Direct pointing in 3 mins!
The four types of Liberated Sage (Jnani) | Advaita Vedanta |Kaivalya Navaneeta
In the text Kaivalya Navaneeta (The Cream of Liberation; a 16th century traditional advaita text that was often recommended by Sri Ramana Maharshi), four types of liberated sages are described starting at verse 94.
Understanding these descriptions can help explain and reconcile the different views of liberation one may come across, such as whether or not the body and world appear after liberation, what type of lifestyle a liberated sage would exhibit and whether or not they would experience any kind of afflictive or suffering-causing emotions at all. My comments are in italicised red:
94. The wise, remaining like ether and liberated even here, are of four classes, namely Brahmavid (i.e. a knower of Brahman), vara, varya, and varishta, in order of merit.
Tom: The four types of liberated sage are called Brahmavid, Vara, Varya and Varishta. First we will discuss the Brahmavid or or ‘knower or Brahman’ (Vidya is Sanskrit for knowledge). The phrase ‘remaining like ether’ refers to the previous verse 93 and means the wise sage abides as consciousness, fully liberated.
95. The Brahmavids who by steadfast practice have gained clear realization of Brahman, continue to perform even the hard duties of their caste and stage in life, exactly as prescribed by the shastras for the benefit of others, without themselves swerving from their supreme state.
96. Should passions rise up they disappear instantly and cannot taint the mind of the Brahmavids who live in society detached like water on a lotus leaf. They look ignorant, not showing forth their knowledge, and remain mute owing to intensity of inward Bliss.
Tom: the first type of liberated sage is called the Brahmavid. They continue to be fully engaged in society and the world whilst simultaneously being liberated. Occasionally afflictive emotions and passions arise but they are short lived and do not affect the Brahmavid. They may seem like an ordinary person with nothing particularly special about them, but they are often outwardly quiet.
97. Prarabdha, i.e., karma which is now bearing fruit, differs according to the actions in past incarnations. Therefore the present pursuits also differ among jnanis, who are all, however, liberated even here. They may perform holy tapas; or engage in trade and commerce; or rule a kingdom; or wander about as mendicants.
Tom: Prarabdha essentially refers to the destiny of the particular body-mind based on its previous actions, ie. its karma . This verse states that the actions of the (body of the) jnani or sage (jnani literally means ‘knower’, ie. ‘knower of truth’ or ‘knower of Self’) varies depending on what the activities the body did prior to realisation. So the sage may, for example, perform holy penance, or engage in the world, or be a ruler, or a wandering monk. Basically there is no fixed description of what a sage would do in daily life in terms of their ‘occupation’.
98. They would not think of the past or future; would partake of what comes unsolicited; would not wonder, even if the sun turned into the moon, or at any other marvel, whether the sky were to spread its shoots down like a banyan tree or a corpse were to be revived; nor would they distinguish good and bad, for they always remain as the unchanging Witness of all.
Tom: the last point on the Brahmavid is that they are unaffected by whatever appears to happen, no matter how marvelous, calamitous or ridiculous. Why? Because they are liberated, ‘fixed’ as the Self, remaining as the ever-unchanging ‘Witness of all’.
Now let us look at the other three classes of Jnani or Liberated Sage:
99. Among the other three classes, the vara and the varya remain settled in samadhi. The vara feels concern for the maintenance of the body; the varya is reminded of it by others; the varishta never becomes aware of the body, either by himself or through others.
Tom: Here the vara and varya are both aware of the body at times whilst the fourth type of Jnani, the varishta, is not even ever aware of the body at all, even though others may perceive him or her as a body. The vara has a desire to maintain the body, whilst the varya occasionally becomes aware of their body if someone else prompts them.
So which of these types of liberation is best? Let us see…
100. Although there are distinguishing characteristics in the lives of the different Sages, who are themselves very rare in the world, yet there is absolutely no difference in the experience of Liberation. What can be the use of the hard-won samadhi? The Brahmavid, who is outwardly active, seems sometimes to feel the misery of calamities, whereas the others remain in unbroken Bliss.
