[Advaita-l] BrahmaGYAna and jIvanmukti - 5 (Other References)

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 31 01:27:12 CST 2007

In the previous posting, we discussed some scriptural references that
distinguished AtmaGYAna from mukti. This posting will point out other
references in the advaita VedAnta tradition that posit such a

This posting will consist of two parts - the first containing
references that distinguish AtmaGYAna from mukti, and the second
containing references that distinguish steady from unsteady


VivekachUDAmaNi 266-267

The VivekachUDAmaNi verses 241-265 teach the disciple to meditate on
Brahman. Towards the end of the meditation, the Truth dawns on the

  buddhau guhaayaaM sadasadvilakshaNaM
  brahmaasti satyaM paramadvitiiyam.h .
  tadaatmanaa yo.atra vased.hguhaayaaM
  punarna tasyaaN^gaguhaapraveshaH .. 266..

  "In the cave of the Buddhi there is the Brahman, distinct
  from the gross and subtle, the Existence Absolute, Supreme,
  the One without a second. For one who lives in this cave as
  Brahman, O beloved, there is no more entrance into the
  mother’s womb."

  GYAte vastunyapi balavatI vAsanA.anAdireshhA .
  kartA bhoktApyahamiti dR^iDhA yA.asya sa.nsArahetuH ..
  pratyag.h dR^ishhTyA.atmani nivasatA sApaneyA prayatnAn.h .
  muktiM prAhustadiha munayo vAsanAtAnavaM yat.h ..267..

  "Even after the Truth has been realised, there remains that
  strong, beginningless, obstinate impression that one is the
  agent and experiencer, which is the cause of one's
  transmigration. It has to be carefully removed by living in
  a state of constant identification with the Supreme Self.
  Sages call that Liberation which is the attenuation of
  Vasanas (impressions) here and now."

The above verses indicate that even after having known the Self, one
has to practise the attenuation of vAsanAs to attain mukti. This has
a straightforward interpretation in the context of the
jIvanmuktiviveka (JMV), where the akR^itopAsti (one who has infirm
sAdhana-chatushhTaya) has to practise vAsanAkshaya after AtmaGYAna to
attain steadiness in it.

H.H. Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal (H.H.), the past pontiff of
Sringeri, writes in his commentary on the VivekachUDAmaNi, following
the above verses (267-268 in H.H's numbering):

  vastuni Atmani GYAtepi...

  "Having known the truth that is the Atman ..."

It is clear that H.H. takes the reference as
samyak-aparoksha-BrahmaGYAna. H.H. then clarifies that it is the
BrahmaGYAnI who practises vAsanAkshaya:

  ataH BrahmAtmanA saMsthitiH apramAdena saMsthitiH muktiriti
  dR^iDhatama-sAdhanachatushhTaya-saMpattiM vinA janmAntara
  sukR^itavashAt.h brahmavidopi vAsanAkshaya-manonAshArthaM
  prayatnaH nirantara-samAdhirUpaH Avashyaka evetyuktaM bhavati .

  "Therefore, steady abidance in Brahman is known as mukti.
  That Brahmavit (knower of Brahman), who has attained to his
  state by infirm qualifications (dR^iDhatama-sAdhanachatushhTaya-
  saMpattiM vinA) and past merits must practise
  vAsanAkshaya-manonAsha by means of uninterrupted samAdhi."

H.H.'s commentary follows the JMV almost word-for-word! Evidently,
those with infirm qualifications
(dR^iDhatama-sAdhanachatushhTaya-saMpattiM vinA) have to practise
vAsanAkshaya to attain mukti.

In fact, H.H. frankly admits being influenced by the JMV in his
commentary on VivekachUDAmaNi verse 271 (272 in H.H.'s numbering):

  idaMtu jIvanmuktiviveke vAsanAkshayaprakaraNe
  vidyAraNya-gurucharaNaiH vistareNopapAditaM 
  'ko lokamArAdhayituM samarthaH' ...

