[Advaita-l] Definition of Jnani

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Mon Jun 6 15:36:42 CDT 2011

Quote: The definition of a jnAnI is devastatingly simple - one who knows
Brahman as one's own Self, one who sees only the Self (sarvam Atmaiva
abhUt), one who sees Brahman everywhere and all things in Brahman (yo mAM
paSyati sarvatra, sarvaM ca mayi paSyati). There is nothing more to be said
really, as far as a definition is concerned.

*Agree with the definition but not with the assertion that there is nothing
more to be said.  In fact, this definition concerns with seeing which is
possible in different stages of samadhi but what is there to see in the
ultimate state? More importanly, a description is not a definition. This
definition corresponds to Lord Krishna's definition of "vasudevam sarvam
iti" but not "nitya yukta eka bhakti:", the one that Lord Krishna considers
to be His own Self. *

Quote: one more striking definition of the jnAni, as upanishad itself
asserts it, is : 'brahmavit brahmaiva bhavati'.  But I think this definition
holds good only on the paper as description of the jnAni's jnAna depends
upon the 'individuality', parichinnatva and prArabha of that particular
jnAni.  Since we cannot point our finger to a particular jnAni
and declare : he knows brahman so he is brahman.

*I diagree. We can point to a person and say he is a jnani. Mahabharatha
declare that above Vidura, for e.g. Also, brahmavit brahmaiva bhavati
explains the consequence of learning (vit) brahma jnannam. It is not even
about brahma jnani. jna is different from vit. I strongly suggest that
anyone interested in Vedanta learn sanskrit and nyaya. I am learning gaudiya
vaishnava vedanta for 15 years from a sannyasi scholar (no cheating; he
knows my advaita leaning). He rightly insists learning nyaya and sanskrit -
at least in the context of the bhashya. *
Quote: A description, on the other hand, can be more elaborate and take into
account other factors. These can include descriptors such as
sarva- bhUtahita, bhagavad-bhakta, Atmarata, AtmakrIDa, AptakAma, kRtakRtya,

*Aha! All these descriptions together try to define a jnani who know
Vasudevam sarvam iti. *

shruti says the vyAvahArika phala of the Atma jnAna is : bhidyate hrudaya
granthi, chidhyante 'sarva saMshayAH', and clarifies this further and says
when for the knower of brahman all this has become the one Atman, then whom
could one see and with what, who could smell with what etc.. but we have to
understand these descriptions also with a pinch of salt since there can be a
'digbhrAnti' occasionally for the jnAni & there can be a 'gap' of time in
subsiding this ajnAna depending upon the prArabdha janita dehendriya of that
particular jnAni. So, no one particular or universal description would suit
all the jnAni-s due to 'their' prArabdha janita dehendriya manObuddhi
ahaMkAra.  Under these
circumstances it is always better not to talk about a sandardized Atma jnAna
( which is real only on papers) as it varies & fluctuates among individual
jnAni-s. Though there is no difference in Atmaikatva jnAna, it can occupy
different mind in different shape and according to this there will be
gradation in Atma jnAni-s like brahmavidvara, bahmavidvarIya,
brahmavidvarishTa etc. This is how some of the advaitins would say.  There
will be a strong evidence for this in Sri VidyaraNya's jeevan mukti viveka
which has been accepted widely as valid definition of jnAna-bhUmika-s in
traditional circle.
*Jnanis have unique body, mind and actions due to prarabda. This does not
mean that there can be different definitions for who a jnani is. I agree
that there are definitions for different stages of jnana bhumi. *

Advaita vedAnta does talk about bhakti which is slightly different from
dvaita's 'bedha' bhakti.  Shankara calls it as parAbhakti which does not do
any harm to shruti siddhAnta i.e. Atman's ekameva adviteeyatva (absolute

 *I agree and would like to study Bhakti Rasayana of Madhusudana. I would
think the para bhakti is non-different from atma-jnanam. It is the
realization of aham brahmasmi, so'ham, sivo'ham, gopalaham not only a
upasana.  It is the state of being omniscient relishing every attribute of
brahman at once and becoming all this. Madhusudana quotes this state with
reference to Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 3.14 in Gudartha Dipika 6th chapter -
verse 14 or 19. If appreciating a few attributes of Vishnu is so wonderful,
how great it would be know and appreciate all? Who else can do it except one
who has become Hari? It is atma nivedhanam. Who, but Hari, can realize tad
visno paramam brahman? *
I heard that Vidyaranya Swami says jivan mukta Hari bhakta.  Interesting !!
may I know which work pls. can jnAni ( a jIvan mukta) be hara bhakta also??
appayya deekshita was great hara bhakta but I dont know whether he is
considered as jeevan mukta !!??
*I have not studied Vidyaranya Swami. I was told so by a advaitin scholar
(who is a bit hard to learn from though nice:) - will update if I find out
the reference. Of course yes. Hari refers to Para Vasudeva, the para
Brahman. In 10th chapter, Lord Krishna, who is non-different from
nirupadhikara brahman explains His different manifestations as Siva, Arjuna
etc. Sankara, in his commentary to Vishnu Sahasranama, explains unity of
Hari and Hara based on Harivamsa! Madhusudana, a great devotee of Lord
Krishna, who declares in his introduction to Gudartha Dipika that a jivan
mukta is attracted to Hari was also a Siva bhakta.  *
*Brahmananda, the disciple of Madhusudana, says that bhakti in his guru, a
jivan mukta, is the residual effect of bhakti done before attainment of
realization.*I did not get this!!  BTW, muktAvasta is not an (residual)
effect of  anything, it is ever existing natural state.  However, shastra
helps us to realize this ever existent reality.

 *Instead of giving up attraction to Krishna on realization of Brahman,
Madhusudana continues to remain devoted to Krishna.  I am told by a scholar
that Brahmananda says this bhakti is a residual effect of his bhakti before
rise of aparoksha jnana. I dont think so because in his introduction to
Gudartha Dipika Madhusudana says that a jivan mukta is a Hari Bhakta. To
substantiate this, he quotes a verse from Srimad Bhagavatham that
paramahansa sannyasis are attracted to Hari because He is
infintiely glorious. *

IMO, one cannot become a jnAni by 'knowing' about the jnAni, one should
intuitively realize this jnAna and when one realized, I sincerely hope
he/she will not have any doubts about the definition of the jnAni :-))

*Arjuna asks Krishna to describe a jnani - "How does he sit etc?" It is part
of gaining paroksha jnanam. *

yes, according to some, he would continue to devote to the lord or paripUrNa
chaitanya as long as the  jnAni continues to 'live' in his body with
paricchinna chaitanya...That is the reason why we have the great bhakta-s
like dhruva, prahlAda etc.  But shankara somewhere in chAdOgya bhAshya says
that after realization jnAni would realize that before Atma
jnAna,  srushtyAdi kriya  was Ishwareccha but now (after realization) he,
himself is WHOLE & SOLE...

*In places where Sankara says the verse means ONLY jnanam, Madhusudana says
it means ONLY bhakti. I think this is because para bhakti is non-different
from jnanam but I dont want to assert without seeing something from Sankara
or Madhusudana that says that with reference to sastras.  *

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