Tom: Here it is made clear: all of these four types of sage are rare, and all are the same in that they are all fully liberated. They all in themselves have the same essential experience of Liberation, the differences being only superficial and present from the point of view of other non-liberated people, ie. from the point of view of ignorance.
However a point is raised that is dealt with in the next verse. The Brahmavid may appear to suffer and stress like the unliberated, whereas the other three categories of liberated sage are lost in eternal Peace and Bliss. How can this be? How can the Brahmavid be said to be truly liberated?
101. Now if the Brahmavids live like the ignorant, how are they free from the cycle of births, and how is their ignorance gone? The all-pervading ether remains untainted by anything; the other four elements are tainted by contact with objects. So it is with the Brahmavid and the ignorant.
Tom: The answer given is that, as Consciousness, the Brahmavid remains unaffected and untouched by whatever seems to happen in the world of objects that we ordinarily call life.
Tom’s summary: So we can see there are various types of liberated sage that are all fully and totally liberated, but appear different to each other only from the point of view of ignorance or the ‘unliberated’. Some jnanis are active in the world and appear to stress and suffer, some are immersed in constant experiential bliss, some are totally unaware of their body or only aware of it to some degree, and others seem to have a need to look after their body. Some appear to be holy sages, other just ordinary mundane people int he world. However, all of this does not matter from the point of view of Liberation – Liberation is only One. Know Thy Self!
Robert Adams: nothing to accomplish, you are already free
Recently someone briefly mentioned Robert Adams to me and for some reason it prompted me to take a look through some of his teachings. I chanced upon what I felt to be a highly powerful set of teachings given in Satsang in 1992, and this post is the result.
Here are a selection of quotes from Robert Adams that point the way to That which is beyond words and That which we already are/already is. The quotes are largely in order they were given during a single talk and I have inserted sub-headings which I hope makes the key points stand out more. Even though the teachings are largely self-explanatory, and there is something powerful in the phrasing of the actual quotes below, I have also summarised the teachings at the end of the post:
Trust in the Power that Knows The Way
The power that knows the way will take care of you. The one who makes the sun shine, the grass grow, the apples grow perfectly on apple trees, the food that sustains us, nourishes us. Everything has been lovingly provided for us. Have faith, trust the power that knows the way.
This is the first step, to have total faith and total trust in the infinite, the one. You may call this God, if you want to. Makes no difference what you call it. It is within you. It is without you. It is everywhere. All you have to do is to surrender to it. Surrender all of your doubts, your frustrations, your fears, everything that has besieged you for so long. Give it all up. It doesn’t belong to you. Be free of it.
No Body, no Mind, no World
When you’re able to do this, you can go further, and understand that there never was a body to begin with. The world, as it appears, does not exist. The universe, as it appears does not exist. Yet you are, and you will always be. What are you and what will you always be?
There is no answer for that, for the mind can never comprehend the unknown, the transcendental, the Self. The mind can never know these things. The mind only knows itself as a body, as a doer. Therefore you have to transcend the mind, transcend the thoughts, transcend the world, transcend the universe, and enter the silence, where there is total bliss, and peace and harmony.
Do not be in conflict with yourself
Do not be in conflict with your thoughts and the self. When there is no conflict there are no thoughts. Thoughts only appear because there’s conflict. By conflict I mean, you’re worrying about getting rid of your thoughts, you’re doing sadhana, meditation, pranayamas, japa. All of these things cause conflict.
For aren’t you saying, ‘I’m doing these things to become liberated. I’m doing these things to become free.’ The reason there’s a the conflict is because you’re already free and liberated. Therefore when you give yourself the information that you have to do something to become liberated, there is immediately conflict.
Your programmed belief in being a body-mind causes this conflict
This is the only problem you have. It is your conflict. And this conflict comes from programming when you were a child, from samskaras, … This is where the conflict comes from. For it tells you, ‘I’m just a human being, I’m just a frail body. I have to suffer sometimes, sometimes I have to be happy.’ This is all a lie. There never was a you that has to suffer. There never was a you that has to be happy.
