[Advaita-l] How to know if someone is jnaani or not?

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sat May 14 08:31:54 CDT 2016

How to know if someone has realized or not? 

Someone who joined recently in the facebook - friend’s list asked me that I should meet real sage (who is now in Kerala) that he has found one, and he wants me to meet him so that I can be with real-sage. It appears that his joining in the friends-list is to recruit disciples for his teacher. I have to politely decline him saying that I have already been blessed by a teacher who taught me the essence of Vedanta. 

Swami Tejomayanandaji once jokingly mentioned in his discourses a question posed by a seeker. The seeker asked – Swamiji, Have you met in your life any realized soul? Swamiji said, in that very question, the seeker has already decided that I have not realized nor my guru, Swami Chinmayanandaji?  We go around trying to find a teacher, who has realized since the scripture itself says approach a teacher who knows the shastras and how to teach them (shotriyaH) and the one who is firmly abiding in the knowledge that I am Brahman- shotriyam brahmanishtam – Mundaka Up. 

Here are some questions posed in this advaitin list in the past - related to this topic. 

a) Can anybody gain self-knowledge? b) Does the study of scriptures needed for realization? c) How to know if someone has realized or not? There are several aspects involved in these questions. One is about jnaanam and the other is recognition of a jnaani.

1. Can anybody gain jnaanam? 

Ans: No. Only those that have purified mind. Sadhana chatuShTaya sampaanna - one who has the four-fold qualifications – viveka, vairagya, shamaadi shtka sampatthi and mumukhutvam. To gain any knowledge there are always a pre-requisites. I cannot just go and sit in the Quantum Mechanics class without having necessary background and expect to understand the subject. Even to gain action oriented expertise, I have to get trained by an expert as in say how to swim or play tennis or basket-ball. Viveka involves discrimination of what is eternal and what is ephemeral, vairagya involves dispassion to give non-essentials, shamaadi shatka sampatthi provides the disciple of the wagering mind to re-channel toward the goal and mumukshutvam is strong desire to become free. These four Ds (Discrimination, Dispassion, Discipline and Desire for liberation) provides the purity of the mind or chitta suddhi which is needed for abiding in jnaanam. The mind has to be subtle to inquire within without objectification of the truth. 

This is nothing to do where he/she comes from or where he is born or what gender etc. Swami Chinmayandaji used to interpret the word yaH used on the Geeta slokas as.
yaH = who ever he/she may be he/she who. 

Q2. Who will know that I have the sadhana chatushtaya sampatti or the required purified mind?

Ans. Only I will know and no one else can know. By observation of my behavior for prolonged length of time my teacher can infer about the quality of my mind. In olden days only after observing for a long time, the teacher would teach to those to whom he feels that he deserves the knowledge. 

Q.3 How to know who is a Jannai or Real Sage as my facebook friend is trying to impress on others.

Ans: Jnaanam or absolute knowledge is different from being recognized as a jnaani? Krishna gives sthitaprajna lakshaNas in Gita Ch. 2, and also discussed these in some form in the 12th Ch. and then again in terms of guNaatiita in 14th Ch. Jnaani does not care if one recognizes him as a jnaani or not – and that is the essence of being a jnaani too. 

In principle others cannot evaluate if someone else is jnaani or not, since others cannot know one's mind, excluding some rare siddha purushas who can know others minds.

A child once asked Swami Tejomayandaji. Swamiji, Can you read other’s mind? Swamji answered, ‘No I cannot. I cannot read others minds’. Then he said, ‘I have a method to know what is in other’s mind?’ The child asked, ’How? Swamiji replied, ‘If I love that person enough, he will tell me what is in his mind. That is how I can know what is in other’s mind’. 

Who wants know others mind anyway, when our minds themselves are so–messed up?
Hence whether someone else is jnaani or not, one cannot judge, and more importantly, it is useless to judge. One has to judge oneself, if he has the jnaanam or not. 

It is, however, important for a disciple to think that my teacher is realized – otherwise, he will not have sufficient shraddhaa or faith in the teacher's words. Since it is difficult to evaluate who is a jnaani or not, we have many Bhagavans, and real-sages, some are real and some are self-proclaimed and some are proclaimed by their disciples. 

>From the truth point, everybody is Bhagavan only, since there is nothing other than Him or He is one without a second; but to understand this truth, one needs to be a jnaani. 

In principle, no jnaani will declare that he is a jnaani. Ultimately it is for others to feel that my teacher is a jnaani, based on their faith only. A disciple will feel strongly based the knowledge he has received from his teacher. He becomes ever grateful for the teaching he received out of love. 
Q3. Now we can ask, ‘Are there any realized person in other cultures today?’ 

That question itself, from my point, becomes an academic question. However, from what he teaches, we can examine the teachings and make a judgment call for our own benefit. That is whether the teaching is in tune with Vedanta pramANa or not. For that only Vedanta provides PramANa. - it is not for evaluation of others, whether someone has realized or not, but whether the teaching is in tune with Vedanta or not. 

The truth involves three aspects as Shankara condenses based on Vedanta and mahavaakyas - 1. Brahma satyam 2. jagat mithyaa 3. jiivo brahma eva na aparH. - This teaching whether it comes ultimately from, ‘Who am I enquiry’ or not, one has to examine what that ‘I am’ stands for - if that I am involves understanding ‘aham Braahamsmi’ then that is the full inquiry of who that I am. Bhagavan Ramana has dealt with this clearly - what that I am stands for. The disciples have to understand what it means, whether they study the scriptures or not. Study of the scriptures will help in having clear understanding of what that I am is - as described clearly by mantra 7 of Mandukya Up. 

The above aspects have to be clear. Vedanta shravanam is only meant for that. If that can be understood by any other means then the other means are in tune with Vedanta only. For, example – ‘How I understand the gravitational force’ makes no difference as long as I understand it correctly and teach that to others. That is what pramANa implies. If the teaching is not in tune with physics then there is a problem in that teaching. Whether the teacher knows or not, we can only address based on what he teaches. Same thing applies for the absolute truth. We cannot question if someone has realized or not, but we can question whether the teaching is in tune with Vedanta or not. There are no other litmus tests available. 

Hari Om!

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