantly waves of wonderful worlds. Commentary

Verse 24: In the limitless great ocean of myself as the winds of consciousness subside, the moving boat of the miserable jiva, the trader, perishes. Commentary

Verse 25: It is incredible that in the infinite ocean of myself waves of beings arise, fight, play and disappear according to their nature. Commentary

Bhagavadgita Translation and Commentary by Jayaram V Avaialbe in USA/UK/DE/FR/ES/IT/NL/PL/SC/JP/CA/AU

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