Insights From Ashtavakra

Note: Readers who are ready to receive an important message related to Truth, will find it within this article. To all others, the content will pass as words, just words.

Thanks to Janki Parikh, we have a wonderful translation of the Ashtavakra Gita (song of Ashtavakra), which is considered one of the holy texts in Hinduism. It relates a dialogue between a King named Janaka and a sage named Ashtavakra, about the our essential Self and the nature of reality. The dialogue occurs after a troubling event in the king’s life:


One night, King Janaka had a terrible dream. In the dream, his kingdom was invaded by a brutal enemy. Although he and his army fought valiantly to defind his kingdom, they lost the battle. In exile, King Janaka found himself living as a beggar. People who had been his subjects wouldn’t even approach him. Seeking food and shelter, he wandered through the streets, lost in misery. The dream, which seemed so incredibly real, ended abruptly; and once again, he found himself living as a king in his beautiful palace. However…

His misery soon transformed into deep confusion. He wondered: “Which is real?” He felt caught between two worlds, with a question he couldn’t answer: “Am I really a king who dreamed I was a beggar, or am I really a beggar who dreamed I was a king?” In the following days, his condition worsened to the point that Asktavakra was summoned to help. With great wisdom, Ashtavakra questioned King Janaka about the state in which he appeared to be a king, and the one in which he had imagined himself to be a beggar–both which came and went. Finally, King Janaka knowingly recognized a glimpse of his true nature. The following passages in bold are quotes from Ashtavakra Gita, by Janki Parikh:

Then it’s simple, O King. If that [you as a king, in a kingdom] doesn’t always exist, and this [you as a beggar, in the street] doesn’t always exist, then neither this nor that is real!”

“What is real, then?” asked King Janaka.

Then, Dear King, neither this is real, nor that is real. Only YOU are real!”


Now, dear readers, please allow me to ask: Do you know–with absolute certainty–that you are the person who is reading this article, or have you merely assumed it so? Do you know beyond doubt that you experience a body-mind, or do you actually experience thoughts, sensations and perceptions that imply a body-mind? Could it be that the mind that creates nighttime dreams also creates the waking state, which the majority of persons refer to as “reality?” Are you really a king, queen, or beggar reading this article, or is all of this occurring within a dream? Could the real YOU be all-pervading, Consciousness, immortal and eternal, dreaming a so-called human life? I freely admit that I, true Self, witnessed “Art” apparently writing this article. Recognition of true Self is at the heart of nonduality. Wake up, dear soul, wake up.

Dare to Dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2022 – R. Arthur Russell

P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. My YouTube videos may be found through this link. May the content of either or both help you along your spiritual journey. 🙏🧡

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

11 thoughts on “Insights From Ashtavakra

  1. The idea that we are dreaming a dream (or having a nightmare) is ingrained in the depths of my being, and that idea helps me to maintain my sanity in the midst of the craziness of this world. I sincerely hope that it provides others with the inspiration and courage to open their eyes to the possibility that our bodies are nothing more than “spacesuits” that we use to navigate our way through life as we go about the business of learning whatever we are to learn while we’re here. Thanks for a wonderful post.


    1. Hello Julia,

      Thank you so much for sharing your insights. I came to this understanding through a great deal of study about the law of attraction. From a “materialist” view of the world, LOA might seem ludicrous; but when we embrace that “this” is rendered via the mind, then LOA (changing your thought/beliefs = change your world) makes great sense. We also come to recognize What we truly are, beyond name and form.
      Thank you for your kind comment!


      1. I’m smiling, Julia. It has “seemed” a long journey–over 100 books read about the law of attraction, and many wonderful rich books about spirituality. About 10 – 12 years ago, I noticed the dovetailing of information related to our essential nature, true Self.
        Thank you for sharing!

        Liked by 1 person

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