message to my friends

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Mon Aug 10 01:16:20 CDT 1998

>..... The idea of "no identification with the
> body"
> obviously entails a mental factor, and not a physical one (viz. that the
> body is still acting, yet so long as the individual is not identifying
> himself with his active body, mukthi prevails).

I differ here. It is not a mental factor that accounts for not identifying
with the body, but it is mano-nASa. In this situation, it is the Atman
(not the mind) that does not identify itself with the body, and there is
no more individual, and no more mind. The Atman does not need any
instrument to not identify with the body, as it simply abides in its own

> However, this isn't
> what
> you implied above, pitting actionlessness against desireless action
> (viz.
> that actionlessness is a higher reality, beyond nishkama karma).  This
> carries the same implication that nirguna brahman is "superior" to
> saguna
> brahman, whereas the fact remains that both are purely brahman itself.

Again we get to the crux of the issue. "nirguNa" brahman is superior to
"saguNa" brahman only inasmuch as language falls short of the true nature
of consciousness. It is not that "nirguNa" brahman is one thing and
"saguNa" another. In my understanding, there is no point in saying "both
are purely brahman." Such a statement makes nirguNa-tva itself into a
guNa, which is obviously not the case. The truth of the matter is that
there is only one brahman, which is beyond guNas, but which seems to be
saguNa to the limited intellect. The same analysis goes for actionlessness
and desireless action, which is why I hold that the former is a higher
value that gives meaning to the latter.

> To my understanding, the after-death experience of an ajnani involves a
> recapitulation of his entire lifetime, including desires, hopes, fears,
> etc.  Whereas the jnani's antahkarana has already been purified prior to
> death, therefore there are no vasanas to be processed; all that
> apparently
> happens is that the residual prarabdha is dropped--representing, in
> effect,
> the only distinction between jivanmukthi and videhamukthi.  These two
> reference points being strictly for the benefit of the onlooker, as
> there
> really is no intrinsic difference between them.  Passages in the Ribhu
> Gita
> make it sound as though videhamukthi is a higher state than jivanmukthi,
> but Sri Ramana considers them fundamentally equivalent.

Yes, they are fundamentally equivalent. However, in some ways, talking of
jIvanmukti has to be paradoxical in nature, which is not the case for
talking of actionlessness and desireless action.


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