NDM: What would you say are the odds of someone being “enlightened” also becoming a Jivanmukta?
Ramesam Vemuri: Advaita holds that everyone is already a Jivanmukta. Some scriptures unequivocally declare that the mind is most important. If it knows clearly that it is unbound, it is free. If it thinks it is bound, it is in bondage!
And incidentally, the Advaita teaching does not say one “becomes” a Jivanmukta. The teaching is that “You are That.” It is not to ‘become’ but just to ‘be.’
Enlightenment or the first glimpses of ‘realization’ may entitle one to be called as a Jivanmukta. But to be unceasingly in/as brahman, one has to overcome several of the distractions that the mind keeps posing.
NDM: The one question that really interests me is what someone can do about their vAsanA-s if they are enlightened, but still have problems with them?
Ramesam Vemuri: Yes, Sir. This is one question that bugs every seeker at every stage until he is firmly established in turIya.
The first thing that needs to be appreciated is that the seeker should be conscious of the hindering behaviors that are coming in his way. Next is that he should not be swayed by them and pulled down back into the phantasmagoric world. This Awareness itself will help him to overcome the problem. But it will be useful to come to grips with the impediment as perceived in the ‘now’ rather than attribute the problem to a distant (unknown) cause called vAsanA and try to kill it as though it is the ‘culprit.’ One surely cannot be a Don Quixote (fighting with an imaginary enemy)!
Next is nididhyAsana – discussions with co-seekers and or with established Jnanis are useful so that the actual inhibitory kink in the “Understanding” could get identified. Identifying the misunderstanding (or the doubtful understanding which is coming in the way of abidance as brahman) may act as a remedy to the problem.
A related and significant point is ‘sat sAngatya’ or association with noble people. It is not merely in terms of human relationships but also in terms of the total interactions with the environment also need to be ‘satvic’. Such a facilitating environment will and can bring about changes even in the thought patterns and wean away the seeker from the blocks being faced by him.
Present day science too recognizes the important role that the environment plays in the genetic expression. In fact the environmental influence modifies the genetic expression from the very next moment after the formation of a zygote (in the mother’s womb). The physio-chemical environment in the mother’s womb exerts a great influence on the developing fetus.
There is not a single week these days without significant research findings on the influence of the environment on the brain being reported in scientific journals. For example, these are some of the research findings this week:
a) Tumor suppression by enriched environment (The link is presently not working).
b) What You Really Feel – Click here.
c) Of bugs and brains: Researchers discover that gut bacteria affect multiple sclerosis – Click here.
Thus satsAngatya, a facilitating environment, and food may help overcome the problem.
Finally, I can’t help but quote Peter Dziuban, Author and Non-duality teacher (Web Site: Consciousness is All) in response to similar questions. It is hardly possible to better his inimitable, direct and pointed expression.
Excerpts from his Site:
A situation or problem may appear to present itself, maybe it even seems to be recurring.
The only One who is conscious is Self Itself, NOW Itself. The “apparent” situation really has no prior status, no foothold of existing whatsoever, no qualities of being lingering or tenacious, NO MATTER HOW IT MAY SEEM. To this NOW-Awareness, there having been nothing besides Itself, there can be nothing besides Itself that NOW is interested in, or that “gets Its attention.”
Bodies are left entirely out of consideration. It is ALL about NOW only, for IT is the only One being conscious–not “us.” There are no situations that NOW has to “work over” or “be worried about” because there have been no prior situations. NOW has to be, in fact IS, “solely interested” in Its “never-before-Alive Presence” because there simply is nothing else present.
Then the thought may come, “Yes, but the problem still appears to linger.” This is where one must “put one’s spiritual foot down” and “stand one’s ground” as Never-before-ness, because only this is “honest” and consistent with the way Life actually NOW is present. The claim of lingering-ness or tenacity isn’t true–for that, too, only would be a current thought trying to arise. There has been no long past in which something could have lingered. Where we get unclear is in accepting the seeming (and sometimes seemingly very persistent!) suggestion that there has been a prior time in which all this began. And then, if accepted, this notion will add feelings of guilt, inadequacy, etc. etc. because there’s a feeling that “I” haven’t been spiritually clear enough to have this apparent situation dissolve. That’s why “Peter” is left entirely out of consideration. The responsibility of being NOW is entirely up to NOW–there is no middleman called a Peter-awareness that has to be as good at being NOW as NOW Itself is. (Italics were by the Author himself).
(To Continue … Part: 8/12)