[Advaita-l] RE: sadyomukti and jIvanmukti

Ramesh Badisa badisa55 at hotmail.com
Thu May 27 11:32:25 CDT 2004

Dear respected members,

>I didn't say that. Almost everybody worships saguNa brahman only, but most 
>go through several births before attaining brahmaloka.

Badisa: It seems to me from the above that all saguna worshippers 
‘eventually’ will have to go to Brahma Lok, after several births.  This is 
not entirely true, and this is where I differ. Nowhere in the sruti as far 
as I know, it is said that all saguna worshippers ‘eventually’ would have to 
go to Brahma Lok. The fundamental flaw is due to the direct assumption of 
the literal meaning of most sruti texts or acharyas commentaries. Mode of 
worship (saguna or nirguna form) does not decide the type of salvation to be 
achieved.  Type of salvation to be achieved depends solely upon the divine 
experience while living. Whether we worship divine in saguna form or nirguna 
form, it does not matter. Immediate salvation is the result of divine 
experience while living. If a nirguna worshipper dies before divine 
experience (even if karma is zero), his mode of worship won’t guarantee him 
for immediate salvation. On the other hand, if a saguna worshipper dies 
after divine experience, then there is no need for such soul to go to Brahma 
Lok by 8/24 path of Gita. Instead, his soul will get immediate salvation. By 
saying that all saguna worshippers ‘eventually’ will have to go to Brahma 
Lok, it implies that these worshippers cannot get atma gyan before death, 
and thus cannot achieve immediate salvation. This is entirely inaccurate. 
Let us see, how saguna worshippers can also get atma gyan while living and 
pave way for immediate salvation after death. Please read the following 

We all know that the soul of Bhakta Prahalad (BP) got salvation immediately 
after death. How do we know that? Here is the proof.

After slaying of Hiranyakashipu, Lord Narashimha asks BP for a boon. 
Initially BP refuses politely to seek any boon from Lord. But on insistence 
by Lord, BP was now thinking what he should ask for. Then finally BP says, 
“Lord! I do not know which is the best thing in this Universe, therefore, 
please decide and give me that thing which you think is the best”. Then Lord 
says, “Atma gyan is the best in the universe, and I shall give it to you in 
due course of time”. This is the same ‘gyan’ that Lord Krishna says to be 
the best in Gita 4/38 (Na hi jyanena sadrusam …).

The following terms associated in our discussion.
-	BP, and his worship of divine in saguna form
-	Absolute divine, and darshan to BP in saguna form
-	Atma gyan.

We will apply death here at two differet points of BP life in order to 
understand the mode of attainment of salvation.

1. After darshan of divine in saguna form, if BP had died, then his soul 
would have followed 8/24 path of Gita. Why? Because, BP did not have atma 
gyan – self realization. 2. On the other hand, if BP died after the dawn of 
atma gyan, then his soul will get immediate salvation. In this case, before 
death, he is called a jeevan mukta as he experienced the divine nature of 
his soul. Based on Lord NaraSimha’s assurance, BP got the atma gyan in his 
very life itself, and thus got immediate salvation. Here, BP did not change 
his mode of worship from saguna form to nirguna form in order to get atma 
gyan. But by lord’s sankalpa, based on intense devotion for divine, BP got 
this atma gyan. That means, without worshipping divine in nirguna form, the 
devotees can also get atma gyan. Right? Thus we have a very clear proof of 
BP example from our scriptures that a saguna worshipper can also get atma 
gyan, and achieve immediate salvation. It is difficult to believe that a 
nirguna worshipper gets atma gyan much before than a saguna worshippers. 
Mode of worship does not mean anything here. But what clearly matters is 
that utmost devotion for divine, utmost faith on him, utmost humility etc. 
We can also see another example of the same kind here. See sri Rama Krishna 
Paramahamsa (RKP). He worshipped divine in the form of mother kali. He had 
her darshan also. Before he met sri Thota puri, RKP was worshipping divine 
in saguna form (mother kali). But, once he met sri Thotapuri, he got 
initiation by Thotapuri, and became his disciple. Sri Thotapuri was a 
worshipper of nirguna divine. Sri RKP got the experience of divine in 
nirguna form in a very short time. This experience is nothing but atma 
gyan-self realization. Now if sri RKP had died before the dawn of this atma 
gyan, then his soul would have followed 8/24 path of Gita. With the dawn of 
atma gyan, the soul achieved immediate salvation after death of physical 
body. These are the two examples, which clearly show that saguna worshippers 
can also achieve atma gyan and get immediate salvation, and that there is no 
such rule to say that all saguna worshippers ‘eventually’ will have to go to 
Brahma Lok. Therefore, the conclusion based on these two examples, is that 
mode of worship does not decide the type of salvation to be achieved. Type 
of salvation depends on the divine realization while living for either type 
of devotees (saguna or nirguna worshippers), which again depends upon 
intensity of devotion, and sadhana.

