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Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre U.K.
Bourne End, London
Magazine 341 May-June 2008


In the Hours of Silence

Translated from the Ashtavakra Samhita.


MASTER, teach me how I may attain spiritual illumination; teach me how I may find liberation from the bondages of life and death; teach me how I may escape from the mire of worldliness.


Sage Ashtavakra:
He who aspires after liberation, my child, must shun like poison the pleasures of the world, and seek like nectar the virtues of forgiveness, kindliness, contentment and truthfulness.


Detach yourself from the flesh, my son, for the flesh is of the earth, earthy, and you are not of the earth. Know the Self as pure intelligence, the eternal witness. Dwell in the Spirit that you are. Thus shall you, even now, escape from the mire of worldliness; thus shall you be happy and tranquil.


Free indeed you are! Good and evil, pleasure and pain belong to the nature of the mind. You are the spirit, and to the spirit neither good nor evil can ever be attached. You are the Self in all, the witness of all, the one Seer, and forever free. You experience bondage because you see yourself, the Seer, as other than the Self.

Now you are bitten by the venomous cobra of an ego; drink the nectar of faith, and know yourself to be the "seer" and not the "doer" of deeds. Thus shall you be happy and tranquil.


Set fire to the wilderness of ignorance with the knowledge that you are pure consciousness - one without a second, and go beyond grief. Thus shall you be happy and tranquil.


"I am pure consciousness, one without a second!" Verily this pure consciousness is bliss, supreme bliss. And you are that bliss. Know your Self. Thus shall you be happy and tranquil.

Popular yet very true is that saying, "As you think so you become." Therefore, think yourself free, and free you are! Think yourself bound and bound you remain.

Do not identify yourself with the attributes of the body and the modifications of the mind. Shun the false ego. Meditate on the true nature of the Self, the unchangeable reality, and know that you are free.
My child, long have you been caught in the noose of ignorance by identifying yourself with the body. Sever this noose with the sword of knowledge. Know that you are pure intelligence; thus shall you be happy and tranquil.
Meditate on the true nature of yourself: nothing can attach itself to you; no karma can bind you; no blemish can taint you; you are self-luminous; you are pure intelligence. You exist as the Self in all beings, and all exist in you. My son, stoop not to littleness!

You are free, one with the unchangeable reality, formless. The heat of passions cannot reach you; you are the ocean of intelligence and forever tranquil. Meditate upon this pure intelligence alone.
Even as upon a mirror images may be reflected, yet the mirror alone exists within the reflection as well as outside of it; even so does the supreme Lord, upon whom is reflected the body, alone exist within and outside of it.

As ether pervades the inside and the outside of a jar, even so the eternal Brahman pervades all beings and things.Meditate upon this truth.


(Reprinted from Vedanta and the West, Jan-Feb 1942)