The Avadhoota Gita
1. Of the teacher-even if he be young illiterate, or addicted to the
enjoyment of sense objects, even if he be a servant or a householder
-none of these should be considered. Does anyone shun a gem that
has fallen in an impure place?
Illiterate here refers to one who is not versed in the scriptures.
Addicted (apparently so.)
2. In such a case one should not consider even the quality
of scholarship. A worldly person should recognize only the essence.
Does not a boat. though devoid of beauty and vermilion paint
nevertheless ferry passengers?
Essence,etc.- The essential qualification of the teacher
is not intellectual immanence, but capacity to impart
3. The unmoving One, who without effort
possesses all that is movable and immovable, is
consciousness, naturally calm, like the sky.
4. How can He, the One and All-pervading,
who moves effortlessly all that is movable and immovable,
be differentiated! To me He is nondual.
5. I am verily supreme since I am the Absolute,
more essential than all essences,
since I am free from birth and death,
calm and undifferentiated.
6. Thus I, free from all components,
am worshipped by the gods, but
being full and perfect,
I do not recognize any distinctions such as gods and the like.
Free, etc.-not made up of parts; indivisible.
Worshipped, etc.-because the true Self is the highest Divinity.
Recognize, etc.-In the highest spiritual realization
no distinctions and differences are perceived.
7. Ignorance does not create any doubt. What shall I do, being endowed
with modifications of the mind?
They arise and dissolve like bubbles in water.
Ignorance, etc.-The man of the highest spiritual perception,
after realizing his Divine identity, may live on the relative plane
and thus appear enveloped by ignorance, but even then he is never
unaware of his Divinity.
What, etc.-Thought the man of highest spiritual perception appears to think,
will, etc., yet, as the pure witness,
he remains completely separate from mental activities.
8. Thus am I ever pervading all existence beginning with cosmic
intelligence-pervading soft, hard, sweet, and pungent substances.
9. As pungency, coldness, or softness is nondifferent from water,
so prakrti is nondifferent from purusa-thus it appears to me.
Prakrti-nature; relative existence.
Purusa-spirit, the Absolute.
10. The Lord of the universe is devoid of all names. He is subtler than
the subtlest, supreme, He is spotless,
beyond the senses, mind, and intellect.
Lord, etc.-the Self.
11. Where there is such a natural Being, how can there be “I”, how can
there be even “you”, how can there be the world?
Natural-existing in its natural (i.e., pure) state.
12. That which has been described as being like ether is indeed
Like ether. That is Consciousness-blameless, omniscient, and perfect.
13. It does not move about on the earth or dwell in fire. It is not
blown by the wind or covered by water.
14. Space is pervaded by It, but It is not pervaded by anything.
It is existing within and without. It is undivided and continuous.
15. One should successively take recourse to the objects of
concentration, as mentioned by the yogis,
in accordance with their subtlety, invisibility,
Take, etc.-In order to attain to the Absolute (or dissolution in the
Absolute, as is said in the next verse), one has to reach the state
of infinite and undifferentiated Consciousness by eliminating all mental
differentiation or movements.
The method of this elimination is to make consciousness dwell on one
object continuously by obstructing its restless tendency to dwell on
But the object of concentration has to be chosen carefully.
The beginner chooses a gross object.
When he has dwelt on it continuously for some time, his consciousness
becomes subtle and steady.
He then chooses a subtle object to concentrate on.
Gradually he reaches a high state of concentration, but some differentiations
in his consciousness still remain-there is the consciousness of himself as
the concentrator, of the object on which he is concentrating, and of the
process of concentration. Next even these differentiations vanish.
For the object of concentration dissolves, and there remains only the pure,
undifferentiated Consciousness, the Absolute.
16. When through constant practice one’s concentration becomes objectless,
then, being divested of merits and demerits, one attains the state of
complete dissolution in the Absolute through the dissolution of the object
of concentration, but not before then.
17. For the destruction of the terrible poisonous universe, which
produces the unconsciousness of delusion, there is but one infallible
remedy-the nectar of naturalness.
