Though the body is an inseparable factor just like the shadow that follows one incessantly, the quality of a Jeevanmukta is such as to display the total absence of thinking on “I” or “Mine” or the distortions of selfishness (which originate as a result of egoistic preoccupations of the body). Absence of selfish thoughts and manifestations is the attribute of a Jeevanmukta.
The quality of a Jeevanmukta consists in his not remembering what he has lost, in not worrying about what is in store for him and in being indifferent to what has befallen him presently.
In an unpredictable and weird world naturally full of good attributes and bad qualities, it is the greatness of a Jeevanmukta to look at the world with equanimity and equality of vision, neither inclined to receive the good nor reject the bad, to extol the virtue or condemn the vice. “Sarvatra Samadarshitvam” meaning capacity for purity and uniformity of outlook in all places and circumstances is one of the greatest qualities of a Jeevanmukta.
The Jeevanmukta will remain unruffled by fluctuations in his fortune or misfortune, or by winds of change in likes and dislikes, as the dominant quality in him is to transcend the capacity of the two extremes to distort his inner frame. He is ever disinterested in all material matters. Consequently, there is no sense of elation in one nor one of disappointment in the other, his mental balances showing every strong roots -themselves firmly fixed in the Brahman.
Being deeply interested in the sweetness of the nectar called the bliss of the Brahman, the Jeevanmukta displays the quality of ignorance about what happens inside and outside.
Even in respect of obligations or duties in respect of sensory perceptions, the Jeevanmukta displays an indifferent attitude towards the personal element and his thoughts scarcely make him feel that he is the performer.
“Brahmabhavaha Sruterbalaath” (Sloka 436 of Vivekachudamani)
Whoever has known the nature of the Brahman by successful nurturing of Sruti to free himself from the shackles of samsara commands the qualities of a Jeevanmukta. Here the word “Brahmabhavah” means he will have attained the Brahman through Brahma-Sakshatkara and “Sruterbalaath” implies the mantra-siddhi leading to Sakshatkara and very rightly this is the view held by H.H. Chandrasekhara Bharati Swamigal of Sringeri in his commentary on Vivekachudamani.
The avastha or state of Jeevanmukta is virtually conferred on the day of his coming face to face with the ultimate reality of existence and hence the factor of divine manifestation – Sakshatkara – can only bring about the alchemic change in the physical body and the sudden or instant rise of what the celebrated Vedic critic J.Gonda calls “Pratibha Sakti” in his monumental work, “The Vision of the Vedic Poets” (published by Moulton & Co., The Hague, the Netherlands, in 1963).
With due respect to the opinions held by various other commentators and critics who do not concur with the view on this sine quo non of Jeevanmukta-avastha, it must be emphasized here that no amount of intellectual eminence or scholarship of the Sruti can bring about a true state of Jeevanmukti. The work ‘Brahmabhavaha’ is a pointer to “Sakshatkara” i.e., vivid God-experience and the rise of Brahmajnana of the highest type and ‘Sruterbalaath’ connotes the onset of the kind of complete jnana attributable to the grace of the spiritually illimitable sovereign, namely, Sruti or Veda Purusha. Sruti or mantra and its upasana must bring the sadhaka face to face with the Ultimate Reality of Existence i.e., the Upasana-devata. Any other import would only amount to partial or total dilution of the true meaning, especially in the light of the fact that the essential prerequisite for the commencement of Jeevanmukta-avastha was spelt out very correctly by the Shankaracharya of Sringeri H.H. Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Swamigal who was a great Jeevanmukta himself.
The state of Jeevanmukti will continue and last till the time he attains ‘Videha-Kaivalya”, that is ‘mukti’ bereft of the body or corporeal appendage. But for a Jeevanmukta, both during the period he carries on with his physical frame and after he throws his mortal coil, the appendage means little or nothing to him as he is totally withdrawn and virtually not conscious of the very appendage. For one who attains ‘’mukti’’ the so-called death of the body is of secondary or tertiary importance. The vanishing point of the body does not affect mukta-avastha which commenced on the day of Sakshatkara and the sublime state continues thereafter without interruption of any kind whatsoever.
The freedom from family bondages or the karma engendering cycles of birth, death and rebirth, suggested by “bhavabandha-vinirmuktaha’’ in the same sloka (436)is also to be understood as an immediate impact of Sakshatkara.
No wonder, the introductory sloka (No. 424) refer to a Jeevanmukta as an extremely rare and infinitely fortunate person worthy of the highest commendation and worship on earth; ‘’dhanyaha samaanyo bhuvihi’’.
The ideal of “Samadarshitvam’’ attributed (by Sloka-432) to a Jeevanmukta for his capacity to take kindly to both good and bad with a vision that transcends the outlook of ordinary people who react according to the weight of merit or demerit, is similar to a Jeevanmukta’s quality of equality or identity of attitude or “samabhava” conceived by the 439th Sloka. Whether Sadhus respect this body of ours or whether the wicked harass us physically, the attitude of a Jeevanmukta will be positively one of unmistakable identity as his “Samabhava” implies non-differentiation in thoughts and impressions about us.
Laya or dissolution of bad vibrations
The capacity of a Jeevanmukta to absorb and destroy the negative or mundane vibrations of others and the resilience of his powerful system (Sloka 493) is likened to the river waters and inundations losing identity after getting into the ocean. A flood of bad vibrations picked up by a Jeevanmukta’s living frame will not cause distortions in him as the ocean symbolizing the merger of Atman with Brahman can swallow and digest the flood of vibrations at once. Praises and accusations do not affect a Jeevanmukta. The ocean is a leveller – a destroyer of identity. So is a Jeevanmukta.