Chapter 1 – 51/76

The Avadhoota Gita

The Avadhoota Gita


Decorative Line

Verses 51/76

51. As water, when water has been poured into water, has
no distinctions, so purusa and prakrti appear nondifferent to me.

Purusa, etc. – Purusa: Soul. Prakrti: Cosmos. Ordinarily considered
to be opposite principles, conscious and unconscious,
they are here recognized as identical in the highest spiritual experience.

52. If indeed you are never bound or liberated,
how then can you think yourself with form or as formless?

With form, etc. – The Self, of course, is without form,
but saying so implies recognition of form;
therefore even the idea of the formlessness
of the Self is repudiated.

53. I know your supreme Form to be directly perceivable, like the sky.
I know your lower form to be as water in a mirage.
Like the sky – without division or distinction, with-out change.

Lower, etc. – apparent form

54. I have neither teacher nor instruction, limiting adjunct nor activity.
Know that I am by nature pure, homogenous, bodiless, like the sky.

Limiting, etc. – any qualification.

55. You are pure, you are without a body,
your mind is not higher than the highest.
You need not be ashamed to say,
” I am the Self, the supreme Truth.”

Mind, etc. – The mind is not the Self.

56. Why are you weeping, O mind?
Do you the Self, be the Self by means of the Self.
Drink, my child, the supreme nectar of Nonduality,
transcending all divisions.

Means, etc. – One cannot attain to Self – knowledge
except through the Self itself.
How can the mind, which is not- Self, reveal the Self?

57. There is neither knowledge nor ignorance
nor knowledge combined with ignorance.
He who has always such knowledge is himself Knowledge.

It is never otherwise.

Knowledge – The Absolute is spoken of as Existence,
Knowledge, and Bliss.

58. There is no need of knowledge, reasoning, time, space,
instruction from a teacher, or attainment of Samahdi.
I am naturally the perfect Consciousness, the Real, like the sky,
Spontaneous and steady.

Samahdi – See verse 23. Dattatreya maintains
that the practice of Samahdi is not necessary
because, according to him, the Self has never been bound
and hence does not require to practice anything
to gain knowledge of Itself.

The Self, which is Consciousness Itself,
can never lose consciousness of Its true nature
and therefore Samahdi is superfluous.

59. I was not born nor have I death. I have no action, good or evil.
I am Brahman, stainless, without qualities.
How can there be bondage or liberation for me?

60. If God pervades all, if God is immovable, full, undivided,
then I see no division.
How can He have exterior or interior?

How, etc. – Exterior or interior cannot be spoken of
He is indivisible and infinite.

61. The whole universe shines undivided and unbroken.
Oh, the maya, the great delusion – the imagination
of duality and nonduality!

Maya – ignorance.

62. Always “not this, not this” to both the formless and the formed.
Only the Absolute exists, transcending difference and non difference.

“Not this”, etc. – No formed or formless object can be considered
to be the ultimate Reality.

63. You have no mother, no father, no wife, no son, no relative, no friend.
You have no likes or dislikes.
Why is this anguish in your mind?

64. O mind, for you there is no day or night, rising or setting.
How can the wise imagine an embodied state for the bodiless?

65. The Self is neither divided nor undivided –
nor has It sadness, happiness, and the like,
nor is It all or less than all.
Know the Self to be immutable.

66. I am not the doer or enjoyer.
Work have I none, now or formerly.

I have no body nor am I bodiless.
How can I have or not have a sense of “my-ness”?

67. I have no fault such as passion and the like –
nor have I any sorrow arising from the body.
Know me to be the one Self, vast and like the sky.

68. Friend mind, of what use is much vain talk?
Friend mind, all this is mere conjecture.
I have told you that which is the essence:
You indeed are the Truth, like the sky.

All, etc. – Words and ideas, being finite and related to finite objects,
can never reveal Truth completely.

69. In whatever place yogis die, in whatever state,
there they dissolve, as the space of a jar dissolves into the sky.

Dissolve, etc. – become identified with the Self.

70. Giving up the body in a holy place or in the house of a candala,
the yogi, even if he has lost consciousness, becomes identified
with the Absolute as soon as he is free of the body.

Candala – one belonging to the lowest stratum –
considered unclean and impure – of Hindu society.

