Translated and Annotated by Swami Ashokananda
Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Madras, Third Edition, 1988
(A portion of the Foreword; all verses of Chapter One except for the Sanskrit original)
from the Foreword:
The Avadhuta Gita is a text of Vedanta representing extreme Advaita or Nondualism. It is ascribed to Dattatreya, who is looked upon as an Incarnation of God. Unfortunately we possess no historical data concerning when or where he was born, how long he lived, or how he arrived at the knowledge disclosed in the text.
Avadhuta means a liberated soul, one who has "passed away from" or "shaken off" all worldly attachments and cares and has attained a spiritual state equivalent to the existence of God. Though avadhuta naturally implies renunciation, it includes an additional and yet higher state which is neither attachment nor detachment but beyond both. An avadhuta feels no need of observing any rules, either secular or religious. He seeks nothing, avoids nothing. He has neither knowledge nor ignorance. Having realized that he is the infinite Self, he lives in that vivid realization.
Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest Advaitans of all time, often quoted from this Gita. He once said, "Men like the one who wrote this Song keep religion alive. They have actually realized; they care for nothing, feel nothing done to the body, care not for heat, cold, danger, or anything. They sit still, enjoying the bliss of Atman, and though red-hot coals burn the body, they feel them not."
1. Through the grace of God alone, the desire for nonduality arises in wise men to save them from great fear.
2. How shall I salute the formless Being, indivisible, auspicious, and immutable, who fills all this with His Self and also fills the self with His Self?
3. The universe composed of the five elements is like water in a mirage. Oh, to whom shall I make obeisance -- I who am one and taintless?
4. All is verily the absolute Self. Distinction and nondistinction do not exist. How can I say, "It exists; it does not exist"? I am filled with wonder!
5. The essence and the whole of Vedanta is this Knowledge, this supreme Knowledge: that I am by nature the formless, all-pervasive Self.
6. There is no doubt that I am that God who is the Self of all, pure, indivisible, like the sky, naturally stainless.
7. I indeed am immutable and infinite and of the form of pure Intelligence. I do not know how or in relation to whom Joy and sorrow exist.
8. I have no mental activity, good or bad; I have no bodily function, good or bad; I have no verbal action, good or bad. I am the nectar of Knowledge, beyond the senses, pure.
9. The mind indeed is of the from of space. The mind indeed is omnifaced. The mind is the past. The mind is all. But in reality there is no mind.
10. I, the One only, am all this, beyond space and continuous. How can I see the Self as visible or hidden?
11. Thus you are One. Why then do you not understand that you are the unchangeable One, equally perceived in all? O mighty One, how can you, who are ever-shining, unrestricted, think of day and night?
12. Know the Self always to be everywhere, one and unintercepted. I am the meditator and the highest object of meditation. Why do you divide the indivisible?
13. You are not born nor do you die. At no time do you have a body. The scripture declares in many different ways the well-known dictum: "All is Brahman."
14. You are He who is exterior and interior. You are the auspicious One existing everywhere at all times. Why are you running hither and thither deluded, like an unclean spirit?
15. Union and separation exist in regard neither to you nor to me.There is no you, no me, nor is there this universe. All is verily the Self alone.
16. You do not belong to that which is composed of the five objects of sense, such as sound; nor does that belong to you. You indeed are the supreme Reality. Why then do you suffer?
17. For you there is no birth or death, for you there is mind, for you there is no bondage or liberation, no good or evil. Why do you shed tears, my child? Neither you nor I have name and form.
18. O mind, why do you wander about deluded, like an unclean spirit? Behold the Self indivisible. Be happy through renunciation of attachment.
19. You verily are Truth, devoid of change, motionless, one, of the nature of freedom. You have neither attachment nor aversion. Why do you suffer, seeking the objects of desires?
20. All the scriptures say that the Truth is without attributes, pure, immutable, bodiless, and existing equally everywhere. Know me to be That. There is not the least doubt about it.
21. Know that which has form to be false, that which is formless to be eternal. Through the instruction of this truth there is no longer rebirth into this world.
