[Advaita-l] BrahmaGYAna and jIvanmukti - 5 (Other References)
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
PART I: DISTINGUISHING ATMAGYANA FROM MUKTI
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
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
'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".
PART II: DISTINGUISHING STEADY AND UNSTEADY ATMAGYANA
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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