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Echoes of Silence (Avadhut Gita Revisited)

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About the Book Watch out. This is not another of those feel-good 'oneness' Advaita books. This one is a double-barrelled shotgun taking pot shots at the conceptualising mind - one barrel being fired by the great Indian mystic-sage Dattatreya (Avadhut) and the other by Karl Renz, the contemporary 'Avadhut'. There is no escape here not just for the 'fragmented-mind' but also for the enlightened 'whole-mind'! Though Echoes of Silence may come across...

About the Book

Watch out. This is not another of those feel-good 'oneness' Advaita books. This one is a double-barrelled shotgun taking pot shots at the conceptualising mind - one barrel being fired by the great Indian mystic-sage Dattatreya (Avadhut) and the other by Karl Renz, the contemporary 'Avadhut'. There is no escape here not just for the 'fragmented-mind' but also for the enlightened 'whole-mind'!

Though Echoes of Silence may come across as the quintessential playground for a relentless game of deconstructing the 'mind', you cannot however miss its omnipresent soothing core of Silence! Paradoxically, only Timeless, Motionless Silence echoes and pervades here despite the volley of 'living' words being fired by these two maverick 'entities' separated by centuries and geographies, who apparently have not much in common - except, perhaps, their 'own' non-existence!

So, what comes out of all this? Non-existing masters prattling empty words to non-existing seekers seeking non-existing liberation? (an you, as the-one-existing-now, take it?! Find out for yourself ... as you set forth on this turbulent voyage, with these two bafflingly wise masters at the helm, through the treacherous seas of the mind. Survival is not guaranteed - for any 'one'!

And the good part? You survive, no complaints. You perish, no complaints again. You simply cannot find 'the complainer' here complaining to anyone about anything at all. All that remains is the carefree bliss of the eternal song of the duet of one ... or none.


The impossibility of satisfactorily introducing Karl Renz or whatever he says to readers was conveniently circumvented by us so far in our earlier compilations of his talks into books simply by using the facility of not doing so, leaving readers to get an unfiltered and unobjectivised taste of Karl directly.

We apologize this time, however, for the intervention as it was difficult to retain that facility in this compilation, where Karl, here, is in what he could term as 'good company' of Dattatreya which necessitated this deviation.

While editing Karl's book 'Song of Irrelevance', I happened to go through the 'Avadhut Gita' (song of the free) of Dattatreya' (incidentally Ramesh Balsekars copy which he had gifted me) and was pleasantly shocked to discover the complementary nature of the 'songs' sung by these two. Discovering someone whose words resonate so harmoniously with the motor-mouth prattle of Karl's empty words, (for me, a rarity matched recently only by Nisargadatta Maharaj and Ramana Maharishi) was like a cherry on the Karl cake. Exited, I experimented juxtaposing verses from the Avadhut Gita along with selective dialogues (or more appropriately, monologues) of Karl from the book's manuscript for fun. The concoction turned out to be a flamboyantly audacious and mind blowing jugalbandi (jamming session) of these two. The idea of this book took root then.

It may be noted that before discussing the idea of this book with him, Karl was unaware of Dattatreya or the Avadhut Gita. He did not concern himself in any way about the content, quality, production or post-production issues pertaining to this (or any earlier) book. About this book, Karl joked" He (Dattatreya) says the same things like me, but in much fewer words. It's going make me look stupid for using so many words"! Karl added, "He is far more polite, unlike me!"

Interestingly, 'Karl '(name given by his parents) in German means 'free man, strong' - not very different from the word 'Avadhut' which, in layman terms, may be roughly understood as 'the free one - of the highest possible order, who has transcended both bondage and freedom'.

The Sanskrit verses have been incorporated in this book to facilitate their independent interpretation, authentication and verification as a certain amount of divergence in interpretation has crept into the various available translations. For this book the translation of verses is done by myself and Manjit Achhra assisted by references to translations of Swami Ashokananda, Swami Abhayananda, Sri jaya Chamarajendra Wadiyar, Banmali Chaturvedi and others.

Anyone familiar with the Avadhut Gita of Dattatreya would agree to the sheer audaciousness of this extreme Advaita text. The stunningly paradoxical proclamations found here leave little room, if any, for the reader to honestly arrive at any comprehensible imagination of Reality, striking at the root - imagination itself, which is found to be the impediment to Reality. It is perhaps this 'intellectually untouchable' nature of the Avadhut Gita that renders this ancient scripture unsusceptible to relative interpretation, thereby retaining its eternally enigmatic and uncatchable nature- remaining forever, a double arrowed pointer to ++ Absoluteness Itself!


