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The Beginning of the Teaching

   41. As he said this, tormented by the forest fire of samsara, the great Sage looked at him with a gaze full of compassion, urging him to abandon fear, now that he had taken refuge in him.

   42. Out of compassion the Sage undertakes his instruction since he has come to him for help in his search for liberation, is willing to do as he is told, is pacified of mind and calm.

   43. Don't be afraid, master. Destruction is not for you. There is indeed a means of crossing the sea of samsara, the way taken by which those who have crossed over before, and I will now instruct you in it.

   44. There is a certain great means which puts an end to the fear of samsara. Crossing the sea of change by means of it, you will achieve the ultimate joy.

   45. Supreme understanding springs from meditating on the meaning of Vedanta, and that is followed immediately by the elimination of the pain of samsara.

   46. The practice of faith, devotion and meditation are declared by scripture to be the means to liberation for a seeker after liberation. He who perseveres in these will achieve freedom from the bondage to the body, created by ignorance.

   47. Linked with ignorance, your supreme self has become involved in the bonds of non self, and from that in samsara. The fire of the knowledge born from discriminating between these two will burn out the consequences of ignorance along with its very root.

   48. The disciple said: Out of compassion hear this question I put to you, so that when I have heard the reply from your lips I will be able to put it into practice.

   49. What exactly is bondage? How does it come about and remain? How is one freed from it? What exactly is non self? What is the Supreme Self? And how does one discriminate between them? Explain this to me.

   50. The guru replied: You are indeed blessed, for you have achieved the true purpose of life and sanctified your family, in that you seek deification by liberation from the bonds of ignorance.

   51. Sons and suchlike are able free their father from debts, but no-one can free some-one else from bondage.

   52. The pain of something like a weight on the head can be removed by others, but the pain of things like hunger can be put an end to by no-one but oneself.

   53. A sick man is seen to get better by taking the appropriate medicine - not through treatment undertaken by others.

   54. Reality can be experienced only with the eye of understanding, not just by a scholar. What the moon is like must be seen with one's own eyes. How can others do it for you?

   55. Who but yourself can free you from the bonds of the fetters of things like ignorance, lust and the consequences of your actions - even in hundreds of thousands of years?

   56. Liberation is achieved not by observances or by analysis, nor by deeds or learning, but only by the realisation of one's oneness with God, and by no other means.

   57. The beauty of a lute and skill in playing its cords can bring some pleasure to people but can hardly make you a king.

   58. In the same way, speech alone, even a deluge of words, with scholarship and skill in commenting on the scriptures, may achieve some personal satisfaction but not liberation.

   59. When the supreme reality is not understood, the study of the scriptures is useless, and study of the scriptures is useless when the supreme reality has been understood.

   60. The tangle of words is a great forest which leads the mind off wandering about, so wise men should strive to get to know the truth about their own nature.

   61. Except for the medicine of the knowledge of God, what use are Vedas, scriptures, mantras and such medicines when you have been bitten by the snake of ignorance?

   62. An illness is not cured just by pronouncing the name of the medicine without drinking it, and you will not be liberated by just pronouncing the word God without direct experience.

   63. How can one reach liberation by just pronouncing the word God without achieving the elimination of the visible universe and realising the truth about one's own nature? It will just be a waste of speech.

   64. One cannot become a king just by saying, "I am the king," without defeating one's enemies and taking possession of the country.

   65. A buried treasure will not come out just by calling it, but needs a good map, digging, removal of obstructing stones and so on to get at it. In the same way the pure reality, hidden by the effects of Maya, cannot be achieved by just abusing it, but by instruction from a knower of God, reflection, meditation and so on.

   66. So the wise should strive with all their ability for liberation from the bonds of change, as they would in the case of sickness and things like that.

   67. The question you have asked today is a good one in the opinion of those learned in the scriptures, to the point and full of meaning. It needs to be understood by those seeking liberation.

   68. Listen careful to what I say, master. By hearing this you will be freed from the bonds of change.

   69. The primary basis of liberation is held to be total dispassion for everything impermanent, and after that peacefulness, restraint, patience, and the complete renunciation of scriptural observances.

   70. After that the practicant finds there comes listening, reflection on what one has heard, and long meditation on the truth. Then the wise man will experience the supreme non-dual state and come here and now to the bliss of Nirvana.

   71. When you have heard me fully explain what you need to know about the discrimination between self and non-self, then bear it in mind.

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