Avadhuta Means FREE
by Mahatma Dattatreya
Translation by Hari Prasad Shastri
(FIRST FOUR CHAPTERS)
1. By the grace of God the Brahmins above all men are inspired with the disposition to non-duality (unity of the Self with God), which relieves them of the great fear.
2. How can I salute the Self, which is indestructible, which is all Bliss, which in Itself and by Itself pervades everything, and which is inseparable from Itself?
3. I alone am, ever free from all taint. The world exists like a mirage within me. To whom shall I bow?
4. Verily the one Self is all, free from differentiation and non-differentiation. Neither can it be said, “It is” nor “It is not.” What a great mystery.
5. This is the whole substance of Vedanta; this is the essence of all knowledge, theoretical and intuitional. I am the Atman, by nature impersonal and all-pervasive.
6. That God who is the Self in all, impersonal and changeless, like unto space, by nature purity itself, verily, verily, that I am.
7. I am pure knowledge, imperishable, infinite. I know neither joy nor pain; whom can they touch?
8. The actions of the mind, good and evil, the actions of the body, good and evil, the actions of the voice, good and evil, exist not in me (Atman). I am the nectar which is knowledge absolute; beyond the range of the senses I am.
9. The mind is as space, embracing all. I am beyond mind. In Reality the mind has no independent existence.
10. How can it be said that the Self is manifest? How can it be said that the self is limited? I alone am existence; all this objective world am I. More subtle than space itself am I.
11. Know the Self to be infinite consciousness, self-evident, beyond destruction, enlightening all bodies equally, ever shining. In It is neither day nor night.
12. Know Atman to be one, ever the same, changeless. How canst though say: “I am the meditator, and this is the object of meditation?” How can perfection be divided?
13. Thou, O Atman, wast never born, nor didst thou ever die. The body was never thine. The Shruti (revealed Scriptures) has often said: “This is all Brahman.”
14. Thou art all Brahman, free from all change, the same within and without, absolute bliss. Run not to and fro like a ghost.
15. Neither unity nor separation exist in thee nor in me. All is Atman alone. “I” and “thou” and the world have no real being.
16. The subtle faculties of touch, taste, smell, form and sound which constitute the world without are not thyself, nor are they within thee. Thou art the great all-transcending Reality.
17. Birth and death exist not in the mind, not in thee, as do also bondage and liberation. Good and evil are in the mind, and not in thee. O Beloved, why dost thou cry? Name and form are neither in thee nor in me.
18. Oh my mind, why dost thou range in delusion like a ghost? Know Atman to be above duality and be happy.
19. Thou art the essence of knowledge, indomitable, eternal, ever free from modifications. Neither is there in thee attachment nor indifference. Let not thyself suffer from desires.
20. All the Shrutis speak of Atman as without attributes, ever pure, imperishable, without a body, the eternal Truth. That know to be thyself.
21. Know all forms, physical and subtle, as illusion. The Reality underlying them is eternal. By living this Truth one passes beyond birth and death.
22. The sages call Atman the “ever-same.” By giving up attachment the mind sees neither duality nor unity.
23. Concentration is not possible either on perishable objects, on account of their mutability, nor on Atman. “Is” and “is not” do not apply to Atman either. In Atman, freedom absolute, how is Samadhi1 possible?
24. Birthless, pure, bodiless, equable, imperishable Atman thou knowest thyself to be. How then canst thou say: “I know Atman,” or “I know not Atman.”
25. Thus has the Shruti spoken of Atman; “That Thou art.” Of the illusory world, born of the five physical elements, the Shruti says: “Neti, neti” (not this, not this).
26. All this is ever pervaded by thee as Atman. In thee is neither the meditator nor the object of meditation. Why, O mind, dost thou shamelessly meditate”
27. I know not Shiva,
How can I speak of Him?
Who Shiva is I know not,
How can I worship Him?
28. I am Shiva, the only reality,
Like unto space absolute is my nature.
In me is neither unity nor variety,
The cause of imagination also is absent in me.
29. Free from subject and object am I,
How can I be self-realizable?
Endless is my nature, naught else exists.
Truth absolute is my nature, naught else exists.
30. Atman by nature, the supreme Reality am I,
Neither am I slayer nor the slain
31. On the destruction of a jar, the space therein unites with all space. In myself and Shiva I see no difference when the mind is purified.
32. Brahman alone is, as pure consciousness. In truth there is no jar, and no jar-space, no embodied soul, nor its nature.
33. There are no worlds, no Vedas, no Devas, no sacrifices, no castes, no family tribes, no nationalities, no smoke-path, no shining-path.
34. Some there are that prize non-dualism, others hold to dualism. They know not the Truth, which is above both.
35. How can the supreme Reality be described, since It is neither white nor any other colour, has no qualities such as sound, and is beyond voice and mind?
