Explanation of jeevanmukta

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Tue Jul 22 15:36:34 CDT 1997

Many descriptions are available of the jeevanmukta and jeevanmuktasya
lakshana [the characteristics of jeevanmukta]. There is no jeevanmukta
concept in dvaita or vishishhTa-advaita philosophies. Bhagavadgita and
also both Atmabodha and VivekachuDamaNi by Shri Shankarachaarya describe
how we the mortal souls can identify jeevanmukta.

Now, jeevanmukta is still in an embodied form and many explanations were
given what that means. There were discussions even on our List what is the
importance of jeevanmukta retaining the body and why. I think it is
Shri Giri [when he was contributing writings to the List] who said that
the jeevanmukta retains the body until the jeevanmukta's prarabdha-karma
is completed. Another explanation was put forward that jeevanmukta is
still in an embodied form for the good of the world ... and so on.

I came across a more compelling explanation in T.M.P. Mahadevan's
"TIME AND THE TIMELESS". Instead of paraphrasing it, I quote that
particular portion here in full.

Moksha is not freedom for the individual; it is freedom from
individuality.....Moksha is not what is to be experienced  in a
different place or at a future time. It is right here and now. One
realizes it the moment avidya is removed. As the Katha upanishhad puts it,
"When all the desires dwelling in the heart vanish, then a man becomes
immortal; and (even) here attains Brahman". [Katha upanishhad verse
II.3.14 is part of the signature note at the end of the posting].
This is known as jivanmukti, liberation while yet living. We, who are
on the hitherside, look upon the jivanmukta as an individual continuing
to inhabit a body, and seek to explain this phenomenon by saying that
his body will continue to live as long as the unspent portion of his
prarabdha lasts, and that he will attain videhamukti (liberation from
the body) at the end of his life, when prarabdha will have spent its
force. But this is not the truth. In the Aparokshnanubhuti, a work
ascribed to Shankara, it is stated that there is no prarabdha for
the mukta. "After the knowledge of truth has arisen, there is no
prarabdha at all, because the body, etc, are unreal, even as there
can be no dream after waking [verse 91]". There are no grades in
mukti, nor varieties thereof.

Gummuluru Murthy
Yadaa sarve pramucyante kaamaa ye'sya hr^di shritaah
atha martyo'mr^to bhavatyatra brahma samashnute   Katha Upanishhad II.3.14

When all the desires that dwell in the heart fall away, then the mortal
becomes immortal, and attains Brahman even here.

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