[Advaita-l] Physical death of the Jnani and related issues

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Mar 2 12:42:18 CST 2010

Thanks Vidyashankar ji, for the response.  I have made a few observations
within [ ]

On Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 7:45 PM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> All of SArIraka mImAMsA aims at establishing the (real) bodilessness of the
> (apparently) embodied. The continued apparent embodiment of the one who has
> realized the real bodilessness is a riddle that confuses many!

[Very True!!]

> Sri Subrahmanianji, I would like to make one suggestion in your references
> to the chAndogya bhAshya in this context - to drop the usage of "enjoyment"
> as a translation of bhoga, when it comes to karma-phala, whether in the
> ordinary case or in the case of the prArabdha karma of the jnAnI. Normally,
> the word "enjoyment" is taken in a positive sense of engagement and getting
> enmeshed deeper into saMsAra. Clearly, what is meant by bhoga in this
> context is not an enjoyment in this sense, but merely the experience of or
> the playing out of the prArabdha karma phala.

[ I agree with you regarding the usage of the term 'enjoyment' as a
translation for the original 'bhoga'.  I simply copied from the 'standard'
translation of Swami Gambhirananda.

>  However, while translating the Brahmasutra 4.1.19 भोगेन त्वितरे
> क्षपयित्वा सम्पद्यते which teaches the experiencing of the praarabdha phalam
> by a Jnani, the Swami writes: 'But exhausting the other two thru *experiencing
> *them one merges in Brahman.'

What a coincidence! The word used by the Acharya in the Chandogya Bhashya I
quoted is : सत्सम्पत्तिः.  How neatly it tallies with the very BrahmasUtra
word: 'सम्पद्यते”!! ]

> I think that a key point that most miss is the materiality of the mind.
> Most people have completely internalized the Western philosophical notion
> that the mind is not a material entity, without examining the issue
> criically. Instead, we should start taking seriously the Indian
> philosophical traditions that insist that what is called mind is itself
> subtly material. Then there needs to be no confusion about the continued
> appearance of the mind for a jnAnI. After all, the material body (kAya) of
> the jnAnin very obviously continues its predestined course and jnAnins are
> well documented to have used speech (vAk). So there is no pressing need to
> insist that out of the triad of vA^n-manaH-kAya of a jnAnI, the manas alone
> should become completely non-existent!

[What more authority is needed than our very Acharya's words:

What Shankara says in His commentary  on the Brahma sutra 4.1.15 is worth
quoting here: ‘’The knowledge of the Self being essentially non-active
destroys all works by sublating wrong knowledge; but wrong knowledge –
comparable to the appearance of a double moon – lasts for some time even
after it has been sublated, owing to the impression it has made.  Moreover,
it is not a matter for dispute at all whether the body of the Knower of
Brahman continues to exist for sometime or not. For how can one contest the
fact of another possessing the knowledge of Brahman – vouched for by his
heart’s conviction – and at the same time continuing with the body?’’

 The word used by the Acharya for ' his heart's conviction' is
स्वहृदय-प्रत्ययम्’ .  It is needless to say that 'hRudayam' here is mind,
and pratyayaM is the conviction that can happen only in the locus: mind.
Here is another instance, a glaring one, where the Acharya uses the first
person singular:

...अत्यन्तविरुद्धानेकार्थत्वेन लौकिकैर्गृह्यमाणमुपलभ्य अहं
विवेकतोऽर्थनिर्धारणार्थं संक्षेपतो विवरणं करिष्यामि ।.....अतस्दद्विवरणे
यत्नः क्रियते मया ।

The above is found in His introduction to the Bhagavadgita Bhaashyam.  He
says:' ..I have found that to the laity it appears to teadh diverse and
quite contradictory doctrines.  I propose, therefore, to write a brief
commentary with a view to determine its precise meaning.  .....Hence an
attempt is made by Me to explain it.'

