Scale of Jnani's

ken knight hilken_98 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Mar 14 16:11:52 CST 2002

--- hbdave <hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN> wrote:
> swamy swarna wrote:

> >the grades or scales of Jnanis attracted my
> and
> > triggered theis response.

Many thanks for your posting.  I do not know if you
know of this text..Tripura Rahasya....but it has a
lengthy chapter on this topic...the previous chapter
is on states of samadhi but I think that this i long
enough. You can get the whole book on line if you
I hope that it is of interest.
Om sri ram
Ken Knight
155. "Therefore the appearance of a thing and its
utility do not determine the reality of a thing or

"All knowledge is secondary and unreliable. There is
no doubt about it.

156-159. "The greatest of all delusions is the
conviction that knowledge is not a delusion.

"A hallucination holds the field in the interval
antecedent to correct knowledge in the same way as it
does where we mistake a shining mother-of-pearl for a
piece of silver. So also the mistake of the reality of
the universe persists until primary and basic
Self-knowledge is realised. This false sense is
universal like the blue colour of the sky and it will
end simultaneously with the realisation of Pure

160. "I have now answered your questions. Do not waver
but make up your mind at once.

161. "I shall enlighten you further on the point you
raised with regard to the activities of jnanis

162-165. "Jnanis may be classified as (1) the best,
(2) the middle class and (3) the lowest. Of these, the
last know the Self and yet are influenced by the
pleasures and pains accruing to them according to
their prarabdha (past karma). Jnanis of the higher
order even while reaping the fruits of their past
karma are however firmer in their internal happiness
like men inebriated with drink. Jnanis of the highest
order are never detached from the enjoyment of their
bliss even if confronted with a million times more
prarabdha; they are not surprised at the most
unnatural and miraculous happenings; they are not
elated by the greatest pleasures, nor depressed by the
worst miseries. They are always peaceful and calm
within, although they appear to act like common folk.

"These differences are due to the differences in their
intellects and to the degrees of development of Jnana

166. "Their activities depend on their predispositions
as determined by their past karma. But all their
actions are like those of a drunken man.

Thus ends the Eighteenth Chapter in Tripura Rahasya.



1. After having heard Sri Dattatreya say so,
Parasurama asked him further regarding the conduct and
activities of the jnanis.

2-4. "Lord, please tell me clearly how intellects
differ according to the stages of jnana (wisdom). Is
not wisdom of one kind alone, being simply the
revelation of the Self? Moksha (emancipation) is the
simple unfolding of the Self and is alone to be
sought. How can it be dependent on stages of
development according to mental predispositions? Do
the methods also differ in the same way?''

5. Thus asked again, Sri Datta, the Ocean of Mercy,
began to answer his questions.

6. "I shall now tell you the secret of it all. There
is no difference in the methods, nor does jnana differ
in fact.

7. "The fruits differ according to the grades of
accomplishment. The same extends through several
births and on its completion, jnana easily unfolds

8. "The degree of efforts is according to the stage of
incompleteness brought over from past births. However,
jnana is eternal and no effort is really needed.

9. "Because it is already there and needs no
accomplishment, jnana is pure intelligence, the same
as consciousness which is ever self-radiant.

10-13. "What kind of effort can avail to disclose the
eternally self-resplendent consciousness? Being coated
with a thick crust of infinite vasanas (dispositions),
it is not easily perceived. The incrustation must
first be soaked in the running steam of mind control
and carefully scraped off with the sharp chisel of
investigation. Then one must turn the closed urn of
crystal quartz - namely, the mind cleaned in the
aforesaid manner - on the grinding wheel of alertness
and finally open the lid with the lever of

"Lo! the gem enclosed within is now reached and that
is all!

"Thus you see, Rama, that all efforts are directed to
cleaning up the Augean stables of predispositions.

14-15. "Intellects are the cumulative effects of the
predispositions acquired by karma. Effort is necessary
so long as the predispositions continue to sway the

"The dispositions are countless but I shall enumerate
a few of the most important.

16. "They are roughly classified into three groups,
namely, (1) Aparaadha (fault), (2) Karma (action) and
(3) Kaama (desire).

