The Ashtavakra Gita, or the Ashtavakra Samhita as it is sometimes called, is a very ancient Sanskrit text. Nothing seems to be known about the author, though tradition ascribes it to the Sage Ashtavakra – hence the name.
There is little doubt though that it is very old, probably dating back to the days of the classic Vedanta period. The Sanskrit style and the doctrine expressed would seem to warrant this assessment.
The work was known, appreciated and quoted by Ramakrishna and his disciple Vivekananda, as well as by Ramana Maharshi, while Radhakrishnan always refers to it with great respect. Apart from that the work speaks for itself. It presents the traditional teachings of Advaita Vedanta with a clarity and power very rarely matched.
The translation here is by John Richards, and is presented to the public domain with his affection. The work has been a constant inspiration in his life for many years. May it be so for many others.
John Richards, Stackpole Elidor, UK ([email protected]) Presented to the public domain 28.5.94 HTML by Gene R. Thursday 28.1.98
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