Ashtavakra Samhita, Chapter 4, Verse 06

Dheera, the Stable Minded Seer

Dheera, the Stable Minded Seer

Translation and Commentary by Jayaram V

Chapter-Index | Verse Index

Verse 06

aatmaanamadvayam kashchijjaanaati jagadeeshvaram
yad vetti tatsa kurute na bhayam tasya kutrachit.h


Rare is the one who knows the Self to be nondual and the lord of the universe. He who knows thus engages in actions anywhere (he deems fit) without any fear.


Nonduality and freedom of action

The self-realized yogi renounces the world and desire for things and attraction and aversion to the dualities of life due to his purified intelligence. With discerning wisdom, he engages in right and righteous actions. Although he leads a life of renunciation, he does not renounce actions, since he has to engage in spiritual practice to pursue his goal of final liberation.

He practices karma sanyasa yoga, renouncing the desire for the fruit of his actions and offering it to the Self, seeing him everywhere as the lord of the universe and the source and cause of all. He not only renounces desires and attachments but also doership and ownership since he truly believes the Self to be everywhere and in everything as the indisputable, indivisible, nondual, eternal, indestructible, universal, absolute and ultimate reality and support.

The yogi does not perceive himself to be different from the Self. He dissolves his ego and all the identities which normal people cultivate in their lives in the pursuit of worldly goals to extend their presence, relate to things and become involved with them. Unlike others, who draw out their senses to enjoy the things of the world and strengthen their egos, he restrains and withdraws them into himself to contemplates upon the Self, until he becomes completely dissolved in it.

Worldly people lead egocentric lives. Spiritual people lead divine centered lives. They soak their consciousness with the thoughts of God or Self. It eventually dissolves all their physical and mental impurities and barriers, resulting in stateless and seedless self-absorption (nirvikalpa samadhi), in which all traces of separation, feelings, awareness, duality, division, distance, time, space and movement disappear, leaving the Self alone in its pristine glory.

Nonduality is not just a spiritual philosophy. Modern science affirms it by suggesting that the whole universe is built upon the same principles of quantum physics and everything is made up of a few basic sub atomic particles that are infused with the same energy, which undergoes transformation to manifest all the diversity and duality. Despite the diversity that is visible to us, at the quantum level, the universe seems to be made up of the same building blocks.

The scientific theories of creation also allude to the possibility that the whole universe might have emanated from a single source, probably a blackhole, which contained in itself all the materiality of a pervasive universe in a highly compressed form. Thus, even from the scientific point of view we are deeply connected with the universe. We may be physically separate, but in essence we contain the same atoms and subatomic particles.

Unknown to us, every moment billions of subatomic particles pierce our bodies, and billions of others escape from us and enter other things and beings. With each breath, we breath in zillions of quanta and breath out zillion others. We live inside the universe, we breathe in the universe, we breathe into universe and we are forever connected with it.

Even after we die, the atoms that form part of bodies continue to exist in zillion other bodies and things. Although outwardly we have distinct identities and seem to exist as individual entities, we are never separate from the universe. There is an invisible connection that structurally and functionally keeps us in union with the universe. Our scriptures suggest that even at the level of consciousness, we have the same invisible connection with the pure consciousness of the universal God.

The yogi does not bother much about the physical connection with the world or the subatomic construction of his body. It is not even relevant to his spirituality or liberation. For him, the Self alone is true. Everything else is an illusion, including his own mind and body, name and form and the individuality that arise from them. He renounces them to stabilize his mind in the contemplation of the Self to achieve the final union.

By that, he becomes a friend of the Self, and eventually one with the Self, dissolving all notions of separation and alienation. When he is engaged in actions, he sees nothing but the Self. Since, the Self is pure and untouched by the evils of the world and since he knows that it is the Self and Self only which is performing the actions or dealing with the world, he is not afraid to engage in any actions.

Fear is a predominant factor in our lives. It limits our freedom as well as our thinking and behavior. Fear arises when you see yourself as a distinct individual who is pitted against others and the world. When you lose that distinction and see the Self everywhere and in everything, that fear automatically disappears. The self-realized yogi is liberated not only from the cycle of births and deaths but also from the fear of death and all other fears. As he sees the same Self everywhere and in everything, he is also not bound by time and space. Therefore, he engages in actions wherever he deems fit.

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