Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Tattvabodha - Part 24

Notes on Tattvabodha
Dr. Vishnu Bapat

Dr. Bapat (72) was the co-founder of an Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Industry and served as its Managing Director for 26 years until retirement. He is associated with several professional and spiritual bodies. He is now fully engaged in the study and practice of Vedanta.




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48. Liberated in Life

जीवन्मुक्तः The man of realization

एवं च वेदान्तवाक्यै: सद्गुरूपदेशेन च सर्वेष्वपि भूतेषु एषां

ब्रह्मबुद्धिरुत्पन्ना ते जीवन्मुक्ताः इत्यर्थ: । ।

एवम् – thus च – and वेदान्तवाक्यैः - by the words of Vedanta सद्गुरु-उपदेशेन – by the teaching of the Sadguru च – and सर्वेषु -अपि भूतेषु – in all beings एषाम् – whose ब्रह्मबुद्धिः – vision of truth उत्पन्ना – is born ते – they जीवन्मुक्ताः – liberated while living इत्यर्थः - is meant

Thus by the words of Vedanta and teachings of a supreme teacher, those who have developed an understanding of Brahman in all the living beings, are called ‘liberated in life’.

एवम् च वेदान्तवाक्यैः: सद्गुरु-उपदेशेन –Thus by the realization of identity between jiva and Ishwara gained from the Vedanta and the teachings of a Sadguru How the knowledge can be gained? There two methods for a yogi to gain the supreme knowledge of liberation.

एवम् च वेदान्तवाक्यैः - The realization comes from two sources. The texts of Vedanta and teachings of a Sadguru. The words of Vedanta reveal our true nature by subtle and indicative methods; not even the Vedas but Vedanta. Other books are also not useful. Here the words वेदान्तवाक्य should not be taken too literally. Supposing a yogi has met all other qualifications but he has never studied Vedanta and Upanishad but has studied theological books from other religions. Can he become a realized person? The answer is yes, he will. What is important is that the yogi should have jnyana of universal presence of Brahman in all living beings.

सद्गुरु-उपदेशेन – Can I study Vedanta myself? “Of the greatest gifts of God three have been considered supreme—the human birth, desire for liberation and a perfect guru (Sadguru). सत् - the teacher of atma or Vedanta. Sat also means good. So another meaning is a good guru. A perfect Guru is a teacher who is knower of the Vedas (श्रोत्रिय), well established in truth (ब्रह्मनिष्ठा), sinless (अवर्जिन), and without desires (अकाम हत).

A sadhaka, who has intense desire for realization will be rewarded with a Sadguru. The teaching of a teacher is called Upadesha. The language used in Vedanta is mystical. So the teacher adopts a method best suited for the disciple. There are instances where mere teaching of a mahavakya led the student to realization. In Taittiriya Upanishad there is an interesting anecdote when the teacher Bhrigu guides his disciple Varuna to come out of the five sheaths of the body. The disciple contemplated on this upadesha and ultimately realized that the self is not any of these sheaths, but a different entity who is pure chaitanya.


सर्वेषु -अपि भूतेषु एषाम् ब्रह्मबुद्धिः उत्पन्ना -The disciple realizes presence of Brahman in all beings. A piece of gold will realize its own form whether it sees a ring, a chain or a necklace. Similarly a person who has a vision that ‘I am Brahman’ indeed sees Brahman everywhere (सर्वात्मभाव, सर्वम् विष्णूमयम् जगत्). He sees the same Brahman in a lowly insect to a realized person. His vision of diversity such as man, animal, tree, mud or gold gradually melts away. He sees nothing but Brahman everywhere and in everything. Such a person realizes the vedantic aphorisms such as “self in me is self in all (मदात्मा सर्वभूतात्मा), all that is there is truth alone (सर्वम् खलु इदम् ब्रह्म), “I am the infinite Reality” (अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि).


ते जीवन्मुक्ताः इत्यर्थः – Such a yogi is indeed liberated in life. He is released from the wheel of death and birth. He becomes one with God. He becomes immortal while living and attains Brahman even in this body. He becomes free from limitations of body, mind, name and form. This is the freedom not after death, but while living right now. This is फलम् of अभेद बुद्धिः


49. Who is Jivanmukta?

जीवन्मुक्तः कः?