Lost, etc. – that is to say, apparently so.
The inward awareness of the yogi can never be clouded.

71. The yogis consider duty in life, pursuit of wealth, enjoyment of love,
liberation, and everything movable or immovable such as man and so on
to be a mirage.

72. This is my certain perception:
I neither perform nor enjoy past action, future action,
or present action.

73. The avadhuta alone, pure in evenness of feeling,
abides happy in an empty dwelling place.
Having renounced all, he moves about naked.
He perceives the Absolute, the All, within himself.

Avadhuta – a liberated soul, one who has “passed away from”
or “shaken off” all worldly attachments and cares,
and has realized his identity with God.

74. Where there are neither the three states of consciousness
nor the fourth, there one attains the Absolute in the Self.
How is it possible to be bound or free –
where there is neither virtue nor vice?

75. The avadhuta never knows any mantra in Vedic metre nor any tantra.
This is the supreme utterance of the avadhuta, purified by meditation
and merged in the sameness of infinite Being.

Mantra – a hymn or a sacred prayer.

Tantra – system of rites and ceremonies.
This – the truth as enunciated in the whole discourse.

76. There exists neither complete void nor voidlessness,
neither truth nor untruths of the scriptures,
has uttered this spontaneously from his own nature.
Truth – Complete Truth does not exist in the plane of relative existence.



Chapter 1 – 26/50

The Avadhoota Gita

The Avadhoota Gita


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Verses 26/50

26. As the self is filled by the Self, so is all filled continuously by you.
There is no meditator or meditation.
Why does your mind meditate shamelessly?

Shamelessly – One should be ashamed to meditate,
because meditation pre-supposes a shameful forgetfulness of one’s true nature.

If one does not know The Self meditation is the way to realization.
After realization one will cease to meditate.

27. I do not know the Supreme; how shall I speak of Him?
I do not know the Supreme how shall I worship Him?
If I am the supreme One, who is the highest Truth, who is homogeneous Being and like unto space, how then shall I speak of Him and worship Him?

Know, etc. – Empirical knowledge belongs to a lower state in which the Supreme cannot be perceived; therefore one cannot speak of “knowing” the Supreme.

If I am the supreme, how can I see myself?
Can the eye see the eye?

28. The principle of ego is not the Truth, which is homogeneous,
which is free from the cause of superimposition and distinctions of
perceived and perceiver.
How can the ego be That which is aware of Itself?

29. There is no substance whatever which is by nature unlimited.
There is no substance whatever which is of the nature of Reality.
The very Self is the supreme Truth. There is neither injury nor non injury in It.

Substance – relative reality.

30. You are the homogeneous Reality;
you are pure, bodiless, birthless, and imperishable.
Why then do you have any delusion about the Self?
Again, why am I myself deluded?

31. When the pot is broken, the space within it is absorbed in the infinite space
and becomes undifferentiated.
When the mind becomes pure, I do not perceive any difference between the mind and the supreme Being.

32. There is no pot; there is no pot’s interior space.
Neither is there an individual soul nor the form of an individual soul.
Know the absolute Brahman, devoid of knowable and knower.

33. Know me to be that Self who is everything and everywhere
at all times, the one who is eternal, steady, the All, the nonexistent,
and the Existent.
Have no doubt.

Nonexistent – the phenomenal aspect of being, which has now disappeared.

34. There are no Vedas, no worlds, no gods, no sacrifices.
There is certainly no caste, no stage in life, no family, no birth.
There is neither the path of smoke nor the path of light.
There is only the highest Truth, the homogeneous Brahman.

Stage in life – any of the four stages into which life is divided
by the Hindus, namely, those of the student, the householder, the contemplative, and the mendicant.

The path of smoke, etc. – the two paths along which – according to Hinduism, souls travel to the invisible worlds after death.

35. If you are free of the pervaded and pervader, if you are one and fulfilled, how can you think of yourself as directly perceptible by the senses or beyond the range of the senses?

Free, etc. – one who has transcended the sense of distinction between forms (“pervaded”) and the Divine Substance (“pervader”).
Such a one, therefore, has constant, unobstructed consciousness of Divinity.

Such a one has the dual realization of form and formless.

Directly – that is to say, in the manner in which the unenlightened perceives by the sense.

In the highest state of realization, sense perception is no longer distinguishable from spiritual intuition.