>   How can Shankaracharya, admitted by all His followers as a Jnani, 'find'
> something that requires a correct exposition, and 'propose' to do that and
> engage in 'explaining' it, without a mind.  Surely, the mere physical eyes
> cannot do this; nor can the hands by themselves.  The Brih.Up. teaches:
> 'अन्यत्र मना अभूवं न शौशम्’.. 'I was thinking about something else and
> therefore did not hear you'.  Thus, by the Upanishadic authority, the
> physical organ cannot perform the required function unless accompanied by
> the mind.

I quote from the book 'The Crest Jewel of Yogis' - Vol I authored by Sri
R.M.Umesh.  On page 644 under the heading: BEHAVIOUR OF GREAT PERSONAGES it
is recorded:

Jivn Mukti would remain purely a theoretical concept unless there existed
Jivan Muktas to demonstrate its possibility.  Consider Shankara
Bhagavatpadal.  No advaitin has any doubt regarding His freedom from the
bonds of ignorance and His being a Jivan Mukta.  Still, the Madhaviya
Shankara Vijaya records that violating the norms for a Sanyasi, He went to
Kalady to be at His mother's side during her last moments and even chose to
Himself cremate her.  Is this not a case of apparent attachment?

When His former relatives refused to co-operate He cursed  them to the
effect that thereafter their crematoriums would be in their backyards.  Is
this not a case of apparent anger? These do not detract from Bhagavatpadal's
merit for none of these deeds shook His steady Wisdom.

If we take up the life of Lord Rama as depicted by Valmiki, we see that He
exhibited very intense grief on Sita being abducted by Ravana.  Are we then
to assume that Rama was an ignorant, dejected, common person and not an

In Sri Krishna's life too we have clear-cut manifestation of apparent human
weakness. Vyasa writes that after Arjuna had vowed to either kill Jayadratha
by sunset on the following day or to commit suicide, Krishna was worried.
In fact, He spent a sleepless night and in the middle of it sent for His
charioteer Daruka and remarked to him, 'I cannot bear to see a world without
Arjuna.'  Would this anxiety mean that Krishna was not an Avatara?
Certainly not.

We can even consider the cases of Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Ramana whom
Acharyal acknowledges as Jnanis.  That will help to throw light on the
behaviour of comparatively recent personages.  [ I am skipping a portion
related to Sri Ramakrishna]

In 'Ramana Maharishi and the path of Self Knowledge' Osborne records the
following incident relating to Alagammal, Sri Ramana's mother:

'In 1914 she went on a pilgrimage to Venkataramana Swamy shrine at Tirupathi
and stayed at Thiruvannamalai on her way back.  This time she fell ill there
and suffered severely for several weeks with symptoms of typhoid.  Sri
Bhagavan tended her with great solicitude.  The verses he composed during
her sickness are the only instance known of any prayer of his to influence
the course of events.  'Oh Lord! Hill of my refuge, Who curest the ills of
recurrent births, it is for Thee to cure my mother's fever.'

Sri K.S. Swaminathan in his book 'Ramana Maharishi' records the episode of a
lady named Echammal.  who came to Sri Ramana in 1906.  Her husband, son and
daugher had died.  She adoped a girl named Chellamma and subsequently got
her married.  Chellamma had a son who was named Ramana.  One day Echammaal
received a telegram to the effect that Chellamma had died.  She ran and
handed over the telegram to Sri Ramana.
as he read it, he wept.  Echammal then went to attend her daugher's funeral
and returned with her grandson.  She placed him in Sri Ramana's arms for
blessing.  He wept again.  Surely this is not a case of indifference and is
an apparent case of manifestation of grief.

(I am skipping some more instances involving illustrations from non-Hindu

The quotes from the book ends here.  I have given these quotes only to help
us discover that all the above emotions would never be possible without the
mind being present.  We have so far considered all pramaNa-s in this regard:
The Shruti, the Smriti, the Bhashyam, Bhagavatpada's own words about
Himself, and instances of recent Jnanis. Surely anxiety, grief, etc. are
listed as properties of the mind by Krishna and not of the sthUla deham.]

> Regards,
> Vidyasankar

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