Saturday, 6 December 2014

Ashtavakra Gita - Traditional Vedanta Books - Nisargadatta Maharaj

The Song of Ashtavakra, also known as Ashtavakra Samhita is an Advaita Vedanta scripture which documents a dialogue between the Perfect Master Ashtavakra and Janaka, the King of Mithila. Ashtavakra Gita presents the traditional teachings of Advaita Vedanta. Ashtavakra's bent body - originally a symbol of disease and weakness ultimately represents the symbol of true and all powerful knowledge by the end of his journey. In a conversation between Janaka and Ashtavakra pertaining to the deformity of his crooked body Ashtavakra explains that the size of a Temple is not affected by how it is shaped, and the shape of his own body does not affect himself (the Atman). Ashtavakra Gita is a dialogue between Ashtavakra and Janaka on the nature of soul, reality and bondage. It offers an extremely radical version of non-dualistic philosophy. The Gita insists on complete unreality of external world and absolute oneness of existence. It does not mention any morality or duties and therefore, is seen by commentators as 'godless'. It also dismisses names and forms as unreal and a sign of ignorance.

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About Nisargadatta Maharaj

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was an Indian spiritual teacher and philosopher of Advaita (Nondualism), and a Guru, belonging to the Navnath Sampradaya. Sri Nisargadatta, with his direct and minimalistic explanation of non-dualism, is considered the most famous teacher of Advaita since Ramana Maharshi. In 1973, the publication of his most famous and widely-translated book, "I AM THAT", an English translation of his talks in Marathi by Maurice Frydman, brought him worldwide recognition and followers.

According to Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, the purpose of spirituality is simply to know who you are. His discussions are not for academic scholars. He is a rebellious spirit, abrupt in his style of discussion, provocative, and immensely profound, cutting to the core and wasting little effort on inessentials. He talked about the 'direct way' of knowing the Final Reality, in which one becomes aware of one's original nature through mental discrimination, breaking the mind's false identification with the ego, knowing that "You are already That".
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