36. Some seek nonduality, others duality.
They do not know the Truth, which is the same at all times and everywhere, which is devoid of both duality and nonduality.

37. How can they describe the Truth, which is beyond mind and words, which is devoid of white and other colours, of sound and other qualities?

38. When all these appear to you as false, when the body and so on appear to you like space, then you know Brahman truly, then for you there is no dual series.

Dual series – such as “I and Thou” (self and God), “I and it” (self and the world),
and so on. Also it means “Self and not-Self” and the series of their evolutes.

39. Even my natural self appears to me as non-distinct from the supreme Self; it appears to be one and like space.
How can there be meditator and meditation?

40. What I do, what I eat, what I sacrifice, what I give – all this is not mine in the least. I am pure, unborn, undecaying.

41. Know all this universe to be formless.
Know all this universe to be without change.
Know all this universe to be of purified body.
Know all this universe to be of the nature of the Absolute.

Of purified body – That is to say, the material substance of which the universe appears to be constituted is really nothing but pure Spirit/Consciousness.

42. You are verily the Truth.
There is no doubt about it – otherwise, what do I know?
Why do you consider the Self, which is perceptible to Itself, as imperceptible?

Otherwise – If one does not perceive every being as The Self, one is still ignorant.

43. My child, how can there be illusion and non illusion, shadow and lack of shadow?
All this is one Truth, all this is of the nature of space and without taint.

44. I am free in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end.
I am never bound. This is my sure knowledge – that I am naturally spotless and pure.

45. The whole universe, beginning with the principle of cosmic intelligence, is not in the least manifest to me.
All is indeed Brahman alone.
How can there be any existence in cast or stage of life for me?

46. I know that all, in every way, is the one indivisible “I” which is self-sustained and full, while the five elements, beginning with ether, are empty.

47. The Self is neither eunuch, man, nor woman: it is neither idea nor imagination.
How can you think the Self to be full of joy or joyless?

Full of joy – Here “joy” is used in the sense of relative joy as perceived by the senses and the mind.

Joyless – Here the reference is to transcendental Joy.

48. The Self certainly does not become pure through the practice
of six-limbed yoga.
It certainly is not purified by the destruction of the mind.
It certainly is not made pure by the instructions of the teacher.
It is Itself the Truth.
It is Itself the illumined One.

Six-limbed – consisting of six parts or steps, namely, posture, control of the vital force, self- withdrawal, concentration, meditation, and Samahdi.

49. There is no body made up of five elements; nor is there anyone who is disembodied.
All is verily the Self alone.
How can there be the three states and the fourth?

Five elements – See verses 3 and 25.

Anyone, etc. – When the pure Self is spoken of as disembodied, the idea of body is associated with It, though negatively.

All such qualifications of the Self (or Soul) are denied in this as well as in other verses.

Three states, etc. – the waking state, the dream state, and the deep sleep state: the ordinary conditions of individuals when they are ignorant of their true nature, which is usually called the fourth or transcendental state.

To name the transcendental state as the fourth is itself an error, as such a designation, which makes it a correlative of the other three states, is inapplicable to the absolute Self.

50. I am not bound, I am not, indeed, liberated – I am not different from Brahman.

Neither doer nor enjoyer – I am devoid of the distinctions of the pervaded
and the pervader.

Liberated – The Self cannot be “liberated”, since it was never bound.

Pervaded, etc. – The Sanskrit words for pervaded and pervader are vyapya and vyapaka, meaning the particular and the universal.
The particular is pervaded by or constituted of the universal.
The Self can be neither particular nor universal, as both these designations imply distinction, division, and limitation.


Chapter 1 – 1/25

The Avadhoota Gita

The Avadhoota Gita

By Dattatreya

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Verses 1/25

1. Through the grace of God alone, the desire for nonduality arises in wise men to save them from great fear.

Nonduality – monistic Consciousness, in which the knower, knowledge, and knowable – soul and God – become one; the highest realization of Divinity.

Fear – The word “fear” includes also such states of mind as insecurity, despair, and grief, all of which arise from a consciousness of oneself as limited and separate from others and which therefore can be dispelled only by realizing oneself as the All.

2. How shall I salute the formless Being, indivisible, auspicious and immutable, who fills all this with His Self and also fills the self with His Self?

