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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon May 10 07:39:11 CDT 2010

On Mon, May 10, 2010 at 2:19 AM, S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:

> [..]
> > > You have said above that Videhamukti is "liberation
> > after death", and yet
> > > you want to confer this status on YAGYavalkya the
> > moment he attained to
> > > saMyagGYAna, which was during his life!
> [..]
> > That is the general translation of the term 'videha
> > mukti'.
> And it is so according to VidyAraNya as well (page 40 of translation by
> Swami Moksadananda):
>   atha videhamuktalakshaNam .
>   "Now about the Videhamukta:"

I would look at this this way:  He alludes to the above as the popular
meaning of the term.  It need not be taken as 'his view' which he clearly
says later is something else, which is also Shankara's view. He cannot be
giving 'his cherised' view at the commencement of the work, that too, called
'pramAna prakaraNam'.  He has to give the popular meaning to it, otherwise,
he will  be taxing the reader, relatively new to the subject, with a concept
that could be appreciated only with some more teaching.

>   jIvanmuktapadaM tyaktvA svadehe kAlasAtkR^ite .
>   vishatyadehamuktatvaM pavano.aspandatAm iva || [LYV 5.98]
>   "VasiShTha: "When the life expires the body dissolves and giving
>   up the state of jIvanmukta. He enters the state of
>   Liberation after the disembodiment, just like the wind
>   becomes motionless." [LYV 5.98]"

Shankara disagrees with the 'entering the state of liberation', as I have
shown in the sequel.  For him moksha is here and now for anyone who has the
aparoksha jnanam.

>   yathA vAyuH kadAchichchalanaM tyaktvA svarUpeNAvatishhThate,
>   tathA mukto.apyupAdhikR^itaM saMsAraM tyaktvA svarUpeNAvatishhThate .
>   "As the wind sometimes stops blowing and comes to a calm, motionless
>   state, similarly the liberated soul also leaving this world made
>   of the limiting adjuncts remains in its own form."
> It is clear that the DEFINITION of "Videha-mukti" requires the dissolution
> of the present body, as VidyAraNya explicitly says so above.

He is only alluding to the YV to give the meaning of what popularly is
understood as videha mukti.

> This occurs right in the first chapter, where all the definitions of the
> various terms are being covered, and the introductory line above, "atha
> videhamuktalakshaNam" indicates that this is in fact the right sense of the
> term "Videha-mukti", requiring the dissolution of the present body, which I
> will refer to as "Videha-mukti-original".

I disagree with this perception; as I have stated earlier, the other
meaning, that is cherished by him, of the term is stated by him later. He
says explicitly:  (I am reproducing from the book extensively below) -

// We have been using the word videha mukti only in the limited sense of
'future body' (i.e. embodiment after the decease of the present body), for
FUTURE EMBODIMENT.  ......Thus therefore videha mukti in the sense of
preclusion of future embodiment, is simultaneous with the rise of jnanam.
(He quotes Yajnavalkya!!)'s words in the shruti are to the same effect:  O
Janaka, you have reached the condition of supreme fearlessness. Br.up.
4.2.4; also 'This, verily, is real Immortality, amrtatvam'  Br. Up.4,5,15.
Another shruti also says: 'Who knows Him thus, becomes immortal even here.'
(purusha suktam).

If videha mukti, the result of Jnanam, should not immediately follow the
rise of knowledge, but should come about after some time, it will be
necessary to imagine some other thing, known as apUrva, derived from Jnanam
(as intermediate between the two - jnanam and videha mukti), even as it is
necessary to do so in the case of jyotishtoma and other sacrifices.  *So,
the whole of the philosophy of Jnanam (jnana shaastra) would be included
within the province of ritualistic lore (karma shaastra).*  If you say that
Jnanam is, as it were, neutralized by previous karma (prarabdha), even like
fire rendered powerless thru some incantation and will bear the fruit of
videha mukti in course of time (i.e. on the removal of the neutralizing
cause), such argument will not hold good,for, in the absence of any
opposition between the two (karma and videha mukti), videha mukti must be
the immediate result.  The videha mukti we speak of precludes all
possibility of future embodiment and, as such, is not opposed to previous
karman, which touches only the present embodiment of the person.  Hence,
Jnanam cannot be retarded in bearing fruit.  ......//  .[And now comes the