It is said that Vama dev and Suka dev (belong to Dwapara yug) are the two 
persons got salvation so far (Varaha Up. 4.4). If literal meaning is to be 
taken for this sruti text, then it means that only those two persons got the 
salvations so far. But this is not correct. How do we know that? We should 
understand that great acharyas, like sri Shankara (kali yug), also got 
salvation. This truth conflicts with the above sruti reference when we 
understand it in the literal sense. Here we cannot say that the above sruti 
reference is wrong. At the same time, we cannot deny that great acharyas, 
like sri Shankara, did not get salvation. Then, which one is correct? The 
conflict came due to failure to understand the intension of the above sruti 
mantra in spiritual plane. By saying that Vama dev and Sukha dev are the two 
persons got the salvation, the above sruti is highlighting that it is very 
difficult to achieve salvation, thus indicating the necessity of tough 
spiritual sadhana. As the spiritual path is very narrow and very sharp, only 
few people can pass through it to achieve salvation. This is the idea the 
above sruti reference is conveying. Similarly, when sri Shankara says that a 
soul of a nirguna worshipper gets immediate salvation, it should be 
understood that sri Shankara is talking about nirguna worshipper who got 
atma gyan while living (jeevan mukta), but not talking about those nirguna 
worshippers who were able to annihilate their karma to zero, but died before 
the dawn of atma gyan (they will follow 8/24 path).  Similarly, when sri 
Shankara says that a worshipper of a saguna Brahman goes to Brahma Lok, it 
means that he is talking about those saguna worshippers who were able to 
annihilate their karma to zero, but died before the dawn of atma gyan. Can 
we imagine that sri Shankara was not aware of BP and Lord Narasimha 
personalities from the scriptures? He knows. Right? When he knows, then he 
would also know that BP got salvation immediately based on his atma gyan. 
Right? So, when sri Shankara knows that saguna worshippers can also get atma 
gyan, then why don’t we think that when he says that a worshipper of niguna 
Brahman gets immediate salvation, he is referring to those nirgun 
worshippers with divine experience (jeevan mukta)? Instead, why do we think 
in the literal sense that worshipper of nirguna Brahman will get immediate 
salvation and saguna worshipper will always follow 8/24 path for salvation? 
When sri Shankara wrote commentaries on many scriptures, these commentaries 
have got the background of tremendous amount of spiritual experience. In 
order to understand them, one has to do sadhana. Otherwise, the 
understanding will be only at the literal level or intellectual discussions 
or debates. In case, if the karma is not annihilated to zero for either type 
of worshippers, then, the souls will take birth again, and continue the 

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.

>>example, if some saguna worshippers, are able to get divine experience in
>>this very life itself, then the souls of such people will not go to Brahma
>>Lok, but merge in divine immediately, called immediate salvation. In this
>It seems to me that you have completely redefined the meanings of terms and 
>in the process, misunderstood the advaita teaching. All I can say is, 
>please read SankarAcArya's commentary on gItA 8.24 carefully.
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