36. “I eat,” “I give,” “I act”; such statements do not apply to Atman, which is purity, birthless and imperishable.
37. Where the one Brahman alone is, how can it be said “this is Maya2”, or “this is not Maya”, “this is shadow” or “this is not shadow”?
38. I am without beginning and without end. Never was I bound. By nature pure, taintless is my Self. This know I of a surety.
39. From subtle substance (mahat) down to formed creation, there is nothing but Brahman; most clearly do I see this. Where then is the division of caste?
40. The absolute void and its opposite, all am I everlastingly.
41. Atman is not male or female, nor is It neuter; neither is It happiness or suffering. How dare ye pervert It?
42. Atman is not purified by the six methods of Yoga. Absence of the mind makes It no clearer. The teachings of a Guru reveal It not. It is all purity, in Itself, by Itself.
43. I am neither bound nor free. I am not separate from Brahman.
44. Neither the doer nor the enjoyer of the fruits of karma am I. The pervader or the pervaded I am not.
45. As a volume of water poured into water is inseparably united with water, so, I perceive, matter and spirit are one.
46. Why callest thou Atman personal and impersonal. Since thou art neither bound nor free?
47. Pure, pure thou art, without a body, unrelated to the mind, beyond maya; why art thou ashamed to declare: “I am Atman, the supreme Reality”?
48. O my mind, why dost thou cry? Realize thy Atman, o Beloved; drink the timeless great nectar of non-duality.
49. Knowledge born of the intellect am I not. By nature Truth eternal am I. I am perpetual immutability.
50. Neither formless nor with form, described by the Vedas as “Not this, not this,” free from separation and unity, the true Self reigns supreme.
51. There is no father, no mother, no kinsman, no son, no wife, no friend, no prejudice, no doctrine. Why art thou disquiet, o my mind?
52. Why do the wise imagine the bodiless Brahman to be a body? In It there is neither day nor night, neither rising nor setting.
53. Since the imperfections of attachment and the like are not in me, I am above the suffering of the body. Know me to be infinite, like unto space, one Atman.
54. O my mind, my friend, many words are not needful, and the world comprehends not reason. In a word, I have told thee the essence of truth: “thou art Truth, thou art as space.”
55. In whatever place and in whatever state the Yogi dies, his spirit is absorbed into That, as, on the destruction of the jar, the space in the jar is united with absolute space.
56. Whether he dies conscious or in coma, in a holy temple or in the house of an untouchable, he obtains liberation, becoming the all-pervading Brahman.
57. The Yogis regard righteousness, prosperity, desire for Paradise and liberation, and also the moving and fixed objects, as mere will-o’-the-wisps.
58. The Avadhut in unshakable equanimity, living in the holy temple of nothingness, walks naked, knowing all to be Brahman.
59. Where there is no “Third” or “Fourth1”, where all is known as Atman, where there is neither righteousness nor unrighteousness, how can there be either bondage or liberation?
The Avadhut said:
1. Hold not the immature, the credulous, the foolish, the slow, the layman and the fallen to have nothing good in them. They all teach something. Learn from them. Surely we do not give up a game although we have mastered it?
2. Think not lightly of thy Guru should he lack letters and learning. Take the Truth he teaches and ignore the rest. Know well that a boat, painted and adorned, will carry you across the river; so also will one that is plain and simple.
3. The higher intelligence which without effort pervades the movable and the immovable, and which by nature is all peace and consciousness, that am I.
4. How can the one supreme consciousness which without effort rules the living and the inert and is all-pervasive, be other than I?
5. I am more subtle than primordial substance, beyond elements and compounds, free from birth and death, above duality and unity.
6. The modifications of the inner organ (antahkarana) have no part in me. Like bubbles rising and falling in a river, thoughts and volitions rise and disappear in the inner organ.
7. As softness is not perceived apart from soft objects, as sweetness is not known apart from honey, as bitterness is not known apart from the Nim tree1, as fluidity and coolness are the nature of water, so the primordial form of matter called mahat2 is no other than the Self (Atman). As the rays of the sun differ not from the sun, so matter does not differ from God.
8. How can “I” or “thou” be said of Brahman which is more subtle than mahat, free from all attributes, greater than all, above the range of mind and emotion, without medium or limitation, lord of the universe? It can neither be called static or dynamic.
9. As space cannot be compared with another space, so Brahman being above duality, cannot be compared with any object. Brahman alone is perfection, taintless, all knowledge.
10. It walks not on the earth, the wind cannot move It, the water cannot cover It, It stands in the midst of Light.
11. It pervades space-time. Nothing pervades It. From limitations ever free, eternally the same, with nothing outside It and nothing within, It abides.