//Let the videha mukti (of the form of liberation after death) which you
hold dear, come after the dissolution of the present body, BUT THEVIDEHA
WITH THE RISE OF JNANAM,  The Lord Sesha also says......(quoted by me
already in an earlier post)

Thus is established the premier position of Jnanam, which is the direct
means of attaining videhamukti, while the vasanakshaya and manonasha occupy
only a subordinate position therein, being merely the means of acquiring
jnanam. //

If the Yoga Vasishtha meaning of videha mukti (what you call 'original')
were to be considered the prevailing one over the 'aleternative' we have
seen clearly above that Sri Vidyaranya does not share such a perception.  He
holds the opposite, rather.  For him, what you call 'alternative' is the
'cherished one' and the 'original' as per you, he says, 'let it come later'
ततो भवदभिमता वर्तमानदेहराहित्यलक्षणा विदेहमुक्तिः *पश्चादस्तु*,  अस्मदभिमता
तु ज्ञानसमकालीनैव ।

He has argued for pages on end to make known the supremacy of his cherished
view ('alternative') and accorded only an unimportant status to the
'original' meaning of videha mukti.

I have completed quoting from that book extensively to reiterate Sri
VidyaraNya's and Shankaracharya's and Yajnavalkya's position: videhamukti
specially cherished by all these authorities is the one had at the moment of
gaining aparoksha jnanam and NOT the one that comes at the fall of the
physical body.  An aparoksha jnani is by all means  entitled to be called a
mukta, whether according to the above preeminently held view of all these
authorities or any other authority that holds mukti is at the time of the
fall of the body.

I think I have said everything that could be said on the topic.  I also
think we, both of us, have exchanged  some twenty posts on this thread.  Is
it not better for us to carry forward this privately?

> Hence the term "MUKTA" WITHOUT QUALIFICATIONS ASSUMES one who has undergone
> vAsanAkShya!
> Besides, this is the correct understanding of the term "mukta" (without
> qualifications), which is agreed upon by both the VivekachUDAmaNi verse
> "muktiM prAhustadiha munayo vAsanAtAnavaM yat.h", where mukti (without
> qualifications) again requires vAsanAtAnavaM or the attenuation of vAsanAs.

> 2) VidyAraNya writes (page 87, ibid):
>  mumukShoH purushhasya jIvanmuktirvidehamuktishcheti
>  prayojanadvayam . ata eva "vimuktashcha vimuchyata"
>  [KU 2.2.1] iti shrUyate .
>  "The person who is seeking liberation (mumukShu) needs both
>  jIvanmukti and Videhamukti. For this the shruti has it thus:
>  'First liberated from ignorance while still alive, is again
>  freed on disembodiment." [KU 2.2.1]
> Please note that when VidyAraNya uses the word "Moksha" (or "Mukti" without
> qualifications), he says that it requires BOTH jIvanmukti and Videhamukti,
> and that the **suffering of the present body should also cease for it to be
> called "mukti" (WITHOUT QUALIFICATIONS)**. The above verse CANNOT be
> explained away by an appeal only to "Videha-mukti-alternative".
> Hence I do not agree that the unqualified term "mukta" can be used as an
> equivalent to the very, very special term "Videha-mukti-alternative".
> Hope at least this explains my standpoint!!
> Regards,
> Kartik

Your understanding is fraught with problems.  If  'First liberated from
ignorance while still alive, is again  freed on disembodiment." [KU 2.2.1]'
should apply ONLY  to someone who is a jivanmukta with vasanakshya
accomplished, a jnAnimAtra who dies very soon after samyagjnAna or who goes
into coma soon after and remains in that state for say three months and
dies, will not attain mukti and will be reborn! Why? Because this shruti
vaakyam will be inapplicable to him.  This is against the Vedanta.  It
contradicts what Vidyaranya himself has argued at length in the case of
Yajnavalkya and Bhagiratha.[ He who is an aparoksha jnani and therefore a
vimukta, attains liberation, vimuchyate that is marked by physical death and
not taking another body.]