17-29. "The disposition typical of the first group is
diffidence in the teachings of the Guru and the holy
books which is the surest way to degeneration.
Misunderstanding of the teachings, due to
assertiveness or pride is a phase of diffidence and
stands in the way of realization for learned pandits
and others.

"Association with the wise and the study of holy books
cannot remove this misunderstanding. They maintain
that there is no reality transcending the world; even
if there were, it cannot be known; if one claims to
know it, it is an illusion of the mind; for how can
knowledge make a person free from misery or help his
emancipation? They have many more doubts and wrong
notions. So much about the first group.

"There are many more persons who cannot, however
well-taught, grasp the teachings; their minds are too
much cramped with predispositions to be susceptible to
subtle truths. They form the second group - the
victims of past actions, unable to enter the stage of
contemplation necessary for annihilating the vasanas.

"The third group is the most common, consisting of the
victims of desire who are always obsessed with the
sense of duty (i.e., the desire to work for some
ends). Desires are too numerous to count, since they
rise up endlessly like waves in the ocean. Even if the
stars are numbered, desires are not. The desires of
even a single individual are countless - and what
about the totally of them? Each desire is too vast to
be satisfied, because it is insatiable; too strong to
be resisted; and too subtle to be eluded. So the
world, being in the grip of this demon, behaves madly
and groans with pain and misery, consequent on its own
misdeeds. That person who is shielded by
desirelessness (dispassion) and safe from the wiles of
the monster of desire, can alone rise to happiness.

"A person affected by one or more of the abovesaid
three dispositions cannot get at the truth although it
is self-evident.

30-33. "Therefore I tell you that all efforts are
directed towards the eradication of these innate

"The first of them (i.e., fault) comes to an end on
respectfully placing one's faith in holy books and the
master. The second (i.e., action) may be ended only by
divine grace, which may descend on the person in this
birth or in any later incarnation. There is no other
hope for it. The third must be gradually dealt with by
dispassion, discrimination, worship of God, study of
holy scriptures, learning from the wise, investigation
into the Self and so on.

34. "Efforts to overcome these obstacles are more or
less according as the obstacles are greater or lesser.

35-37. "The most important of the qualifications is
the desire for emancipation. Nothing can be achieved
without it. Study of philosophy and discussion on the
subject with others are thoroughly useless, being no
better than the study of arts. For the matter of that,
one might as well hope for salvation by a study of
sculpture and the practice of that art. The study of
philosophy in the absence of a longing for salvation,
is like dressing up a corpse.

38-40. "Again, Rama, a casual desire for emancipation
is also vain. Such desire often manifests on learning
of the magnificence of the emancipated state. It is
common to all but never brings about any abiding
results. Therefore a passing desire is worthless.

"The desire must be strong and abiding, in order that
it may bear fruit. The effects are in proportion to
the intensity and duration of the desire.

41-43. "The desire must be accompanied by efforts for
the accomplishment of the purpose. Then only will
there be concerted effort. Just as a man scalded by
fire runs immediately in search of soothing unguents
and does not waste his time in other pursuits, so also
must the aspirant run after emancipation to the
exclusion of all other pursuits. Such an effort is
fruitful and is preceded by indifference to all other

44-46. "Starting by discarding pleasures as being
impediments to progress he develops dispassion and
then the desire for emancipation, which grows in
strength. This makes a man engage in the right efforts
in which he

becomes thoroughly engrossed. After these stages are
passed, the most unique consummation takes place."

When Dattatreya finished, Parasurama was completely
bewildered and asked him further:

47-49. "Lord, You said earlier that association with
the wise, divine grace and dispassion are the prime
factors for attaining the highest aim of life. Please
tell me which is the most essential and how it can be
accomplished. For nothing happens without an
antecedent cause. This is certain. What is the root
cause of the fundamental requisite? Or is it only

50. Thus asked, Dattatreya answered him as follows:

"I shall tell you the root-cause of it all. Listen!

