by Swami Sivananda
Commentary by Swami Krishnananda
1, 2. The Guru said: A Jivanmukta who has reached the Imperishable Turiya state can never be affected by the pairs of opposites. He always rests in his own Sat-Chit-Ananda Swaroopa. He roams about happily.
A Jivanmukta is a sage who is liberated from bondage even while living with a body. The perception of the material universe as such vanishes and he beholds the One Brahman appearing as the universe. The egoism of the Jivanmukta is like a burnt cloth which has got the appearance of a cloth but is actually reduced to the state of ashes. The individual consciousness of the Jivanmukta is powerful enough to maintain the existence of his physical body, but it is not capable of bringing to him another birth as an embodied being. His Sanchita-Karmas get fried by the fire of Brahma-Jnana or Knowledge of the Absolute Reality. He has no Agami Karmas to bring future births because he has no feelings of Kartritva and Bhoktritva. His actions are cosmic movements and not the instincts of the sense of egoism. The Prarabdha Karma which has given rise to Brahma-Jnana lasts as long as the momentum of past desires which constitute the present Prarabdha lasts. An illustration will make this fact very clear.
A hunter sees an animal moving in the forest and thinking that it is a tiger he shoots an arrow at it. After the arrow has left the bow-string he realises that the animal is not a tiger but a cow. But this subsequent knowledge will not save the cow from being affected by the arrow. The arrow will hit the object which lies within the sphere of its momentum.
The Jnani realises that the whole universe is Brahman only. But the desires which he had given rise to during the time when he thought that the objective world is real will not cease from demanding materialisation into effects as long as the momentum of their craving lasts. Hence these desires keep up the physical body of the Jivanmukta for some time even after his Self-realization. When the Prarabdha-Karma is exhausted the body drops off by itself and the sage becomes unified with the Infinite Brahman.
But, even while living with a body, the Jivanmukta identifies his consciousness with Brahman and is not affected by the pairs of opposites and the forces of nature. The whole universe is his body for he is in tune with all the forces of Nature due to his transcending all phenomenal relativities and resting in Brahman-Consciousness at all times.
3. A Jivanmukta realises that he is beyond the three bodies and five Koshas, he is the witness of the three states, he is pure Consciousness.
The Jivanmukta is the witness of the three lower states of consciousness, namely, the waking, dreaming and deep sleep states. He realises the Turiya state which is peaceful, blissful and non-dual. He lives in the seventh Bhumika of Jnana where the mind becomes Brahman itself. The expanded consciousness soars above the five sheaths and hails beyond the region of thought and intellect. The Jivanmukta's thoughts and actions do not promise a future world-experience for him. He experiences the world and individuality only apparently and not in reality.
He does not get delighted by pleasures, nor do distresses pain him. He has nothing dear, nothing inimical. Even violent distractions cannot make him move away from the Reality. He does not trouble anybody, nor is he troubled by anybody even in the least. He talks sweetly and nobly. He comes out of the net of distinctions and desires like a lion from its cage. Fear is unknown to him, and he is never helpless or dejected. He does not care for life, honour or death. He behaves as the occasion of the environment requires, but is absolutely detached within. He is an Apta-Kama. He has got nothing to obtain or avoid. He is satisfied with his own Self. He is a Mahakarta, a Mahabhokta and a Mahatyagi.
The Jivanmukta feels the great Unity of himself and the whole universe in the Supreme Brahman. He has an abiding realization of the secret Oneness of Existence which is the basis of universal love. It is the love that does not expect any reward, return or recompense. Such people are the veritable Emperors of the universe.
The Jivanmukta is neither an idle man not an active man. He is a transcendental actor. His behaviour is ununderstandable even as Brahman is inscrutable, for he is Brahman itself. Whatever he does is righteous, moral and ideal, for his actions are the expressions of the Absolute itself. He leads the Divine Life and moves in the free flow of the Law of Eternal Existence. He has no war between the body and the spirit. His external actions are just like those of the ignorant worldly man. But the greatest difference lies between their minds, the desires and Vasanas. The one does not know what is desire and the other is immersed in desires. The mind of a liberated man is pure Sattwa itself, it is no mind at all. He is established in the state of the Self unimpeded by phenomenal laws. He rejoices in the Infinite Being and lives in the world like a happy bird, being fully illumined with Transcendental Wisdom.
