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जनक उवाचः
हे ईश ! मानव  ज्ञान कैसे ,  प्राप्त  कर  सकता  अहो !
हमें  मुक्ति  और  वैराग्य  कैसे ,  मिल सकें  कृपया कहो  [  १  ]
 
अष्टावक्र उवाचः
प्रिय  तात यदि  तू  मुमुक्ष , तज  विषयों को ,जैसे विष तजें ,
सन्तोष ,करूणा  सत,  क्षमा , पीयूष  वत  नित -नित  भजें . [  २  ]

 न  ही वायु , जल , अग्नि , धरा  और न  ही तू  आकाश है ,
 मुक्ति  हेतु  साक्ष्य  तू  ,    चैतन्य  रूप     प्रकाश   है . [  ३  ]     
 
यदि  पृथक करके  देह भाव को ,  देही में आवास हो
तब  तू  अभी सुख शांति , बन्धन मुक्त भव ,  विश्वास हो .[ ४ ]
 
वर्ण  आश्रम  का न  आत्मा, से कोई सम्बन्ध है ,
आकार  हीन  असंग   केवल , साक्ष्य भाव प्रबंध है .      [  ५  ]
 
सुख दुःख  धर्म - अधर्म मन के,    विकार हैं  तेरे नहीं ,
कर्ता,  कृतत्त्व  का और  भर्ता  भाव भी घेरे  नहीं .   [  ६  ]
 
सर्वस्व  दृष्टा एक  तू , और सर्वदा उन्मुक्त  है ,
यदि  अन्य  को दृष्टा कहे ,भ्रम , तू ही  बन्धन युक्त है . [ ७ ]
 
तू  अहम् रुपी सर्प दंषित , कह रहा  कर्ता  मैं  ही ,
विश्वास रुपी  अमिय  पीकर कह  रहा ,   कर्ता नहीं . [ ८ ]
 
मैं सुध , बुद्ध, प्रबुद्ध , चेतन ,    ज्ञानमय  चैतन्य  हूँ ,
अज्ञान रुपी  वन जला  कर ,  ज्ञान  से  मैं धन्य हूँ . [९ ]
 
सब जगत कल्पित असत ,रज्जु मैं सर्प का आभास  है
इस बोध  का  कारण  कि  तुझमें , भ्रम  का ही वास है .[१०]
 
[काव्यानुवादः डॉ. मृदुल कीर्ति]

Janaka said:
How is one to acquire knowledge? How is one to attain liberation? And
how is one to reach dispassion? Tell me this, sir. 1.1

Ashtavakra said:
If you are seeking liberation, my son, avoid the objects of the senses like poison and
cultivate tolerance, sincerity, compassion, contentment, and truthfulness as the antidote. 1.2

You do not consist of any of the elements -- earth, water, fire, air, or even ether.
To be liberated, know yourself as consisting of consciousness, the witness of these. 1.3

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. 1.4

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. 1.5

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. 1.6

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. 1.7

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. 1.8

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. 1.9

That in which all this appears is imagined like the snake in a rope; that joy, supreme joy,
and awareness is what you are, so be happy. 1.10

[Translation by John Richards]