Ashtavakra (aSTAvakra) (Story From mahabharata)
- aSTAvakra samhitA (gItA) : The Conversation between Ashtavakra and Janaka : ( Links to previous posts)
- Earlier I was intolerant of physical action (kAyakRtya), then of elaborate speeches. Now I am intolerant even of thoughts. Thence I abide thus only.
- The Self is not something that can be seen and I am not interested in sounds and other sensations. So without distraction and with only One foremost in my heart, I abide thus only.
- samAdhi (the highest state of yOga) requires vyavahAra (व्यवहार-conduct/behaviour/effort), that has to attained by those who are distracted (with ideas of self etc). Seeing that this is the rule, I abide thus only.
People such as you and I who are extensively socialized into ideas of me and you and others and duty and right and wrong and good and bad, have been heavily trained to be useful to samAja (society). We are soaked to the gills in samsAra. We therefore defer to practices like aSTAnga yOga which lead us to samAdhi in an effort to clear our heads, become ‘asocial’ beings, cleansed of samsAra. rAjA janaka did not require all this. He wasn’t interested in the offerings of the senses or in activity of mind, body and speech. His heart was focused only on the self and he stayed like that. This is true sannyAsa!
janaka said :
- Oh Brahman! Because there is nothing to accept or reject, there is neither joy nor sorrow, I abide thus.
- As’rama and anAs’rama (the presecribed four stages of life), dhyAna (paying attention), the acceptance and rejection of citta (regulation) – Considering these to be vikalpa (false notions) - I abide thus only.
- Just as ignorance is the cause of observing (doing) karma (karma anuSTAnam), so also ignorance is the cause of not observing (doing) karma. Knowing this fully well, I abide thus only.
- Some of the ancient indian philosophies were against doing karma as enjoined in the vEdAs. (The karmakAnDa of the vEdAs is explained in Jaimini’s pUrva mImAmsa school.)
- Some of them clearly were for doing karma.
- Some were for doing karma to get what you needed – sons, wealth, victory, knowledge, prosperity, rains and all ‘good things’.
- Some were for doing karma for the sake of karma alone and not wishing for anything in return – ie renouncing karmaphala.
- janaka said that Actively Electing to do vEdOkta karma or Rejecting to do it – both spring from ignorance.
- My guruji’s guriji (padmanAbha AitAL nee’ anAkAma mAra) was a great vEdic scholar and practioner. He believed that everyone must do karma as perfectly and as simply as possible. He was for total simplicity and low cost but exact conformance to kalpa. He was also very fond of aSTAvakra gIta as vivEkAnanda was. As he progressed through his practice he realised that however hard one tried one could not do perfect karma – in practice some dOSAs (flaw) would sneak into it though someone’s agency or the other. He took sannyAsa towards the end of his life. kundA dEvI has also told me that she is contemplating formal sannyAsa at some point in the future.
janaka said :
- Thinking about the unthinkable is a form of thought itself. (Since thought is an activity of the brain, it is a body function). Therefore having given up that bhAvana, idea I abide thus only.
- A person who does thus is fulfilled. A person who is like this by nature is fulfilled.