[Advaita-l] Two types of Atma jnAni-s & their approach to reallife situation

Ramesh Nagarajan rameshnj18us at gmail.com
Fri Jun 25 07:43:02 CDT 2010

We need to define Jnaanam before defining Jnanni.  Please note that the
theoretical definitions are not as good as personal experience.  Jnaanam
means Self.  As we know, mere intellectual understanding of the fact that
Gunas belong to Prakriti is not Jnaana.   By sravana and manana one can
contemplate or believe the scriptures and come to an intellectual conviction
that Gunas belong to Prakriti.  But, that doesn't really never come close to
the actual experience.  Until one has experienced the TRUTH i.e., that he is
Brahman, consciousness, he has not attained Jnaanam.  When one realize the
Truth, the person experiences a peace that passes all  the understanding.
The person gains a strong conviction that there is nothing to be known.  The
person experiences (not intellectual understanding) that form (including our
mind) originates from this substratum and dissolves in it.  We will find
that our true enemy is our identification with our body and mind based on
the association (attachment and aversion) towards external objects.  We will
clearly see that we were under the control of our mind all this time.  As we
have identified the culprit by this experience (not by intellectual
understanding) the ego (the one that
modifies the mind) resigns the post as the new chief as taken control
(abiding in the self).  We could start using our body and mind as an
instrument (rather than as our master) to perform our activities based on
Prarbdha Karma. That is when we will understand true definition of
meditation (awareness).  Only a person who has attained Jnaanam can truly
practice karma, bhakthi and other yogas.  In fact, we will understand the
true meaning of bhakthi after experiencing the truth.

Jnaani is one who abides in the self.  Now the question comes how would a
Jnaani behave in a real life situation.  The observers of Jnaani may or may
not know if so called Jnaani is performing actions while abiding in the
self.  Each of the  observer might come with their own interpretations based
on their characteristics of mental apparatus (mental impressions cause by
accumulations).  Only that Jnaani can clearly say whether he did perform the
actions while abiding in the self. The awareness (abiding in the truth)
allows the person to see that gunas belong to prakrithi as it manifests in
himself and perform actions.  Please note that unless Jnaani is in a state
of Samadhi (where he is not aware anything but one reality) he sees and
interacts with all objects as an Ajaani would do.  The only difference is,
Jnaani maintains the state of abiding in the truth and his actions sprout
out from his inner being (self).  In that sense, only Jnaani would come to
know whether the scriptures come out of his mental and intellectual plain or
from the self itself.  Jnaani would be perfectly at peace when abiding in
the self, even while engaged in activities related to sad situations.

As Subu had quoted several instances, there is one situation in Ramayana,
where Rama is inconsolably sad as he misses his wife Sita.  Valmiki says,
Rama is sitting on a small rock and crying while thinking about Sita.
Sugreeva notices Rama's situation and comes towards Rama to console him.
But as Sugreeva approached Rama, he experiences a peace that cannot be
expressed in words. Sugreeva, who came to console Rama, was taken aback by
the peace and his thoughts on consoling Rama vanished.

In another instance Yoga Vashista teaches Jnaana to Rama and tells him to
play as you like in this world.  What does that mean?  Yoga Vashista says,
while abiding in the self, perform the actions.  The people observe the
actions of Rama would simply praise, condemn or show indifference to his

Now, as we can see it is tough to say why the Jnaani was reacting in a such
a way based on certain actions.  So, it is tough to describe a Jnaani just
based on the actions he performs, as it is left to the interpretation of
others.  There are stories in scriptures (I think it is Bhagavatham, not
sure) that a house hold-wife and a butcher has attained Jnaam.  The butcher
continued to perform his actions while abiding the self, where a Brahmin
comes to learn Atma jnana from him.  So performing actions is nothing to do
with Jnaam status.

But there is a clue to identify a Jnaani.  In Jnaani's presence people would
experience such a peace.  Basically, a Jnaani who abides in the self, his
actions sprouts from the source itself (self.)   We simply don't know
whether Jnaani performs his actions while abiding in the self or by his own
sangalpa.  In the same account we cannot say why Jnaani is expressing Kama
or Krodha.  There are many Jnaanis who lead the samsara life and even ruled
the country (King Janaga)  However, Jnani can immediately see a disturbance
in himself if his action comes out of sangalpa as he could observe his peace
is disturbed.  He could see that his awareness is lost.  Only that person
would know.  If we would try to interpret the actions behind it, it would be
similar to finding the reason for natural calamities such as earth quakes
and volcanoes.

However, it is quite possible that the person slips away from abiding in the
self and perform actions after attaining Jnaana.  It was told that even
Ramakrishna Paramahamsar himself asked one of his disciple to listen to his
advice while he was abiding in that state.

Personally, I think these discussions are nothing but mental distractions
which puts away from the goal of seeking the truth and abiding in the
truth.  We could come up with so many interpretations (based on mental
impressions) ultimately it is not our goal as a spiritual seeker.   These
are all vignas to a spiritual seeker.

The question may arise, why we are trying to understand the behavior of
Jnaani?  There may be one of the many possible following explanations

   - How to define and identify a Jnaani, so that we can clearly follow his
   - We aspire to reach that state of a Jnaani.
   - Jnaanis are also subjected to vasanas.  Not sure if the atyatma path is
   worth to proceed.  Even though we might have taken this path seriously, time
   and again these doubts come to the mind.  As the mind is subjected to many

It is quite possible each one of us to realize the glimpse of the truth that
we are Brahman.  This will automatically takes us to the state where we can
abide in the truth for a longer period of time, if not in this life, in
births to come.  As Bhagavan’s Krishnan had mentioned, the efforts put
towards Atma sataga does carry over in our next birth.  We can put our
efforts toward abiding in the self.


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