[Advaita-l] sadyomukti and jIvanmukti

Ramesh Badisa badisa55 at hotmail.com
Thu May 13 15:44:40 CDT 2004

Dear respected members,

In Muktiko Upanishad 2.1 spiritual conversation between Lord Ram and sri 
Hanuman is mentioned. I am just writing it below:

Sri Hanuman: "What is jeevan mukti?"; "What is vedeha mukti?"; "" What is 
the basis for these types" ....  etc, etc

Lord Ram: "Humans always assume by false imagination that they are the doer 
of all actions, and this results bondages in the form of various kleshas. A 
person, who is released from such bondages, is called a jeevan mukta. As the 
sky in the pot becomes greater sky by the breakage of pot, in a similar way, 
when the prarabdha karma is annihilated completely, this jeevan mukta gets 
vedeha mukti. The basis for jeevan mukti and vedeha mukti is 108 

>From the above cpnversation, it is clear that the jeevan mukti state is 
resulted by the removal of kleshas.

Now let us see what is vedeha mukti. In Muktiko Upanishad 1.16, it says that 
"prarabdha karma can be annihilated by continuous practise of sravana, 
manana, and nidhidyasa. Once, this karma is annihilated, the physical body 
dies. Then by the way that the sky is without upadhi, this soul attains 
absolute perfection. This is called vedeha mukti. This is also termed as 
kivalya mukti. This type of mukti is resulted due to divine experience 

Here, we need to remember that the term jeevan mukti has a particular 
meaning, and is applied for certain time point only, that is, till the body 
is alive. On the other hand, the term vedeha mukti is applied to the soul. 
That means, vedeha mukti is for soul. This is the absolute salvation, 
achieved immediately, without going anywhere. That means the soul merges in 
divine, and all his 16 parts of witness are dissolved in the divine. Thus we 
are given an example of a river merging in a sea, and becomes as big as the 
sea (Prasna Up. 6.5).

In case of a jeevan mukta, there is no question of merging of these 16 parts 
in divine. Because, he is not yet released from body. Since, merging of all 
individual identities are requied for absolute salvation, and since that is 
not happening in case of a jeevan mukta, the state of jeevan mukta cannot be 
termed as an absolute salvation. Then, what is this state called? This is 
the state of experience of divine (that is the experience of advaita). In 
other words, initially, this person (before divine experience) was 
practising spiritual sadhana on the belief that advaita is correct as per 
sruti. Now by experiencing his divine nature, he experienced the advaita as 
the final subtle truth. At this point also, he is still at experience level 
only as he is not yet released from the body to become advaita in absolute 
state (experiencing of advaita is different from becoming advaita). When he 
experienced his divine nature, he understood that 'he is him', but the 'he' 
hasn't become 'him' yet. Once, 'he' becomes 'him', then are no two, but only 
one is present. This is absolute salvation. Before this state of absolute 
salvation, jeevan mukta experiences his divine nature while living. The time 
when the 'he becomes him', that is called sadhyo mukti, immediately 
salvation. Because, upon death, 'he becomes him' immediately. Before death, 
'he' experienced 'him', but not become 'him'. Thus the state of jeevan mukta 
is not an absolute salvation. See, he is still facing prarabdha karma, and 
how is it possible to compare his state to an an absolute salvation. Before 
merging, a river cannot be said to have become a sea. But, during its course 
of journery, the river understands that its main aim in life is to merge in 
the sea. and become as big as the sea upon merging. This understanding on 
the part of river is called realization, but does not mean that it has 
already become the sea just by experiencing. Because, at the point of 
realization also, the river is separate from the sea, and thus, cannot be 
called to be a sea. The river becomes sea only at the final stage of 
merging. Not before that. Before merging, the river has a distinct name etc. 
Upon merging, his name as a river etc are lost. Please apply this 
explanation to the state of jeevan mukta.

Thus, a jeevan mukta state is not an absolute state of salvation, but it is 
only state of divine experience.


>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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