Nobody needs to be happy
There is no one in you who needs to be happy. There is no one in you who needs to be miserable. They are both impostors. So every time you try to exchange negative conditioning to positive conditioning, you’re causing conflict. This is the reason psychology and psychiatry does not work. For they’re trying to make you normal. Who wants to be normal? How boring.
Wish for nothing
The truth is do not wish to be anything. There is nothing you wish to be. There is nothing you have to become. There is no future, for you to become anything. Right this moment you are the one, and there never was another. Right this moment you are totally free, without thinking a thought, without trying to make anything happen.
Nothing to accomplish
Why not awaken to this truth? Why not awaken to the fact that there is nothing that you have to become, there are no goals to accomplish.
Your beliefs about karma
You want to believe everything is preordained, and it’s been mapped out for you. Or you believe that you’re just a victim of circumstance, going through many experiences, to learn a lesson. It’s really funny to me when people tell me, ‘Something happened in my life, but I guess that’s the lesson that I have to learn,’ or, ‘That’s my karma.’
Forget about karma.
Forget about lessons you have to learn. No one has to learn any lessons. No one has to go through their karmic experiences. Put an end to it all. Drop it all. After all, for whom is there karma? For whom are there experiences? Only for the I-thought, for the mind, not for you. You are bright and shining. You are the absolute reality, Brahman.
Words: ‘Reality’ and ‘Brahman’
Yet even those words are superfluous, redundant. For what do these words actually mean to you, absolute reality, Brahman? They’re just names that are given to the absolute reality, to the Self. Yet everything has to go. The absolute reality has to go. The Self has to go. The reason it has to go is because you’re thinking about this with your finite mind, and every answer you come up with is erroneous.
Always remember the finite mind can never know the infinite. It’s impossible. And there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. Consequently the wise person becomes silent, quiescent. You’re not even trying to change your thoughts or stop your thoughts. For how can you try to stop something or change something that never existed to begin with.
The cause of conflict
Can you see now why you’re in conflict? You’re trying to correct something, you’re trying to become something, you’re trying to do something, and something does not exist.
Also what you’re trying to correct does not exist. What you’re trying to change does not exist. You get nowhere. This is why I tell you so often: leave everything alone. Have no opinions for or against. Do not be judgemental. Be nothing and you’ll be everything.
So why come to satsang?
Why do most of you come to satsang? As long as you have a reason it’s the wrong reason. There should be no reason. There shouldn’t be any valid reason why you come to satsang. For if you think back on what I’ve been referring to, you will see every reason is erroneous. For the reason that you’re trying to come to satsang doesn’t exist at all. You say you come to satsang to become enlightened, to know the truth. Who has to know the truth? Who has to become enlightened?
You come to sit with me. You can always sit with me, wherever you are. What I’m trying to tell you, do not look for reasons why you do something. When you start giving up all reasoning, all ambition, when you start surrendering all of your so called power, your human power that you think you have, this is when the mind begins to slow down.
Methods for stilling the mind
The mind will never slow down by trying to make it slow down. I don’t care what method you use. When you are using Vipassana meditation, when you’re using breathing, whatever method you’re using… Whatever method you’re using, you’re using your mind. It is your mind that you’re still using. That’s why you can never get anywhere.
You must use your mind, no matter what you do. Therefore stop doing anything. I know many of you have been practising sadhana for 25 years, 40 years, practising many forms of meditation, going to teachers, reading many books. And what becomes of you? You may get a good feeling, then it goes away, and you’re back where you started from.
The only practice
The only thing that you should do, or must do, is not to be in conflict with anything. Do not be in conflict with anyone or anything. When you’re not in conflict with anything, the mind begins to surrender itself, and goes back into the heart, and you become your Self. This is the easiest thing that you ever had to do. It’s simplicity itself. It’s simplicity itself because there’s nothing you have to do. There’s nothing you have to become. There’s no one you have to change. You are that.
Do not analyze what I am saying. Do not even agree with what I’m saying. Just be open. Open your heart by remaining still, silent. Allow the thoughts to come, do try not to stop them. Do not judge your thoughts, analyse your thoughts, or try to change your thoughts, or try to remove your thoughts. This will put you back in conflict with your thoughts.
