Jivanmukti Viveka – The path to liberation in this life by Swami Vidyaranya

Vidyaranya Swami (1296-1386), author of the wonderful Advaita Vedanta text Panchadasi and Shankaracharya (head monk) of Sringeri Math, wrote another less well known text called Jivanmukti Viveka. In it he, in some considerable detail, outlines the path to Jivanmukti, or liberation in this life.

In Chapter 2 he repeatedly makes the point that liberation or jnana cannot occur without both manonasa (destruction of the mind) and vasana kshaya (destruction of the habitual tendencies).

We shall now address ourselves to the means which lead to Jivanmukti (Liberation in this Life). These are Jnana, manonasa and vasana-kshaya.

He states that these three should be practised simultaneously. Throughout this text he quotes extensively from many authoritative texts to back up his view, this time quoting from the wonderful Yoga Vasishta:

Hence, in the Yoga Vasishta, Vasishta says, while dealing with The Body of the Jivanmukta at the end of the Chapter on Supreme Pacification: ‘Oh best of intellects vasasa-Kshaya, Jnana and Manonasa, attended to simultaneously for sufficient length of time, bear the desired fruit…

Vidyaranya then quotes again from Yoga Vasishta emphasising the need to practice these three for and extended period of time:

‘Until these three are not well attended to with sufficient and repeated trials, the Condition [Jivanmukti] can never be realised,  even at the end of a hundred years.’

Here are some more quotes from Chapter 2 of Jivanmukti Viveka:

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vidyaranyajnananevercomesaboutwithoutvasanakshaya

vidyaranyathemindshouldbepreventedfromfunctioning

brihadaranyakaupdesirelessisbrahman

Vidyaranya no mind.png

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Why seeing/understanding alone may not be enough

This post follows on from my previous 3 posts relating to the body:

  1. Do you know for certain that you are the body?
  2. Are you or are you not the body?
  3. Why does understanding the body matter?

Seeing this is not always enough

However, for many people simply seeing there is no doer is not enough. Why? Well we have lived our lives for many years with the deeply ingrained belief that we are doers, with the belief that we are the creator of our thoughts and instigators of our actions. This habitual belief is not so easily washed away, and even when seen, it can continue to operate and cause us to suffer.

In vedanta a common methodology used to counteract this is to utilise a concept that opposes and counteracts the ignorance:

‘I am not the body’ is a tool by which one can weed out the ‘I am the body’ notion.

Practice of the knowledge ‘I am not the body’ is a conceptual tool by which one can weed out the belief in ‘I am the body’ concept.

Note that ‘I am not the body’ is a concept. If believed in, ie. if considered to be genuinely true, it would be a belief. You do not have to believe a concept is true in order to benefit from it. You can use the concept either way, whether you believe in it or not.

To be continued in my next post: Integrating the understanding of no-doer

Nisargadatta Maharaj: In reality there is no person

Nisargadatta_Maharaj

The person is merely the result of a misunderstanding. In reality, there is no such thing.

Feelings, thoughts and actions race before the watcher in endless succession, leaving traces in the brain and creating an illusion of continuity.

A reflection of the watcher in the mind creates the sense of “I” and the person acquires an apparently independent existence.

In reality there is no person, only the watcher identifying himself with the ‘I’ and the ‘mine’.

Taken from I Am That by Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Alan Watts: You and the universe are one

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“It’s not true that you came into this world. You came out of it, in the same way a flower comes out of a plant or a fruit comes out of a tree. An apple tree apples, the solar system peoples…You are a function of this total galaxy”
Alan Watts

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