4. For a liberated sage who has realised that all being are the Self, there is neither delusion nor grief, as there is no second for him.
To him who sees Oneness only everywhere, where is delusion and where is grief? The experience of secondlessness is achieved through a finding of one's self in each and every being including even the wicked and the ungrateful. Such an expansion of the Self leads to the glory of the manifestation of the real Essence of the Being of all beings, where one finds himself in truth, where the lost Self is recovered with unbounded joy. Grief is only the temporary psychosis of the individual which has been deprived of a desired object or which is unable to fulfil a desire. The Jivanmukta who sees the One common Being spread everywhere grieves never. Beholding Existence as undivided he walks on the earth unknown and unidentified. No one can find out whether such a person is a learned one or is ignorant, whether he is virtuous or vicious. He lives in the great silence of the Self, and whether active or at rest does not link his ego with his act. He does not see duality even when he is awake to the world. He is a representative of the Supreme Brahman, appearing before the human eyes.
The freed soul assumes the form of what is existent in the absolute point of view. Hence the sage becomes a Gunatita. He is alike in pleasure and pain, Self-abiding, regarding a clod of earth, a stone or gold alike. He is the same to the agreeable and to the disagreeable, firm and alike in censure and praise. Honour and disgrace do not make to him differences. Friend and foe are no more valid conceptions.
The Upanishad says, "Him who knows this (Brahman) these two do not overcome – neither the thought 'Therefore I did wrong,' nor the thought 'Therefore I did right.' Surely he overcomes both. He is not affected by either what he has done or what he has not done. He sees the Atman in the Atman. He sees everything as the Self. Evil does not overcome him; on the other hand he overcomes all evil. Evil does not burn him; on the other hand he burns all evil. One who knows Brahman becomes Brahman. He is fearless. He, who, on all beings, looks as his very Self, and on the Self as all beings – he does not shrink away from anything. If one would know It here, then there is the True End of all aspirations. He who knows That set in the secret place of the heart, he, here on earth, rends asunder the knot of ignorance.
"Of him whose desire is satisfied, who is a perfected soul, all desires even here on earth vanish away! He who knows Brahman attains the Highest. One who knows that Brahman exists is really existent. If one who knows this (Self) should offer the leavings even to an outcast (pariah), it would be offered in his Universal Atman. The Seer does not see death, nor sickness, nor any distress. The seer sees only the All, and obtains the All entirely. He has delight in the Self, he sports in the Self, he has company with the Self, he has bliss in the Self. He is autonomous. He has unlimited freedom in all the worlds.
"Of whatever object he becomes desirous, whatever desire he desires, merely out of his will it arises. One who realises 'I am Brahman' becomes the All. Even the gods have not got the power to prevent his becoming thus, for he becomes their very Self. He who is without desire, who is freed from desire, whose desire is satisfied, whose desire is the Self – his Pranas do not depart. They are gathered together right here. He being Brahman Itself, becomes Brahman.
"When one realises (the Eternal), all has been done. Only by knowing Him does one pass beyond death. There is no other way for going over there."
5. The sage who has destroyed all his desires and egoism, who is always calm and serene, equanimous, who does not see any distinction of form and who has freed himself from delusion or ignorance shines brilliantly.
The state of the Jivanmukta is the consciousness of the consummation of spiritual attainments. The expanding nature of consciousness finds its Destination reached and having expanded itself beyond space and limitation, rests in a state of undisturbed changelessness, where Fullness, Peace and Bliss become the centre of Experience.
When the universal generalisation of the being of consciousness is effected, the particularised form of consciousness as egoism is withdrawn into the background of the vast Sea of Consciousness. Together with this withdrawal of the ego, its further ramifications in the form of the sense forces are also drawn back to the source and the common distraction of the subtle body is made to return to the tranquillity and equanimity of harmonious awareness. Hence distinction of form is not perceived when ignorance is completely removed.