No need to observe or be the witness
Do not even observe your thoughts. Do not even be the witness to your thoughts. Why? Because in reality there are no thoughts. The thoughts that you think you’re thinking, are an optical illusion. It is false imagination. Don’t you see? Everything that you’re thinking about is false. There is no thinker and there are no thoughts. So why have you been practising all these exercises all of your life? It’s like a person in the ocean going in search for water.
Awaken. Be free. Be yourself.
You are the joy of the world, the light that shines in darkness. You are a blessing to the universe. Love yourself always. When you love yourself, you love God. Forget about the past. Never dwell on the past. Remember, time and space does not exist. If time and space does not exist, then there cannot be a past or a future, for the past and the future is about space and time. If there is no time and space, there cannot possibly be a past or a future. So who thinks about the past? Who thinks about the future?
Even to say the I does, the I-thought does, this again is mostly for beginners. Self-inquiry is very important, don’t get me wrong. But the day has to come when you go beyond self-inquiry, when you just realize and understand that there is no I-thought at all. It never existed. Therefore you do not have to get rid of it. There is nothing to get rid of, because nothing exists. You are total freedom, right this instant, right this minute.
The unreality of thoughts and things
Whenever your thoughts dwell on the past, do not become angry with yourself.
Leave them alone. Do not observe them. Do not watch them. Do not be the witness to them. Just leave them alone. They will disappear of their own volition, due to the fact that they never existed. This is an important point. This is the reason why you leave everything alone. Now if things existed, if there was such a thing as negative thinking, karma to get rid of, then you’d have a job on your hands. You’d have to do all sorts of things to get rid of your karma, your past sins. You’d be working continuously, practising all kinds of japa, mantras, everything, to remove all of these thoughts of the past. But I say to you since these things never existed to begin with, why do any work at all?
Oh, it’s okay, if you like to work, but I’m very lazy myself, and the less work I have to do, the better.
Do not look for results
Do not look for results. Because it’s your true nature, sooner or later the results must presume themselves, but it comes without your help. You cannot help God. God does not need your help. Just be yourself. It’s difficult to be totally honest with yourself, yet this is exactly what you have to do. Forget about being a Jnani, or enlightened, or having self-realisation.
Nobody becomes enlightened
First of all, what does the word enlightenment mean? I’m not talking about a dictionary definition. To the path of Jnana what does enlightenment mean? The answer is, there is no such word.
No one becomes enlightened. There is no body, no I, no me, there is no thing that can ever become enlightened. The word enlightenment is used by the ajnani, by students. Absolute reality, choiceless awareness, sat-chit-ananda, parabrahman, those are all words that do not exist, except to the student, in order to explain that there is a state beyond the so called norm, a state of total transcendence. And we give a name to this, enlightenment.
When this actually happens or transpires in a person the I has been totally destroyed, totally annihilated. The me no longer exists. And to that being there is absolutely no one who became enlightened. That being is resting in his true nature, in nothingness, absolute nothingness. No one can become enlightened. No one can be liberated, for the you that thinks it can be liberated doesn’t even exist. There is no you. There is no person.
There is no human being who is a human being one day and the next day becomes liberated. There is only the liberated Self and you are that. There is not you as you appear. The appearance of you, which you think you are, is false.
Your problems do not exist
This is why I say all of your problems, all of your nonsense that you go on with, all your worries, all your cares, all your emotions, they do not exist. They never have existed and they will never exist. It is all the game of maya, the leela. It doesn’t exist. No one in this room exists. There is no you and there is no me. There is only the Self. And when the self becomes the Self it is no longer the self, for there never was a real Self to begin with.
This is the reason why I emphasise, stop thinking. Your thoughts pull you deeper into maya, into illusion. Do not think of enlightenment, or awakening, or being liberated, or finding a teacher who can help you. You are beyond help. No one can do anything for you.
The process of Realisation
Actually what happens is this. As you begin to realise you are not your thoughts, you are not your body, you are not your mind, you are not the world, you’re not even liberated, you are nothing, as you begin to think this way whatever has to happen in your evolution will transpire without you doing anything. If you are meant to be with a teacher you will be with a teacher. If you are meant to be by yourself you will be by yourself, yet you have absolutely nothing to do with these things. Remain in the no-thought state.
