Skip to main content

What is the difference between Ashtavakra Gita and Bhagavad Gita? Also, why is Ashtavakra Gita not as famous as Bhagavad Gita?

Ashtavakra Gita is a song sung by a sage called Ashtavakra. This name literally means eight bends in his body. He was physically challenged. And yet he was very intelligent as a child. The ancient Hindu tradition was to have spiritual debates (Shastrartha) between intellectuals. There was a king by the name Janaka. And this king used to have regular spiritual debates among intellectuals in his court. In one such debates Ashtavakra’s father was about to lose, wherein Ashtavakra as a young boy participates in that debate and defeats all the intellectuals there. King Janaka gets impressed and makes Ashtavakra as his Guru.


Ashtavakra Gita is a dialogue between King Janaka and Ashtavakra. It’s a book that tells you all bout yourself - who you are, what you are, what’s your purpose, why are you here, and where will you go from here. It’s basically a book that deals with self-realization (Enlightenment). The point to be noted here is that the one who is asking the questions is a great king of that time. He was also later on called as an enlightened king. And the one who is giving answers as a Guru is a young boy (much younger to the king in his age, but mightier in knowledge and wisdom). And through this dialogue of the Ashtavakra Gita, the king Janaka attains to enlightenment.


Bhagavad Gita literally means a Song of the Divine. It was sung by Krishna in the battle field of Kurukshetra at the request of his dearest friend Arjuna. Here also the same thing. Even the Bhagavad Gita is also dealing with self-knowledge. Knowing who you are is the key. Krishna is telling Arjuna, without knowing yourself you can not do anything. Without knowing yourself there can not be a right action. Firstly, you should do everything to know yourself. And secondly, once you have known yourself, you should do everything to dispel how to know yourself. All other actions in life are secondary and to know oneself is primary. So, Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna dealing with self-knowledge (Enlightenment). The key point to note here is that it is a dialogue between two dearest friends and it is a dialogue between them in a battlefield of Kurukshetra. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna talks about various paths to this self-knowing depending on the nature of that person. And through this dialogue of the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna attains to clarity in his doing and action.

The heart, mind, and body are not three different aspects. The heart, head, and hand are not three different things. The feeling, thinking, and doing are not three different compartments of our being. They are just three manifestations of the same consciousness. And, therefore, a symphony of the three is a precondition for a right action.

Now about being famous and not being famous. There are these two Sanskrit words: Siddhi and Prasiddhi. Sidhi means when I know myself. And Prasiddhi means when the world knows me. Just think. If I do not know myself, and the world knows me, what is the point of this fame? On the other hand, I know myself, but the world does not know me, who cares? If you are a man, you can say balls. And if you are woman, you can say fuck off. The differentiating point is: Are you happy or not? Are you blissful or not? Are you conscious or not? Who cares for being famous or not? Who cares for being rich or poor? So, enlightenment has something to do with our attitude and aptitude and it has nothing to do with other non-essential things.


Krishna and Arjuna, Ashtavakra and Janaka, they all have gone. They are no more with us today. How does it matter to them what we are speaking about them and their work today? What is important is that they all have walked on the path of self-knowledge and attained. And then they have shared their How-To in the form of their songs to reflect upon by us. Now, it is for us to decide whether we can sing and dance in tune with their song and dance. Can we sing their song? Can we dance their dance? The sooner the better. And any kind of comparison may delay and prolong our decision to be on this journey of self-knowledge.

There are these two Sanskrit words: Siddhi and Prasiddhi. Sidhi means when I know myself. And Prasiddhi means when the world knows me. Just think. If I do not know myself, and the world knows me, what is the point of this fame? On the other hand, I know myself, but the world does not know me, who cares? The differentiating point is: Are you happy or not? Are you blissful or not? Are you conscious or not? Who cares for being famous or not? Who cares for being rich or poor?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Glass, Half Full or Half Empty

The reality exists and we all perceive the reality. What is true reality? Nobody can give the exact answer. Each person has his own reality. And, therefore, each person has his own expression. The reality is one but the perceptions could be many. The reality is one but the expressions could be many. Every one perceives reality in his own way. Every observer observes reality is his own way. Every perception is relative to the one who is perceiving. Every observation is relative to the observer. The one who is perceiving and the perception are not two different things. The observer and the observed are not two different things.


Is the glass half full or half empty? This is a common phrase that we use to know an individual’s worldview. This is a common phrase that we use to know an individual’s point of view. In the above situation, every individual’s worldview could be different. One may argue and say that the glass is half full and this expression may indicate optimism. And another ma…

And when the son meets the father !!

We all know the story of the Buddha that he went in search of knowing himself. He went in search of enlightenment. And in the process he left everything behind - his own family, his father, and his kingdom. In the past there was this tradition of renunciation. One has to give-up everything in order to attain to enlightenment. One has to give-up oneself in order to become a Siddha. Siddhartha was a prince. He was the son of a king Śuddhodana. Siddhartha had all the comforts and luxuries that one can imagine. And since childhood he has seen only one-side of life, the life of all comforts and luxuries. And he had no idea about the other side of the life of poverty and deprivation. And when he had grown-up, the side which was absent and suppressed started attracting him in the form of renunciation. This is a common psychology of life that a thing which has been absent in life, shall soon start dominating its presence. The one that we suppress will try to surface with a greater force. If …

The Mahabharata : In a Nutshell !!

There are three great characters in the Mahabharata. All the other characters are just by-products of these three characters. Duryodhana, Arjuna, and Krishna are these three main and great characters. To me, Duryodhana represents the Unconscious. He is a metaphor for the Unconscious. Arjuna represents the Conscious. He is a metaphor for the Conscious. And Krishna represents the Supreme Conscious. He is a metaphor for the Supreme Conscious. He is representing the Supreme Consciousness. When the ray of the Supreme Consciousness passes through the prism of the mind, the prism of the mind manifests the Supreme Consciousness into the Consciousness and the Unconsciousness.

To make things simple, let us understand this by way of an example. Let us suppose that the Unconsciousness is like darkness and the Consciousness is like the light. And the one that joins these two and still remains beyond is called the Supreme Consciousness. According to the psychologists the Unconsciousness is far far …