A Jivanmukta who is in the seventh Jnana-Bhumika cannot do any action in the plane of earthly consciousness. Those of the Jivanmuktas who wish to do Loka-sangraha have to come down to the fourth or the fifth state of Consciousness in order to be useful to humanity. A little of Rajas is necessary for doing all kinds of action. The pure Sattwa state of the highest kind of Jivanmuktas is completely devoid of Rajas and hence is unsuitable for working in the world. The very existence of such a blessed being will give solace to the whole world. His life itself is the most supreme teaching and help. Wherever he is, he spreads around him such a force of conscious equilibrium of being that those who are near him are easily transformed. The Satsankalpa of the Jnani is beyond all powers of Ashta-Siddhis and Nava-Riddhis and he works through his mere Self which is in all. He is the ocean of Knowledge and Power and there is nothing that is impossible for him.
6. The Jivanmukta rests with an unshaken mind in the All-blissful Brahman. He is free from all the modifications of the mind. His heart is pure like the Himalayan snow or the crystal. He is free from the distinctions – I, He, Thou.
The Jivanmukta rests in the All-Blissful Brahman and yet lives like man in order to be of help to him. The Jnani alone is the really good man, the really kind person, and the really selfless worker. Those who struggle to be good are only superficially good. They can only pretend to be good, humble, kind, merciful and compassionate. How can those, who do not know the nature of the Self, who do not know the exact character of things, who cannot understand the feelings of others, be really good and compassionate? The great love of the Jnani for all creatures of the universe cannot be equalled by any other's love or compassion. The love of the Jnani is real love. It is only the Jnani that can serve and help the world in the best possible way, for he knows that all is the one Self, the Great Being of Brahman. Without knowing this, how can one be truly good and virtuous? A man who does service without the knowledge of the Self, cannot be really selfless. How can he drive away selfishness unless he knows the Absoluteness of Existence? How can he get rid of egoism who does not feel that he is one with Being itself? The ideas of doership and enjoyership cannot be overcome without Self-Knowledge.
The love of the Jnani is called universal love. The love of the worldly man is physical love. He does not love all equally; there is partiality in love. Man loves and serves only those whom he likes. He cannot love and serve those who hate him, who beat him and who abuse him always. This is because he has no knowledge of the Self. The Jnani loves all equally, for his is transcendental love. He loves others because he loves his own Self. He alone exists everywhere.
7. The liberated sage, the prince of ascetics who has conquered the enemy, ignorance, who has known the secret of true bliss, uses the palms of his hands as his bowl and sleeps blissfully under the foot of a tree.
The Jivanmukta does not feel the necessity for abiding by what brings pleasure to the physical body. The palm of the hand is his bowl, the earth is his bed, the sky is his clothing. He does not exert to acquire any object that is limited in space and time. His absolute consciousness by its very nature of all-inclusiveness attracts that part of universal existence where lies the object necessitated by his personal existence. At once, like a flash of lightning, the things needed by him flow to him, like rivers into the ocean, for he is their very Self. The man of Wisdom does without acting, enjoys without desiring. He need not command anybody, for he is already the Self of the one whom he may wish to command. He does not instruct or order anybody, for he is the essential being of everything that he may have to deal with. Even the gods cannot obstruct him from doing anything, for he is the inner reality of even the gods. He is the glorious Swarat or Self-King, and is beyond all comparison. He has reached the climax of perfection and the whole universe is a part of his body.
8, 9. The sage does not care for public criticism. He keeps a cool mind even when he is assaulted. He blesses those who persecute him. He beholds only his own Self everywhere.
The Jivanmukta unifies with himself the cosmic principles of evolution, namely, sound, touch, colour, taste, smell, form and name. Whatever that happens is the sport of his own Self. Criticism and insult, flogging and assault are the movement of the shadow of his Self. He blesses those who ill-treat him and injure him. The Consciousness is ever unaffected by virulence and change of any kind. The objects of the inner Consciousness are realised as being the forms of itself manifested due to past desires. The perfected condition where thought reaches the freedom of immunity from being misled by the external forms of the universe is liberation, even if the forms persist in coming within the sphere of the vision of the Jnani. He controls them; they do not control him. The forces of the universe are his friends, not his enemies. They act according to his wish, for his individual consciousness is in harmony with the universal consciousness. He does not feel or say "It should have been like this; it should not have been like that", for he realises the absolute validity and perfection of all movements of nature in accordance with the eternal law.
10. He whose mind does neither sink nor float amidst pains and pleasures is indeed a liberated sage. He has rendered his mind completely quiescent by identifying himself with Brahman.
