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Avadhut Gita by Dattatreya fronted Avadhuta Gita, Avadhut Gita by Dattatreya, inaugural THE AVADHUT GITA, or Avadhuta Gita, may be called an ancient non-dual text. Several errors in Hari Prasad Shastri's English translation (1st edition, 1934) have been corrected here; some words and phrases are updated; and a few notes have been added. The source of the introduction is Hari Prasad Shastri's preface. - T. Kinnes

Introduction

The word Avadhuta refers to a mystic who has done away with worldly concerns and standard social etiquette, at least in his or her heart. Such personalities are considered to be free to 'roam the earth like a child'. An avadhuta does not identify with their body or mind. Such a person is said to be pure consciousness in human form. Avadhuts play a significant role in many Yoga, Vedanta and Bhakti traditions.

Some are born free, and may appear in any class of society. Others wear next to nothing, and meditate a lot. And then there are others who may not be recognised for what they are, as they do not show off. They may live like ordinary people.

The Avadhut(a) Gita is a mystical text which tells how the avadhut(a) is.

Dattatreya, the Author

It has been mentioned that Dattatreya was the teacher of the sage Patanjali. Be that as it may: The main work attributed to Dattatreya is the Avhadhuta Upanishad. It describes the wherabouts of a free (liberated) soul, one who is much uninterested in the dogmas of others, or habits, rituals, and surface morality too at times.

According to Dattatreya, the free man need not have any particular appearance, lifestyle, religion or social role. He (or she) may walk about naked or be dressed up as a prince. He may appear pious or blasphemous, ascetic or hedonistic. The important thing is that. Also, a liberated soul will not wilfully harm or destroy others, it is pointed out, even if there occasionally are good sides to breaking rigid taboos before they do us harm.

Dattatreya is often pictured naked, sitting in embrace with a lovely female, eating hog's flesh, drinking wine . . . He is further described as Madman and Child and so on.

The Avadhut Gita

The Avadhut Gita is . . . meant for the use of those advanced students of Indian metaphysics who have learned self-control to an applicable extent . . . [Mod.]

It is a well known classic in its way.

The lower form of prayer consists of singing hymns and repeating mantrams [words or sounds] in which the ultimate Reality, the secondless, all-transcending Brahman [God] is conceived in terms of duality.

A mantra(m) is a Vedic formula, the repetition of which, according to approved rules, induces spiritual consciousness, and also psychic powers.

Added: It is perhaps poetically declared in the Manu Samhita "An offering, consisting of muttered prayers, is ten times more efficacious than a sacrifice performed according to the rules (of the Veda); a (prayer) which is inaudible (to others) surpasses it a hundred times, and the mental (recitation of sacred texts) a thousand times." [Chap 2, v 85]. Add a pinch of salt, allowing leeway too. Depending on the required skills and the conditions, effects may vary.]

'Brahman' comes from the root 'brih', expand - also called Sat, Chit and Ananda, i.e., (Absolute) Existence, Intelligence and Bliss (joy).)

The higher form of prayer consists of feelingly singing of Brahman in terms of non-duality, [for example,]" I am Brahman," and [it may] bring before us the great vision of Truth [it is held] . . .

The Avadhut Gita contains this knowledge . . . The word Avadhut means a high renunciate, a Mahatma ['great soul', perfected in some way or ways], one who has found unity with God . . .

Who was this Mahatma Dattatreya . . .? To some Yogis and devotees he is an immortal, and they still see him . . .

He was a historical person . . . From the fact that most of his devotees live in the Bombay presidency we can infer that he lived in Western India . . .

There is a mention of the Avadhut in the Eleventh Book of the Shrimad Bhagavata [which is attributed to Vyasa, written in a highly poetic style . . . The following is an extract from this book:

His many gurus

"Salutations to you, Sage, Kindly tell us what guru has given you the great knowledge which has made you perfect in wisdom, full of peace, and devoted to the good of all living beings."

The Avadhut anwered:

"One's own Self is one's chief Guru. By knowledge of Self [in] communion one gets the great bliss."

The Avadhut did not learn from one particular source, but from many teachers, or gurus. He then mentioned twenty-four of them, including Water, the earth, the wind, space, the moon, the sun, the sea, and the arrow-maker.

