JIVANMUKTA – Mind Annihilated but Form Retained
Self-Realization is synonymous to ending the mind. J. Krishnamurti calls it ‘emptying the mind’. A zero-thought position describes the state of a Jivanmukta. How does then a Jivanmukta continue to live and function in the world with an annihilated mind because mind is required to sense the world and transact in it?
We get many such doubts about Advaita philosophy. Much of the Advaita argot appears awfully ambiguous and confusing to us. Yogavaasishta, an Advaita text attributed to Sage Valmiki (of Ramayana fame) but considered to be of circa 6th century A.D. by some, explicates and clearly explains through interesting short stories the intricacies of Advaita philosophy.
Regarding the mind of a Jivanmukta, I provide here extracts taken from Yogavaasishta, Part IV, The Calm Down, by K.V. Krishna Murthy, (English Translation by Dr. Vemuri Ramesam), Avadhoota Datta Peetham, Mysore, India, pp: 194, 2008.
“Who is a Self-Knowledgeable individual?” Canto 49, Verses 35-36 answer this question as follows:
“Whoever has an experiential understanding that every substance in this world in essence is himself/herself is such a person.”
Later on it is clearly stated that the world does not end as long as mind exists.
The story of Sage Vitahavya is narrated to show how Vitahavya annihilated his mind through Knowledge. Sage Vasishta, observed that as a result, Vitahavya obtained noble qualities like universal affection (maitri). The dialog between Sage Vasishta (the Teacher) and Rama (the Pupil) went on the following lines at this point:
Rama: “Just a second Sir! On one hand you say that the mind was annihilated. On the other hand you say that noble qualities like universal affection have arisen. When mind itself was gone, where could these noble qualities reside?”
Vasishta: “Annihilation of mind is of two types. One is ‘Annulment of Mind With Retention of Form’. The other is Annulment of Mind Without Retention of Form’. The annihilation of mind of the Jivanmuktas is of the first type. Videhamuktas achieve the other type of annihilation. [Jivanmukta is one who is liberated and is living in his body and Videhamukta is one who is liberated without the body]. Vitahavya obtained annihilation of mind with retention of from at that time. Hence universal affection and other good qualities generated in it.”
Rama: “Sorry Sir! I am unable to follow. What is meant by annulment of mind? How could there be a form for a mind that is destroyed? How can a mind that is destroyed function again? Please do explain a bit more.”
Vasishta: “Rama! An annulled or annihilated or ‘Calmed Down’ Mind is the mind of a steadfast individual whose equipoise is not disturbed by external conditions of sorrow or happiness just like a mountain does not get affected by inhalation and exhalations of a man.
“His is a Calmed Down Mind whose expansiveness is not reduced by delimiting concepts of ‘we – they’.
“His mind is a ‘Calmed Down Mind’ , if his face does not alter in expression under conditions of pleasure or peril, treasure or threat, incentives or impediments.……. In this state he gets rid of the idea that the world is true. His mind shines forth in its Pure, Pristine and True form.
“As far as ‘Annulment of Mind Without Form’ is concerned, it is a state obtained only in liberation without the body. There is no question of any impressions being residual in this state. Hence neither virtuous qualities like universal affection nor performance of actions related to them exist.”
Sage Vasishta also clarified that it was wrong to assume that the world would not be visible to Jivanmuktas. He said that the entire world would appear to them as pure Brahman (Pure Consciousness). He added, “Jivanmuktas experience sorrows and happiness in a similar way as they did in the past. The difference is that these experiences will be like burnt out seeds. Their actions and experiences do not create new impressions.”