51-61. "Her transcendental Majesty, the
absolute-Consciousness, being self-contained,
originally pictured the whole universe in Her being,
like images in a mirror. She took on the
individuality, named Hiranyagarbha (the Creator), and
considering the predispositions of the egos enclosed
in that egg (Hiranyagarbha), She unfolded the
Scriptures - the reservoir of sublime truths - for the
fulfilment of desires. Since the embryonic individuals
were full of unfulfilled desires Hiranyagarbha began
to think out the means of their fulfilment. He
elaborated a scheme of cause and effect, of actions
and fruits, and consequently the individuals born
later on to revolve in that wheel of cause and effect.
They take different shapes and are placed in different
environments consistently with their predispositions.
After passing through innumerable species, the
individual evolves as a human being owing to the merit
he has accumulated. At first he will take to selfish
pursuits. With growing desire, he will seek the
unobstructed fulfilment of mighty ambitions. But in
due course the methods advocated in holy books will be
adopted. Failures are inevitable everywhere.
Disappointments result. Expert advice is sought. Such
advice will be forthcoming only from a man living in
unbroken beatitude. Such a sage will, in due course,
initiate the seeker in divine magnificence. The
initiate's accumulated merits, reinforced by
association with the wise and by divine grace, make
him persist in the course, and gradually take him step
by step to the highest pinnacle of happiness.

62-64. "Now you see how association with the wise is
said to be the root-cause of all that is good. This
happens partly through the accumulated merits of the
person and partly through his unselfish devotion to
God, but always as if by accident like a fruit which
has suddenly fallen from the void. Therefore the goal
of life being dependent on so many causes, there is
variety in its attainment, either according to the
intellect or the predispositions of the person. The
state of the jnani also differs, according as his
efforts have been great or less.

65-66. "Proportionately slight effort is enough for
erasing slight vasanas. He whose mind has been made
pure by good deeds in successive past incarnations,
gains supreme results quite out of proportion to the
little effort he may make (as with Janaka).

67-68. "The glimpse of jnana (realisation) gained by
one whose mind is crowded with dense vasanas
accumulated in past incarnations, does not suffice to
over-ride one's deep-rooted ignorance. Such a one is
obliged to practise samadhi (nidhidhyasana or control
of mind and contemplation) in successive births for
effective and final realisation.

"Thus there are seen to be different classes of sages.

69. "O Scion of Bhrgu's lineage! there are differences
in states of jnana characterised by the aspects and
attitudes of intellect and the varieties in its

70-77. "Such differences are quite obvious in Brahma
(the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver) and Siva (the
Destroyer) who are jnanis by nature. That does not
mean that jnana (realisation) admits of variety. These
attitudes depend on their vasanas (dispositions) and
environments. They are Lords of the universe and
all-knowing. Their jnana is pure and uncontaminated by
what they do. Whether a jnani is fair or dark in
complexion, his jnana neither shares these qualities
nor the qualities of the mind. See the difference in
the three sons of Atri, namely, Durvasa (said to be of
the aspect of Siva and reputed to be exceedingly
irritable), Chandra (the moon, of the aspect of Brahma
and reputed to be the husband of the twenty-seven
constellations who are in their turn daughters of
Daksha) and myself (Dattatreya, of the aspect of
Sriman Narayana or Visnu, reputed to be the ideal of
saints, roaming nude in the forests, etc.). Vasishta
(one of the greatest rishis, well-known as the family
preceptor of the Solar line of kings) never fails in
the strictest adherence to duty as prescribed by the
Scriptures; whereas, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatsujata
and Sanatkumara (four sons born of Brahma's volition
and instructed by Narada) are types of ascetics
totally indifferent to any action including religious
rites; Narada is the ideal of bhakti (devotion to
God); Bhargava (Sukra, the well-known preceptor of
Asuras, who incessantly fight against the gods)
supports the enemies of the gods whereas the equally
great sage Brihaspati (Jupiter, the preceptor of gods)
supports the gods against their enemies; Vyasa is ever
busy codifying the Vedas, and is propagating their
truth in the shape of the Mahabharata, the Puranas and
the Upapuranas; Janaka famous as the ascetic-king;
Bharaataa looking like an idiot; and many others.

[Note. - Bharata was a great king who, according to
the custom of the great Kshatriya emperors, abdicated
his throne in favour of his son when he attained his
majority and retired into the forest to do penance. On
one occasion, hearing the roar of a lion, a deer in an
advanced state of pregnancy took fright and leapt
across the stream. Her womb was disturbed and she
landed on the other shore with her young one in
placenta and dropped dead. The royal hermit took pity
on the little thing, washed it, took it in his hands
and returned to the hermitage. The baby-deer was
carefully tended and remained always by its master's
side. The hermit and the deer grew fond of each other.