  1. From water he learned purity and the taste of tastelessness. "As water is sweet and pure, so is Atman [the divine Self]. Man should manifest sweetness and purity in his conduct. I have therefore taken water as one of my Gurus," he said.
  2. "Patience, forgiveness, supporting others without expectation of gratitude I have learned from my Guru, the earth."
  3. "The wind blows everywhere, over the flower-beds, deserts, marshes, palaces and prisons, without being attached to any of them, without preference or dislike. So, I, an Avadhut, go everywhere, scattering my blessings of peace, without being attached to anyone. My Guru, the wind, has taught me this lesson."
  4. "In the all-pervading space there exist clouds, stars, planets, dust-storms, and so on, but it is not touched by any of them. So is Atman, which, pervading all bodies of men and animals, of saints, sages, kings, madmen, sinners, and paupers, is untainted by any of them. So do I feel, having learned this lesson from space, my Guru."
  5. "As the moon is perfect, in spite of its waning and waxing, which do not exist in it, so is Atman ever perfect, in spite of its seeming imperfections. This is what the moon, my Guru, has taught me."
  6. "As the sun through its rays absorbs water from the earth, only to give it back in a cool and pure form, so ought a Mahatma to take the things of the world, not for his own sake, but in order to give them back in a richer and better form. This is what my Guru, the sun, has taught me."
  7. "Though thousands of rivers empty themselves into the sea, yet it remains within its limits; so remains undisturbed the mind of the knower of God, though objects of all kinds pour themselves into it. Thus, the sea, my Guru, has instructed me."
  8. "From the arrow-maker I have learned the value of concentration. In a certain town there lived an arrow-maker, who devoted his full attention to his occupation. Once he was beating the point of an arrow, when the king and his procession went by the street. He was so attentive to his work that he knew nothing of the king's passing, and when they asked him how he liked the music of the procession he said, 'What procession? When did it pass?' So ought we to concentrate on the Truth that no external object or event should disturb us."

The teachings of Rishi Dattatreya are similar to those of Vasishtha . . . There are still many paramahansas . . . and yogis who follow the path of spiritual solitude . . .

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Chapter 1

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?

Reader, do you exist?

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, 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.   You, Atman, were never born, nor did you ever die. The body was never yours. The Shruti (revealed Scriptures) has often said: "This is all Brahman."

14.   You are 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 you nor in me. All is Atman alone. "I" and "you" 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 yourself, nor are they within you. You are the great all-transcending Reality.

17.   Birth and death exist not in the mind, not in you, as do also bondage and liberation. Good and evil are in the mind, and not in you. Beloved, why do you cry? Name and form are neither in you nor in me.

18.   Oh my mind, why do you range in delusion like a ghost? Know Atman to be above duality and be happy.

19.   You are the essence of knowledge, indomitable, eternal, ever free from modifications. Neither is there in you attachment nor indifference. Let not yourself 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 yourself.

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 Samadhi [state of inner union] possible?

24.   Birthless, pure, bodiless, equable, imperishable Atman you knowest yourself to be. How then canst you say: "I know Atman," or "I know not Atman."

25.   Thus has the Shruti spoken of Atman; "That You are." 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 you as Atman. In you is neither the meditator nor the object of meditation. Why, mind, do you shamelessly meditate?"

27.   I know not Shiva [it can mean Brahman and high awareness],
How can I speak of Him?
Who Shiva is I do not know,
How can I worship Him?

28.   I am Shiva, the only reality,
Like absolute space is my nature.
In me is neither unity nor variety,
The cause of imagination too is absent in me.

29.   Free from subject and object am I,
How can I be self-realizable?
Endless is my nature, nothing else exists.
Absolute Truth is my nature, nothing 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 in it 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 Maya [by which the phenomenal world has been brought into existence]", 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 I know for sure.

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 do you call Atman personal and impersonal. Since you are neither bound nor free?

47.   Pure, pure you are, without a body, unrelated to the mind, beyond maya; why are you ashamed to declare: "I am Atman, the supreme Reality"?

48.   My mind, why do you cry? Realize thy Atman, 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 are you disquiet, 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.   My mind, my friend, many words are not needed, and the world [hardly] comprehends reason. In a word, I have told you the essence of truth: "you are Truth, you are 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 "Fourth [note]", where all is known as Atman, where there is neither righteousness nor unrighteousness, how can there be either bondage or liberation?

