A Conversation with Ashtavakra Pt.40

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18:67 – Glorious is one free from all desires, who is the embodiment of the bliss which is their nature, and who is spontaneously absorbed in the unconditioned self.

Such a person would indeed be glorious.  But no one who’s truly enlightened would ever claim to be such a person.  Why? Because they know that as the self, they’re never a person. 

No one can actually be absorbed in the self because everyone—whether they know it or not—already is the self, the same way that a clay pot can’t be absorbed into clay because it’s already clay.      

18:68 – In short, the great-souled one who has realized the truth is free from the desire for enjoyment and liberation and is devoid of all attachment at all times and in all places.

The great-souled one (self-realized person) is free from the desire for enjoyment—even if their mind isn’t—because the self is free from the mind, the seat of desire.  They don’t seek liberation because they know that they were never bound in the first place.  They have no attachment because the self is always unattached, even when the mind is.     

18:69 – What remains to be done by one who is pure consciousness?  They have renounced phenomenal existence which is merely name (and form). 

What remains to be done when you know you’re pure consciousness and not the doer, the body-mind?  Nothing.  Does that mean the body-mind will do nothing? No.  But the self, pure consciousness, never acts. 

18:70 – The pure one knows for certain that this universe is the product of illusion and that nothing exists. The imperceptible self is revealed to them and they naturally enjoy peace. 

The universe doesn’t actually exist because it’s an illusion, the same way that water doesn’t actually exist in a desert mirage.  You experience the universe, yes, but it’s really just consciousness-existence being mistaken for something it’s not (the world), similar to the way that light reflecting off of sand is mistaken for water.  

The self is never literally revealed to you because, as the verse points out, it’s imperceptible.  That means it can’t be an object of your experience.  It’s only ‘revealed’ to you through the understanding, “I am the self” which, ironically, is an object of your experience.     

18:71 – Rule of conduct, dispassion, renunciation and restraint of the senses—what are these to one who is of the nature of pure effulgence and who does not perceive any objective reality?

You continue to perceive objective reality (the world) when you get enlightened but you no longer believe that it’s real.  Because conduct, dispassion etc. are parts of the unreal world that have no effect on the self whatsoever, then what value can they truly have?

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