Most of us have heard of these four kinds of mukti: sAlokya, sAmeepya, sArupya and sAyujya. There are varying definitions of these but generally we can understand them to be:
1.sAlokya – going to the ‘loka’ of the deity worshipped
2. sAmeepya – being in the proximity of the deity worshipped
3. sArUpya – taking on the form that looks alike the deity worshipped
4. sAyujya – getting into the ‘body’ of the deity worshipped
All these types of ‘mukti’ are only relative liberation and not the real liberation intended in the Vedanta characterized by non-return to samsara अपुनरावृत्तिः. About this we have a sentence from the commentary of Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati SwaminaH for the Viveka chUDAmaNi verse 2 (end):
The salient features of the above sentences can be enumerated thus:
- The four kinds described in the beginning are not the ‘real’ muktiH.
- They pertain to the saguNa Brahman
- They are therefore mithyA
- Because, the Vedantic ultimate Brahman-nature of being free of the three kinds of limitations of space, time and objects is impossible in the SaguNa Brahman.
- ‘To remain established as Brahman Itself’ is the goal of Vedantic sadhana.
- This is characterized by:
- Freedom from association with all the erroneously imagined limiting adjuncts like body, mind, etc.
- Ever-Free, Ever-Pure, Ever-Conscious
- Non-different from the innermost Self (Atman)
- This is called ‘Kaivalya’ as different from the four types saalokya, etc.
Thus, in Vedanta, the four types have no primary status as mukti. They are only relative. Elsewhere, the Acharya, in this very commentary (I think) has stated that the case of Jaya-Vijaya returning from Vishnu loka, VishNu sAmeepya and VishNu sArUpya (any or all of these) types is a case to prove that these types of mukti-s are not free from the characteristic of absolute non-return to samsara. The following points are about these four types:
- A ‘bheda’, difference, between jiva and Ishwara
- Things like ‘closeness’, ‘same residence’, ‘similar form’ presuppose a finite form for the jiva
- This is contradicted by the svarUpa defined for the Atman, for example, in the Bhagavad Gita second chapter as ‘all pervading’.
- The Ishwara too that is different from the jiva will be finite as bheda is to be maintained
- This is also against the ‘all pervading’ nature of Ishwara
- Many all-pervading atma-s cannot co-exist. Also one or many all-pervading atma-s cannot coexist with the all-pervading Brahman.
- When ‘closeness’, etc. are to be admitted, there has to be admitted space, aakAsha. [There is a table and a chair is placed very close to it. Both are in space, limited, produced and perishable. This will be the situation of a moksha where atman is different from Brahman and resides ‘very close’ to Brahman.
- The presence of AkAsha is characteristic of PrakRti
- The 7th Chapter of the Gita teaches that AkAsha, etc. are evolutes of the aparaa prakRti, jaDa prakRti
- Thus, these types of mukti do not guarantee freedom from the influence of jaDa prakRti
- This gives rise to other problems like ‘icchA, dveSha’, etc. that are also features of PrakRti, kshetram (Gita 13. 5,6)
- Freedom from these mental states is not attained in these types of mukti.
- This is evidenced by the story of Jaya-Vijaya who gave room to emotions
- Possibility of curse is also not ruled out in these types of mukti as evidenced by the above story
- Since many people reside in such loka-s, all saamsaaric problems will be there.
- Also, all these, being the effects of the three guNas of prakRti, sattva, rajas and tamas make these loka-s where these types of mukti are obtained no different from any other created loka. This is evidenced by the Gita verse 18.40: There is no object in all the three worlds that is free from the operation of the three guNas of prakRti.
- This shows that even the loka-s like VaikunTha, Kailasa, etc. are only created ones, coming under the purview of the JaDa prakRti
- Attaining these loka-s for attaining any of the four types of mukti-s will entail subjection to jaDa prakRti
- This is not moksha at all
- It is only samsara experienced in a different loka.
- Since such mukti-s are attained owing to puNya, the rule: kSheeNe puNye martya lokam vishanti is inevitably applicable
- The word ‘mukti’ attached to these four types is only relative; it is like the word ‘amRtatvam’ found in the Kathopanishad 1.1.13 – स्वर्गलोका अमृतत्वं भजन्ते [people in the swarga loka experience immortality] This immortality in swarga is only relative to the short span of life in this human loka. All that it means is that in swarga people will live for a very long time.