Note: In addition to waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep, Indians reckon with "the fourth" (state), also called Turiya. Beyond it is the . . . which is beyond words and common experience. - TK.

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Chapter 2

The Avadhut said:

1.   Do not hold 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 your 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 I am.

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 subtler 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 [very bitter-tasting] Neem tree [leaves], as fluidity and coolness are the nature of water, so the primordial form of matter called mahat ['giant'] 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 "you" 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 middle of [inner, subtle] 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 yoga, 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 highly dangerous passions, which beget infatuation, 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 ['beyondic'] state of consciousness 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 karmas [actions and their retributions] 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 [dear, intimate follower or 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) or hatha yoga [of physical postures and the like]. 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.

So! 29.   The teacher cannot teach Atman [note]; the disciple cannot learn it.

Note: "If that is so, then why this song at all?" asked a mirthful lad.

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Chapter 3

1.   How shall I worship that great Atman
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.

So! "I am not without an essence," then . . . (For everyday affirmations one is advised to hold on to the positive things, visualize and repeat them, and steer out of negations.)

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 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 you?
As space-like I AM-realization giving immortality
[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.

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Chapter 4

1.   Nothing can be added or taken away from the Universal Consciousness. It cannot be invoked or worshipped with flowers and leaves. Meditations and mantras 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 Nirvanic [HPS: Nirvana].

6.   Taintless Nirvana am I; I am neither the comprehender nor the comprehended. Neither the cause nor the effect exists in me.

7.   Neither am I a body, nor am I bodiless. The buddhi [note], the mind and the senses are not mine. How can I talk of attachment and detachment, since I am taintless Nirvana?

NOTE: Buddhi: The higher mind which includes the discriminative faculty and intuitive reason. It may also mean intellect.

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. My shameless mind, why do you create a confusion? Space-like immortality-giving knowledge absolute am I.

14.   My friend, there is no cause for disquietude since you are not the body. You are imperishable and eternal, then why do you cry? Rest in peace. Space-like, immortality-giving knowledge absolute am I.

15.   Why are you troubled, friend, since avarice, lust, attachment, are not you? [A realization of] space-like, immortality-giving absolute knowledge I am.

16.   Why this craving for power, companion, when in truth wealth is not thine. "Mine" and "thine" are not in you.

17.   In your heart there is no meditator, there is no Samadhi, nor is there any possibility of meditation in Atman. Time and causation never existed in you.

18.   I have told the disciple the essence of Truth. There is no "you" 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 your Atman to be.

Ahh! 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 are you.

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Chapter 5

1.   The syllable OM spoken is the essence of the lower and the higher knowledge. It is Brahman, space-like. There is neither existence nor non-existence in this world. Brahman is ever free from duality.

2.   You are that Atman of which the Shruti says, "Tat Twam Asi [you are That]." Know that you are free from maya. Do not cry, mind, verily you are all.

3.   There is neither higher nor lower in you. You pervade all equally, and there is neither inner nor outer. Then why do you mourn, mind? All, all is Brahman.

4.   Neither that which is imagined, nor the imagination exist in you; know that cause and effect touch you not. Free from words and all expressions are you, eternally the same. Mind, do not cry.

So! 5.   To know that there is neither higher nor lower in Atman is Samadhi [note]; to know that Atman is ever free from time and space is Samadhi. Do not cry, mind, all is Brahman.

NOTE: It is a sort of existential definition.

6.   As there is no jar, there is no jar space. As there is no jiva body, no conditioning medium, there is no jiva. The cause and effect that produce conditions do not exist in Atman. Why then do you cry, my mind?

7.   It is all one whether we live in a hut in retirement, or in a house with many kinfolk, for Atman is free from the multitude as from solitude. Free also is It from knowledge, theoretical and practical, Atman being All, my mind, do not cry.

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Chapter 6

1.   The whole universe is a projection of the mind; therefore it is a mode of the mind. The true nature of the mind is bliss, and when the mind is stilled, bliss absolute is revealed.

2.   Consciousness absolute, being unknowable by the mind, how can speech explain it?

3.   The Self is free from day and night, and therefore the conception of its pilgrimage in time and space is no true one.