No need to look for liberation
The worst thing you can ever do is to search for enlightenment, for liberation. This keeps you back. It keeps you back because there is a self that is searching. There is an I that is searching. There is a me that is trying to become something and the whole idea is to remove something from your consciousness.
You are No Thing
Therefore the process of realization is removal, not adding. Removing this and removing that. Removing all concepts and all preconceived ideas. Removing all of your thoughts, no matter what kind of thoughts they are.
Good thoughts, bad thoughts, they all must go, and what is left will be nothing, no thing.
You are that. You are that no thing.
Leave the world alone
Leave the world alone. Leave people alone. Do not come to any conclusion. Do not judge anyone. Everything will take care of itself.
Doesn’t it feel good to be nothing instead of believing you are thoughts, and you are human, and you have a job to fulfill, and you have a mission? There are many spiritual people you know who think they have a mission. They have come to save the world. They can’t even save themselves and they’re looking to save the world. The world will go on the way it’s going on without your help, for or against. Leave the world alone.
The Current That Knows The Way
There is a power and there is a presence, which I like to call the current that knows the way, that takes care of everything. It is all part of the grand illusion. And even in this illusion, which appears in front of your eyes, there is a presence and a power that lifts you up. It will lift you up as high as you can allow it to, until it lifts you up completely out of your body, out of your thoughts, out of the universe, to a completely new dimension.
You’ll appear to be the same person as always to people, but you’ll not be that person any longer, for that person is gone, no longer exists. You have become Brahman. You have become all-pervading. You have become your Self without trying to do so.
Give thanks and love thyself
You must always have gratitude for the way you are. Do not feel sorry for yourself. Love yourself just the way you are. By loving yourself just the way you are you will transcend those things that have appeared to annoy you, to bother you, to cause you pain.
They will all go. You’ll no longer be aware of them. Let go of everything. Have no desires whatsoever. Dive deep within the Self. Do not react to the outside world or to your body. All is well.
When you are without thoughts, you are God
When you are without thoughts, when you are without needs, without wants, without desires, then you are God. You are the universe. You are divine love. You are beautiful. Yet when you begin to think about these things you deny it, for you think about the past and the future instead of staying centred in the eternal now. You think of the mistakes you made in life. You think about the dastardly things going on in this world.
You think about your future, about the so called recession. You are enmeshed in Maya. Do not continue to think this way.
You will see that the essential themes are:
1) Do not take any phenomena such as Body, Mind (eg. thoughts and feelings), World, Time or Space to be real (ie. all is illusion, part of the Jnana yoga teachings such as ajata). This means there is no real ‘you’ or ‘me’ or thoughts or practices or teachings, etc.
2) Be still/silent/without thoughts (ie. be still or the Raja Yoga/Dhyana yoga teachings)
3) All is well and nothing is required as:
a) you are already Indestructible Eternal and Free Timeless Being beyond words and things so there is nothing to do and nothing to worry about (ie. the Self-Knowledge or Jnana yoga teachings)
b) in the illusory world there is an illusory power that is already doing everything and this power will continue to look after everything in the absence of an illusory ‘me’ or ego, so there is nothing to do and nothing to worry about (ie. the Surrender or Bhakti yoga teachings)
4) Give thanks have have gratitude for what comes your way (ie. the gratitude or Karma yoga teachings)
What do you think – are the points I summarised above a correct representation of the quotes below? (clue: if you take point (1) to heart, where is the need for (2), (3) and (4)?) Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Tom’s Super-Brief Summary:
Therefore trust in The Power that Knows The Way, allow the mind to be still, know all is well for you are the Self and be thankful! Do not take the world (including your phenomenal body-mind self) to be real – nothing needs to be done or not done – it is all illusion!
Q: During deep meditation peace is there all the time. But otherwise it comes and goes…I want to have the direct experience of the peace that never comes and goes | Annamalai Swami
Question: During deep meditation peace is there all the time. But there is still a feeling that peace is something that can come and go. I know that this is just an idea, but I want to eliminate this idea and have the direct experience of the peace that never comes and goes.
