NDM: When you say: “The most basic point to remember is that in order to talk in terms of vAsanA-s and so on, one has to first believe in the ‘reality’ of the existence of a cause, an effect and a relationship between them. Looked at from the position of a Jivanmukta, there are no different entities, one as a cause and another as an effect and a formula expressing a relationship between them. The entire thing is One. And that is the only Truth. Not so many different things and their inter-relationships which are all imaginary.”
So are you saying that the Jivanmutkta no longer acknowledges that there is an empirical relationship of cause and effect on this relative level. (samvriti-satya or vyâvahârika-satya)
That they only recognize or acknowledge the absolute perspective? (pâramârthika-satya). That they in fact deny that a relative level even exists like some of the neo advaitins do.
Ramesam Vemuri: The terminology of Absolute Truth, transactional reality and dream-like reality and stories around them are inventions for appeasing a seeking mind. They have as much value, meaning and significance as the conversations and technologies of a dream experience have in the wakeful world. You may dip into a river and next thing suddenly be flying over a mountain peak in a dream. You could do so in the dream because you possessed that technology in your dream. But what relevance has it in the wakeful world? Similarly, the terminologies and classifications and theories used in the wakeful world carry no meaning or relevance to a Jivanmukta.
A Jivanmukta does not have to even acknowledge the absolute perspective or deny relative levels. He is Alone – All + One. What and whom does he have to perceive when there is no other?
Nevertheless, we should also be aware of another important aspect. As Rupert would put it, it is disingenuous to claim that there is no one to seek or search as long as there is a sense of lack, a feel of void. That lack itself is the seeker.
NDM. As far as the brain changes after enlightenment, are you familiar with the work of Todd Murphy. He says that there are changes in the amygdala, also the anterior commisure, the two-way communication between the two amygdala(s). As well as changes in the hippocampus and so on.
Ramesam Vemuri: Thanks, John for the link. I am aware of the studies by Dr. Persinger whose work Todd heavily draws upon. As you know Dr. Persinger’ s research was a bit controversial (Swedish scientists could not replicate his results; also John Horgan’s report). Apart from it, most of his work was done in the pre-fMRI days and before single neuron studies. His research was based on magnetic stimulation of large parts of the brain.
At the present day, much more sophisticated technologies are available and we could study hundreds of individual neurons in a network at one time and also interactions that take place at protein level. Trans cranial and Deep Brain stimulation studies and modern imaging techniques are throwing up new information. Many of the concepts presented at the web page appear to need updating. Moreover Neuroscientists are yet to get a handle on Consciousness. Are we really ready now to translate the meager neuroscientific knowledge into meaningful applications and pedal instruments in the market?
NDM. It seems that anyone who is a Jivanmukta often talks of a sense of no-self, (anatta), also unconditional love, (maîtri), bliss and not being the doer. As well as no likes and dislikes but this can also be just talk.
How could one tell, know if someone were a true Jivanmukta or was just putting on an act and faking it. For example a western avatar once said ” Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers”
Can you judge a Jivanmukta tree by its fruit?
Ramesam Vemuri: Unfortunately, we do not have any clear cut indicators for identifying a Jivanmukta by an external agent. Several scriptures do however leave large hints for self-assessment and self-improvement. A tabular statement comparing the traits of a Jivanmukta and an ordinary individual is available here: Click
(See the Table at the very end of the article).
I hope modern scientific technology can help us in identifying a few parameters as “markers” for a Jivanmukta. We have to establish the validity and range of such parameters and build a database. As you pointed out already, maîtri, absence of ‘doership’ etc. could be such markers. (also see: here).
The possibility of detecting a fake Jivanmukta was discussed in Yogavaasishta. Sage Vasishta declares, not in exasperation but in encouragement, that it is good even if somebody pretends and playacts as a Jivanmukta. He says that such pretension eventually will lead him to Brahman!
NDM: The American philosopher Ken Wilber said. A schmuck before enlightenment, a schmuck after enlightenment.
Do you think it’s even possible to be enlightened and be a “schmuck”. (A Schmuck is most often used in American English as a pejorative or insult, meaning an obnoxious, contemptible person; one who is stupid, foolish, or detestable)
Ramesam Vemuri: This can be true in view of the wide range of people and personalities and the stage they are in. We have in a way discussed such a possibility under Q 5.
(To Continue … Part: 5/12)