[Advaita-l] Definition of Jnani

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Jun 6 12:17:38 CDT 2011

Here are some more descriptions of a Jnani from Shankaracharya and some
other sources:

   1. In the Brahmasutra bhashya (  ) the Acharya says:
   हि त्रिष्वपि कालेषु अकर्तृत्व-अभोक्तृत्व-स्वरूपं ब्रह्म अहमस्मि ।  न इतः
   पूर्वं कर्ता भोक्ता वा अहमासम्, न इदानीं, नापि भविष्यत्काल इति
   ब्रह्मविदवगच्छति ।  //Quite contrary to what had been previously regarded
   as agent and experiencer, I am verily that Brahman, which, by nature, is
   neither agent nor experiencer at all in all the three periods of time.  Even
   earlier I was never an agent or experiencer, nor am I so at present; nor
   shall I be so in future – such is the realization of the knower of
   2. This is not exactly from Shankara: // The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
   teaches: आत्मानं चेद्विजानीयात् अयमस्मीति पूरुषः । किमिच्छन् कस्य कामाय
   शरीरमनुसञ्ज्वरेत् ॥ (IV.iv.13) [‘If a man knows the Self as ‘I am this’,
   then desiring what and for whose sake will he suffer in the wake of the
   3. This is  from the Bh.Gita:   In the Bhagavadgita 3.17 and 18 the Lord
   says: //. 3.17 But that man who rejoices only in the Self and is
   satisfied with the Self, and is contented only in the Self-for him there is
   no duty to perform. 3.18 For him there is no concern here at all with
   performing action; nor any (concern) with nonperformance. Moreover, for him
   there is no dependence on any object to serve any purpose.
   4. In the commentary to the Bhagavadgita 2.16, towards the end, says
   Bhagavatpada Shankara :  // Therefore, you too, Arjuna, by adopting the
   vision of the men of realization and giving up sorrow and delusion, forbear
   the dualities, heat, cold, etc.- some of which are definite in their nature,
   and others inconstant-, mentally being convinced that this (phenomenal
   world) is changeful, *verily unreal and appears falsely like water in a
   mirage. *This is the idea. //
   5. Clarifying a point in the Chandogya Up.6.14.2 Bhashya , Shankaracharya
   says in the Bhashyam here:

   // Those actions which have started yielding results, and those by which
   the body of the man of Knowledge has been molded, get exhausted ONLY THRU
   EXPERIENCING THEM, just as an arrow etc. that has gathered momentum after
   being shot towards a target, stops only with the exhaustion of its momentum,
   and not because it has no purpose to serve at the time it pierces the
   target.  Similar is the case here.  ….Therefore, as in the case of an
   arrow that has been shot, the experiencing of the results of actions that
   have become active is INEVITABLE for the man of Knowledge, even though there
   is no need of his living etc.  Hence, what has been said that, ‘His delay
   is for that long…’ is reasonable.  Therefore the criticisms that were
   advanced are illogical.//

   Shankara says the following in the Brahma Sutra bhashya 4.1.15 :

   उच्यते - न तावदनाश्रित्य आरब्धकार्यं कर्माशयं ज्ञानोत्पत्तिरुपपद्यते ।
   आश्रिते च तस्मिन् कुलालचक्रवत्प्रवृत्तवेगस्यान्तराले प्रतिबन्धासम्भवात् भवति
   *वेगक्षयप्रतिपालनम् *। अकर्त्रात्मबोधोऽपि हि मिथ्याज्ञानबाधनेन
   कर्माण्युच्छिनत्ति । *बाधितमपि तु मिथ्याज्ञानं* द्विचन्द्रज्ञानवत्
   कंचित्कालमनुवर्तते एव* । अपि च नैवात्र विवदितव्यं ब्रह्मविदा कंचित्कालं
   शरीरं ध्रियते न वा ध्रियत इति ।
    कथं ह्येकस्य स्वहृदयप्रत्ययं *ब्रह्मवेदनं देहधारणं *च अपरेण प्रतिक्षेप्
   तुं शक्त्यते । श्रुतिस्मृतिषु स्थितप्रज्ञलक्षणनिर्देशेनैतदेव निरुच्यते ।