It is necessary to imagine that just because Yajnavalkya and Bhagiratha took
to sannyasa with a view to attain peace, whether they succeeded in it or
not.  Supposing they did not succeed and died.  Will they be born again?
According to Vidyaranya, their rebirth is ruled out even at the moment they
attained samyagjnanam. But according tp your interpretation they will not be
liberated at all. Thus it would be correct to hold them to be muktas alone.
If someone were to enumerate the mukta-s in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad,
would you leave out Yajnavalkya and perhaps Janaka? There is a famous
saying:  muktascha anyAn vimochayet. 'let the liberated one liberate
others'.  Vidyaranya has absolutely no doubts on Yajnavalkya's credentials
in this front.  Thus, even on this count, there is no bar on the 'mukta'
name for a jnAnimAtra.   They themselves will not care if anyone applied
that term to them or not.  Further, the translation for:  prayojanadvayam of
the quote from the JMV as ' .... needs both  jIvanmukti and Videhamukti' is
not correct.  The word prayojanam only means this:  The Shastra has what is
called 'anubandha chatuShTayam' - adhikAri, vishaya, sambandha and
prayojanam.  The adhikaari is the mumukshu.  The shastra offers the
prayojanam of liberation, bandha-nivRtti.  Sri Vidyaranya sees another
prayojanam of the shastram: jivanmukti.  This is quite understandable as
this prayojanam is what explains the mukta being available for the teaching
of the Truth based on the Shruti, which Yajnavalkya admirably performed, to
the great admiration of Vidyaranya Himself, and for being a role model for
others as a sthitaprajna.  To say that a mumukshu 'needs' these two
prayojanam-s is not the correct way to portray the JMV wording.  It does not
take into consideration the case I have spoken of above where a person with
aparoksha jnanam dies before he even starts attempting vasanakshaya or
before he fully accomplishes it.  Also, what is the yardstick to full
accomplishment of vasanakshaya?  Is it not with that in view that the
shastra talks about four representative types of mukta-s?

In the Gita 6th chapter Arjuna says controlling the mind is extremely
difficult, a verse of the same nature is there in the Yoga Vasishta, quoted
in  the JMV.  Elsewhere in the Gita occurs: aneka janma samsiddhaH tato
yaati paraam gatim. The Acharya comments 'in each life one adds little by
little and ultimately attains the Supreme'.  Where is the doubt that
accomplishing vasanakshaya is not akin to the above?  If it were insisted
that ONLY a jivanmukta, fully accomplished with vasanakshaya and manonasha,
were to be liberated as per the K.U 2.2.1, an aparoksha jnani who has not
made enough progress in jivanmukti sadhana will have to be repeatedly born
to complete the process!

Also, did not the Sringeri Acharya in a dialogue, quoted by me, say that
such a distinction is only from the onlooker's point and the Jnani himself
does not consider such a distinction as real?  For an aparoksha jnani there
is no real distinction between a jnani and an ajnani even.  It is only based
on the vyavaharika difference he 'considers' someone as an ajnani and
condescends to teach him.  A Jnani saamaanya is called a 'mukta'
irrespective of the class he belongs to.

And Vidyaranya's so specifying is for this reason:  His primary scheme is: a
mumukshu, even as he is thru his sadhana, is to go about accomplishing:
vasanakshaya, manonasha and tattva jnana, simultaneously.  When done in this
ideal fashion, as taught by the Yoga Vasishtha, one will come to the ideal
situation of: gaining aparoksha atma jnanam AND jivanmukti simultaneously.
He is a vidvaan jivanmukta.  Thus, for this mumukshu, one can definitely say
that the shastram has two prayojanam-s.

Vidyaranya has also undoubtedly considered someone who has not done the
sadhana in the above fashion and accomplished only tattva jnana wihtout
adequate levels of the other two to make them jivanmuktas as per the norms
of the JMV.  For this reason, the shruti passage quoted should not and
cannot be restricted ONLY to a jnani with jivanmukti in the sense of the
JMV.  There is no reason to do so.  Bhagavatpada has not done so.