Bhagavan says, ‘You are always the Self. It is just your notion that you are not the Self that has to be got rid of.’ How does this happen?
Annamalai Swami: The Self is peace and happiness. Realizing peace and happiness within you is the true realization of the Self. You cannot distinguish between peace, happiness and the Self. They are not separate aspects. You have this idea that peace and happiness is within you, so you make some effort to find it there, but at the moment it is still only an idea for you.
The Self is peace and happiness...You cannot distinguish between peace, happiness and the Self.
So, ask yourself, ‘To whom does this idea come? Who has this idea?’
You must pursue this line if you want to have the idea replaced by the experience. Peace is not an idea, nor is it something that comes and goes. We are always That. So, remain as That. You have no birth and no death, no bondage and no freedom. It is perpetual peace, and it is free from all ideas.
The ‘I am the body” idea is what is concealing it. This is what has to go.
The ‘I am the body” idea is what is concealing it. This is what has to go.
Question: So the notion of being the body and the mind comes back and covers the experience?
Annamalai Swami: Yes, yes. This idea, ‘I am the body’ is not there during sleep. Everyone enjoys sleeping, and the reason we enjoy it is because there are no thoughts there. It is the thoughts that arise that cause us all our trouble. There is no separate entity during sleep because no thought has arisen to create the image of one.
When waking comes, this first rising thought, ‘I am the body,’ brings separation, doubts, and confusion. If you can be without it in the waking state there will be the knowledge, ‘I am Ramana, I am Arunachala. Everything is myself.’
…this first rising thought, ‘I am the body,’ brings separation, doubts, and confusion. If you can be without it in the waking state there will be the knowledge…
Rama, Krishna, etc., are all you. It is just this limiting ‘I am the body’ thought that keeps this knowledge, this awareness from you.
In the waking state, the jnani has no limiting thoughts, no ego that identifies with a name and a form. His state is crystal clear. Ramana Bhagavan had no ego, no limiting thoughts, which is why he knew himself to be this peace, this happiness.
Ramana Bhagavan had no ego, no limiting thoughts, which is why he knew himself to be this peace, this happiness
The above excerpt is taken from Annamalai Swami Final Talks, Chapter 14
Do not take yourself to be the limited body-mind
All is illusion apart from your Self
Do not seek fulfillment in transient things
Do not consider yourself to be limited
Q. Is ignorance a moment to moment choice?
Q: Would you say it’s a choice to pretend I am not Brahman ie. to believe I am the body mind?
Tom: This question is being asked from the ‘I am the body-mind’ point of view. In truth you are Brahman, you have always/will always be Brahman, there is only Brahman, there is no ignorance. The mind may ‘choose’ to identify as Brahman or as the body-mind, but you are not the mind either way.
Q: Does anything stop me from ending all egoic tendencies right now?
Tom: Egoic tendencies are based upon the ‘I am the body-mind notion’
Q. Would you say ignorance is a moment to moment choice?
Tom: Ignorance is not real, so there is no moment to moment choice – only from the point of view of the mind is there this choice – which is an illusory/ignorant point of view ie. to say ignorance is a moment to moment choice is to identify with the body-mind.
THE ROOT CAUSE OF SUFFERING
The search to end suffering, to gain spiritual knowledge, to attain true spiritual experience and to end confusion is all due to believing you are the body-mind.
The belief ‘I am the body-mind’ is the ignorance that causes all the trouble. This belief is also known as egotism, maya, illusion, duality, separation and samsara. It is a fiction.
In essence you are not the body-mind.
You are in essence That which is Infinite, Eternal, beyond words and speech and concepts.
This is known intuitively already. It is not more conceptual knowledge for the body-mind which is just more ignorance.The words are indicators and are not meant to be more beliefs for the body-mind.
You are That which was before the body-mind was born and will be when the body-mind has gone. You are That which is in deep dreamless sleep. Again this is already intuitively known without thought or words.
There is therefore nothing to seek, nothing to know, nothing to attain, no experience required.
🕉 You are That! 🕉
🕉 Tat Tvam Asi! 🕉
🕉 Be what you are! 🕉