22. Sages say that Reality is one only and the same. And through renunciation of attachment, the mind, which is one and many, ceases to exist.
23. If it is of the nature of the not-Self, how can there be samadhi (superconscious realization)? If it is of the nature of the Self, how can there be samadhi? If it is both "is" and "is not", how can there be samadhi? If all is one and of the nature of freedom, how can there be samadhi?
24. You are pure homogeneous Reality, disembodied, unborn, and immutable. Why do you think of yourself as "I know it here" or as "I do not know"?
25. By such sentences as "That thou art," you own Self is affirmed. Of that which is untrue and composed of the five elements the Sruti says, "Not this, not this."
26. As the self is filled by the Self, so is all filled continously by you. There is no meditator or meditation. Why does your mind meditate shamelessly?
27. I do not know the Supreme; how shall I speak of Him? I do not know the Supreme; how shall I worship Him? If I am the supreme One, who is the highest Truth, who is homogeneous Being and like unto space, how then shall I speak of Him and worship Him?
28. The principle of ego is not the Truth, which is homogeneous, which is free from the cause of superimposition and distinctions of perceived and perceiver. How can the ego be That which is aware of Itself?
29. There is no substance whatever which is by nature unlimited. There is no substance whatever which is of the nature of Reality. The very Self is the supreme Truth. There is neither injury nor noninjury of It.
30. You are the homogeneous Reality; you are pure, bodiless, birthless, and imperishable. Why then do you have any delusion about the Self? Again, why am I myself deluded?
31. When the pot is broken, the space within it is absorbed in the infinite space and becomes undifferentiated. When the mind becomes pure, I do not perceive any difference between the mind and the supreme Being.
32. There is no pot; there is no pot's interior space. Neither is there an individual soul nor the form of an individual soul. Know the absolute Brahman, devoid of knowable and knower.
33. Know me to be that Self who is everything and everywhere at all times, who is eternal, steady, the All, the nonexistent, and the Existent. Have no doubt.
34. There are no Vedas, no worlds, no gods, no sacrifices. There is certainly no caste, no stage in life, no family, no birth. There is neither the path of smoke nor the path of light. There is only the highest Truth, the homogeneous Brahman.
35. If you are free of the pervaded and the pervader, if you are one and fulfilled, how can you think of yourself as directly perceptible by the senses or beyond the range of the senses?
36. Some seek nonduality, others duality. They do not know the Truth, which is the same at all times and everywhere, which is devoid of both duality and nonduality.
37. How can they describe the Truth, which is beyond the mind and words, which is devoid of white and other colours, of sound and other qualities?
38. When all these appear to you as false, when the body and so on appear to you like space, then you know Brahman truly, then for you there is no dual series.
39. Even my natural self appears to me as non-distinct from the Supreme Self; it appears to be one and like space. How can there be meditator and meditation?
40. What I do, what I eat, what I sacrifice, what I give -- all this is not mine in the least. I am pure, unborn, undecaying.
41. Know all this universe to be formless. Know all this universe to be without change. Know all this universe to be of purified body. Know all this universe to be of the nature of the Absolute.
42. You are verily the Truth. There is no doubt about it -- otherwise, what do I know? Why do you consider the Self, which is perceptible to Itself, as imperceptible?
43. My child, how can there be illusion and nonillusion, shadow and lack of shadow? All this is one Truth, all this is of the nature of space and without taint.
44. I am free in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end. I am never bound. This is my sure knowledge -- that I am naturally spotless and pure.
45. The whole universe, beginning with the principle of cosmic intelligence, is not in the least manifest to me. All is indeed Brahman alone. How can there be any existence in caste or stage of life for me?
46. I know that all, in every way, is the one indivisible "I" which is self-sustained and full, while the five elements, beginning with ether, are empty.
47. The Self is neither eunuch, man, nor woman: it is neither idea nor imagination. How can you think the Self to be full of joy or joyless?
