[Advaita-l] RE: sadyomukti and jIvanmukti

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 2 12:28:07 CDT 2004

Okay, one more response to a question and then I will stop this thread.

>Now, can you please tell me where I was redefining the terms, and
>misunderstood advaita philosophy? On the other hand, if they are personal
>opinions, then they are respectable.

The reason I said you seem to be redefining terms is that you use sadyomukti 
to refer to the moment of physical death of a jIvanmukta. The moment of 
death is properly called videhamukti, not sadyomukti. Second, you seem to 
use the term "divine experience" in a variety of ways. What characterizes 
this divine experience is left unstated.

As far as advaita texts are concerned, the following points may be noted.

1. videhamukti - is the ending of embodiment of a jIvanmukta;
2. jIvanmukti - is the condition of continuing in an embodied state after 
the rise of Self-knowledge;
3. sadyomukti - is the condition of immediate liberation at the very instant 
of Self-knowledge.

Now, an allowance is made both for an instant burst of full Self-knowledge, 
for the apt sAdhaka, who needs no aids to strengthen his knowledge, and for 
a brief glimpse of Self-knowledge by a sAdhaka, who then needs additional 
sAdhana-s to strengthen it. The first case is the sadyomukta, the second 
case is not. Both can be called jIvanmukta-s. For the sadyomukta, even this 
so-called videhamukti is just a manner of speaking, for s/he is unaffected 
by it. For the jIvanmukta who needs strengthening of knowledge, the 
situation differs according as whether or not s/he attains the stage where 
no further strengthening is necessary.

Next, coming to your discussion of saguNa worshippers and nirguNa 
worshippers. There is, properly speaking, no such thing as nirguNa worship. 
Knowing nirguNa brahman is a state of being. Worshipping saguNa brahman is 
an activity where the worshipper and the object of worship are distinct. As 
such, the liberating experience for a saguNa brahman worshipper (as for any 
sAdhaka) is the instant when the knowledge arises that there is absolutely 
no distinction between him/her-self and the object of his/her worship. It is 
not a transformation of the worshipper into the object of the worship. 
Rather, it is the realization that there never was, is not and never will 
be, in reality, any difference. If this is what you term as divine 
experience, then yes, in that case, there is no going or coming anywhere 
after physical death. On the other hand, one has to realize that after this 
divine experience, the seemingly saguNa worshipper is no longer a saguNa 
worshipper, but is a knower of nirguNa brahman.

Any other saguNa worshipper, who does not gain this liberating knowledge, is 
still subject to further cycles of going and coming to different worlds 
after the end of the current embodiment. Among these saguNa worshippers, 
those who perform the upanishadic upAsana-s leading to the arcirAdi mArga 
are promised (anAvRttiS SabdAt) that after the current embodiment, they go 
to brahmaloka and do not return to further cycles of rebirth. These 
upAsaka-s of saguNa brahman are also called jIvanmukta-s in some texts, 
because they are not reborn again. However, the instant of physical death of 
such a jIvanmukta can by no means be termed sadyomukti, for the simple 
reason that it is a step in kramamukti.

Once these varieties of embodied mukti are understood, everything falls into 
place. I hope this post clarifies everything.

Best regards,

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