- The Gita teaches that all loka-s upto and including Brahmaloka are temporary. VishNuloka and Shiva loka are no exceptions.
- In the अनात्मश्रीविगर्हणम् Sri Shankaracharya says: धातुर्लोकः साधितो वा ततः किं, विष्णोर्लोको वीक्षितो वा ततः किम् ? शंभोर्लोकःशासितो वा ततः किं ? येन स्वात्मा नैव साक्षात्कृतोऽभूत् ।
16) The world of Brahma has been acquired, the world of Vishu has been seen and the world of Shiva has been ruled over – all these,verily, are in vain to him by whom the Self has not been realized.
- If one has to ‘go there’ to attain mukti, then that loka is not here, now. That means it is finite. That means it is only created and therefore perishable.
The following are the characteristics of Kaivalya:
- The Moksha taught by Vedanta, Kaivalya, is right here and now; it is the very svarUpa of everyone. It only requires to be realized.
- Going to another loka for mukti is against the Shruti: न तस्य प्राणा उत्क्रामन्ति Brihadaranyaka Up. 4.4.6 which teaches the Jnani’s subtle body does not leave the physical body at all upon death. So, there is no question of his traveling to some other loka for moksha.
- Brahman is realized here itself and the jnani is Brahman Itself: रसो वै सः says the Taittiriya Upanishad. महान्तं विभुं आत्मानं मत्वा धीरो न शोचति says the Kathopanishad. The Infinite Atman is ‘known’ by the Jnani. वेदाहमेतं पुरुषं महान्तम्….नान्यः पन्था विद्यतेऽयनाय says the Purusha sUktam: ‘I have known/realized that Infinite Purusha….there is no other path than this for moksha. These teach that the Ultimate Reality, Brahman, is realized. There is no partial realization of Brahman possible. Brahman is without any parts. तत् त्वम् असि says the Chandogya Upanishad: You ‘are’ That. It does not say: tat tvam bhaviShyasi (you will become That). By this declaration the Upanishad teaches: 1. You are already That and 2.You are not any part of That. You are Wholly That. यत्साक्षादपरोक्षाद्ब्रह्म says the Br.Upanishad: Brahman is directly immediately intimately avaialble as the very innermost self of everyone. No doubt needs to be entertained as to whether one will be able to realize Brahman ‘fully’ or not. Such doubts are unvedantic thoughts that are only impediments to moksha.
- Real Moksha of the Vedanta is complete freedom from prakRti and finitude
- This is called ‘Kaivalya’
- This is characterized by abheda, kevala bhAva.
- This does not imply ‘svarUpa naasha’ of the jiva.
- In abheda, aikyam, the jiva’s svarupa is impossible of nAsha. The Gita teaches the Atman as ‘nityaH sarvagataH sthANuH’ ’अविनाशि तु तद्विद्धि येन सर्वमिदं ततम्. [Know that Atman to be imperishable and that which pervades all this]. So, where is the question of the Atman perishing or attaining destruction? The Brihadaranyaka Up. teaches: न हि द्रष्टुः दृष्टेः विपरिलोपो विद्यते, अविनाशित्वात् [The consciousness of the seer will never go out of existence, because it is indestructible.]
- Any mukti that is a result of attainment of a loka or a rUpa or a status is time-bound
- There is a maxim: संयोगाः वियोगान्ताः – all conjoinings last only as long as they are not disjoined
- And a mukti that is a result of going to some place and being with someone and taking some form is all characterized by a beginning and therefore will have an end.
- Only that mukti taught as the supreme one in the Vedanta that is nothing other than realizing that one is nitya mukta svabhaava is the ever-lasting one
- In this, one is already ever-free, never-bound; only not realizing this owing to ajnAna. And thinking that one is bound.
- When owing to the Guru-ShAstra upadesha and sadhana one realizes this, the ajnAna is dispelled and one comes to know that one has ever been free and that it is one’s true nature
- This ‘coming to know’ is not to be mistaken as any ‘beginning of a state’ and its end feared; it is only a figurative expression to denote the dispelling of avidya
- The dispelled avidya will not return as there is no power that can cause its return.
- There is no going to any other loka, taking any other form or being with any other different entity
- Thus, there is no finittude of any kind in this moksha and therefore this alone is the real one.
