[Advaita-l] Taittiriya Upanishad question

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 8 09:43:57 CDT 2011

> >
> > Just as a jIvanmukta on earth can use words and express joy in words.
> But the Jivanmukta can not be the meaning in this sentence because he
> says Iman Lokan Kamanni Kamarupee Anusancharan. If Jivanmukta is
> meant how can he roam these worlds. He stays with us on earth.
> Other Muktas can roam anywhere.

As already pointed out, jIvanmukti is not restricted to earth alone. Any living
jnAnI inhabiting any deha in any loka is a jIvanmukta. That is as far as rigor
in philosophical thinking is concerned. 

>From a mythological perspective, please remember that our texts have
numerous accounts where a jnAnI roams at will, from one place to another
on earth as also to and from other lokas. The story of how SankarAcArya
reached the bedside of his dying mother in an instant is well-known. The
person you see as a jIvanmukta on earth could well be someone who
roamed at will from another loka and spent some time on earth! 
> The meaning can be like this. At the same time Mukta gets experience
> of becoming Food and Eater of Food. What is wrong?

It depends on what kind of mukti one is talking about. In the state where
the jnAnI sees nothing else (neha nAnAsti kiMcana, nAnyat paSyati etc),
there is no other thing to be experienced, therefore no action, e.g. eating
or being eaten. In the case of krama mukti, there can be experiences,
residual desires, desire achievement etc, along the krama-bhUmi-s.

Do keep in mind that the taittirIya upanishat prefaces the sAman citation
of being anna and annAda with the statement, "asmAl lokAt pretya", and
talks of going beyond the annamaya, prANamaya etc koSas, thus pointing
to a staged process of mukti.

Sruti speaks of both, in various contexts. There is a description of moksha
as the state where there is no kAma (akAma) preceded by fulfilment of
all kAma-s (AptakAma), no more saMkalpa or vikalpa, no more lokas to
go to (atraiva samavanIyante, na tasya prANA utkrAmanti), no more goals
to be achieved etc. And there is also a description of how by a mere
saMkalpa alone and no effort, kAma-s come to fruition, any loka is attained,
etc, (the passages you have quoted). The proper meaning and application
has to be understood with careful study of the Sruti and the bhAshya-s.

When trying to understand how the advaita AcArya interprets a particular
passage and comparing with how the dvaita AcArya interprets the same
passage, the overall context, the axioms of the two differing schools and
the self-consistency in total explanation needs to be kept in mind. Without
this larger picture in the background, there will always be only confusion.

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