12. Atman, of which the high Yogis speak, most subtle, beyond perception, without attributes, must be realized step by step, and not by sudden violence.
13. Ever practicing Yoga1, not depending on any object, the Yogi merges his consciousness in Brahman, and becomes Brahman.
14. There is but one antidote to the poison of passions, which beget infatuation and are highly dangerous, and that is to return to the state of Atman. Atman is unapproachable by the emotions, is ever formless and independent.
15. Hidden in the realm of eternal consciousness lies the world’s cause, which is prakriti. Within this cause is Brahman. The husk of a coconut is the world, the pulp is prakriti, and the sweet cool water encased in the pulp is Brahman.
16. Like the full moon is Atman. See It in all. Duality is the product of defective vision. As there is only one moon so there is only one Atman in all.
17. No duality can touch the conception of Brahman, because It is all-pervasive. The wise who teach this acquire boundless patience, and their disciples can never be too thankful to them.
18. The talented as well as the witless attain the state of desirelessness by knowing the mystery of Atman, through the grace of their spiritual teacher.
19. This transcendent state of consciousness (Nirvana) is reached by those who are free from attachment and aversion, ever engaged in doing good to all living beings, whose knowledge is firmly rooted, and who are patient.
20. The Yogi is merged in the divine after leaving the body, as the jar-space is merged in cosmic space on the destruction of the jar.
21. The statement that the future condition is determined by the state of the thoughts at death is made of the uninitiated, not the initiated.
22. The knower of Brahman may leave his body in a holy place, or in the house of an untouchable, he is absorbed into Brahman.
23. When a Yogi has realized Atman, which is his true Self, birthless and beyond the range of the mind and emotions, then the karmas2 no longer touch him. He may perform the rituals or leave them. To him it is all one.
24. Atman realized is the master of creation, eternal, indestructible, formless, without dimensions, absolutely independent, without pleasure or pain, full of all powers.
25. The wise discover that Atman is not seen either by the study of the Vedas, by initiations, by shaving the head, or by being a Guru or chela (an approved disciple). Nor is it seen through postures.
26. That God, Atman, by whose power the whole universe is born, in which it abides and to which it finally returns like bubbles and waves in the sea, is realized by the wise.
27. Atman, which the wise realize, is not the aim of control of breath (pranayama) nor of the postures of Hatha Yoga1. In It there is neither knowledge nor ignorance.
28. There is neither unity nor duality in Atman, nor unity-duality, neither smallness nor greatness, neither emptiness nor fullness. All these exist in the mind, and the mind is not Atman.
29. The teacher cannot teach Atman; the disciple cannot learn it.
1. How shall I worship that Atman great
Which is neither personal nor impersonal.
Taintless, above love and aversion, uncreated,
All pervasive, of the form of the universe,
Having no attributes, yet not attributeless
That all-bliss Shiva, my Self.
2. How shall I bow down to mine own Self
In my own Self and by my Self?
I have no colours, white or yellow;
Eternal Shiva am I.
3. I am rootless, and without root,
Free from smoke, and smokeless am I,
Without a lamp, and lightless am I,
Equanimity am I, like a sun ever risen.
4. How can I name the passionless, desireless One
As having desires? The Absolute cannot
Be described in terms of conditions;
How can I speak of myself?
I am neither with an essence,
Nor am I without an essence.
Space-like all equanimity am I.
5. How shall I say that non-duality
Is all this creation, or that, or that?
Even if it be duality, then too I cannot
Attribute creation or dissolution to It.
How can the Eternal, the All
Be expressed in any way?
Space-like, all-bliss am I.
6. Neither gross nor subtle is my Atman;
It comes not, and It goes not;
Without a beginning and without an end;
Neither higher nor lower is It;
That Truth absolute, space-like,
Immortality-giving knowledge am I.
7. Know well that all the senses
Are as space, and so also their objects.
Know that the One is taintless,
The One is neither bound nor free.
That all-pervasive ever-blissful Shiva,
Immortality-giving knowledge am I.
8. The knowledge of the Self, hard to obtain,
Which is experienced, is not Atman;
The object of meditation,
Hard to concentrate upon, is not Atman;
That which is near, and that which is far, far away,
Is not Atman. Space-like, all-bliss
Shiva am I, Shiva am I.
9. Without karma am I, I burn up karmas;
Without pain am I, I burn up sufferings;
Bodiless, homeless am I, and yet I burn up these,
All equanimity, space-like am I.
10. The seed of the plant of the world exists not in me,
Contentment and pleasures exist not in me;
Bondage and ignorance are not in me;
Space-like, absolute Shiva am I.
11. Atman is not the Knower
Nor is It the known.
It is not accessible to inference.
Words cannot describe
This Consciousness Absolute.