   //Moreover, it is not a matter for dispute at all whether the body of the
   Knower of Brahman continues to exist for sometime or not. For how can one
   contest the fact of another possessing the knowledge of Brahman – vouched
   for by his heart’s conviction – and at the same time continuing with the
   body?  This very fact is elaborated in the Upanishads and the SmRtis in the
   course of determining the characteristics of 'the man of steady wisdom'. //
   7. In the BSB 4.19 He has established by anvaya-vyatireka logic that the
   Jnani will continue to have 'bheda darshanam' till the fall of the body.  He
   uses the 'dvichandrajnanam' analogy which He uses in 4.1.15 too for
   demonstrating the 'bAdhita anuvRttiH' (the continuance of the sublated).
   Just like the man with a defective vision seeing two moons has the clear
   knowledge that the moon is only one, the Jnani will continue to see the
   multiplicity-charactered world with the clear knowledge that it is Advaita
   jnanam that is the Truth and at the base of this bheda darshanam too.
   8. In the Bh.Gita 13.23 bhashyam, at the end Shankara says:

   ..एवं शरीरारम्भकं कर्म शरीरस्थितिप्रयोजने निवृत्तेऽपि आसंस्कारवेगक्षयात्
   पूर्ववद्वर्तते एव ।  .पतितेऽस्मिन् विद्वच्छरीरे ....
   // similarly, actions that produced the (present) body verily continue,
   even after fulfilling the purpose of maintaining the body, to exist as
   before until the dissipation of their inherent tendencies. …..Hence, it is
   established that, it has been reasonable to state that on the fall of the
   present body of an enlightened person, 'He is not born again.' (na sa bhUyo
   abhijAyate)  //
   9. In the Bhashya for the Bh.Gita 6.22 Shankara says: यं लब्ध्वा यम्
   आत्मलाभं लब्ध्वा प्राप्य च अपरम् अन्यत् लाभं लाभान्तरं ततः अधिकम् अस्तीति न
   मन्यते न चिन्तयति। किञ्च, यस्मिन् आत्मतत्त्वे स्थितः *दुःखेन
   शस्त्रनिपातादिलक्षणेन *गुरुणा महता अपि न विचाल्यते।।//6.22 Labdhva,
   obtaining; yam, which- by acquiring which Self-attainment; na manyate, one
   does not think; that there is aparam, any other; laabham, acquisition; tatah
   adhikam, superior to that; and also, sthitah,being established; yasmin, in
   which Reality of the Self; na vicalyate, one is not perturbed; api, even;
   guruna, by great; duhkhena, sorrow, as may be caused by being struck with
   weapons, etc.-//   It is important to note that the sorrow due to being
   struck with weapons is not an essential feature of every jnani; one may or
   may not have to face it, depending upon the prArabdha karma which Shankara
   has established in the quotes provided earlier: //Those actions which
   have started yielding results, and those by which the body of the man of
   Knowledge has been molded, get exhausted ONLY THRU EXPERIENCING THEM,..//
   10. The Bh.Gita chapters 2, 14, 12, etc. are repositories of several
   descriptions of a Jnani from the Lord Himself and Shankaracharya.

Best regards,

On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 12:43 PM, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>wrote:

> With this background, we can see just a couple of 'definitions' of a jnani
> that Shankara has given:
> 1.  Chandogya Up. 4.9.2:  प्रसन्नेन्द्रियः प्रहसितवदनश्च निश्चिन्तः
> कृतार्थो ब्रह्मविद्भवति । //A knower of Brahman is possessed of tranquil
> organs and a smiling face; he is without care, and contended.//
> 2. Taittiriya Up. 2.7 बाह्यानन्दसाधनरहिताः अपि निरीहा निरेषणा ब्राह्मणा
> बाह्यरसलाभादिव सानन्दा दृश्यन्ते विद्वांसः, नूनं ब्रह्मैव रसस्तेषाम् ।
> //Inasmuch as those BrAhmaNas who have realized Brahman are seen to be as
> happy as one is from obtaining an external source of joy - though, in fact,
> they do not take help of any external means of happiness, make no effort,
> and cherish no desire - , it follows, as a matter of course, that Brahman
> is, indeed, the source of their joy and is the spring of their happiness.//
> The above are only samples; there are several other sentences from the
> Acharya's pen on the jnani.
> Regards,
> subrahmanian.v

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