Jivan Mukti and Advaita

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 17 20:59:08 CDT 1999

Ashish Chandra <ramkisno at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>>Now, why should the liberation of a Jiva happen *after* the discarding of
>>the previous body? Why is there a perceived contradiction between being
>>liberated and the presence of a body?
>No, that is not what I am saying. It(mukti) can happen at anytime, while
>jiva has this body or when it does not or when it has another body. There
>should be no contradiction.

Exactly. And inasmuch as liberation can happen in this body, jIvanmukti is

>I am not stating that liberation means giving up
>of this body. What I had said in the email, as you pointed out, is that it
>should be possible for the jiva, if liberation was not achieved *with a
>body*, to achieve liberation *even after* the body is gone. That is why I

Well, the gross material body may be gone after death, but there is what is
called the subtle body, which transmigrates. In that sense, the Jiva is
always embodied, till the realization of identity with Brahman dawns. But
this realization is also something that negates the Jiva-ness itself. In
the highest sense, there is no such thing as a liberated Jiva that is
separate from anything else, because it is and knows that it has always
been Brahman.

>wanted to know why it was said that jivan mukti (I take this to mean
>liberation in this body ?) is *essential* in Advaitam. That is what I
>to know - whether this is a principle. If yes, then what have the Acharyas

I suppose we are referring to different meanings of the word essential. If
your question is, does Advaita say jIvanmukti is the *only* kind of
liberation, the answer is no, Advaita also recognizes what is called krama
mukti. But if you think about it, as the Jiva is always embodied, at least
till the identity with Brahman is realized, mukti, whenever it happens, is
Jivanmukti. In that sense, yes, Advaita does affirm Jivanmukti.

Some of the most extensive discussions of this issue are found in
gItabhAshya, chapter 13, and in bRhadAraNyaka bhAshya.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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