[Continued from Part – 2]
Question 3: The body that (notionally) housed previously a seeker….
Please Sir, body does not really house Consciousness. Not even the so-called limited consciousness. But it is Consciousness in which body appears just like any other object – and this is easily graspable even to the so-called limited consciousness, with a bit of subtle and impartial observation.
Question 3 (Contd.): … who is now liberated, (the body) is just a part of the ‘world’ which only exists as an “appearance” in the perception of the ‘ignoramuses.’ That body is now ‘without’ anyone as a claimant of ‘ownership’ to it. …
Let it be so. What is the problem if there is no claimant of ownership to a body?, I ask the ignoramuses.
Well, is not the shAstra saying that taking oneself to be owner of the body (in the sense ‘I am this’ and ‘this is mine’) ignorance?, I ask the ignoramuses.
Also, is it that the ignoramuses are concerned about ‘no claimant of ownership’ because they are worried as to who/how can a body is kept / taken care of, if there is no claimant of ownership?
There is no need for such a worry because Bhagavad-Gita tells us:
प्रकृते: क्रियमाणानि गुणै: कर्माणि सर्वश: |
अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताहमिति मन्यते || — 3.27, BG.
Meaning: All activities are carried out by the three modes of material nature. But in ignorance, the ‘self,’ deluded by false identification with the body, thinks itself to be the doer.
Thus, by reminding Gitacharya’s vAkya, I would ask the ignoramuses to enquire first of all into the validity of their own claim about being the ‘owner of the body.’ When their claim itself is not correct, why then worry about the modus operandi of the body of a so-called mukta?
Question 4: The now freed pratyagAtman from Its own imagination of limitation is imperceptible to the senses and mind; therefore, none can see it and call it a mukta…..
First of all, pratyagAtma is thought to be bound, which is a wrong notion, because pratyagatma being brahman, was never really bound. Then what to say about its “now becoming free,” as if it is an event in time? – it is also a wrong notion only.
Question 4 (Contd.): Thus, there is no entity that can be labeled a ‘jIvanmukta.’
Let it be so, Sir! As I said before, we are least bothered about locating a mukta. We are only interested in mukti but not mukta and mukta’s whereabouts.
Question 5: After the seeker has done shravaNa, manana and nididhyAsana as needed, it is tantamount to say that the manifold (kSetra) just continues on with all business as usual with just a notional change happening in the mind of the former seeker. ‘jIvanmukti’ then gets trivialized to being a mere ‘conceptual’ exercise.
This kind of value-seeking is what an ignorant man does. That is why to such an ignorant man, shAstra gives certain lakShaNa-s about a man of realization as sAdhana-s. I think the lack of sAdhana and hence, lack of cittasuddhi is what made this ignorant man look for value in mokSha. If the adhikAritvam (eligibility) is ripe enough, the worry about value-seeking out of jIvanmukti drops off – the Knowledge that ‘AtmA is purNam’ takes hold.
On the other hand, if there is a value-seeking and thereby worrying about mukti becoming trivialized, the onlooker/seeker should stop worrying about mukti and focus on prescribed sAdhana – because it shows that this ignorant man is lacking cittasuddhi and seeking value in mukti. Moreover, it also shows that s/he takes mokSha to be an event in time which is also wrong.
I don’t think there is any better way to deal with this issue because, when the teaching is urging us to recognize the already pUrNa AtmA, what is this unnecessary worry about mukti being trivialized?
Question 6: While a few seekers may be driven by the insatiable desire to “know” what is the Absolute really real Reality in the midst of ever changing ‘jagat,’ majority of seekers look for a Vedantic solution for their body-mind related problems and suffering. They tested everything available at the body-mind-world level and failed to get a lasting solution to happiness in the time-space-phenomenal world.
If the manifold were to continue on after liberation, the now-liberated-seeker will still be burdened with a body and has to continue to face its suffering, need for food etc. and the downstream enchilada that ensues.
Will Advaita not become then a mere ‘coping mechanism’ using denial as a tool to say, ‘I am not this body nor mind?’
There is no continuation of the manifold in that “state” and we say so on the strength of the Upanishad pramANa!
Let the seeker hold on to shraddha on shruti vAkya and properly enquire into the reality of manifold (and its associated afflictions) by taking avasthAtraya vicAra through a proper prakriyA. It becomes clear that both manifold and its afflictions are not real as neither of them are present in Deep sleep while you remain in your True nature as ever, asangah.
Therefore, all in all, the point is, for an imagined bandhana, let there be an imagined mokSha. That is why adhyAsa and means of removing adhyAsa, both are within adhyAsa only and Atman/brahman remains ever free!
About the Author: In his characteristic humility, Shri P. Neti Ji would describe himself as a mere “VedAnta sAdhaka (Vedantin seeker).” Nevertheless, one can easily see that he is head and shoulders above many Advaita Vedanta teachers who go by the titles of Gurus and Acharyas, in the depth of his understanding of Advaita, in his knowledge of our scriptures and in his ability to explain the intricacies of Advaita. On my insistence, he reluctantly penned a couple of lines about his Vedantic background as given below — Ramesam
“Though I owe my allegiance to Truth itself but not to a teacher per se, to address the interest of the readers who may want to know more about my “allegiance / inclination,” I take this opportunity to say: ‘I am grateful to (a wide spectrum of) the teachings of Vedanta which I happened to come across by listening to teachers like Sri Swami Tattvavidananda Saraswati ji of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam on one hand and Brahmasri Yellamraju Srinivasa Rao ji on the other. I make obeisance with my whole being to the holy feet of Sri Swami Satchidanandendra Saraswati ji, of Holenarasipura, who through his books, corrected my misunderstandings and pointed me to the right method of Vedanta, which shines in all its uniqueness in the prasthAnatraya bhAShya of Sri Śaṃkara BhagavatpAda’.”