तवैवाज्ञानतो विश्वं त्वमेकः परमार्थतः।त्वत्तोऽन्यो नास्ति संसारी नासंसारी च कश्चन॥
It is through your ignorance alone that the universe appears to exist. In reality you are the One. Other than you there is no individual self or supreme Self.
~ Ashtavakra Gita (Chapter 15, Verse 16)
Questioner: What is meant by “your ignorance”, when it has been said, “In reality, you are the One”?
Acharya Prashant: For the one who is asking this question, “The One” means nothing. For the one who is asking the question or for the one who asks any question; there is the world, there are appearances, there are things, places, knowledge, lack of knowledge. For the one who is asking the question, there is only all this. This, that is called as the world or the mind of the one who is talking, eating, breathing, asking; this is called as ignorance.
Ignorance is not, the not knowing of something. Ignorance is not about, not having some particular knowledge. Ignorance is having knowledge. Ignorance is to think that there is a world, that there is a mind. And about whom questions can be asked, about whom it is relevant to seek solutions. That is ignorance.
Now, what is ignorance? That which your mind is full of. Whatever your mind is full of, is ignorance. Ignorance is not an absence; ignorance is not the lack of something. Ignorance is rather that which fills you up. Ignorance is your basic sustenance. That which ‘you’ are - the one who is asking the question, that is ignorance.
In such a situation, Ashtavakra’s utterance, “That in reality you are the One”, must not be taken as the Truth. No Ashtavakra has the power to communicate the Truth to you. And this utterance, “In reality you are the One”, I repeat, must not be taken as the Truth. It must be taken only as a method. It is a method to clear away your mind. It is a method to help you drop that which fills you up. Ashtavakra is wise enough to not tell you that you are the One because, for you, you are only that which you think of yourself as. Why would Ashtavakra certify and ratify your illusions?
When he says, “You are the One”, all that he is saying is, you are not the diverse appearances that you see around and within yourself. You are the One. Kindly do not read this statement in a positive sense, in a sense of affirmation. Ashtavakra has no acceptance towards that which you are. Ashtavakra is not saying that you are the One.
Ashtavakra is rather saying that the many that you think yourself to be, is not the One. Because you are not one. You are thousand, one lakh, one crore. You are an entire universe, sitting in your mind. All that Ashtavakra is telling you is that, ‘you do not exist’. You are not that.