[Advaita-l] GYAnimAtra and the sthitapraGYa (was Re: FW: Avidya, Jnanis and SSS' views)

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu May 6 01:54:44 CDT 2010

On Thu, May 6, 2010 at 6:43 AM, S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:

> >
> > From the above the is clear :
> >
> >    1. The KRtopAsti and akRtopAsti of JMV is
> > slightly different from
> >    Bhagavan Ramana's view.
> >    2. Accordingly, the second type,
> > according to JMV, is an aparoksha jnani,
> >    a mukta, not to return to samsara, but as
> > per Bhagavan he is not; he is
> >    'likely to forget it'.  At least,
> > that is the impression I get from the
> >    excerpt provided by you below.
> >
> Not so. According to the JMV, the second type is NOT a mukta. To continue
> the JMV quote from above:
>   tasmAdidanIMtanAnAM vidvatsaMnyAsinAM GYAnasyAnuvR^ittimAtram.h .
>   vAsanAkshayamanonAshau tu prayatnasaMpAdyAv iti sthitam .
>   "So it is held that for the vidvatsannyIs of these days only
>   the GYAna continues. VAsanAkshaya and manonAsha are to be
>   accomplished by effort to make it steady (sthitaM)."
> Note that the second kind of students do NOT have steady knowledge! Hence
> they are NOT sthitapraGYas, and hence NOT jIvanmuktas!

Dear Karthik,

I have not added the prefix 'jeevan' for the akRtopaasti with aparoksha
jnanam; I have simply stated that he is a 'mukta' keeping in mind the
distinction SV makes in the JMV.  As you have concluded below, this jnani is
'a-samsari', not to return to samsara.  Only that he will continue to
experience, as a sAkshi, the dRShTa duhka that prArabdha will deal him.  It
is for this jnani too the JMV is relevant; he can, if he wants, practice
manonAsha and vAsanAkshaya and have great peace.  He is not a jeevan mukta
in the sense this term is defined in the JMV.

> However, it is correct that the GYAnimAtra is not a saMsArin either. He is
> in a state that can not be considered the same as that of an aGYAnI or a
> sthitapraGYa.
> ---
> Here is yet another reason why there is no doubt that VidyAraNya considers
> saMyak-aparokSha-brahmaGYAna alone does NOT constitute jIvanmukti, as he
> gives the example of YAGYavalkya:

Yes.  I have noted this  and appreciated the genius of SV in pointing this
out.  Has anyone dared to say this before, at least so explicitly?  He has
demonstrated this daring in the Panchadshi too when he says: naLa, Rama and
YudhiShThira underwent all the problems only due to prArabdha.

> But VidyAraNya emphatically denies that YAGYavalkya was a jIvanmukta:
>   iyam evaasmadabhimataa jIvanmuktiH. yAGYavalkyaH tu
>   vijigIshhudshaayaaM na hIdR^ishaH, cittavishraantaye
>   vidvatsaMnyaasasya tena karishhyamANatvaat.h .
>   "This is the jIvanmukti we approve of. But YAGYavalkya was
>   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>   not in this state while he was still desirous of victory in
>   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>   disputation, since he was yet to take the vidvatsannyAsa in
>   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>   order to set the mind at rest.
>   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> Put it simply:
> According to VidyAraNya: YAGYavalkya had saMyak-aparokSha-brahmaGYAna.
> According to VidyAraNya: YAGYavalkya did NOT have jIvanmukti.

This is very fine indeed.

> Hence according to VidyAraNya, saMyak-aparokSha-BrahmaGYAna by itself does
> not constitute jIvanmukti. ***The BrahmaGYAna must ALSO be steady
> (sthitaM).***
> ***The "sthitaM" aspect of BrahmaGYAna is precisely what is accomplished by
> vAsanAkShya-manonAsha.***

Yes. The samyajnAnam in a non-jivanmukta jnAni could be 'asthitam' but not
'abhAvam'.  I think this is what SV conveys when he distinguishes between an
the two 'upAsti-s'.