With reference to the above, it would be beneficial to learn what the Chandogya Upanishad Chapter 3 says:
3. “That Self abides in the heart. The etymological explanation of heart is this: This one (ayam) is in the heart (hridi); therefore It is called the heart (hridayam). He who knows this goes every day in deep sleep to Heaven (i.e. Brahman, dwelling in the heart).
4. “Now, this serene being, after rising from this physical body and attaining the Highest Light, reaches his own true form. This is the Self.” Thus he (i.e. the teacher, questioned by his pupils) spoke. Continuing, he said: “This is the immortal, the fearless. This is Brahman. And of this Brahman the name is Satyam, the True.”//
Shankaracharya comments on this last mantra: ‘rising up from this body’, giving up this body, i e. giving up the idea of identity of the Self with the body ….Before the attainment of this true nature, he had accepted through ignorance the body, which is other than his own nature, s his own Self. As distinguished from that, it is being said, ‘in his true nature.’
Another point to be remembered regarding the (im)possibility of ‘losing one’s nature’, ‘svarUpa nAsha’ in the state of kaivalya is that – even if one wishes to destroy/lose one’s nature, svarUpa, it is impossible to do so as the Bhagavadgita has taught: The Self cannot be destroyed by burning, cutting, …..killing, etc. अच्छेद्योऽयं, अदाह्योऽयं…..न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे. There is no way one can bring about the destruction of the Self. So, in the state of Kaivalya, the Self alone remains. The loss of individuality is not tolerable to some poeple and thus they raise this objection to the Vedantic Kaivalya.
Here are some more points worth noting about the impossibility of ‘svarUpa naasha’ in the Vedaamtic Kaivalya characterized by Brahman alone existing:
The Bhagavadgita 2.16 teaches: न अभावो विद्यते सतः [ Existence (Atman/Brahman) will never go out of existence.] That assures that Atman will never become non-existent, destroyed, in any circumstance whatsoever.
It would be interesting to note that the Chandogya Upanishad Chapter 6 teaches the Self-knowledge, sad-vidyA. Here, the word ‘Brahman’ is not used and instead the word ‘Sat’ is used. Sat is Brahman, Satyam. The Upanishad begins by presenting Sat as the cause of the universe. After a long deliberation on the non-difference of the effect from the cause, the Upanishad concludes by teaching ‘That Self of the universe is Satyam, you are That, Shvetaketu’. The Upanishadic teaching is: Atman the Self of the body-mind complex is none other than the Sat that is the self of the whole universe which includes the body-mind complex as well. This is because the body-mind apparatus is also made of the same elements that go into making the entire universe. These elements are themselves effects of the Sat. On the basis of the three illustrations: clay-clay-products, gold-ornaments and iron-implements the Upanishad had taught that all effects being transformations, vikAra, are unreal as transformations (name/form) but real only as their material cause. mRttiketyeva satyam. sadeva satyam.
Since the Upanishad itself has taught that the Atma is non-different from Sat, there is no question of Atman losing its svarUpa in the kaivalya/liberated state where Brahman alone remains. It is further interesting to note that the Lord in Gita 2.16 had taught the Atman as Sat, the one that never goes out of existence (as contrasted with ‘anAtma’, ‘asat’ that has no existence at all]. The Upanishad teaches Sat as Brahman, the cause of the universe. Thus, the Gita ‘Sat’ Atma is the Upanishadic Sat, Brahman. ‘Atmaa cha Brahma’ is the pithy sentence of the Sutra bhaashya.
Thus, on the authority of the Gita and the Upanishad we conclude that there can never be the possibility of the Atman losing its svarUpa, ‘svarUpa nAsha’, in the state of Kaivalya.
We have seen other scriptural passages in this connection in the foregoing on this topic. Also, svarUpa naasha could be spoken of only in the case of any ‘merger’. The case of the Atman attaining Kaivalya is not a case of merger. Merger presupposes more than one entity that could come together to form a merger. Here we have only one Consciousness that alone appears (appeared) as the Atman in the body-mind apparatus (upAdhi) and as the sarva-vyApi Brahman, Sat, in the jagat-upAdhi. What happens in kaivalya is only the extinguishing, through viveka, knowledge, of the upAdhi-s. In the absence of the upAdhi-s, what remains over is just the One Chaitanya, Consciousness called Brahman, Sat.
Om Tat Sat