Brahman is omnipresent and Self-illuminating all the time. This is the uniqueness of Brahman. Lamps burn for certain time and then extinguish. Even in today’s world, lights are not always on. We put on lights when required and put them off when light is not needed. But Brahman is always illuminating and every other luminescent objects derive their light from It only. For example, sun, moon, etc. But, we are not able to realize Brahman, because of innate ignorance. Though we know all these qualities of Brahman, we are not able to realize It because of ignorance and lack of right spiritual practices. Thus, both knowledge and practice are important in Self-realisation. (Often, we go on reading Scriptures after Scriptures. Thus, we spend maximum time in reading and listening to discourses. In spirituality, practice and personal experience is more important than continuous reading. In fact, at the commencement of unlearning, genuine spiritual practice begins.) (44)

Only because of the innate ignorance caused by māyā, we mistake jīva, as Brahman. Jīva is individual soul with all kinds of attributes, which always exists with māyā. It is like the trunk of a tree appearing like a man in darkness. What causes this mistaken identity? It is due to ignorance. When we move closer to the tree, we realize it is a tree and not a man. This is called innate ignorance, which needs to be dispelled, while pursuing spiritual path. Therefore, it is very important, that we should first acquire absolute knowledge about Brahman without ambiguity. Only then, spiritual practices can be commenced seriously. At the end of spiritual practice, one realizes Brahman and only such a person can confidently say “I am Brahman”. Now, individual consciousness disappears and he realizes Universal Consciousness or Brahman. (45)

Soon after realization of Brahman, all dyads and triads are destroyed. Ego disappears and therefore he never says I or mine. Self-realization destroys innate spiritual ignorance, also known as māyā. When the veil of māyā is removed, we realize Brahman. When the clouds move away we see the sun. When the sun appears and dispels darkness, trunk of the tree which appeared as a man, now appears as a tree only. Similarly, when spiritual ignorance is removed, we realize Brahman. There is difference between sun and Brahman. Sun can be seen, but Brahman cannot be seen and can only be realized. Brahman is the subtlest of all. (46)

After realisation, he is known as a yogi, which is derived from the work yoke, which means union. For a yogi, there is no difference between Brahman and the universe. For him, internally and externally, everything and everyone is Brahman. All dualities are already destroyed. He sees through the eyes of Brahman, as he is Brahman. Thus, he becomes an embodiment of love and compassion. Hatred, anger and ego are totally destroyed and he always remains in the state of Bliss (Saccidānanda), which is the nature of Brahman. (47)

For this yogi, everything is Brahman and as he is devoid of all kinds of duality, he sees the universe as Brahman only. From clay, different objects are made. The same clay appears as different objects. The cause of these objects is only the clay. Thus, though he sees the material world, he looks at the world only as Brahman. Such a yogi is also known as jīvanmukta, which means that he has been liberated, but continues to exist to spend away the remnants of his karmas. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā, "When a man relinquishes all the desires of his mind and contended in the Ātman, by the ātman, he is considered as sthitaprajña (the person who established himself firmly with God-consciousness). He, whose mind is neither shaken at the time of misery, nor attached to happiness, he who is totally free from desires, fear and anger is known as sthitaprajña.” (48)

A jīvanmukta, who has attained supreme knowledge (Knowledge about Brahman and thereafter realized It) continues to live till his karmic account is totally exhausted. Liberation is possible only if the entire karmic account is exhausted. This can be compared to a water bottle. As long as the water is there in the bottle, we use it and once the water is over, we crush the bottle and trash it. Similarly, as long as karma remains, jīvanmukta continues to live and when his karma is over, his body falls (death). He completely forgets all his previous attachments, desires, etc. (upādhi-s) when the veil of māyā is removed during realization of the Self. It is like removing dust on a mirror. When the dust is removed from the mirror, the shining mirror reveals itself. A jīvanmukta continues to stay connected with Brahman all the time. He will be sitting in a desolated place, unaware of his personal hygiene, hunger and thirst. When Ramana Maharishi, during younger days was meditating, urchins used to pelt stones on him and he used to bleed. But he was not aware of his bodily injury and bleeding. Such is the connection between a jīvanmukta and Brahman. Thus, he also remains in the state of Saccidānanda, like Brahman. Since he is devoid of all dyads and triads, he perpetually remains in the state of Bliss and getting ready to leave his body at the appointed time. (49)

This jīvanmukta experienced both pains and pleasures. He was immersed in worldly pleasures in the immediate past. But, after realization he isolates himself from the afflictions of the material world and continues to live in silence, by staying connected with Brahman all the time. He is verily Brahman now. (50)

Like Brahman, who is always Self-illuminating, he also shines within his own self. He is like a lamp placed inside a jar. Such a lamp though illumines, will not reflect its light outside. His status cannot be understood by the material world. He may behave like a psychiatric patient, though he is the most intelligent person. He is blessed with knowledge of the Absolute. Kṛṣṇa says, “The one whose mind is unattached to anything, neither excited nor disturbed while beholding good or bad, his knowledge is permanent. When a person withdraws all his body parts (limbs or senses) inwardly like a tortoise, his wisdom attains steadfastness.  For the one who restrains from the sensual pleasures, the yearning for such pleasures does not get exterminated. But, for sthitaprajña, after realizing the Supreme Self even such yearning ceases to exist. Unable to demolish bondage, the destructive senses forcibly seize the mind of a knowledgeable person.” (51)

Though a jīvanmukta is devoid of upādhi-s, still traces of them are left in him. He has to use his mind and body for his existence, wherever it is. He is not affected by others praise or criticisms. Like Brahman, he also remains as a witness for others’ actions. He remains like a dumb person, unaffected and unaware of what is going on around him. He exists like wind, which is not affected by fragrance or odour. Wind carries fragrance, but it is not affected by fragrance. A jīvanmukta merely exists, awaiting his death, which he will never be aware. (52)

Further Readings: