On Ashtavakra Gita: A world raised on a false foundation

Acharya Prashant
7 min readAug 12, 2021

Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

निराधारा ग्रहव्यग्रा मूढाः संसारपोषकाः ।

एतस्यानर्थमूलस्य मूलच्छेदः कृतो बुधैः ॥ 18.३८ ॥

nirādhārā grahavyagrā mūḍhāḥ saṃsārapoṣakāḥ

etasyānarthamūlasya mūlacchedaḥ kṛto budhaiḥ || 18.38 ||

Even when living without any support and eager for achievement, the stupid are still nourishing samsara (world), while the wise have cut at the very root of its unhappiness.

~ Ashtavakra Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 38

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Questioner (Q): Sir, is the root here the ego? And if the ego is without any support, how can it still continue to nourish samsara (world)?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Yes, you could say the root is the ego. Then you are saying, “If the ego is without any support, how can it still continue to nourish samsara?” It’s a very good question — please answer it. How do you manage to live? It’s almost like asking, “Why was I shrieking in the dream?” Because you were in a dream. It’s only now that you can say that the dream was a dream. In the dream, you hardly took the dream as a ‘dream’.

When you are with an Ashtavakra, when you are sending over questions to me, then you come up with the fantastic revelation that the ego is without any support. But look at your dream like day-to-day life, there do you realize that the ego is without any real support? And in your dream, all appears so real; in your everyday life, all that the ego creates appears so real. The ego itself appears to be the foundation of your world. That is why the world stands. Otherwise, having seen that the foundation is non-existent, your world would have collapsed. The very fact that a personal world stoutly stands erect for you testifies that for you its foundation is not unreal. You are inhibiting that world; you are living in that building.