4.   No sun illumines Atman; the fire and the moon cannot shine therein. It is not equanimity or even desirelessness; how then can action exist in it?

5.   Neither can it be said that It is to be known by the absence of action. It is neither within nor without. It is nothing but bliss absolute.

6.   How can it be said that It is the first or that It is the last, since It is neither element or compound, nor emptiness nor fullness? Eternal, ever the same, the essence of all is Shiva.

7.   The statement that Atman is describable or indescribable cannot stand. Neither is It the knower nor the known. It cannot be imagined or defined. How can we say that It has a mind or any of the senses?

8.   Space, time, water, fire, earth, constituting the world, are a mere mirage. In truth the One, imperishable, ever blissful, alone exists. There is neither cloud nor water in It.

9.   As there is no possibility of birth and death in It, so no conception of duty nor dereliction of duty can be applied to It. That undifferentiated, eternal, all-pervasive Shiva alone is.

10.   The modifications of primordial matter and of individualized consciousness are in the realm of cause and effect. When there is eternal all-pervasive Shiva alone, how can there be matter or spirit therein?

11.   There is in It no suffering, and no possibility of suffering, because It is free from all attributes.

12.   There is no duality in It. How can there be age, or youth, or childhood in that One eternal principle?

13.   Atman is dependent on nothing and is unlimited. The law of cause and effect touches It not. How can the buddhi, which operates only in duality, and which is perishable, discern It?

14.   It grasps not, nor is It grasped. It is not born nor does It bring forth. We can only say that in It there is no destruction.

15.   In Atman there is neither manhood nor womanhood, because such conceptions cannot exist in eternity.

16.   There is no pleasure in It, and no faculty of enjoying pleasure, since It is free from such defects as attachment. Equally free from doubts and suffering, one and eternal is Shiva; thus the conception of "I" and "mine" do not apply to It.

17.   Neither is there Brahman in It, nor the absence of Brahman. Since It alone exists and is eternity, it must follow that It is free from pain, and also from freedom from pain.

18.   There is no gain and there is no loss. Infatuation and worldly wisdom have no place therein. When the eternal consciousness alone exists, how can discrimination or wisdom, or any such thing be contained in It?

19.   In It there is no "you" and no "I", therefore family and caste exist not therein. It is neither true nor untrue. Neither is It of this world nor of the next. How then can one pray to It?

20.   Illusory is the connection of the learner and the teacher. Teaching and contemplation, when thus beheld, are not admissible. "Verily, I am Shiva." This alone is the whole Truth. How then can I pray to It, or worship It?

21.   The body itself is imagined in Atman, as is the whole universe. Atman is free from all differentiations. Then since I am Shiva, there can be no idea of prayer or worship.

22.   Consciousness absolute has no body. It cannot be said that It is without a body or attributes. All that can be said is that It is bliss absolute, and that bliss am I. This is the height of worship, and this is the culmination of all prayer.

23.   The Avadhut who has realized this mystery of all mysteries, and has risen to the state of unceasing and perfect bliss, moves about in the crowds unconcerned, radiating bliss and higher knowledge.

24.   He is clothed in a habit of old and worn. He walks in a path that is free from religious merit or sin. He lives in the temple of absolute emptiness. His soul is naked, and free from all taints and modifications of [illusions called] maya.

25.   The Avadhut has no ideal, neither strives he after the attainment of an ideal. Having lost his identity in Atman, free from the limitations of maya, free also from the perfections of yoga, thus walks the Avadhut. He argues with no one, he is not concerned with any object or person.

26.   Free from the snares of expectations and hopes, he has cast off the worn-out garments of purity, righteousness, and all ideals. His path is free from any such consideration. It can only be said about him that he is purity absolute, and is far, far above the clouds of maya and ignorance.

27.   He has no such thoughts as "I am not in the body," or "I am not the body." He has no aversion, attachment or infatuation towards any object or person. Pure as space he walks, immersed in the immaculate bliss of his natural state.

28.   The Avadhut may be compared to immeasurable space. He is eternity. In him is neither purity nor impurity. There is no variety nor unity in him; no bondage nor absence of bondage.

