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Ashtavakra Gita: The Heart of Awareness
A bilingual edition in Sanskrit and English

Ashtavakra Gita

Attributed to Aṣṭāvakra. Transcribed and Translated by John Richards.

First edition, 2019. Dundee: Evertype. ISBN 978-1-78201-261-0 (paperback), price: €13.95, £11.95, $16.95.

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Also available in a bilingual Sanskrit and Irish edition!

niḥsaṃgo niṣkriyo’si tvaṃ svaprakāśo niraṃjanaḥ |
ayameva hi te bandhaḥ samādhimanutiṣṭhati ‖ 1-15 ‖
  1.15. You are really unbound and actionless, self-illuminating and spotless already. The cause of your bondage is that you are still resorting to stilling the mind.
nirapekṣo nirvikāro nirbharaḥ śītalāśayaḥ |
agādhabuddhirakṣubdho bhava cinmātravāsanaḥ ‖ 1-17 ‖
  1.17. You are unconditioned and changeless, formless and immovable, unfathomable awareness and unperturbable, so hold to nothing but consciousness.
na te saṃgo’sti kenāpi kiṃ śuddhastyaktumicchasi |
saṃghātavilayaṃ kurvannevameva layaṃ vraja ‖ 5-1 ‖
  5.1. You are not bound by anything. What does a pure person like you need to renounce? Putting the complex organism to rest, you can go to your rest.

The Ashtavakra Gita, or the Ashtavakra Samhita as it is sometimes called, is a very ancient Sanskrit text. Nothing seems to be known about the author, though tradition ascribes it to the sage Ashtavakra; hence the name.

There is little doubt though that it is very old, probably dating back to the days of the classic Vedanta period. The Sanskrit style and the doctrine expressed would seem to warrant this assessment.

The work was known, appreciated and quoted by Ramakrishna and his disciple Vivekananda, as well as by Ramana Maharshi, while Radha­krishnan always refers to it with great respect. Apart from that the work speaks for itself. It presents the traditional teachings of Advaita Vedanta with a clarity and power very rarely matched.

The Reverend John Henry Richards, MA, BD, was an Anglican priest born in 1934 who was ordained a deacon in Llandaff in 1977 and a priest there in 1978. He served in Maesteg, Cardiff, Penmark, and Stackpile Elidor until his retire­ment in 1999, and died in 2017. He is known for his English trans­lations of the Ashtavakra Gita, the Dhamma­pada, and the Viveka­chuda­mani, which he put in the public domain and distributed on the Internet in 1994. The text used here is the one revised in 1996.

HTML Michael Everson, Evertype, 19A Corso Street, DD2 1DR, Scotland, 2019-12-06

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