Thursday, May 10, 2007
'Avadhuta' refers to 'Ever Free' and 'Gita' to song. Hence Avadhuta Gita is, in short, 'Song of the Ever Free.'
Why do we have songs or Gitas as in Bhagavad Gita, Rama Gita, Uddhava Gita, Ashtavakra Gita and so on? Simply because they are very effective form of transferring knowledge ----- knowledge of the Absolute. Absolute that is beyond our vocabulary and comprehension but is directable and thus pointed out. Besides, Gita or Song is also abstract which nullifies our above mentioned limitations. It is generally composed as a duet rather than a chorus highlighting the foundation of guru-disciple tradition. Mind you, knowledge of Absolute is highly personal.
Avadhuta Gita is ascribed to Vedanta school of Hindu teachings. However this is not your mainstream Vedanta prevalent today. It does not indulge in debates to prove the non-dual nor tells you to control your senses for there is no distinction between sense perception and spiritual perfection in the highest level of realization. What it does is make amazing statements and fill you with utmost wonder. You just have to be ready to imbibe.
Dattatreya (literally, son of Atri) is said to be author of this treatise. Sage Atri and his wife Anasuya were his parents. But there is very little written about him in scriptures. Markandeya Purana gives some references to him. This is also very little and legendary. But Dattatreya is considered knower of the Absolute, and hence Avadhuta. The duet is about his teachings to his unnamed disciple.
Dattatreya Gita does not salute absolute reality. This is not to inflate your ego but to know the reality of egolessness.
yenedam puritam sarvam atmanaivaatmanatmani
nirakaram katham vande hy-abhinnam sivam avyayam
( How shall I salute the formless Being, indivisible, auspicious and immutable, who fills all this with its self and also fills the self with its self ?)
I am myself filled by that self and all this also by that self. I and the Self are no different. I and the Self is (right grammar) one/same. Self that is without any form, is not divisible, is good, compassionate and changeless. There is no need to salute because there is no one to perform salutation or to be saluted. There are no-two for salutation to happen.
One of the most famous verses of Avadhuta Gita is :
mano vai gaganaakaram mano vai sarvato mukham
mano atitam manah sarva na manah paramarthatah
( The mind indeed is of the form of space. The mind indeed is omnifaced. The mind is the past. The mind is present and future and all phenomena. But in absolute reality, there is no mind. )
The mind is the form of space and is vast. It has faces everywhere. It is the past. Along with present and future, it is all we perceive, including all time and space. Everything is mind- made. The mind precedes all phenomena.
Here comes the most amazing part, antidote to all this. In absolute reality, there is no mind. From the perspective of Avadhuta, the mind does not really exist anymore. It has ceased to be. Only our deep common ignorance feeds the mind with substance, essence, significance and entity and we think the mind is Truth. And Avadhuta Gita burns this ignorance with the fire of the very knowledge ----- there is no mind whatsoever.
Here, everything is discovered as dependent of the mind. Then true nature of the mind which is its own absence is known experientially. Once the mind is absent, things depending on it are non-existent. The first Shankaracharya pointed out this state as “scenes becoming unseen.”
Avadhuta Gita is saturated with this wisdom. Let's take one more into account before closing.
( naiva bodho na chabodho na bodhaabodha eva cha
yasyedrisah sada bodhah sa bodho naanyathaa bhavet )
( There is neither knowledge nor ignorance nor knowledge combined with ignorance. He who has always such knowledge is himself Knowledge. It is never otherwise.)
In absolute reality, there is no knowledge, no ignorance. Both are equal opposites of each other. There is no distinction of knowledge and ignorance. Neither is there combination of the two. Synthesis is also not possible since it implies distinction. He who has this realization, understands this deeply in his heart, always, in all conditions ----- is himself Knowledge, Truth and its embodiment . One who knows Truth is Truth himself. Mundaka Upanishad also says, "The knower of Brahman becomes Brahman." (3.2.9)
"It is never otherwise" means any statement opposite to above observation is not true. Truth is said firmly, categorically, without least element of doubt. This knowledge itself is real knowledge, knowledge of the absolute. Know this knowledge. Nothing otherwise. Eliminate doubts, distractions and dualities. There is nothing to know after this knowledge.
Be Avadhuta Dattatreya yourself. Because you are yourself that. That's the importance of Avadhuta Gita. From the onset, it sets out to make you an Avadhuta. This is what Dattatreya is saying to unnamed disciple and us. Know it firmly, freely, independently. And maintain it at all times, all conditions. That is all. This is the gist of wonderful, amazing Avadhuta Gita.