Forwarded message: Jivanmukti as per Advaita-Vedanta FAQ

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 18 00:43:09 CST 2000

Smt. Latha Vidyaranya has posted very pertinent excerpts from Sri
Ramachandra Rao's talk. I'll address only one major point here.

Sankaran Jayanarayanan <kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU> wrote:

>Apastamba's argument hinges on the possibility that the GYAni may still
>feel pain(!), and hence must make some effort in order that he may relieve
>himself of all pain. But Apastamba seems to assume that one who attains
>GYAna might still be affected by changes in the body/mind. So for a GYAni,
>the ahaMkAra (I-am-this-body idea) could still remain undestroyed??

By definition, the experience of pain implies a perception of duality. By
all standards, jIvanmukti is a paradoxical state, because it presupposes
both embodiment and a state of being disembodied. The idea behind living
liberation can be appreciated by taking an extreme example. Suppose there
is a person somewhere, and someone comes and cuts off his hands. How does
one know if the person whose hands have been cut off is a jIvanmukta or
not? Is the jIvanmukta a powerful person who can stop the bleeding at will,
and the pain experienced by the body, and perhaps reattach the hand? We
hear of such miracles in our mythology. Or is the jIvanmukta a person who
does not care about the severed hand and the pain experienced by the body?
The ideal answer is the latter. If in the poignancy of the moment, the
person says, "Oh, how I suffer," he is identifying with the body. And the
powerful man of miracle and myth also identifies himself with the body. On
the other hand, it is not that the body of the jnAnI will not feel pain.
Rather, the true jnAnI is indifferent to the pain.

>But a GYAni is one who never sees a multiplicity of objects. He sees only
>Brahman -- what will need to be corrected?

The one who sees no multiplicity at all is venerated as the highest jnAnI.
What about one who is convinced of the truth of non-duality, either because
of intellectual conviction, or faith in his guru's teaching, or faith in
scripture, or a combination of the above? However, such a person may not
yet literally see non-duality on his own. Is he also not some kind of a
jnAnI? Is he also not englightened, in the ordinary sense of the term? It
is for such a person that practices for the regulation of the mind are


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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