[Advaita-l] Re: jIvanmukti

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 11 11:37:31 CST 2003

Namaste, Kadiresanji and all.

Thanks for the quotations from Panchadashi on jIvanmukti. 

The  shloka III-25 of the Gita is also very rlevant in the
context of understanding what it is that the jIvan-muktas
are doing what they seem to be doing.

saktAh karmaNy-avidvAmso yathA kurvanti bhArata /
kuryAdvidvAns-tathA-saktah cikIrshhur-loka-sangrahaM //

As the ignorant men act out of attachment to action, so
should the wise act without attachment, wishing the welfare
of the world.

Two objections may arise in the context of the discussion
on jIvanmukti, to this quotation. 
1.	The word ‘cikIrshhuH’ meaning ‘wishing for’. Does this
mean the jIvanmukta ‘desires’ something, namely, the
welfare of the world? 
The answer is ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. We don’t know what purpose
the jIvanmukta has in doing what he is doing. Certainly, it
is a contradiction to say that the jIvanmukta has a
purpose. So we can only assume that he is doing it
‘naturally’, just as Fire burns our finger when we put the
finger inside the fire. The Fire has no purpose. So also a
jIvanmukta does actions naturally.  The stories about
Sadashiva Brahmendra will illustrate this. 

2.	The shloka does not seem to talk about a jIvanmukta; it
talks about the difference between a vidvAn (the wise
scholar who knows) and an avidvAn (the ignorant layman who
does not know).

The idea of the quotation is to show the analogy of the
wise and the non-wise in doing their actions. So also, the
jIvan-mukta does actions (eats, sleeps, walks, etc.) just
as the ordinary man would do. The analogy should not be
carried further. 

There is a shloka in SivanandaLahari where Adi Sankara
details (indirectly of course) with poetic gusto,  what a
jIvan-mukta could be doing: 

Kamcit-kAlam-umA-mahesha bhavataH pAdAra-vindArcanaiH 
kamcid-dhyAna-samAdhibhishca natibhiH
kamcit-kathA-karNanaiH /
kamcit-kamcid-avekshhaNaishca nutibhiH
yaH prApnoti mudA tvad-arpita-manA jIvan-sa muktaH khalu //

Meaning: Oh Lord umA-mahesha, spending some time on the
archana of Your lotus feet, some time on Meditation and
samAdhi, and on prostrations to You, some time on listening
to Your stories, some time on having glimpses of You and on
praises of  You – whoever reaches this stage  with mind
joyfully immersed in You, is he not already a jIvan-mukta?

I consider this shloka as a pinnacle of description of what
a jIvan-mukta could be doing what he appears to be doing. I
had a practical demonstration of it from the Paramacharya
himself, as the following experience of mine would show:

It was the evening of 18th February, 1989. Along with Shri
S.V. Narasimhan, a trusted devotee of the Paramacharya, I
went to Kanchi from Madras to have a darshan of the 
Acharya. It was one of the festival days in Kamakshi temple
at Kanchipuram. After our darshan of the Acharya was over,
we (SVN and I) were engaged in some casual conversation
with friends in a corner of the Ashram – and then it was
that I noticed a slight commotion and movement of people in
the direction of the main entrance. Shri SVN told me that
the deity of Kamakshi in the ashva-vAhana is coming to the
Mutt entrance particularly to give Her darshan to His
Holiness the Acharya. So we all joined tghe rush to go to
the gate. And the sight that I saw there was a thrilling
experience that I can never forget in my life. 

The Acharya’s eyesight had only a minimum functioning value
in those last years of his. So two or three assistants were
leading him to the gate and guiding him to have a view (on
the road) of the Kamakshi deity, which was high aloft in a
palanquin, with all decorations with tons of flowers, the
whole scene being  floodlighted well for the purpose. The
Acharya was straining his eyes, and focussing with his own 
cupped hands over his eyes (lest the reflected flood-lights
should glare his view) was trying to have a look at the
deity, in all Her glory. The Acharya (so I inferred) could
not probably see well what he wanted to see. Actually they
had brought him almost to a distance of six feet from the
palanquin carrying the deity.  The Acharya turned his head
this side and that side, perhaps to have a better and
better view. The Arathi was shown to the deity in all
slowness and fullness of reverence not only to the deity
but also to the greatest of jIvan-mukta devotees, standing
before her as if he were Her most humble servant.  The
Acharya repeatedly slapped his own cheeks, in the
traditional way of viewing the Arathi. He kept on viewing,
viewing, viewing, ..... . The rest of the crowd were dead
silent when all this was happening. It seemed like a long
time. After probably a full ten minutes or so, the
situation changed, the Acharya was led back into the Mutt –
and we all came back to terra firma.

That is what the words ‘kamcid-kamcid-avekshhaNaishca
nutibhiH’ in  that Sivanandalahari shloka mean. 

Now tell me. Have I not seen a jIvan-mukta in action?

PraNAms to all advaitins.


Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
My website on Science and Spirituality is http://www.geocities.com/profvk/
You can  access my book on Gems from the Ocean of Hindu Thought Vision and Practice,  and my father R. Visvanatha Sastri's manuscripts from the site.
Also see the webpages on Paramacharya's Soundaryalahari :

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