Unconsciousness, etc.-delusion which makes one unconscious of the Divine
Naturalness-the state of pure Existence; Divine Identity.
18. That which has form is visible to the eye, while the formless is perceived
mentally. That (the Self), being beyond existence and non-existence,
is called intermediate.
Intermediate-neither material nor mental, i.e., beyond both.
19. The external existence is the universe, the inner existence is
called prakrti. One should try to know That which is more interior
than the inner existence, That which is like water within the kernel
of the coconut.
Prakrti-in its subtle aspects: cosmic intelligence, cosmic mind, etc.
20. Illusory knowledge relates to what is outside, correct knowledge to
what is inside. Try to know That which is more interior than the inside,
That which is like water within the kernel of the coconut.
21. There is only one very clear moon on the full moon night. One should
perceive That (the Self) like the moon seeing duality is perversion.
22. It is indeed in this way that intelligence becomes divided and ceases
to be all-comprehending. A giver attains to wisdom and is sung with
millions of names.
This, etc.-by seeing duality (also, of course, plurality).
Divided-perceiving many objects separated from one another, as in
ordinary experience. Intelligence should, if it is not clouded with
ignorance, perceive only unity-the whole of Reality-at once.
Such perception, according to Vedanta, is the only true perception of Reality.
Giver-maker of charity.
The second part of this verse, and, as a matter of fact, the whole verse,
is a little obscure. Our translation of the second part is literal.
The probable meaning is: When a person gives away all attachment thereby
attaining perfect renunciation, being free of all grasping he attains
the knowledge of the Self.
The Sanskrit data for the word “giver” also means teacher.
23. Whoever, whether he be ignorant or learned, attains to the full
awareness of Truth through the grace of a teacher’s wisdom, becomes
detached from the ocean of worldliness.
Ignorant-devoid of scholarship. (learned in the scriptures)
24. He who is free from attachment and hatred, devoted to the good of
all beings, fixed in knowledge and steady shall attain to the supreme state.
25. As the space within a pot dissolves in the universal space when the
pot is broken, so a yogi, in the absence of the body, dissolves into the
supreme Self, which is his true being.
26. It has been said that the destiny of those devoted to action is the
same as their thought at the end, but it has not been said that the destiny
of those established in yoga is the same as their thought at the end.
End-the dying moment.
The belief in India, clearly expressed in the Bagavad Gita, is that the
last thought in the mind of the dying person indicates the nature of his
This is not true, however, of one who has attained to the knowledge of the
27. One may express the destiny of those devoted to action with the
organ of speech, but the destiny of the yogis can never be expressed,
because it is transcendental
28. Knowing this, one never says that the yogis have any particular
path. For them it is the giving up of all duality, The supreme
attainment comes of itself.
Particular, etc.-Departing souls reach their destined worlds following
either pitr-yana, the path of the fathers or deva-yana, the path of the
The yogi, after death, does not travel along any path having already
attained the Highest, which has nothing to do with any particular place
or time, he has no world to reach.
Supreme, etc.-The supreme Truth which the yogi attains after transcending
all duality is ever present, eternal, and absolute, so cannot be spoken of
in terms of relative existence or relative truth.
When the sense of duality is destroyed, this Truth at once reveals itself,
even as the sun is seen shining when clouds disperse.
29. The yogi, having died anywhere, in a holy place or in the house of
an untouchable, does not see the mother’s womb again-he is dissolved in
the supreme Brahman.
Untouchable-In India because of the cast system, there is a class of people
called untouchable because they are considered impure.
Does not, etc.-is not reborn.
30. He who has seen his true Self, which is innate, unborn, and
incomprehensible, does not, if anything desired happens to him,
become tainted. Being free from taint, he never performs any action.
The man of self-restraint or the ascetic, therefore, is never bound.
Desired, etc.-only apparently desired by him who possesses Self-knowledge.
When one has attained to the knowledge of the Self one may still continue to
live in the body and appear to be actively seeking desired objects.
This, however, is only in semblance.
Being free from the taint of ignorance, which makes the average man seek
desirable objects and avoid undesirable ones, he is really inactive.
