[Advaita-l] Question on Self-Realized Person by Shailendra

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 30 13:01:25 CST 2005


Shailendra Bhatnagar asks:
What is the exact nature of  Self-realization ? How does
the world appear to a Self-realized person ? How does it
feel to be in the company of a Self-realized person ?  Is
it similar to the  peace and serenity that one experiences
during Satsangh or  after Omkar ?  Is  Gita chapter 5
shloka-pair 8 and 9 a description of a self-realized

Yes, Shailendra-ji, it is.  Arjuna asked the samwe type of
question  (B.G. II-54) and Krishna answered him  (II-55 to
72). But a Self-Realized Person may not go about saying
that he is self-realized. Already Dennis-ji has pointed
this out.  You may also refer to my mail of long ago:

and the thread of ‘jIvan-mukta’ to which it belonged.

Descriptions of a Jivan-mukta (self-realized person) abound
profusely in the literature.  And they actually cover a
wide range of the spectrum. Just as samples, for your
nidhidhyAsana, here are  two interesting descriptions, each
on  a different side of the spectrum.

>From Viveka-chuDAmaNi:  (#426):

Freed from awareness of any external object by reason of
his ever-being brahman, consuming only what is needed for
bodily sustenance, proferred to him by others like one in
sleep or like a child, looking at this world when he comes
to external  sight like one seen in a dream, remains the
blessed one enjoying infinite merit. He is to be honoured
on earth.

Here the words “like one in sleep” (= “nidrALuvat”)  and
“like a child” (= “bAlavat”) seem to be significant.
Because my father used to refer to these two words every
time the topic came in his lectures. 

He used to refer to the following experience that all of us
have with little kids of four or five. The kid goes to
sleep without drinking the glass of milk that the did is
supposed to take every night before going to bed. And the
mother wakes the kid up with a little force and in that
half-sleepy state, the kid drinks or is made to drink that
glass of milk and then again resumes his/her sleep. In the
morning, the kid has no memory of having had the drink of
milk the previous night. In fact the kid asks: “Mom, I did
not drink milk last night. Why did you not give me?” 

On the other extreme end of the spectrum is the following
description in Shivananda-lahari (#81):

Oh Lord! To spend some time in offering archanas to Your
lotus feet, to spend some time in dhyAna and samAdhi and in
prostrations to You,, to spend some time in listening to
stories about You, to spend again some time in viewing Your
beautiful Forms and in prayerful stotras to them – Who ever
thus spends his time and enjoys the beatific  immersement
in You, is he not already a jIvan-mukta?

I have a personal experience of seeing the Kanchi
Mahaswamigal (1894-1994) in around 1989.  I was visiting
the Kanchi Mutt for a darshan of the three Acharyas. It was
an evening (around 7PM) when the Kamakshi deity of
Kanchipuram was having the ten-day annual festival and that
was the day of the “Kudirai-vAhanaM” (i.e., the deity would
be taken in a procession seated on the palanquin riding a
horse). And it appears before the deity is taken round the
town for the  procession, they had the habit of bringing
the palanquin to the gate of the Kanchi Mutt so that the
Mahaswamigal could have a darshan  of the deity.  And thus
the procession appears at the gate of the Mutt. I was
totally unaware of the day’s routine.  I was just mingling
and conversing  with a few persons inside the Mutt hoping
to be able to see the Mahaswamigal in due course.  But
suddenly I heard a bustle of movement; everybody was
rushing to the gate. And then I knew something was
happening there and I also moved with the crowd. Lo and
behold! The sight that I saw there was scintillating. The
Mahaswamigal had problems of vision those days. Maybe he
could see very little. So he was there standing at the gate
almost very near the palanquin of the divine deity. Heavy
Searchlights were being focussed on the deity for the
Acharya to see Her clearly. Of course She had been
decorated to the fullest, what with gold and diamond and
pearl and ruby. And what an abundance of flowers of all
colours on Her.  The Acharya was standing on the ground
with his hands cuffing over his eyes for him to see
clearly. Maybe on one side the lights were blinding his
eyes. He was straining hard to have a vision of what was
standing befoire him. He was moving his head this side and
that side to optimise his vision. Everyone was silent . It
was difficult to decide, for us spectators, whether the
Acharya was there to have darshan of Meenakshi or whether
Meenakshi was there to have a darshan of the Acharya!  This
serene silence and the drama of the Mahaswamigal slapping
his cheeks in token of having darsan of the Goddess
continued for probably full four or five minutes or so. And
at last he turned to walk inside the mutt and the disciples
led him on.  I came back to earth realizing just then that
I had been witnessing all along a divinely scene which I
can never forget!

Mark Ye, all devotees!. What great necessity was there for
this jIvan-mukta to have a darshan of the deity with such
great difficulty ? And what did he achieve?   But that is
the characteristic of a jIvan-mukta!

PraNAms to all the jIvan-muktas of the world.

Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
New on my  website, particularly for beginners in Hindu philosophy:

Hinduism for the next generation: http://www.geocities.com/profvk/gohitvip/contentsbeach10.html

Free will and Divine will - a dialogue:

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