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Bitten by the Black Snake: The Ancient Wisdom of Ashtavakra the Great Indian Sage

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Item Code: IDL204
Author: Manuel Schoch
Publisher: Wisdom Tree Publications
Language: English
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 9788183281294
Pages: 114
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5" X 5.5"
Weight 160 gm
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Book Description


A Sutra is Literally a Thread. Sutras Are Bare Threads of exposition unadorned by excesses, because of course they were delivered at a time before books existed and so had to be tersely expressed.

This book is unique in that it relates Ashtavakra’s sutras to a modern context. Although Ashtavkra predates Jesus Christ, Mohammed, and perhaps Buddha, his wisdom chimes with that of contemporary masters.

Little is known about the author of these sutras, which are thought to originate from the 4th or 5th century BC. It is said that Ashtavakra was the son of a lesser disciple of the great sage Uddalaka, married to Uddalaka’s daughter. The unborn child, who already had mastered the Vedas, kept twisting and turning within the womb, unable to bear his father’s mistakes in recitation, and was therefore born with eight deformations. Hence he was called Ashta (eight) Vakra (bends). Ashtavakra went on to become a great sage himself, and had the honor of having the king as one of his students.

These sutras are meant to reflect a dialogue between Ashtavakra and King Janaka on the nature of the soul, reality, and bondage and the means to liberation. Ancient teachers would repeat a sutra by heart and then go on to amplify it for the benefit of their pupils. Here, Manuel Schoch is amplifying Ashtavakra’s sutras, and helping the reader get into the very consciousness of Ashtavakra.

Manuel’s reflections put us at the crossroads between psychology and spirituality – that point of combustion that can deliver us to another dimension of higher spiritual integration, beyond the ego. Like Ashtavakra’s, Manuel’s insights are direct and penetrating, leaving little leeway for misinterpretation. In reading these words it becomes apparent that both Manuel and Ashtavakra are masters in dealing with the mind.

In Manuel’s discussion of the sutras, the age old issues of fear, desire, feelings, and stillness are grappled with skillfully. Manuel crisscrosses his deep exposition with references to his own Time Therapy and to other major philosophical systems.

It is refreshing to hear Manuel reinforce Ashtavakra’s observation that being at peace with everything is key to attaining enlightenment and how this doesn’t involve changing a single thing about oneself. Read on and be enlightened.

Back of the Book

The Ashtavakra Gita is an Ancient Indian text from the classic Vedanta period. It has been appreciated and quoted by many renowned spiritual teachers, such as Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi, Radhakrishnan, and Osho, as it presents the traditional teachings of Advaita with a clarity and power very rarely matched. It has been called “a quantum leap into the absolute.”

Osho said of it, “Man has many scriptures, but none are comparable to the Gita of Ashtavakra. Before it the Vedas pale, the Upanishads are a mere whisper. Even the Bhagavad Gita does not have the majesty found in the Ashtavakra Gita-it is simply unparalleled.”

In interpreting the timeless wisdom of this text for modern sensibilities, Manuel Schoch shows us very practically, step by step, how one can simply observe, instead of engaging in the constant reaction and struggle created by the black snake of the ego. Instead of identifying with one’s body, thoughts, feelings, habits, and experience, one can be connected to the everlasting consciousness that manifests these. In his remarkably clear and simple way, Manuel describes how one can rest in the stillness from which emerge the qualities of life and love, peace and compassion, bliss and enlightenment.

Swiss mystic and therapist Manuel Schoch is the author of Healing with Qualities. He developed Time Therapy, about which he gives international talks, workshops, and training programs. He is the director of the Tune-In Centre for Time Therapy based in Zurich, London, and Athens, which he founded in 1984.




Foreword ix
The First Sutra 1
The Witnessing Consciousness 2
The Doer And The Observer 3
Getting In the Way of Liberation 4
Games of the Mind 5
Desire For Enlightenment 6
A State of Happiness 8
Behind The Mask 9
Free Will 11
Modern Meditation 12
The Space Of Stillness 13
Perceiving with the Senses 14
Light VS. Religion 15
Consciousness and Heart Energy 16
Stillness of the Heart 16
The Second Sutra 20
Looking Out, Looking In 21
The Act of Projection 22
The Art of Observation 23
The Space of No Reaction 24
Awareness and Observation 25
No Separation 26
Observing the Whole 28
The Freedom of One Mind 29
The Power of Rebelling 30
As You Think, So You Are 31
Reality and Projection 33
The Serpent of Ego 35
Thought Processes 36
The Process of Doing 38
Creating Desire 39
Waking Up 39
Observing Desire 41
The Third Sutra 43
Being The Observer 44
The End of Separation 45
Dondage and Innocence 46
Confusion Creates Observation 48
The Bondage Of Motivation 49
Nothing To Do 51
Faith and Belief 52
Faith In Consciousness 53
Form and Stillness 54
Stillness of the Heart 56
Being With What Is 57
Reflecting Consciousness 58
The Stillness of Emptiness 59
The Fourth Sutra 61
The Spiritual Ego 62
Bypassing The Ego 64
Becoming Still 65
The Structure of Feelings 66
A Third State 67
Lost Connections 69
Beyond The Ego 70
Knowing There is Nothings 71
Sneaking Around the Ego 73
Feeling The Climate 74
Dropping Into Stillness 75
The Fifth Sutra 76
Creating Illusion 77
Living In the Heart 78
Beyond Desire 79
Fear And Desire 81
A Question of Motivation 82
Forgetting The Self 83
Effortless Awareness 84
Nothing Special 86
Seeing The Whole 87
Attachment to Detaching 89
Desiring Liberation 91
Working With the Heart 93
The Sixth Sutra 95
Happiness Itself 97
Creating Fear 98
The Ego Is Like The Apple 103
Transformation Through Observation 105
Off The Map 106
The Identification Game 110
Can The Climate Change? 111
About The Author 115

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