In the Kathopanishad 2.3.14 we have:

....अथ मर्त्यो अमृतो भवति अत्र ब्रह्म समश्नुते

अथ तदा मर्त्यः प्राक्प्रबोधात् आसीत् स पबोधोत्तरकालं अविद्याकामकर्मलक्षणस्य
*मृत्योः विनाशात् अमृतो *भवति । गमनप्रयोजकस्य मृत्योर्विनाशात् गमनानुपत्तेः
अत्रैव प्रदीपनिर्वाणवत् सर्वबन्धनोपशमाद्ब्रह्म समश्नुते ब्रह्मैव भवतीत्यर्थः

[Then, he who was before enlightenment mortal, becomes immortal, after
enlightenment - by virtue of the elimination of death constituted by
ignorance, desire, and deeds; death, which causes departure, having been
destroyed, there remains no possibility of departure, and hence, here
itself; owing to the cessation of all bondage, like the blowing out of a
lamp, he attains Brahman, i.e. becomes Brahman Itself.]

AmRta = Immortal.  When he becomes amRta immediately upon Jnanam, why can't
he be called a 'mukta'? Has he not transcended the cycle of birth and death
called bandha? The opposite of bandha is moksha and one who has this is a
mukta without any need for qualifications.

What more evidence is required than the above to say that an aparoksha jnani
is referred to as 'Brahman' itself, here itself, before the physical death?

In the bhashya for sutra 1.1.4 it said: // .....  All these passages
prohibit any other thing to be done for someone who has attained the Jnanam
to attain to moksha. //

Definitely, if vasanakshaya were to be the indispensable condition for
moksha, it would have been stated so, and the above statement would become

He further says: तस्मान्मिथ्याप्रत्ययनिमित्तत्वात्सशरीरत्वस्य सिद्धं
जीवतोऽपि विदुषोऽशरीरत्वम् [ Thus it is settled that since the idea of being
with a body is born of erroneous knowledge, the Knower is free of
embodiedness even when alive.]

शरीरे पतिते अशरीरत्वं स्यात्, न जीवत इति चेन्न, सशरीरत्वस्य
मिथ्याज्ञाननिमित्तत्वात् ।  नित्यमशरीरत्वं अकर्मनिमित्तत्वादित्यवोचाम ।
This passage is referred to in the JMV.

// Let it be that the unembodiedness of the self be only after the fall of
the body and not while one is alive.  No, for the notion of being embodied
is due to erroneous knowledge.  One is of an unembodied nature ALWAYS since
such a state is not brought about by any action.  We have said already: the
purusha is *nitya-shuddha-buddha-'mukta' svabhAvaH*//  (How similar is this
view with that of Vidyaranya's cherished view!)

When one's svabhAva itself is of the nature of 'mukta', where is the
restriction in holding one a mukta who has realized his svabhava to be such?
If it is said 'vasana kshaya' alone will qualify one to be called so, the
Acharya disagrees: he is ever 'shuddha' too.  Even a person with no adequate
vasanakshaya will realize, in aparoksha jnanam as: I am
nitya-shuddha-buddha-mukta svabhAvaH. [Even Yajnavalkya and Bhagiratha,
aparoksha jnanins, realized their svabhaava to be nitya shuddha buddha mukta
alone.  They recognized the problem of their mind, not their Self, to be
something that required a remedy and sought sannyasa.] All scripture teaches
one to contemplate, nididhyasanam, in this manner alone.  And when one
becomes an aparoksha jnani, what can hold one from appending the term
'mukta' to him, regardless of his vasanakshaya?

In the light of all these there is no reason to hold that the term mukta is
to be used ONLY to someone endowed with vasanakshaya; a jnAnimAtra, even
when alive, is undoubtedly entitled to this term.

The Brahmaanuchintanam, a work of Bhagavatpada,  says in the first verse:

अहमेव परं ब्रह्म वासुदेवाध्यमव्ययम् ।
इति स्यान्निश्चितो मुक्तो बद्ध एवान्यथा भवेत् ॥

[I am verily the Supreme Brahman, the undiminishable, known as Vasudeva (the
one who resides in and shines in all things).   If a person firmly knows
this, he is free, muktaH; if not, he remains only bound.]

Yajnavalkya knew this as is  eminently acknowledged by Sri Vidyaranya
The work concludes in the 29th verse:  ....सकृदपि मनसा वै चिन्तयेद्यः स
मुक्तः [ He who contemplates with his mind even once......is certainly free,

Best regards,


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