The mind is lost in Its majesty.
How can It be explained to thee?
Space-like immortality-giving knowledge am I.
12. There is no separation and no unity in It.
Neither is It inner nor outer.
It is Truth transcendental.
It cannot be said “It was all before.”
Verily nothing exists but Atman.
And that space-like immortality-giving
Knowledge am I.
13. I am the eternal principle.
Free from attachment and aversion,
Free from imperfections am I,
Fate and providence exist not in me.
Eternally free from the sufferings of the world,
Verily, space-like immortality-giving
Knowledge am I.
14. As the three states of consciousness
Exist not in Atman,
How can It be the Fourth?
Free from past, present and future
How can the cardinal points exist in IT?
Eternal peace, space-like transcendental
Truth am I.
15. Neither father nor mother have I,
Neither wife nor child.
Birth and death I do not know.
The mind is not my own.
Eternal peace, space-like transcendental
Peace am I.
16. Devas and Gods, like Indra and Brahma,
Have no place in Atman.
Neither Paradise nor Heaven exist in Atman.
The one taintless transcendental Truth am I.
17. The saying of the Shruti “not this, not this”
Does not apply to Atman.
How can it be said “When all is subtracted
Atman alone remains”?
It is symbolical but not a symbol;
Yet even this cannot be said of Atman.
Space-like, the water of immortality am I.
18. Maya is not my modification.
Nor is its glamour mine.
Deceit and hypocrisy, truth and untruth
Have no place in me.
Space-like, immortality-giving knowledge am I.
1. Nothing can be added or taken away from the Universal Consciousness. It cannot be invoked or worshipped with flowers and leaves. Meditations and Mantrams cannot reach It. How could It be worshipped as Shiva for in It there are neither distinctions nor unity?
2. In the One there is neither bondage nor salvation, neither purity nor impurity. From union and separation the One is free. That space-like Truth am I.
3. As in reality I am Nirvana, thoughts as to the reality and unreality of the world trouble me not at all.
4. Eternally free from the taint of ignorance as I am, knowledge or illusion never had birth in me. How can I say whether I am bound or free?
5. Neither sin nor virtue ever existed in me; by nature I am Nirvana. Neither the worshiper nor the worshipped am I. No instructions and no rituals are there for me. Knowledge also am I not. By nature I am Nirvana.
6. Taintless Nirvana am I; I am neither the comprehender nor the comprehended. Neither the cause nor the effect exist in me.
7. Neither am I a body, nor am I bodiless. The buddhi1, the mind and the senses are not mine. How can I talk of attachment and detachment, since I am taintless Nirvana?
8. In me exist not birth, death, purity, impurity, poison or the water of immortality. Verily I am free even from the taint of Nirvana. I cannot speak of the “Third” or the “Fourth”.
9. Neither a fool nor a pundit am I, neither silent nor of many words; how can I speak of reasoning or argument since I am free even from the taint of Nirvana?
10. Giving up all meditations, all good and evil karma, drinking the water of immortality, the heros know that I from the taint of Nirvana am free.
11. No ritualist injunction is binding on me; mind, the seat of anxieties, does not exist in me. Far, far from me also is egotism. Space-like, immortality-giving knowledge absolute am I.
12. I cannot say whether the world is nothingness or if it is partly real and partly unreal, or, if like a flowing river though ever changing, it is in fact real as a whole. Space-like immortality-giving knowledge absolute am I.
13. There is not the least shadow of name or form in the Infinite, nor is there unity or diversity in me. O my shameless mind, why createst thou a confusion? Space-like immortality-giving knowledge absolute am I.
14. O my friend, there is no cause for disquietude since thou art not the body. Thou art imperishable and eternal, then why criest thou? Rest in peace. Space-like, immortality-giving knowledge absolute am I.
15. Why art thou troubled, O friend, since avarice, lust, attachment, are not in thee? Space-like, immortality-giving knowledge absolute am I.
16. Why this craving for power, O companion, when in truth wealth is not thine. “Mine” and “thine” are not in thee.
17. In thy heart there is no meditator, there is no Samadhi, nor is there any possibility of meditation in Atman. Time and causation never existed in thee.
18. I have told the, o disciple, the essence of Truth. There is no “thou” nor “I”, no world, no Guru, or disciple. Know that by nature I am freedom absolute. I am transcendental Truth.
19. When Atman, the absolute existence, alone is, and It is I, then where is transcendental Truth, where is bliss, where is knowledge, secular or spiritual?
20. Unknown to fire, water and earth, motionless, all-pervasive as space, knowledge absolute know thy Atman to be.
21 Renounce, renounce the world, and also renounce renunciation, and even give up the absence of renunciation. By nature all-pervasive as space, knowledge absolute art thou.