  "This has been dealt with in the jIvanmuktiviveka of
  svAmI vidyAraNya, in the chapter on vAsanAkshaya,
  where he says, 'Who is expert in pleasing the world?'..."

There is no doubt that the VivekachUDAmaNi is recommending
vAsanAkshaya for a BrahmaGYAnI, and H.H. admittedly follows the JMV
closely in commenting on the text.

Talks with Ramana Maharshi, # 562

Although this is merely an extract from "Talks", which is not exactly
as authoritative as one might like, I've decided to include it since
it is also aligned with the JMV in speaking of vAsanAkshaya to be
practised after a "glimpse" of the Self:

  21st October, 1938

  There is a statement in the book Vichara Sangraha that though a 
  person realises the Self once, he cannot, for that simple reason 
  alone, become a mukta. He continues to remain a victim of vasanas 
  (latencies). Sri Bhagavan was asked whether the realisation
  to was the same as the jnani's, and if so why there should be a 
  difference in their effects.

  M.: The experience is the same. Every person experiences the Self 
  consciously or unconsciously. The ajnani's experience is clouded by

  his latencies whereas the jnani's is not so. The jnani's experience

  of the Self is therefore distinct and permanent. A practiser may by

  long practice gain a glimpse of the Reality. This experience may be

  vivid for the time being. And yet he will be distracted by the old 
  vasanas and so his experience will not avail him. Such a man must 
  continue his manana and nididhyasana so that all the obstacles may 
  be destroyed. He will then be able to remain permanently in the
  D.: What is the difference between a man who makes no attempts and 
  remains an ajnani, and another who gains a glimpse and returns to 
  M.: In the latter case a stimulus is always present to goad him on 
  to further efforts until the realisation is perfect.
  D.: The Srutis say: Sakrit vibhatoyam brahmaloka (This knowledge of

  Brahman shines forth once and forever).
  (Note: Above quote is from Chandogya 8.4.2)
  M.: They refer to the permanent realisation and not to the glimpse.
  D.: How is it possible that a man forgets his very experience and 
  falls back into ignorance?

  Sri Bhagavan illustrated it with the following story: ...

Ramana Maharshi's statement that a scriptural reference that speaks
of BrahmaGYAna itself as mukti refers "to the permanent realisation
and not to the glimpse" is an echo of svAmI VidyAraNya's teaching
that the equation of BrahmaGYAna with mukti should be read as "the
steady BrahmaGYAna of the sthitapraGYa".


Vidyasankar Sundaresan had posted a quote from Sankara's commentary
on the BR^hadaaraNyaka upanishhad 1.4.7 in this list (

yady apy evaM SarIrAbdhakasya karmaNo niyata-phalatvAt 
samyag-jnAna-prAptAv apy avaSyaM-bhAvinI-pravRttir
vA.n-manaH-kAyAnAm. labdha-vRtter karmaNo balIyastvAt, mukteShvAdi
pravRttivat. tena pakShe prAptaM jnAna-pravRtti-daurbalyaM. tasmAd
Atma-vijnAna-smRti-saMtatir niyantavyA bhavati ...

The gist of the above quotation is, "even after the rise of right
knowledge (samyag-jnAna), due to the strong effect of prior karmA
(balIyastva), whose momentum is like that of a released arrow (mukta
iShu), and the relatively weakness of the newly acquired tendency
towards jnAna, it is necessary (niyantavyA) to maintain a steady
recollection of Self-knowledge (Atma-vijnAna-smRti-saMtati), assisted
by sAdhana-s like renunciation (tyAga), dispassion (vairAgya) and the

The above quote contains the term "samyag-GYAna", which for Sankara
is always only saMyak-aparoksha-BrahmaGYAna. Therefore, Sankara also
accepts that effort is to be made after BrahmaGYAna to attain
steadiness in it.

The next posting will provide some examples of the practice of
vAsanAkshaya and manonAsha from the JMV.

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