Avadhūta and Paramahaṁsa are essentially jīvanmukta-s. After evolving into a jīvanmukta, one decides how he or she pursues his or her life, till he or she becomes videhamukta (mokṣa – after death). Only a yogi can evolve into a jīvanmukta. A perfect yogi is the one, who has realized the Self within. He is shaped into a yogi by his Guru, without whom, imparting higher spiritual knowledge and practice is not possible. All Advaita Scriptures ultimately convey that Brahman is within and what is within, pervades the entire universe. This essence is conveyed to his disciples by a Guru. There are hundreds of Scriptures in Advaita such as Upaniṣad-s, Bhagavad Gītā, Yoga Vāsiṣṭha, Pañcadaśi, etc. Each of these Scriptures reveal Brahman in different ways. It is not necessary to study all these Scriptures, as the goal is always the same viz. Brahman. Too much of reading will distort spiritual knowledge, leading only to confusion. The crux of all these Scriptures is the advice not to seek Brahman outside by getting too much into rituals and visits to sacred places. They advise us to sit and meditate and look for Brahman within. Most of the spiritual seekers fail to transform into a yogi because of practicing too many mantra japas, rituals, attending workshops and classes, etc. Knowledge about Brahman is always imparted one to one between a Guru and his disciple, that too in seclusion. But, one should be fortunate enough to get a learned Guru, who can impart the ultimate knowledge in a proper way and in stages. As has been repeatedly emphasised in this series, proper and regular prāṇāyāma and meditation alone will help, in reaching the ultimate goal of one’s life.
Lord Dattātreya, an avadhūta, is worthy of worship; because he has warded off all bondages and ever lives in the state of Ānandha. Ānandha because he perpetually stays connected with Saccidānanda (Brahman). He lives his own life, as directed by the Self within. He neither cares for society nor follows any dictums of Śāstra-s. There is no need for him to follow any of the Scriptural dictums, as there is nothing for him to attain, after being Liberated. After all, every serious spiritual aspirant, aims only for Liberation in this birth itself. If someone asks him about non-performance of rituals as prescribed in Śāstra-s, he shoots back by asking, as to whom He should do these rituals. He says, ’I am fully aware that I am the Self. Let those who teach Vedas and Scriptures think whatever they like. I am not worried, as I am the Self and I have no doubt on this. (source – Avadhūta Upaniṣad). There is no need for me to meditate, as I have no confusions or doubts. I know that my body is not me and hence I do not give importance to my body at all. I am the Self and I have no doubt about it and I do not attach any credence to what others say about me.’ Mere darśan of such an avadhūta will initiate us into higher spiritual evolution. But, it is always rare to see such avadhūta, as he always hides himself from inquisitive crowd.
What about consciousness of an avadhūta? His consciousness is not conditioned by any upādhi or māyā or avidyā. His consciousness is the purest and remains un-afflicted by any type of adjunct. It always remains pure, like the purest consciousness, which is called Brahman. For him, there is no duality, as he fully understands that everything is Brahman. He is not worried about what he wears. He does not wear any religious symbols; he does not even hesitate to shed his clothes. For him, his body is worthless.
Liberation is the toughest thing to attain. This can be attained only through practice and that too with the help of a Teacher. Spiritual evolution involves various stages beginning from a mantra japa, cessation of mantra japa, meditation, cessation of meditation, experience of Bliss, remaining in perpetual Bliss, etc. If we are stranded in any one of these stages for too long, spiritual advancement will regress, making it difficult to attain the logical goal of human birth. When the last trace of duality is dissolved, stage is set for Liberation.
With this, series on “Spiritual Journey” is concluded.