Salute – No form of greeting or worship is possible where there is no consciousness of distinction.

Fills, etc. – The reality and substance of the so-called individual self is the Divine Self.

3. The universe composed of the five elements is like water etc. in a mirage. Oh, to whom shall I make obeisance –

I who am one and taintless?

Five elements- earth, water, fire, air, and ether.

According to most philosophical systems of India, these combine to constitute the phenomenal universe and are derived from God associated with maya or ignorance.

The terms are not to be taken literally. Taintless – untouched by the slightest ignorance and hence absolutely pure. The word is often applied to the Self and God.

4. All is verily the absolute Self.

Distinction and nondistinction do not exist.

How can I say, “It exists; it does not exist”?

I am filled with wonder!

It – the universe.

5. The essence and the whole of Vedanta is this Knowledge, this supreme Knowledge:

That I am by nature the formless, all-pervasive Self.

6. There is no doubt that I am that God who is the Self of all;

Pure, indivisible, like the sky.

Naturally stainless.

7. I indeed am immutable and infinite – of the form of pure Intelligence.

I do not know how or in relation to whom joy and sorrow exist.

8. I have no mental activity, good of bad;

I have no bodily function, good or bad;

I have no verbal action, good or bad.

I am the nectar of Knowledge – beyond the senses, pure.

9. The mind indeed is of the form of space.

The mind indeed is omnifaced.

The mind is the past.

The mind is all.

But in reality there is no mind.

All – the phenomenal universe – including all time and space – cosmos.

In reality – In the highest realization of the Spirit there is no mind.

10. I, the One only, am all this, beyond space and continuous.

How can I see the Self as visible or hidden?

Continuous – without the intervention of another substance;

Therefore homogeneous and undifferentiated.

Hidden – The question of the Self as being hidden or visible does not arise when one oneself is that Self.

11. Thus you are One. Why then do you not understand – that you are the unchangeable One, equally perceived in all?

O mighty One, how can you, who are ever-shining, unrestricted, think of day and night?

You – Dattatreya now addresses the disciple to whom he is imparting the highest truth.

Night – There can be no perception of any time or condition in perfect Self-realization.

12. Know the Self always to be everywhere, one and unintercepted.

I am the meditator and the highest object of meditation.

Why do you divide the Indivisible?

Unintercepted – See note on “Continuous,” verse 10.

Divide, etc. – Even the act of meditation is an expression of ignorance because it implies duality.

13. You are not born nor do you die.

At no time do you have a body.

The scripture declares in many different ways – the well-known dictum:

“All is Brahman.”

14. You are He who is exterior and interior.

You are the auspicious One existing everywhere at all times.

Why are you running hither and thither deluded, like an unclean spirit?

15. Union and separation exist in regard neither to you nor to me.

There is no you, no me, nor is there this universe.

All is verily the Self alone.

16. You do not belong to that which is composed of the five objects of sense, such as sound; nor does that belong to you.

You indeed are the supreme Reality.

Why then do you suffer?

Five. – The world appearance is composed of the five objects of sense: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell, and is not in reality connected with the Self.

17. For you there is no birth or death, for you there is no mind, for you there is no bondage or liberation, no good or evil.

Why do you shed tears, my child?

Neither you nor I have name and form.

18. Oh mind, why do you wander about deluded, like an unclean spirit?

Behold the Self indivisible.

Be happy through renunciation of attachment.

19. You verily are Truth, devoid of change, motionless, one, of the nature of freedom.

You have neither attachment nor aversion .

Why do you suffer, seeking the objects of desires?

20. All the scriptures say that the Truth is without attributes, pure, immutable, bodiless, and existing equally everywhere.

Know me to be That.

21. Know that which has form to be false, that which is formless
to be eternal.

Through the instruction of this truth there is no longer rebirth into this world.

No longer, etc. – Knowing oneself as eternal, one is not born into this world anymore, since incarnation is caused only by the soul’s ignorance of its true nature.

Yet let it be known that some return for compassion’s sake while yet knowing the absolute.

22. Sages say that Reality is one only and the same.

And through renunciation of attachment, the mind, which is one and many, ceases to exist.

One and many – “one” in a high (but not the highest) state of illumination, “many” in the state of ignorance.

23. If it is of the nature of the not-Self, how can there be Samahdi?

If it is of the nature of the Self, how can there be Samahdi?

