On Ashtavakra: The real man stands innocently naked, free of all virtues

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Question: Ashtavakra talks about being desireless, dispassionate, and egoless. A wise man is defined to possess all these virtues. But how?

Acharya Prashant: See, look at the wordings. You are saying Ashtavakra talks about being Desireless, Dispassionate, and Egoless. Mind these three words. The conclusion being drawn by the questioner is – A wise man is defined to POSSESS all these virtues. Now, when is Ashtavakra saying that?

All that Ashtavakra is saying that the wise one is desireless, dispassionate, and egoless. When is the Ashtavakra saying that the wise man possesses all these virtues?

You can possess something when it is; you cannot possess desire-lessness.

You cannot possess dis-passion.

You cannot possess ego-lessness.

He is talking in negativa. He is saying that the wise man is not all this. And yet the question is that the wise man possesses all these virtues. Is he possessing something or is he non-possessing something?

Listeners: Non-possessing.

AP: There is a world of difference in saying that the wise man possesses all this versus that he is non-possessive. He possesses nothing. And these are not virtues.

The wise man is free of the entire concept of the wise and virtue.

So, Ashtavakra will never say that these are virtues. For him, paap and punya are one.

And he will never say that these are the qualities that one must possess. For him, all qualities are one, fake; masks. To divide qualities into gunas and avgunas is your own chemistry. Ashtavakra is saying none of that.

You take on desires, your passion is cultivated by you, ego is your own doing. These are things that you have covered yourself with. The wise man does not have something extra, better or special to cover himself with. It is just that he is not covered. He is radiant, he is not shrouded, not covered at all.

We have covered ourselves, we are wearing a lot of clothing.  A lot of masks.

The wise man is naked. Absolutely naked. He is not covered.


~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Ashtavakra: The real man stands innocently naked, free of all virtues

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: Who is really a wise man?

Article 2: Only the fake saint conforms to the idea of a saint

Article 3: On Lalleshwari: The saint is not obliged to conform to your expectations


25th Advait Learning Camp with Acharya Prashant is being organized
Dates: 16th to 19th October
Place: Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand

To apply, send an email to requests@prashantadvait.com


Editor’s Note: 

Books by Acharya Prashant are available on AMAZON:

http://tinyurl.com/Acharya-Prashant

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2 thoughts on “On Ashtavakra: The real man stands innocently naked, free of all virtues

    • There are various opportunities to connect to and meet Acharya Prashant. These are:

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      Advait Learning Camps are monthly retreats organized under Acharya Prashant’s guidance. These camps are about spending four days and three nights in the lap of nature, while reading, reflecting, learning and evolving. So far, scores of ALCs have been organised in places like Rishikesh, Mukteshwar, Jim Corbett National Park, Chopta, KainchiDham, etc.
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      This reply comes to you from volunteers of PrashantAdvait Foundation who maintain this channel.

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