Jivanmukta and Jivanmukti – 7/12:

[Part – 6/12]                                         

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?  Continue reading

Jivanmukta and Jivanmukti – 6/12:

 [Part – 5/12]

NDM: What about an energetic shift?  Does this also take place?

Ramesam Vemuri:  A particular individual may call his experience as an ‘energetic shift’ and only he can tell what those terms signify.  Most people may figuratively express “realization” as a change in perspective, a sort of re-orientating, rather than as anything extra-ordinary or dramatic.

NDM: So if the understanding isn’t crystal clear, are you saying this is the reason why one may not become a Jivanmukta?

Ramesam Vemuri:  That is true.  Absolute clarity without even a speck of confusion or doubt on the teaching (shall we call the “theory”?) of Advaita is a must and is the primary step. Lack of clarity or misunderstanding can lead one astray into pursuit of false mental states, fancy expectations and may even result in unhealthy minds or dead ends.

NDM: Will crystal clear knowledge wipe out all vAsanA-s? Continue reading

Jivanmukta and Jivanmukti – 5/12:

[Part – 4/12]

NDM: What is the difference with simply being enlightenment in the advaitin sense, knowing one is Brahman, infinite, eternal non-dual awareness and so on and being a Jivanmukta?

Ramesam Vemuri:  The first and foremost thing is the knowing of information “I am brahman.”  This has to be understood by the mind intellectually.  It is the shravaNa (Listening) phase.  Next is to assimilate it and internalize it to the extent that no doubt remains in one’s mind about the Truth of that statement.  This is the manana (Reflection) phase.  After being firmly convinced and free of doubts, one needs to continuously stay with it as brahman (not become brahman but be brahman).  This is the nididhyAsana (Contemplation and Meditation) phase.  Jivanmukta is one who unwaveringly and unbrokenly abides as brahman.

NDM: Why would one person become enlightened and get the added benefits of bliss, no aversions, fears, desires and being a Jivanmukta, while another may not?   Is this grace, karma, or because of one’s practice or some other factors involved?

Ramesam Vemuri:  If one continues to mistake the rope as snake or the understanding is only superficial, his understanding is obviously incomplete. Continue reading

Jivanmukta and Jivanmukti – 4/12:

[Part – 3/12

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. Continue reading

Advaita Vedanta & Neuroscience


Contrary to consciousness being an emerging property of the mind, as someone has answered, thus reifying the latter, I would hold the inverse: mind is a property or, better, a projection of consciousness. Consciousness is universal, mind particular, individual – standing in the relationship essence-accident (or substance-form). The first is without a beginning, the second temporal, The first, necessary as principle, the second contingent. First unmoving, second changeable.

All this is clearly spelled out in the philosophy and metaphysics of Advaita Vedanta and also, even if with different analysis and import, in Aristotelian metaphysics. Continue reading

Q. 413 – Yet more on free will

Q: The link http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/past_messages/freewill_waite.htm   is about your convincing argument that there is no free will.  The Q ( for which I have no free will!!) is whether the lack of free will  is an obstacle in pursuit of Self- realization? It would seem that one has no ‘choice’ in the pursuit for it will follow the law of cause and effect. What are your views? Incidentally you have a supporter in Stephen Hawking [‘Grand Design’].

“Though we feel that we can choose what we do, our understanding of the molecular basis of biology shows that biological processes are governed by the laws of physics and chemistry and therefore are as determined as the orbits of the planets. Recent experiments in neuroscience support the view that it is our physical brain, following the known laws of science, that determines our actions, and not some agency that exists outside those laws. For example, a study of patients undergoing awake brain surgery found that by electrically stimulating the appropriate regions of the brain, one could create in the patient the desire to move the hand, arm, or foot, or to move the lips and talk. It is hard to imagine how free will can operate if our behavior is determined by physical law, so it seems that we are no more than biological machines and that free will is just an illusion.” Continue reading

Q.409 Materialism and Consciousness

Q: Regarding Gaudapada Karika 4.28, what is the best argument you are aware of against the materialist position that consciousness is an emergent phenomenon?   In particular do you think it is inherently illogical to say that consciousness can arise from the inert?

More generally, is it the position of Vedanta that the materialist position is inherently illogical/impossible or simply that it is incorrect because it is contrary to scripture?

A (Dennis): Schopenhauer said that Materialism is “the philosophy of the subject who forgets to take account of himself.” And this really sums up my own view of the situation with respect to Science and its so-called ‘hard problem’. Science is forever trying to discover how consciousness can ‘arise’ from matter and never even considers the possibility that matter might actually be name and form of Consciousness. I.e. Consciousness does not arise from matter, matter (as it were) arises from Consciousness. They view the topic ‘back to front’ because they ignore the significance of the observer. And this is despite their past realisation that the observer cannot be ignored in quantum mechanics, for example.

The term used in the scriptures for the materialist is lokAyata (worldly wise) or Charvaka, after the philosopher of that name who is associated with these beliefs. (They have also been called mAmsa-mImAMsaka-s or ‘flesh philosophers’ because of their belief that we should aim to maximise pleasure in life.) The beliefs are also associated with the god bRRihaspatI and Shankara has sarcastically used this term in a derogatory sense to refer to ‘intellectuals’ who play the role of disputant in his commentaries. Continue reading

Is Consciousness Entirely Physical?

I off and on referred in these columns to the exciting new Theory of Integrated Information developed by Porf. Giulio Tononi of Wisconsin to explain Consciousness (For example here and here).  We have Dr. Tononi explaining the basic concepts behind the theory in simple words in the short Videos at the following links:

  1.  Is Consciousness entirely physical? (8:12 min)
  2.  Anything non-physical with the mind? (9:27 min)

A few other very interesting topics related to Consciousness are also discussed in this series of Videos hosted by Dr. R.L. Kuhn.

Living in the Moment Eternally — 3

[One of our esteemed Readers, Shri V. Madhava, has been kind to send an off-line message to me a few days ago saying “I enjoy reading your writings and just finished reading the article “Living in the moment eternally Part 2”.  Wondering if there is a Part 3 as there seems to be a broken link…” Reason enough, I guess, to continue on with my chatter — ramesam.]

Part 1                   Part 2 

Brain Activity - Past or Future vs Present Let us recall that living in the Now is an important trait of a jIvanmukta. J. Krishnamurti wondered if we could have an experience but not record it in our brain as a memory so that all our experiencing will be ever in the Present, in the innocent Now, afresh and always anew from moment to moment. Continue reading