If it is both “is” and “is not”, how can there be Samahdi?

If all is one and of the nature of freedom, how can there be Samahdi?

It – inconscientousness or true realization.

Samahdi – the absorption of the mind in the absolute Brahman, as a result of which the eternal Truth is realized.

Dattatreya maintains that the practice of Samahdi has no justification.

If the universe of our experience is the not-Self, then the true “I” is not in the state of Samahdi, for Truth is not there.

If our experience is of the Self, then Samahdi is superfluous.

How can The Self then be in Samahdi?

24. You are pure homogeneous Reality, disembodied, unborn, and immutable.

Why do you think of yourself as “I know it here” or as “I do not know”?

“I know it here”, etc. – Our knowledge of our Self in this earthly state is incorrect. To maintain that we do not have any true knowledge of our Self here is also incorrect.

25. By such sentences as “That thou art,” our own Self is affirmed.

Of that which is untrue and composed of the five elements – the Sruti (scripture) says, “Not this, not this.” (Neti Neti)

That, etc. – the phenomenal existence as well as the unknowable.

Five elements – earth, water, fire, air, and ether, of which, according to the Indian systems of philosophy the whole relative existence is constituted. See verse 3.

Sruti – the Vedas, particularly the Upanishads, the original texts of the Vedanta philosophy.





The Avadhoota Gita

Avadhoota Gita

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The Avadhoota Gita is writen by Sage Dattatreya. Dattatreya is regarded by many as the foremost incarnation. He was the combined incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. His narration was recorded by his two desciples Swami and Kartika. It is undoubtedly one of the ancient most Hindu Scriptures. Dattatreya belonged to the ancient Vedic period as there is a  Dattatreya Upanishad in the Atharvaveda. He is definitely before the Ramayana period as it is mentioned that Dattatreya taught the Shoda-nyasa of Srividya to Lord Parashurama, who was before Lord Rama. He also taught the Asthanga Yoga to Patanjali, who then wrote the famous Patanjali Yoga Sutras. The Avadhoota Gita is regarded by almost all sages as the greatest treatise on Advaita Vedanta. Some are of the opinion that Dattatreya was the originator of Tantra.

Legends about his birth are many and varied, and the place he died is unknown. It is stated that he was born on Wednesday, the 14th day of the Full Moon in the month of Margashirsha, but of year and place there is no reliable information. Scholars speculate it must have been not less than 5000 B.C, or even earlier.

Swami Vivekananda once said of the Avadhoota Gita, ‘Men like the one who wrote this song keep religion alive. They have actually self-realized; they care for nothing, feel nothing done to the body, care not for heat, cold, danger, or anything. They sit still enjoying the bliss of Brahman.’

The story of Dattatreya is told in many Puranas. The story from Markandeya purana, chapter 15, is as follows:

A brahmin named Kaushika was enchanted by a courtesan and lost his wealth, health etc. However, his wife, Shandili was faithful to him. She even carried him on her shoulders to the courtesan’s place. Once, by mistake, she stepped on Sage Mandavya and the sage cursed both of them to die by sunrise. Shandili prayed and appealed that the sun may never rise so that her husband would live. Her prayer was answered and the devas were in an uproar seeing the world order of time destroyed. They asked for the help of Anusuya, the wife of sage Atri, to convince Shandili. Anusuya was able to convince Shandili on the condition that Kaushika would live on sunrise. In appreciation of Anusuya’s intervention, the gods granted her three boons. She asked for her liberation, her husband’s liberation and that the three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva be born as sons to her. The wishes being granted, from Sage Atri’s eyes issued a light and served as the seed for the divine sons – Soma, Durvasa, and Datta – partial incarnations of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, respectively.

Other puranas give different narratives but all involve the attribution of the name Dattatreya to mean ‘Son of sage Atri.’ For example, there is a story is that the gods decided to test the chastity of Anasuya, the wife of the rishi Atri. So, brahma, Vishnu and Siva went to her posing as handsome men. However, Atri was not fooled and transformed all three of them into a single child with three heads. This child is known as Dattatreya and is considered to be an incarnation of all the three gods: Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha.

At birth, Dattatreya looked like a well-developed child of three or four years. Right after his birth, he told his mother, ‘I am leaving home.’ She