You cannot extract any beliefs from Ashtavakra’s Gita. Only if you drop yourself as you move into it, will Ashtavakra’s Gita become clear to you. Ashtavakra’s message is crystal clear. You won’t be able to add even a small bit of your own interpretation to it. Hence people have not written commentaries on Ashtavakra’s Gita. There is no scope for writing a commentary; there is no way to distort or twist it. Your mind has no chance to add anything. Ashtavakra has given such an expression that no one has been able to add or take anything from it, even though centuries have passed. It is not easy to give such a perfect expression. Such skill with words is very difficult to come by.
This is why I say we are starting off on a rare journey.
Politicians have no interest in Ashtavakra. Not Tilak, not Aurobindo, not Gandhi, not Vinoba: none of them has any interest, because with Ashtavakra they cannot go on playing their own games. Tilak’s interest was to inspire nationalism. He wanted the whole country to get involved in action – and Krishna’s Gita was helpful. Krishna is ready to lend a shoulder to anyone. Whosoever wants to steady themselves on his shoulder and shoot their bullets – Krishna is ready. The shoulder is his, you can take the opportunity to hide behind it. And shooting from behind his shoulder makes even bullets appear significant.
Ashtavakra doesn’t allow anyone to even rest their hand on his shoulder. So Gandhi is not interested, Tilak is not interested, Aurobindo, Vinoba have nothing to do with him, because they cannot impose anything. There is no room for politics – Ashtavakra is not a political being.
This is the first thing you need to keep in mind…such crystal clarity, an expression like an open sky with no cloud in sight, you cannot see any forms. Only when you drop all forms, become disidentified with all forms and get connected with the formless, will you be able to comprehend Ashtavakra. If you really want to understand Ashtavakra you will have to descend into the depths of meditation. No commentary, no interpretation will be of any help.
And for meditation Ashtavakra does not ask us to sit and chant “Ram, Ram.” He says that anything you do will not be meditation. How can there be meditation when there is a doer? As long as there is doing, there is illusion. As long as the doer is present, the ego is present. Ashtavakra says becoming a witness is meditation. Then the doer disappears; you remain only as watcher, nothing but the observer. When you are nothing but the observer then only is there darshan, seeing; then only is there meditation, then only is there wisdom.
Before we enter the sutras, it is necessary to understand a few things about Ashtavakra. Not much is known as he was neither a social nor political man, so no historical record exists. Only a few incidents are known – and they are just wondrous, hardly believable. But if you understand them deeply the significance will be revealed.
The first incident happened before Ashtavakra was born. Nothing is known of what came afterwards, but this is an incident while he was still in the womb. His father, who was a great scholar, would recite the Vedas every day while Ashtavakra listened from the womb. One day a voice came from the womb saying, “Stop it! This is all nonsense. There is no wisdom whatsoever in this. Mere words – just a collection of words. Is wisdom found in scriptures? Wisdom is within oneself. Is truth found in words? Truth is within oneself.”