Astavakra Gita

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Ashtavakra Samhita
classes by Swami Probuddhananda
Part 1
In the first chapter of the Ashtavakra Gita, Ashtavakra is talking about Self-contemplation. Before realization, a man has to always perceive within himself that he is the Self. And when this perception is conformed in his mind that yes, he is the Self. Then only this Self-knowledge is manifested to him. So the first work of an enlightened soul is always to create this feelings within a spiritual aspirant that whatever you have thought about yourself, you are not that. In the Sankaracharya work (nirvansakatam) he said 'mano buddha ahankrara cittani nahang', this means 'I am not the mind, I am not the intelect, not the ego, not the body'. What I am? I am the Self 'Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham' means 'I am knowledge, I am bliss'. Is not that knowledge is coming to me, I am that knowledge, and when I know that I am this knowledge, I am not darkness, but I am light. When this knowledge is totally manifested in me then only I feel the Bliss, and that is why is 'Chidananda rupa' (I am the form of knowledge and Bliss), 'I am Shiva, I am Shiva' (Shivoham, Shivoham). Shiva is considered as the Lord of Knowledge, so here it says 'You are Lord Shiva'. So everytime the same words, only to make this perception very firm in the mind, that 'you are not this', this is called neti neti. Whatever is coming to our mind, the thoughts coming to our mind, we get involved with those thoughts and we become that thoughts. If the thoughts are worldly we become worldly, if the thoughts are of our body we become that body, if the thoughts are of our mind we become that mind. We are becoming world means 'me' and 'world' are different. When I am getting involved with my thoughts then only I am becoming thought, that means I am always separated from my thought, but I am not conscious about mySelf, I am conscious about my thought. This are my thoughts, this is my body, this is my mind, this is my ego, but where is that 'me'? I don't know. I see ego, mind, body, world, but who is the observer, who is seeing this? We don't find him. We say this body is me, this is this, but we don't find that person who is actually the seer. Now also I am that Brahman, even now I am that Self though I am not conscious about that Self. Though I do not know what the Self is, still I am that Self, because I am using this words 'my mind' 'my thoughts', means mind is different from me, thoughts are different from me.'My shoes, my shirt', we don't say that 'I am shoe' or 'I am clothes', no, this is 'my' clothes' this is 'my thought' but whenever we think that this thought is me, then the problem starts. Identifying the thought with my Self is the root cause of all problems. The thought doesn't create any problem, the thoughts are thoughts. But whenever I identify those thoughts as 'me', then only pressure starts building up on me, then only the problem starts. So here it says 'don't get involved with the thoughts' let it be where it is, don't get involved, how not to get involved? Practice observing the thoughts from outside. Something is happening to me and my mind is restless, but 'my mind is restless' I am not restless, I am feeling that restlessness. Because I am thinking this mind to be true, that is why this restlessness is also creating some effect in me. If I think that restlessness is of the mind, it has nothing to be with me, I will not get affected, practice this. When I came to Bhagavan, sometimes we went to play and we had some injuries, Bhagavan used to say 'observe the pain'. When we observed the pain we saw the pain is not there. Means I am never attached with this pain. Unconsciously we get always attached to everything. But Bhagavan said 'observe the pain'. There was a huge pain sometimes in my legs when we used to play cricket, but He said 'observe the pain'. When we used to observe the pain, then we saw, the pain and me are different, and the pain is not hurting; it is there, but is not affecting me. In the same way, when there is a pain in your mind, there is a suffering in your mind, when you are frustrated or depressed, observe the depression, how it is. When you are scared, observe the fear, you will see there is nothing to fear about, you will see this are all very far away from you, it has got no relation with you. Vedanta is not a philosophy, is a way of live, a way of a better life, and to come to this point we have to practice a lot, so a master will always tell you to practice it. Always be with your Self. Always be with your thoughts, till you attain perfection always be in this, don't get out of this, why? Because at one time, when you become fully perfect in this, when you know your Self, all your problems for the rest of your life will be solved, not only yours, you can solve the problems of others also with this knowledge. So one person who gets enlightened actually gives light to many other people. So a master always gives stress on this 'stay there, stay there, don't move, at that point' what is the point? The point is you yourself, observe yourself, observe your thoughts, be conscious about yourself, "I am the seer, I am not the Seen. I am not the object, I am not the known; I am the knower". Everything is a passing phenomena, everything is coming and going, days, nights, clouds, seasons, this world is also a passing phenomenon is not going to stay. The things that makes are happy now will not going to stay, sadness will come, this is the law of nature. How to get out of it? Always try to get detached of this, when you get detached of the happiness and sadness of this world you will see that you are always blissful, you can see this as a cinema, a movie is going on and you are just watching it, sometimes you are watching sometimes there is no movie, you are free. So this is the thing, every time, the master, scriptures, guru or enlightened will always try to makes firm on this contemplation that you are not the body, you are not the mind, nor the intellect, not the ego. This are all thoughts, ego, mind, your body is also a thought, this consciousness of the body is also a thought, body is nothing but our gross mind, my gross body is nothing but the gross manifestation of my mind. If you can make my mind pure you will see your body also becomes pure. When you meditate and the meditation is very good, you will see that the whole body is like you have just taken a shower, it becomes fresh, how? This body that wee see is gross mind. That is why that when we meditate or we have very big spiritual realizations we will see that the whole body is fresh, there is light in the body, it becomes beautiful, the aura is different. Everything depends upon your own contemplation about yourself. There is no one to blame. There is no one there to create any sufferings, no one there to create any problems to you. You are the root cause of your own problems, Swami Vivekananda said 'I am my immoderate past, nobody but me to blame' this is Vedanta. There is nobody in this world who is actually creating problems, if someone has to be blamed, that person is me. I am my Immoderate past, nobody but me to blame. How to go beyond this, it is only by actual Self contemplation.