By Osho. Also known as Enlightenment: The Only Revolution. Includes extemporaneous partial translation and commentary on the Ashtavakra Gita. Bibliography Anubhavananda, Swami, trans. Astavakra Gita.
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Your bondage is this: you see the other — not yourself — as the observer. You are that bliss, that ultimate bliss, within which this imaginary world is projected like a snake on a rope. Knowing this, thus wander happily. Because of illusion, it looks like the world. The first sutra: Ashtavakra said: You are the one observer of all, and in reality always free.
This sutra is extremely important. Understand each and every word correctly. You are the one observer of all, and in reality always free. Ordinarily we perceive our lives through the eyes of others. We use the eyes of others like a mirror. We forget the observer and become the observed. And it is natural. A child is born: he does not know anything of himself. Only by looking into the eyes of others will he know who he is.
You cannot see your own face, you will have to look in a mirror. When you look at yourself in the mirror you become the observed, you are no longer the observer. How much do you know of yourself? As much as the mirror reveals. If someone insults you, if someone condemns you, the condemnation penetrates you deeply.
That is why our knowledge of ourselves seems to be so confused — because it is made of many voices, of many conflicting voices. Look at your face in a mirror! A great uneasiness arises, a deep split is created. This is why you are not certain about who you are. You have collected such a crowd of opinions. You have looked in so many mirrors, and each one has given you a different message. Mirrors have no message about you, their message is about themselves.
You must have seen mirrors in which you become tall, mirrors in which you become fat, mirrors in which you become extremely beautiful, mirrors in which you become extremely ugly — you become an Ashtavakra. The reflection in the mirror is not of you. Conflicting opinions go on accumulating. You begin to believe that you are this accumulation of conflicting opinions.
That is why you are always shaking, always afraid. How deep, this fear of public opinion! What if they should think me a fool? What if they think I am immoral? For centuries masters have been saying this. If you want to know yourself you will have to stop looking for your image in the eyes of others.