ननु जीवन्मुक्तः कः?यथादेहॊऽहं पुरुषॊऽहं ब्राह्मणोऽह्ं शूद्रोऽहमस्मीति

द्ढनिश्च्ययस्तथा नाहं ब्राह्मणः न शूद्रः न पुरुषः किन्तु असंगः

सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपः प्रकाशरूपः सर्वान्तर्य़ामी चिदाकाशरूपॊस्मीति

द्रढ्निश्चयः अपरॊक्षज्ञानवान् जीवन्मुक्तः । ।

ननु – then जीवन्मुक्तः – one liberated while living कः - who यथा – just as देहः – body अहम् – I am पुरुषः – a man अहम् – I am ब्राह्मणः - Brahmin शूद्रः – Shudra अहम् – I am अस्मि I am - इति – thus द्र्ढनिश्चयः - firm determination तथा - similarly न अहम् ब्राह्मणः – I am not a Brahmin न शूद्रः – nor a Shudra न पुरुषः – nor a man किन्तु – but असंगः – unattached सच्चिदानन्द स्वरूपः – of the nature of existence-consciousness-bliss प्रकाशरूपः – effulgent सर्वान्तर्य़ामी – indweller of all चिदाकाशरूपः अस्मि – I am the formless awareness इति – thus द्रढ्निश्चयः – firm determination अपरॊक्ष ज्ञानवान् - one with direct intuitive knowledge, transcendental knowledge जीवन्मुक्तः – is the one liberated while living.

Now who is one liberated during life? Just as one has a firm conviction and knowledge that ‘I am the body’, ‘I am a man’, ‘I am a Brahmin’, ‘I am a Shudra’, etc; so also he has a firm conviction born of intuitive knowledge that ‘I am not a Brahmin’; ‘I am not a Shudra, ‘I am not a man’ etc; but ‘I am the unattached one, of the nature of existence-consciousness-bliss, I am effulgent; the indweller of all, and the formless awareness’, is indeed the one liberated in life.

ननु जीवन्मुक्तः कः –Then who is the one liberated while living? जीवन् - life मुक्ति freedom. Swami Sunirmalanada says, a question rises, how may someone still living can be liberated from life? This was the question Shri Ramanuja posed. He did not believe that such liberation is possible.


यथा देहः अहम् पुरुषः अहम् ब्राह्मणः शूद्रः अहम् अस्मि इति द्र्ढनिश्चयः – Just as we have firm conviction that I am the body, I am a Brahmin, a Shudra, a man or woman for which I need not posses any proof because it comes natural to me.


तथा न अहम् ब्राह्मणः न शूद्रः न पुरुषः अहम् अस्मि इति द्र्ढनिश्चयः - Similarly the same person after realization gets a firm intuitive knowledge that “I am not a Brahmin, not a Shudra, not a man or woman”. There is a transformation in his conviction after realization. He comes to know “I am separate from these identifications. I am chaitanya or infinite consciousness”


किन्तु असंगः सत् चित् आनन्द स्वरूपः प्रकाशरूपः सर्वान्तर्य़ामी चिदाकाशरूपः अस्मि But I am unattached, free from all associations and of the nature of existence-consciousness-bliss, effulgent, the indweller of all and the formless awareness.


असंगः – unattached. What is the attachment? We are attached to our three states of existence (जाग्रत्, स्वप्न, and सुषुप्ति), the five sheaths (अन्नमय, प्राणमय, मनोमय, विज्ञानमय, and आनन्दमय) and the three personalities of gross body, subtle body and causal body (स्थूलशरीर, सूक्ष्मशरीर, and कारणशरीर).


सत् चित् आनन्द स्वरूपः – of the nature of existence-consciousness-bliss. सत् means absolute being, sat describes the essence that is pure and timeless and that never changes.


चित् means consciousness, to be conscious of,


आनन्द is true bliss, which includes infinite happiness, joy, free from grief.


प्रकाशरूपः –self- effulgent , shining, self-illuminated. The self is the knowledge principle that illuminates all our thought, the driving force of all physiological functions of the body; indeed the enlivening principle of the otherwise insentient body. It is the original light but not a reflected light.


सर्वान्तर्य़ामी – indweller of all, In and through everything. The liberated one knows that the self in him is the same self in all. All the self ensconced in different bodies is the same as Brahman. So the yogi does not make any difference between the beings. Do we treat our parts of the body in biased condition?


चिदाकाशरूपः अस्मि – I am the formless awareness. चिदाकाश means mental space (चित् आकाश). It is where the gross and subtle activities of consciousness take place. It is the sky of consciousness.


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Page last updated: 08-Apr-2017