Delusion has vanished for the Jivanmukta. The sense of want is annihilated once for all by the ineffable experience of Self-realization. His only delight is in the Self, for he is truly conscious of living, moving and having his being in the Divine Existence. The transcendental intuition which has brought to him the realization of his oneness with Brahman gives him also the realization of the same Brahman in all beings. His life, therefore, becomes one of service in the light of knowledge of the One Self in everything. He performs the Jnana-Yajna, the sacrifice of the self in the Knowledge of Brahman. Brahman is offered in Brahman by Brahman through the act of Brahman. It is a joyous suffusion of oneself in Brahman and the exact nature of this experience is one of immediate directness of being and cannot be understood, thought, felt or talked about.
11. The Jivanmukta has a consciousness of body in the form of a Samskara; the Videhamukta has no consciousness of the body.
The Jivanmukta melts himself in Brahman even as ice melts into the ocean of water. "Knowing It in every single being, the wise, on departing from this world, become Immortal. When all the desires that are lodged in the heart are cast off, then the mortal becomes Immortal! Herein he attains Brahman! Attaining Him, the seers who are satisfied with Knowledge, who are perfected souls, free from passion, tranquil – attaining Him who is the universally omnipresent, those wise devout souls into the All itself do enter. They who have realised the meaning of the Vedanta-Knowledge, the sages, with natures purified through Sanyasa and Yoga, they in the State of Brahman in the end of time are all liberated beyond death. Gone are the fifteen parts according to their station, even all the sense-organs are gone to their corresponding divinities! One's actions and the self consisting of Intelligence, all become unified in the Supreme Imperishable! As the flowing rivers in the ocean disappear leaving name and form, so also the wise man being liberated from name and form, reaches the Divine Being, who is Higher than the high! He who knows that Supreme Brahman, verily, becomes Brahman. He crosses over sorrow. He crosses over sin. Liberated from the knots of the heart, he becomes Immortal" (Upanishads).
Sage Vasishtha says to Rama that a Videha-Mukta need not necessarily dissolve himself in the Absolute Brahman. If he so wishes he may merge in the Being of Satchidananda; but if he wishes to remain as an individual merely as a sport, he may shine as the Sun of a universe or rule like a Vishnu or become a Brahma or a Siva. He may become a universal individual like Krishna or Vasishtha who are identical with Brahman but still assume bodies for the so]ace of the world. If he at any time does not wish to be an individual, he may exist as the Absolute wherever he pleases to be so. The liberated state is not bound by or limited to Indivisibility and Changelessness alone, for the Absolute is unlimited and is free to assume any form. But that formative will is not like the unconscious will of the Jiva which involuntarily binds it to individuality. The conscious formative play of the Absolute is completely free and voluntary act. The Videhamukta is Brahman himself and hence lives and acts as the Absolute.
The Jnani attains Sadyo-Mukti or immediate salvation. The Jivanmukta who has realised that there is nothing anywhere except Brahman merely, does not have the departing of the soul, as in the case of other individuals. Where can his Self depart to? There is no space where the Self is not and hence it does not depart to any place. It merges in Itself here only.
Mukti is not a thing to be attained. It is not far away to be obtained. It is the very being itself and hence the mere knowledge or realization of it is itself Mukti. Everything is Brahman only in the three periods of time. There is neither bondage nor suffering. The Consciousness of this Truth is called Liberation in empirical language.
The Brahmasutras discuss the question of the possibility of a return of the liberated one to earth in a new existence. Sages like Apantaratamas etc., though possessed of the highest Brahmajnana, returned to bodily existence. They do so in order to fulfil a mission for the good of the world. When their mission is completed, they again exist as the Absolute. Lord Krishna says that though he has no form, birth or death, he assumes forms in every age for the uplift of the world. Such incarnations are not the effect of Prarabdha Karmas but the conscious manifestations of the Supreme Absolute in the plane of relativeness. The Upanishads also indicate the free will of the liberated soul, when they say that it acquires full freedom in all the worlds. Logically, the highest state of Moksha is the merging of individual consciousness in Absolute Consciousness. Eternal Existence, Infinite Knowledge and Immortal Bliss is Moksha or Final Emancipation.