29.   Free from separation and union, free from enjoyment or absence of enjoyment, he moves calm and unhurried through the world. Having given up all activity of the mind, he is in his normal state of indescribable bliss.

30.   Atman, with which the Avadhut has found natural unity, is limitless and inconceivable. It is unknowable by the mind. It is neither a part nor is It divided. It cannot be said, "So far is its province and no farther." Verily, it is hard to describe and hard to obtain.

So! 31.   The Avadhut is not concerned with the things of the world, because the natural state of Self-realization renders all else insignificant. Death and birth have no meaning; he meditates not, neither does he worship.

32.   All this world is a magic show, like a mirage in the desert. Concentrated bliss, alone and secondless, is Shiva and that is the Avadhut.

33.   The wise man does not strive for anything, not even for Dharma [good conduct and righteousness, etc.] or liberation. He is free from all actions and movements, and also from desire and renunciation.

34.   What do they, the pundits, know of him? Even the Vedas cannot speak of him perfectly. That bliss absolute, ever indestructible, but a source of bliss to all, is the Avadhut.

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Chapter 7

1.   When as a pilgrim, I began to journey towards You, then my little notions of all-pervasiveness of Atman died.

2.   When my mind began to meditate on You, it lost all interest in objects. When my tongue began to praise You it lost the power of praising others. I forgot my three great sins.

3.   He whose buddhi is no longer attracted towards desires and pleasures, whose nature has become joyful and compassionate, he who, even in his heart, has no idea of possessions, who is ever peaceful and most temperate in all things and is not moved by any happenings and events - that muni [a Vedic maestro] takes refuge in Atman. Ever watchful, solemn as the ocean and full of patience.

4.   He who has conquered the feelings of pleasure, wrath, avarice, attachment, vanity and aversion, this one is peace itself, and free from all pride.

5.   Efficient in his undertakings, full of compassion is the sadhu; he gives pity to [many, not] all, has enmity towards no one.

6.   He bears patiently heat and cold, seeing the one Self enlightening all bodies. He walks solitary as a rhinoceros [here: a symbol of detachment, solemnity and peace]. He has become an ocean of Truth and is ever engaged in the work of mercy. Such is the Avadhut, free from birth and death.

7.   The knowers of God will know the meaning of the word AVADHUT by the four letters which form it, A, V, Dh, T.

8.   A stands for freedom from the snares of hopes and expectations, pure in the beginning, in the middle and the end, merged in Self-bliss.

9.   V stands for the rooting out of all desires after pleasure, subtle or material, and for life in the present as all-sufficient, the present being eternity.

10.   Dh is the physical body, covered with dirt and dust, but with the mind ever pure, and the heart ever still, above contemplation and meditation.

11.   T is the unceasing contemplation of the eternal Truth, and indifference to the activities of the mind and senses. It also bespeaks freedom from egoism and pride.

12.   Woe to them that give up this knowledge of the wisdom of Atman, which in itself constitutes eternal freedom and joy throughout all worlds, and turn to the realms of limited pleasure and of ignorance.

13.   Those who desire to acquire this eternal bliss and of communicating it to others through their teaching, must give up all sensuous pleasures, more especially those which arise from sex union.

14.   The body is made up of impure elements, of blood, flesh, bones and the like. Woe to those who are attached to it, and indifferent to the ever blissful Atman.

15.   There are three kinds of wine, produced from syrup, grain and honey. But there is a fourth, the darkest of all, the wine of sex, which has intoxicated the whole world.

16.   When the mind is uncontrolled, then the body, which is the object of affection to the ignorant, also suffers, and when the mind is controlled, then the body also remains in good estate.

17.   So, all you lovers of wisdom, protect your minds from feelings of pleasure, and engage them in spiritual wisdom.

18.   This is the song of the great Dattatreya Avadhut. Those who read it and hear it with respectful attention [all in Sanskrit, then?], they are not reborn here on earth.

"Blessed am I; in freedom am I.
I am the infinite in my soul;
I can find no beginning, no end.
All is my Self . . "

So! Note to: "I can find ... no end": See if you can find one right here, where the song ends.


Avadhut Gita, Avadhuta Gita of Dattatreya, Literature   Shastra, Hari Prasad. Avadhuta Gita. 1st ed. 1934.

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