31. He attains to the supreme Self, who is eternal, pure, fearless,
formless, and supportless, who is without body, without desire, beyond
the pairs of opposites, free from illusion and of undiminished power.
Pairs, etc.-such as heat and cold, pain and pleasure, ignorance and knowledge,
life and death, which are all relative.
32. He attains to the supreme, eternal Self, in whom exists no Veda, no
initiation, no tonsure, no teacher, no disciple, no perfection of symbolic
figures, no hand-posture or anything else.
Symbolic, etc.-In ritualistic worship geometrical figures drawn on metal,
stone, etc., are sometimes used as symbols of Divinity.
Hand-posture-called mudra, used as art of ritualistic worship.
33. He attains to the supreme, eternal Self, in whom is neither
sambhavi, nor sakti, nor anavi initiation;
neither a sphere, nor an image, nor a foot, nor anything else;
neither beginning, nor ending, nor a jar, etc.
Sambhavi, etc.-Tantrika texts speak of three kinds of initiation.
Sambhavi initiation, which is very rare, is that in which the teacher
by a mere word, look, touch, or by will imparts the highest knowledge
of God to the disciple instantly.
Sakti initiation is that in which the teacher instills into the disciple a
great spiritual power which will of itself, within a reasonable time, bring
about the disciple’s spiritual emancipation. The disciple does not have to
exert himself for this realization. Such initiation also is exceptional.
Anavi or mantri initiation is that in which the teacher, on an auspicious day,
instructs the disciple concerning the method of spiritual practice he should
follow, gives him a word or a phrase (called mantra) to repeat, and offers other
The disciple must practice according to these instructions
to gain spiritual knowledge.
Sphere-a round symbol made of stone, etc.
Foot- Sometimes either an image of a foot or a footprint is used
as a symbol of worship.
Beginning, etc.-ceremonial beginning and ending of worship.
Jar-Sometimes a jar filled with water is used as a symbol of the
34. He attains to the supreme, eternal Self, from whose essence the
universe of movable and immovable objects is born, in whom it rests,
and into whom it dissolves, even as foam and bubbles are born of the
transformation of water.
35. He attains to the supreme, eternal Self, in whom is no closing of
nostril nor gazing nor posture, and in whom is neither knowledge nor
ignorance nor any nerve-current.
Closing, etc.-In the practice of pranayama or breath control,
each nostril in turn is closed with a finer in order to breathe
only with the other nostril.
Gazing-fixing the eyes on a certain point to induce concentration.
Posture-a particular way of sitting which allows the body to be most
comfortable and yet conduces to the practice of mental concentration.
Nerve-current-The reference is to the three nerves mentioned in Yoga
texts-ida, pingala and susumna along which thought-currents are made
to flow in order to realize higher states of consciousness.
36. He attains to the supreme, eternal Self, who is devoid of
manifoldness, oneness, many-and-oneness, and otherness;
who is devoid of minuteness, length, largeness, and nothingness;
who is devoid of knowledge, knowableness, and sameness.
37. He attains the supreme, eternal Self whether he has perfect
self-control or not, whether he has withdrawn his senses well or not,
whether he has gone beyond activity or is active.
Has, etc.-whether he appears to have self-control or not.
38. He attains the supreme, eternal Self who is not mind, intelligence, body,
senses, or egoism; who is neither the subtle elements nor the five gross
elements nor of the nature of space.
39. When injunctions cease and the yogi attains to the supreme Self,
his mind being void of differentiations, he has neither purity nor impurity;
his contemplation is without distinguishing attributes;
and even what is usually prohibited is permissible to him.
Injunctions-prescriptions given by the scriptures to a spiritual aspirant
in regard to what he should practice.
The yogi who has attained to the Highest is beyond the need of such
Contemplation, etc.-The spiritual aspirant is prohibited from doing
certain things, just as he is enjoined to do other things;
but upon attaining the Highest he goes beyond all injunctions
Realizing himself as the Absolute, he may act in even an apparently
evil way, just as God does some apparently evil things in His creation.