" Janaka: How is knowledge to be acquired? How is liberation to be attained? And how is dispassion to be reached? Tell me this, sir.
Ashtavakra: If you are seeking liberation, my son, shun the objects of the senses like poison. Practise tolerance, sincerity, compassion, contentment and truthfulness like nectar.
You do not consist of the elements - earth, water, fire, air or even ether. To be liberated, know yourself as consisting of consciousness, the witness of these.
If only you will remain resting in consciousness, seeing yourself as distinct from the body, then even now you will become happy, peaceful and free from bonds.
You do not belong to the brahmin or any other caste, you are not at any stage, nor are you anything that the eye can see. You are unattached and formless, the witness of everything - so be happy.
Righteousness and unrighteousness, pleasure and pain are purely of the mind and are no concern of yours. You are neither the doer nor the reaper of the consequences, so you are always free.
You are the one witness of everything, and are always completely free. The cause of your bondage is that you see the witness as something other than this.
Since you have been bitten by the black snake, the opinion about yourself that I am the doer, drink the antidote of faith in the fact that I am not the doer, and be happy.
Burn down the forest of ignorance with the fire of the understanding that I am the one pure awareness, and be happy and free from distress.
That in which all this appears - imagined like the snake in a rope, that joy, supreme joy and awareness is what you are, so be happy.
If one thinks of oneself as free, one is free, and if one thinks of oneself as bound, one is bound. Here this saying is true, Thinking makes it so.
Your real nature is as the one perfect, free, and actionless consciousness, the all-pervading witness - unattached to anything, desireless and at peace. It is from illusion that you seem to be involved in samsara.
Meditate on yourself as motionless awareness, free from any dualism, giving up the mistaken idea that you are just a derivative consciousness, or anything external or internal.
You have long been trapped in the snare of identification with the body. Sever it with the knife of knowledge that I am awareness, and be happy, my son.
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.
All of this is really filled by you and strung out in you, for what you consist of is pure awareness - so don't be small minded.
You are unconditioned and changeless, formless and immovable, unfathomable awareness and unperturbable, so hold to nothing but consciousness.
Recognise that the apparent is unreal, while the unmanifest is abiding. Through this initiation into truth you will escape falling into unreality again.
Just as a mirror exists everywhere both within and apart from its reflected images, so the Supreme Lord exists everywhere within and apart from this body.
Just as one and the same all-pervading space exists within and without a jar, so the eternal, everlasting God exists in the totality of things."