[Advaita-l] sadyomukti and jIvanmukti

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed May 12 12:53:33 CDT 2004

I think there is a little confusion in the usage of terms here. The term 
sadyomukti refers not to liberation at the instant of physical death. sadyaH 
means immediate, at once, at the very moment. The moment referred to here is 
the instant of full, right knowledge of Brahman-Atman. Of course, the 
embodiment of this knower can continue, but what happens at the moment of 
physical death? The bRhadAraNyaka upanishad gives the answer - na tasya 
prANA utkrAmanti, atraiva samavanIyante. In other words, there is no travel 
by devayAna/pitRyAna for the sadyomukta, there is no question of reaching 
brahmaloka and there is no question of any further step in liberation.

Inasmuch as such a knower can continue, for however long, in an embodied 
state, it should be clear that the sadyomukta can also be called jIvanmukta, 
but not all those who are called jIvanmukta-s are sadyomukta-s. The 
sadyomukta has infallible knowledge, but there are those who even after a 
glimpse of right knowledge need strengthening of their knowledge by tapas, 
vairAgya and saMnyAsa. In such cases, there can be a residual tendency away 
from knowledge. SankarAcArya describes this situation too, in the 
bRhadAraNyaka commentary 1.4.7. Such knowers can also be called 
jIvanmukta-s. Also, those who perform upAsana of saguNa brahman can become 
jIvanmukta-s and after physical death, travel through the devayAna to reach 
brahmaloka. This is not called sadyomukti, but videhamukti and can be 
considered a step in krama-mukti.

In summary, not all jIvanmuktas are sadyomuktas, but sadyomuktas can be 
called jIvanmuktas. jIvanmukti is a much more elastic term, encompassing a 
range of meaning, but sadyomukti is a very definite term. I hope this 
clarifies the usage of these terms.


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