Lao Tzu says - The Tao that can be spoken, is not the real Tao, The name that can be named is not the real name. In that sense, can we call silence as truth? No! Says Karl Who needs to be quiet to be quiet? Silence is not sitting somewhere and not saying anything. That's still saying too much. That's talking too loud - someone who is not saying something.

This book presents unparalleled dialogues from Dattatreya's Avadhut Gita and talks with Karl Renz. Dattatreya is an ancient Indian Avadhut encompassing the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, collectively known as Trimurti. The name Dattatreya can be divided into two words - 'Datta' (meaning given) and 'Atreya' referring to the sage Atri, his physical father.

Dattatreya was born to sage Atri, who was promised by Shiva, that he himself would incarnate as his son. Since the Absolute subsumes all three aspects of the trimurti, Dattatreya is usually depicted with three heads, symbolising Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; past, present and future; and the three states of consciousness: waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep. They also symbolize the three states of manifestation: creation, sustenance and destruction.

In the Nath tradition (to which Nisargadatta Maharaj and Ranjit Maharaj belonged), Dattatreya is recognized as an Avatar or an incarnation of Shiva and as the Adi-Guru (Primal Teacher) of the Adinath tradition. This further developed to the Navnath (Nine Lords) tradition.

An 'Avadhut' is someone who has cast away all attachments by virtue of the fact that he is 'liberated' from bondage, attachment and suffering. In fact, the 'Avadhut' Dattatreya is a rare sage who is 'liberated' from both 'bondage' and 'liberation'.

The Dattatreya Upanishad praises the Avadhut as the one who bestows the highest character of sentience and bliss, who is in the guise of a child, a mad-man, a devil. (baalonmatta-pishaaca- veshaaya)

Once Dattatreya dove into a lake and stayed there for many years to evade an entourage of sages pursuing him. The sages, however, remained on the banks of the lake awaiting his return. Dattatreya emerged from the water naked and in the company of a beautiful woman. The text further relates that he made love to her, drank liquor and enjoyed singing and music. In spite of this, the sages did not abandon him. Dattatraya, accompanied by his shakti, continued to engage in these practices and was meditated upon by those longing for moksha.

The Avadhut Gita (Song of the Free) is a wonderful compilation of the highest thought recorded in text by two of Dattatreya's disciples, Swami and Kartika in the 9th century. The true dating of this Gita, however, remains unknown. Originally a work of seven chapters, a spurious and misogynistic eighth chapter may be a later attempt to append sexual morality to the Natha tradition by some conservative ascetic(s). Some of the ideas in this Gita are however common to both Shaivite and Buddhist Tantras.

The wise man prattles about the truth says Dattatreya. Karl would say, for me it would be the same as the high, profound or brmm ... brmm There's no difference. Makes no difference. All the day brmm is no different than talking all the day about the substratum and the absolute and the highest of the highest. And all the levels of the underlying truth. Different resonance but that what is resonating to itself would not be different in nature.

In that sense, one may sit silent and still be really talking loud. On the other hand, you may say whatever and they are just empty words. Nothing gets spoken in that.

This book is organized in seven chapters as the original Avadhut Gita with each verse presented in Sanskrit along with the translation and corresponding 'match' from Karl's talks. What's truly remarkable is that two men, having no common background or influence speak in such a similar pattern that it's hard to imagine that they are not actual commentaries.

That is what makes it more alive, as there is no one trying to prove or justify any verse. It's just like a pattern in a kaleidoscope that has repeated itself amongst million other possibilities.

Today as the probabilistic view of the universe; the idea of universe itself gets challenged, more and more physicists talk like mystics. All that can happen has already happened. This would endlessly repeat itself like a solid block. In that sense, patterns repeat and in a rare possibility appear exactly the same.

Enjoy this rare blend of east and the west, traditional and contemporary, prattles of ... whatever! And with all the words, all the highest of the highest, does anything really get said?



Preface 10
Introduction 12
Chapter One 15
Chapter Two 121
Chapter Three 172
Chapter Four 232
Chapter Five 265
Chapter Six 307
Chapter Seven 341
References 359

Sample Pages

Item Code: NAF477 Author: Karl Renz Cover: Paperback Edition: 2013 Publisher: Zen Publications ISBN: 9789382788843 Language: Sanskrit Text with English Translation Size: 9.0 inch X 6.0 inch Pages: 360 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 450 gms
Price: $31.00
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