After some time, the hermit knew that he was dying and
became anxious about the safety of the deer in the
forest after his own death. He died with that thought
and consequently re-incarnated as a deer. Being a sage
with pious disposition, the re-incarnate deer was
placed in a holy environment, retaining knowledge of
its past. So it did not associate with its species but
remained close to a hermitage listening to the chant
of the Vedas and discussions on philosophy. When it
died it was reborn as a boy in a pious Brahmin family.

The parents died while he was still young. The boy was
always helping others but never took to any definite
work. He was healthy, strong and free from care. The
neighbourhood put him down as an idiot, and so he
appeared as he loafed about.

One night, the ruling chief of Savvira, passed in a
palanquin; he was in haste to reach a renowned sage
who lived in another province. One of his bearers took
ill on the way; so his men looked about for a
substitute; on finding this Brahmin boy 'idiot', they
impressed him for the work; and he took his place as a
bearer of the palanquin.

The chief was irritated at the slow pace of the
bearers and reprimanded them. Even after repeated
warnings, the pace continued to be slow and the chief
was wild with rage. He alighted from the palanquin and
found the new recruit to be the culprit who was
thrashed and ordered to hasten.

Still there was no improvement and the chief chided
him again, but could make no impression on the
'idiot'. The chief was exasperated, got down and
remonstrated with him. But he received a reply which
astonished him and further conversation convinced the
chief of the idiot's greatness. So the chief became
the disciple of Bharata, the idiot.]

78. There are so many others with individual
characteristics such as Chyavana, Yajnavalkya,
Visvamitra, etc. The secret is this.

[Note. - Chyavana: A king once went with the royal
family and retinue for a pleasure trip into a forest
which was famous as the habitation of a remarkable
sage Chyavana by name. The young princess was playing
with her companion. She came across what looked like
an ant-hill and put a spike into one of its holes.
Blood came out. She took fright, and returned to the
elder members of the family, but did not disclose her
prank to any of them.

When they had all returned home the king and many
others fell ill. They suspected some involuntary evil
had been perpetrated on Chyavana. When an envoy
arrived in the forest praying for his blessings, the
sage was found hurt in the eyes and he sent word to
the king as follows:

"Your daughter hurt my eyes by driving a spike into
the ant-hill which had grown over me while I was in
Samadhi. I am now old and helpless. Send the mischief
maker here to make amends for her mischief by becoming
my helpmate."

When the envoy communicated the message to the king,
he spoke to the princess, who readily acceded to the
wishes of the saint. So lived in the forest with her
aged consort and carefully attended to his comforts.
She used to bring water from a neighbouring spring.
One day the twin gods, known as Asvins, came there and
admiring her loyalty to her aged husband, revealed
themselves to her and offered to rejuvenate her
ancient husband. She took her husband to the spring
and awaited the miracle. They asked the saint to dive
into the water. They too dived simultaneously. All
three emerged like one another. The girl was asked to
pick out her husband. She prayed to God and was
enabled to identify him. The saint promised in return
to include the twin benefactors among the gods
eligible for sacrificial propitiation. He invited his
father-in-law to arrange for a sacrifice and called on
the names of the Asvins. Indra - the chief of the gods
- was angry and threatened to spoil the sacrifice if
innovations of the kind contemplated by Chyavana were
introduced. Chyavana easily incapacitated Indra by
virtue of his penance and kept his promise to his
benefactors. In the meantime, Indra apologised, and
was pardoned and restored to his former state.

Yagnavalkya is the sage of sages mentioned in
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Visvamitra is too well known
to be described here. He was the grand-uncle of

79. "Of the three typical vasanas mentioned that one
of action is the most potent and is said to be

80-83. "Those are the best who are free from all of
the vasanas, and particularly from the least trace of
that of action. If free from the fault of mistrust of
the teachings of the master, the vasana due to desire,
which is not a very serious obstruction to
realisation, is destroyed by the practice of
contemplation. Dispassion need not be very marked in
this case. Such people need not repeatedly engage in
the study of Scriptures or the receiving of
instructions from the Master, but straightaway pass
into meditation and fall into samadhi, the
consummation of the highest good. They live evermore
as Jivanmuktas (emancipated even while alive).

