A Conversation with Ashtavakra Pt.45

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18:92 – Where is careless behavior, where is restraint, and where is determination of truth for the yogi who has obtained the goal and who is the embodiment of guileless sincerity?

There’s no careless behavior or restraint from careless behavior for one who’s negated their identification with the doer, the body-mind.  There’s no determination of truth for the yogi (here meaning a self-realized person) who’s already seen firsthand, “I am the self.”  Whether such a yogi is the embodiment of guileless sincerity or not depends entirely on the condition of their mind.  But this is of no real consequence because of the aforementioned dis-identification with their body-mind.     

18:93 – How and to whom can be described what is experienced within by one who is desireless, whose sorrow is destroyed, and who is contented with repose in the self?

The point here is that to understand what enlightenment is like, you have to understand for yourself that you are the self.  Without that, the teaching will be a mere collection of words that point to what appears to be an ungraspable, abstract notion, namely, “I am the limitless self, free of desire and sorrow.”  At statement like that makes no sense until, through your own inquiry, you see that it’s true.    

18:94 – Not asleep even in the sleep state, not dreaming even in the dream state and not awake even in the waking state, the steadfast one is contented in all states.
18:95 – The person of knowledge is devoid of thought, even when engaged in thought, devoid of the sense-organs while having them, devoid of intelligence even though endowed with it, devoid of the sense of ego, even though possessed of it.
18:96 – The person of knowledge is neither happy nor miserable, neither attached nor unattached, neither liberated nor an aspirant for liberation—they are neither this nor that. 
18:97 – The blessed one is not distracted even in distraction, not meditative even in meditation, not dull even in a state of dullness and he is not learned even though possessed of learning.

Verses 94-97 are essentially saying the same thing: the one with self-knowledge knows that as the self, they’re free at all times and all places from any conceivable state of mind or body.  

Pay special attention to verse 95.  It clearly states that even though the enlightened person has an ego, they’re devoid of a sense of ego.  This means they don’t identify with the ego even though it continues to exist after enlightenment.  So anyone out there who thinks enlightenment is a literal destruction of the ego, take note and save yourself the unnecessary frustration of trying to destroy a figment of your imagination that 1) doesn’t belong to you and 2) has no real existence.  Trying to kill the ego is as pointless as killing a monster in a dream:  it’s not there in the first place so how can you really kill it?  Instead wake up and realize the ego has no reality, just a like a dream monster, and leave it be.        

18:98 – The liberated one who abides in the self under all conditions is the same everywhere and free from craving.  They are free from the idea of what is to be done or not done and they do not reflect on what they’ve done or not done. 

This is another one of those verses that describes the hypothetical gold standard of behavior for an enlightened person.  It’s a great goal to strive for if you wish, but wouldn’t it be better to just, as the verse says, “abide in the self under all conditions (identify with the self)” and accept the body-mind as it is?  Considering the quest for enlightenment is generally motivated by dissatisfaction with the shortcomings and limitations of the body-mind, I’d say yes.  Because if you don’t, at what point does the quest end?  At what point do you stop trying to fix the illusory body-mind and just be happy with the fact that you’re the perfect, limitless self?    

18:99 – Praised, the wise one does not feel pleased.  Blamed, they do not feel annoyed. They neither rejoice in life nor fear death.

To feel pleased when complimented or annoyed when blamed is a totally normal reaction.  But it’s misguided seeing as the body-mind (to whom the praise or blame belong) has absolutely nothing to do with you, the self.  It’s the same as feeling pleased or annoyed when someone compliments or blames your dog (or child, or house, or job or car etc.) when in reality their behavior or attributes have nothing to do with you. 

18:100 – The tranquil-minded one seeks neither the crowded place nor the wilderness.  They remain the same under any conditions and in any place.

Realize you’re the self.  Let the illusory body-mind live as it sees fit.  End of story.   

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