Has Bhagavan Ramana made the distinction so unambiguous?  I doubt.  That is
why I made that comment.
> >
> > Ramana Maharshi's stance cannot be misconstrued - he
> speaks of the
> > "experience" of one who has had a "glimpse" of the
> reality, but yet forgets
> > the Truth, as his mind is again clouded by ignorance.
> >
> > The terminology needs to be clarified. Typically, the
> term "GYAnI" is used
> > almost interchangeably with "sthitapraGYa" (one who
> has steady knowledge,
> > synonymous with jIvanmukta). Ramana Maharshi's
> reference to "person who has
> > had a glimpse of the reality" is precisely in
> reference to the "unsteady
> > knowledge" of VidyAraNya, who prefers the term
> "GYAnimAtra" to denote such a
> > person.
> >
> > Regards,
> > Kartik

I think we should make this distinction:  In Vedanta, the one for whom the
akhandAkAra vRtti has arisen and destroyed avidya ('avidyA nivRtti' as
Shankara has said) even as a result of a 'glimpse' of the Absolute Truth,
such a person is a mukta; he does not return to samsara after death.  He may
not  be a jivanmukta in the terms of the JMV.  His jnanam may not be
steady.  Vidyaranya deals with the case in the Panchadashi too: Second
chapter last few verses. Yet, his jnanam has performed its purpose: avidya
nivRtti.  This nivRtta avidya does not return to put him back in samsara.
It might not give him supreme Bliss and peace.  That is another matter.
Does Bhagavan Ramana state this way in the above excerpt?  The point is,
when Ramana says: // someone has had the a "glimpse" of the  reality, but
yet forgets  the Truth, as his mind is again clouded by ignorance. // is he
considering this person a mukta (non-jivanmukta) whose avidya is destroyed,
who is free from samsara to the extent of not being born again?  If the
answer is 'yes', then it is agreeable to me that he is not differing from

Here is a quote from the book 'Yoga, Enlightenment and Perfection' (of Sri
Abhinava Vidyateertha Mahaswamigal) p.206:

//The possibility of apparent erroneous notions causing transient delusion
in a knower of the Truth is stated by Bhagavatpada as follows in His
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad bhashyam on the passage 1.4.10:

...न च विपरीतप्रत्ययो विद्यावत उत्पद्यते ।  क्वचित्तु विद्यायाः *
पूर्वोत्पन्नविपरीतप्रत्ययजनितसंस्कारेभ्यो* विपरीतप्रत्ययावभासाः स्मृतयो
जायमाना विपरीतप्रत्ययभ्रान्तिमकस्मात्कुर्वन्ति । यथा
विज्ञातदिग्विभागस्याप्यकस्माद्दिग्विपर्ययविभ्रमः ।

[Erroneous notions (such as that one is an agent and that one experiences
pleasure and pain) cannot arise in the knower of the Truth....Sometimes,
however, recollections that stem from the *impressions formed by the
erroneous notions *that arose prior to enlightenment and which have the
appearances of erroneous notions crop up and suddenly delude him as to their
being actual erroneous notions just as even one who knows the directions
well sometimes suddenly becomes confused about them. ]

In the Panchadashi it is said:

भोगकाले कदाचित्तु मर्त्योऽहमिति भासते ।। (VII 245 cd)
नैतावताऽपराधेन तत्त्वज्ञानं विनश्यति ।
जीवन्मुक्तिव्रतं नेदं किन्तु वस्तुस्थितिः खलु ॥  (VII 246)
[Sometimes, during the period of experiencing of the fruit of past karma,
the idea, 'I am a man' may seem to be.  By this much defect, the knowledge
of the Truth will not perish.  This (the eradication of such notions) is not
any vow of jivanmukti (to be observed by the enlightened one without any
slip whatsoever).  On the other hand, this is actually how the matter
stands.] //

(excerpted portion over)

In my opinion, the degree of intensity and incidence of those 'slips' is
what decides the distinction between the 'sthiratva' and 'asthiratva' of
tattva jnana.  Vasanakshaya and manonasha, depending on their strength, give
the candidate the ability to reduce those instances, by intensity and
incidence, and remain in the prajnA.

All said and done, as the Panchadashi concludes its second chapter, in
whatever condition, mental and physical,  the jnani dies, there is no return
of the nivRtta avidya and therefore there is no possibility of his returning
to samsara.  During his sane wakeful life, till his physical death, how he
is able to 'safeguard' his jnana by making it give him steady peace and
bliss, is what is all about the practice of jivanmuktiviveka.  It has no
bearing whatsoever on his not being born again, which is, anyway, guaranteed
by his avidya-nivrtti.  I would like to hear other views on this and am open
to correction and fine-tuning this understanding of mine.

I thank you once again Karthik for your great interest in this topic.

With warm regards,

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