48. The Self certainly does not become pure through the practice of six-limbed yoga. It certainly is not purified by the destruction of the mind. It certainly is not made pure by the instructions of the teacher. It is Itself the Truth, It is Itself the illumined One.
49. There is no body made up of five elements; nor is there anyone who is disembodied. All is verily the Self alone. How can there be the three states and the fourth.
50. I am not bound, I am not, indeed, liberated, and I am not different from Brahman. Neither doer nor enjoyer, I am devoid of the distinctions of the pervaded and the pervader.
51. As water, when water has been poured into water, has no distinctions, so purusa and prakriti appear nondifferent to me.
52. If indeed you are never bound or liberated, how then can you think yourself with form or as formless?
53. I know your supreme Form to be directly perceivable, like the sky. I know your lower form to be as water in a mirage.
54. I have neither teacher nor instruction, limiting adjunct nor activity. Know that I am by nature pure, bodiless, like the sky.
55. You are pure, you are without a body, your mind is not higher than the highest. You need not be ashamed to say, "I am the Self, the supreme Truth."
56. Why are you weeping, O mind? Do you, the Self, be the Self by means of the Self. Drink, my child, the supreme nectar of Nonduality, transcending all divisions.
57. There is neither knowledge nor ignorance nor knowledge combined with ignorance. He who has always such knowledge is himself Knowledge. It is never otherwise.
58. There is no need of knowledge, reasoning, time, space, instruction from a teacher, or attainment of samadhi. I am naturally the perfect Consciousness, the Real, like the sky, spontaneous and steady.
59. I was not born nor have I death. I have no action, good or evil. I am Brahman, stainless, without qualities. How can there be bondage or liberation for me?
60. If God pervades all, if God is immovable, full, undivided, then I see no division. How can He have exterior or interior?
61. The whole universe shines undivided and unbroken. Oh, the maya, the great delusion -- the imagination of duality and nonduality!
62. Always "not this, not this" to both the formless and the formed. Only the Absolute exists, transcending difference and nondifference.
63. You have no mother, no father, no wife, no son, no relative, no friend. You have no likes or dislikes. Why is this anguish in your mind?
64. O mind, for you there is no day or night, rising or setting. How can the wise imagine an embodied state for the bodiless?
65. The Self is neither divided nor undivided, nor has It sadness, happiness, and the like, nor is It all or less than all. Know the Self to be immutable.
66. I am not the doer or enjoyer. Work I have none, nor or formerly. I have no body, nor am I bodiless. How can I have or not have a sense of "my-ness"?
67. I have no fault such as passion and the like, nor have I any sorrow arising from the body. Know me to be the one Self, vast and like the sky.
68. Friend mind, of what use is much vain talk? Friend mind, all this is mere conjecture. I have told you that which is the essence: you indeed are the Truth, like the sky.
69. In whatever place yogis die, in whatever state, there they dissolve, as the space of a jar dissolves into the sky.
70. Giving up the body in a holy place or in the house of a candala, the yogi, even if he has lost consciousness, becomes identified with the Absolute as soon as he is free of the body.
71. The yogis consider duty in life, pursuit of wealth, enjoyment of love, liberation, and everything movable or immovable such as man and so on to be a mirage.
72. This is my certain perception: I neither perform nor enjoy past action, future action, or present action.
73. The avadhuta, alone, pure in evenness of feeling, abides happy in an empty dwelling place. Having renounced all, he moves about naked. He perceives the Absolute, the All, within himself.
74. Where there are neither the three states of consciousness nor the fouth, there one attains the Absolute in the Self. How is it possible to be bound or free where there is neither virtue nor vice?
75. The avadhuta never knows any mantra in Vedic metre nor any tantra. This is the supreme utterance of the avadhuta, purified by meditation and merged in the sameness of infinite Being.
76. There exists neither complete void nor voidlessness, neither truth nor untruth. The avadhuta, having realized the truths of the scriptures, has uttered this spontaneously from his own nature.
There are eight Chapters in the Avadhuta Gita and a total of 272 verses. The Wild Song of Standing Free was composed with meditation upon each verse of the Avadhuta Gita.