84-86. "Sages with subtle and clear intellect have not
considered it worth while to eradicate their desire
etc., by forcing other thoughts to take their place
because desires do not obstruct realisation. Therefore
their desires continue to manifest even after
realisation as before it. Neither are they tainted by
such vasanas. They are said to be emancipated and
diverse-minded. They are also reputed to be the best
class of jnanis.

87-90. "Rama, he whose mind clings to the ignorance of
the necessity of work cannot hope for realisation even
if Siva offers to instruct him. Similarly also the
person who has the fault of marked indifference to or
misunderstanding of the teachings cannot attain. On
the other hand, a man only slightly affected by these
two vasanas, and much more so by desires or ambitions,
will by repeated hearing of the holy truth, discussion
of the same, and contemplation on it, surely reach the
goal though only with considerable difficulty and
after a long lapse of time. Such a sage's activities
will be small because he is entirely engrossed in his
efforts for realisation.

Note. - His activities will be confined to the
indispensable necessities of life.

91. "A sage of this class has by his long practice and
rigorous discipline controlled his mind so well that
predispositions are totally eradicated and the mind is
as if dead. He belongs to the middle class in the
scheme of classification of sages and is said to be a
sage without mind.

92-94. "The last class and the least among the sages
are those whose practice and discipline are not
perfect enough to destroy mental predispositions.
Their minds are still active and the sages are said to
be associated with their minds. They are barely jnanis
and not jivanmuktas as are the other two classes. They
appear to share the pleasures and pains of life like
any other man and will continue to do so till the end
of their lives. They will be emancipated after death.

95-96. "Prarabdha (past karma) is totally powerless
with the middle class, who have destroyed their minds
by continued practice.

"The mind is the soil in which the seed namely
prarabdha sprouts (into pleasures and pains of life).
If the soil is barren, the seed loses its sprouting
power by long storage, and becomes useless.

97-103. "There are men in the world who can carefully
attend to different functions at the same time and are
famous as extraordinarily skilful; again some people
attend to work as they are walking and conversing;
while a teacher has an eye upon each student in the
class-room and exercises control over them all; or you
yourself knew Kartaviryarjuna, who wielded different
weapons in his thousand hands and fought with you
using all of them skilfully and simultaneously. In all
these cases, a single mind assumes different shapes to
suit the different functions at the same time.
Similarly the mind of the best among jnanis is only
the Self and yet manifests as all without suffering
any change in its eternal blissful nature as the Self.
They are therefore many-minded.

Note. - Kartaviryarjuna was the chief of the Haihayas
who were the sworn enemies of Parasurama. He was
himself a devotee of Sri Dattatreya and had received
the most wonderful boon from his Master, namely, that
his name should be transmitted to posterity as that of
an ideal king unparalleled in legend or history. His
reign was indeed remarkable and his prowess was
unequalled, much less excelled. Still, as destiny
would have it, he was challenged by Parasurama and
killed in battle.

104-105. "The prarabdha of jnanis is still active and
sprouts in the mind but only to be burnt up by the
steady flame of jnana. Pleasure or pain is due to the
dwelling of the mind on occurrences. But if these are
scorched at their source, how can there be pain or

106-108. "Jnanis of the highest order, however, are
seen to be active because they voluntarily bring out
the vasanas from the depth of the mind and allow them
to run out. Their action is similar to that of a
father sporting with his child, moving its dolls,
laughing at the imagined success of one doll over
another, and appearing to grieve over the injury to
another, and so on; or like a man showing sympathy for
his neighbour on the occasion of a gain or loss.

109-112. "The vasanas not inimical to realisation are
not weeded out by the best class of jnanis because
they cannot seek new ones to crowd the old out.
Therefore the old ones continue until they are
exhausted and thus you find among them some highly
irritable, some lustful and others pious and dutiful,
and so on.

"Now the lowest order of jnanis still under the
influence of their minds know that there is no truth
in the objective universe. Their samadhi is not
different from that of the rest.

