“All knowing Maha Vishnu!”, says Iswara according to Soota Samhita (Mukti Khanda – 2nd chapter) which is part of Skandapurana, “In Vedanta Sastra, the concept of Mukti is explained as of different types. But the most important five of them are (1) Salokya (2) Sameepya (3) Saroopya (4) Sayujya and (5) Swarupa. Mundakopanishad states that a thapasvi goes to Sathyaloka where Brahma resides. This is Sameepyamukti. This is exactly what is earmarked for those who perform their karmic functions and duties as enjoined by their respective ashramas. Salokyamukti is for those who worship idols such as those of Vishnu in the same way as the Devatas and pursue upasana accordingly. Saroopya mukti, as the name itself is suggestive, is for those, who, bereft of idol worship to Gods as if God is different from themselves, worship with the feeling that God is endowed with many superlative qualities and attributes; they take the form of the very deity whom they propitiate. Sayujya goes a step further. Such a mukti is obtained by those who look upon their upasana devata as indistinguishable from themselves. All these four types of mukti are products of karma and variants of Saguna. Hence these states of mukti are not everlasting, only that mukti which emerges as a fruit of jnana brings an eternal one with the totality of Bliss.
Nirathishayaanandaswarupa: This is the fifth type of mukti bereft of sorrow or happiness. The Yajur Veda says that those who do nothing but karma go to attain Sameepya mukti. With subtle differences, the Salokya, Saroopya and Sayujya types are also mentioned. But painstaking karmas are not for the Jnani. He is not pestered by problems of pride and prejudice, honour and shame, cold and heat or the concomitant dualities. He stays in Brahmic sphere of truth, knowledge and bliss. This form of the Brahman is indistinguishable from that of the Atman and hence it is inalienable or unforgettable. It is a self-effulgent phenomenon. Such a state knows no barriers or obstacles. Hence mukti of this type is the best according to those who have known the meaning of the Vedas. “Those who adopt the Vedic way and those very devotees who are Mahatmas will, by my grace, evince interest in those things necessary for Atma Sakshatkara culminating in mukti of the highest type,” says Iswara.
Iswara proceeds further to describe Jeevanmukti: “Yasya muktihi abhivyaktaa swaatma-sarvaarthavedinee, thasya prarabdha Karmaantam jeeevanmukti prakeertitaa“.
Whoever looks upon (everything and) everyone like his own self (Atma Swarupa) will get the name of a Jeevanmukta as long as his prarabdhakarma lasts.
“Mahatma Vishnu!”, says Iswara, “when ignorance is burnt and self-evolved Jeevanmukta rises with the Atma Swarupa frame, the logic of the burnt fabric binds him: the piece of cloth fully burnt but retaining its form cannot fulfil the purpose of clothing or covering. In the same way, the Jeevanmukta, although continuing the erstwhile worldly or material connections will not suffer any bondage as he has burnt the whole world (of materialism) with the flames of his jnana-agni and with no illusions of “I” or “mine”. He is a mukta.
Iswara emphasizes the essence of Jeevanmuktittva as under: “While the worldly involvements are surcharged by detachment emerging from jnana, the prarabdhakarma gives him – continues to give him – life, living and the world!
“Mukti”, concludes Iswara, is a matter of the Atman. One who does not know the Atman and imagines one has Atmaswarupa is the ignorant one, kidding oneself. There can be no doubt in this. Mukti wedded to Atmaswarupa, cannot be described in words as it is beyond the power of speech. It cannot be comprehended by mind. It cannot be explained through the Vedantic voice. Even I cannot explain it. It has to be known by personal experience only.”
Sri Vidyaranya on Jeevanmukti
Sri Vidyaranya’s “Jeevanmuktiviveka” underlines five important benefits of Jeevanmukti state:
- Safeguarding of jnana
- Performance of thapas
- Absence of unwanted arguments
- Destruction of distress, and
- Dawn of happiness
When Jeevanmukti state is reached, as there is no appearance of dvaita or duality, there is no question of doubt or penumbra of suspicion especially against doctrines of philosophy. Hence the Jeevanmukta’s knowledge of tattva and basis of enlightenment are very well protected. By thapas, he will be able to impart divine power to earthly platforms having the yoga for improvement and beneficiation; this includes his own physical frame. The Devatas attained Divinity only through thapas. The reversal of the mind and the indriyas (sensory organs) from the material to spiritual aspirations constitute the quintessence of thapas. The identification of the proper emphasis is germane to the state of Jeevanmukti and hence it is rightly called the highest dharma.