113. "What is samadhi? Samadhi is being aware of the
Self, and nothing else - that is to say - it should
not be confounded with the Nirvikalpa
(undifferentiated) state, for this state is very
common and frequent as has been pointed out in the
case of momentary samadhis.

114-115. "Every one is experiencing the Nirvikalpa
state, though unknowingly. But what is the use of such
unrecognised samadhis? A similar state becomes
possible to the hatha yogis also. This experience
alone does not confer any lasting benefit. But one may
apply the experience to the practical affairs of life.
Samadhi can only be such and such alone. (Sahaja
samadhi is meant here.)

[Commentary. - Samadhi: Aspirants may be jnana yogis
or hatha yogis. The former learn the truth from the
scriptures and a Guru: cogitate and understand it
clearly. Later they contemplate the truth and gain

The wise say that samadhi is the control resulting
from the application of the experienced truth (i.e.,
the awareness of the Self) to the practical affairs of
life. This samadhi is possible only for jnana yogis.

The hatha yogis are of two kinds: the one intent on
eliminating all perturbations of the mind, starts with
the elimination of the non-self and gradually of all
mental vacillations. This requires very long and
determined practice which becomes his second nature
and the yogi remains perfectly unagitated. The other
practises the six preliminary exercises and then
controls the breath (Pranayama) until he can make the
air enter the Sushumna nadi. Since the earlier effort
is considerable owing to control of breath, there is a
heavy strain which is suddenly relieved by the entry
of air in Sushumna. The resulting happiness is
comparable to that of a man suddenly relieved of a
pressing load on his back. His mind is similar to that
of man in a swoon or a state of intoxication. Both
classes of hatha yogis experience a happiness similar
to that of deep slumber.

A jnana yogi, on the other hand, has theoretical
knowledge of the Self, for he has heard it from the
Guru and learnt it from the Sastras, and has further
cogitated upon the teachings. Therefore, the veil of
ignorance is drawn off from him even before the
consummation of samadhi. The substratum of
consciousness free from thoughts of external phenomena
is distinguished by him like a mirror reflecting
images. Furthermore in the earlier stage of samadhi,
he is capable of remaining aware as absolute
consciousness quite free from all blemishes of

"Whereas a hatha yogi cannot remain in such a state.
In the jnani's samadhi, both the veil of ignorance and
perturbation of thoughts are removed. In the hatha
yogi's samadhi, though the Self is naturally free from
the two obstacles, yet it remains hidden by the veil
of ignorance. The same is torn off by the jnani in the
process of his contemplation.

"If asked what difference there is between the samadhi
of a hatha yogi and sleep, it must be said that the
mind overpowered by deep ignorance is covered by dense
darkness in sleep whereas the mind being associated
with satva (quality of brightness) acts in samadhi as
a thin veil for the self-effulgent principle. The Self
may be compared to the Sun obstructed by dark and
dense clouds in sleep, and by light mist in samadhi.
For a jnani, the Self shines in its full effulgence
like the Sun unobstructed in the heavens.

"This is how the sages describe samadhi."

116-117. (Having spoken of the jnani's samadhi as
approved by the sages, Dattatreya proceeds to prove
its unbroken nature). What is samadhi? Samadhi is
absolute knowledge uncontaminated by objects. Such is
the state of the best jnanis even when they take part
in the affairs of the world.

"The blue colour of the sky is known to be an unreal
phenomenon and yet it appears the same to both the
knowing and the unknowing, but with this difference
that the one is misled by the appearance and the other
is not.

118. "Just as the false perception does not mislead
the man who knows, so also all that is perceived which
is known to the wise to be false will never mislead

119. "Since the middle class of jnanis have already
destroyed their minds, there are no objects for them.
Their state is known as the supramental one.

120. "The mind is agitated when it assumes the shape
of those objects which it mistakes for real; and
unagitated otherwise. Therefore the latter state alone
is supramental.

Note. - The mind of the highest order of jnanis though
associated with objects, knows them to be unreal and
therefore is not agitated as is the case with the

121. "Since a jnani of the highest order can engage in
several actions at the same time and yet remain
unaffected, he is always many-minded and yet remains
in unbroken samadhi. His is absolute knowledge free
from objects.

"I have now told you all that you want to know."

Thus ends the Chapter XIX on the different states of
jnanis in Tripura Rahasya.


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