Posted by: adbhutam | July 12, 2010


श्रीगुरुभ्यो नमः

Shri Shankaracharya has set at rest all doubts and disputations that might arise / have arisen among seekers regarding this issue:

Whether or not the ego, mind and body which includes, by default, sense / motor organs, exist for a Jnani. While there is incontrovertible evidence for this, even for the cursory reader, for example in the Bhagavadgita Fifth chapter, yet, while deliberating on the topic of the post-enlightenment state of a person (now Jnani), in the Brahmasutras, the Bhashyakara has this to say while commenting on the Sutra 4.1.15:

// Moreover, it is not a matter for dispute at all whether the body of the Knower of Brahman continues to exist for sometime or not. For how can one contest the fact of another possessing the knowledge of Brahman ” vouched for by his hear’t’s conviction” and at the same time continuing with the body? This very fact is elaborated in the Upanishads and the SmRtis in the course of determining the characteristics of ‘the man of steady wisdom’. //

From the above statement we see the Acharya is confirming the presence of the Ego, Mind and Body in ONE GO. The sentence that does this is:

// For how can one contest the fact of another possessing the knowledge of Brahman  vouched for by his heart’s conviction  and at the same time continuing with the body? //

1. For the presence of ego the word the bhashyam gives is: ‘his’. In the original the word is: ‘sva’. SSS (Sri Sacchidanandendra Saraswati SwaminaH) has translated this in Kannada as ‘tanna’. This is the word one uses to refer to him’self’, her’self’, one’self’. Here, in these usages, the ‘self’ is undoubtedly the ego, translated in sanskrit as amahkaara.

2. For the presence of ‘mind’ the word the bhashyam gives is: ‘heart’s’. In the original the word is: ‘hRdaya’. SSS has translated this in Kannada as ‘hRdaykke’. In order to add emphasis to the fact that it is a realization that is available ONLY to that Jnani concerned, SSS adds the word ‘maatra’ in Kannada which restricts the realization to that particular Jnani (paricchinna antahkaraNa). The original expression is ‘sva-hRdaya’ which means : one’s heart or one’s mind. The word HRdayam is given the meaning of antaHkaraNa, manas, buddhi, etc. to denote the one faculty: mind across the bhashyam literature. (IshwaraH sarvabhUtAnAm hRddeshe Arjuna tiShThati of Gita 18th chapter).

3.For the presence of body the word the bhashyam gives is: ‘continuing with the body’. SSS uses the same word of the bhashya ‘dehadhAraNa’m in the Kannada translation.

4. There is an additional component to the presence of the mind in a Jnani, that is crucial in the above bhashya statement: the word ‘pratyaya’. Pratyaya is ‘conviction’, a thought, etc. In this context the appropriate word is ‘conviction’. It is common knowledge that a conviction can and does exist only in the mind. Atman cannot have any properties of the mind. So, the bhashyam word ‘heart’s conviction’ or ‘sva-hRdaya-pratyaya’ gives absolutely no room for any doubt that there is the mind for the Jnani. SSS confirms this by the kannada word: ‘tiLiyabaruva’. This means: the knowledge that one ‘gets to know, comes to appreciate’, etc. Certainly no such vyApAra can be admitted in the Atman.

The original words of the bhashya to confirm the prsence of ALL THE THREE – EGO, MIND AND THE BODY to the Jnani in ONE GO: sva-hRdaya-pratyayam dehadhAraNam cha.

Those who belong to the tradition of ShAnkara VedAnta have cherished the above sentence of the Acharya as the one where the revered Acharya gives expression to HIS OWN REALIZATION, svaanubhava.

Those outside the tradition of ShAnkara VedAnta who deny the concept of Jivanmukti and therefore the possibility of Shankara being a Jnani, however, do not accept that the above sentence is the Acharya’s expression of His own anubhava. In any case, a traditionalfollower of Shankara Vedanta, would not be able to contradict the fact conveyed by that statement : That none can challenge the experience had by the Jnani that he has the Brahman-experience simultaneously with the knowledge that there is the body continuing.

In fact Shankara, if one grants is a Jnani, was able to say this statement, or rather write this bhashya, only because He had the ego, mind and the body. In the absence of these, we would not have had the blessing of having His Bhashya. There are evidences from His own words in the Gita and Taittiriya Bhashya and even the Sutra bhashya where the presence of ‘ego’ in Him is expressed by Himself. We shall present those sentences in a different thread, if occasion arises.

In no place has the Sarvajna Shankara made the statement in the prasthAna traya bhashya that it is ajnanis who posit a body, mind, etc. on a Jnani. The above bhashya statement itself is a testimony to that.

We do not value any Mahatma’s statement that contradicts what Shankara has said on these matters. All statements of all Mahatmas will be acceptable to the follower of Shankara-advaita only if they do not contradict Shankara’s statements, expressed or implied. If they are found to contradict what the Acharya has said, they will have to be rejected, as Shankara Himself has taught in the Gita Bhashya, as ‘asampradAyavit’s statements’.

Om Tat Sat


  1. Fundamental difference between a wise man(jivanmukta) and other jivas is, that the former “knows”,the ontological status of ALL THE THREE – EGO, MIND AND THE BODY, as being unreal and That which illumines it(sakshi atma), as being real.

    This difference has implications that are not academic( i.e. one may continue to logically question the truth of this position) but has more experiential fallout. jivan mukta, knowing the unreality of the three, is not affected by the, in a deeper way, favorable and unfavorable changes that occur, continuously, in these three loci(EGO, MIND AND THE BODY). Therefore death, disease, elation, dejection, confusion etc., which plague the “ordinary” jivas, leading to samsara, loose there significance in a wise man(jyani).its like a snake that has lost it’s venom.

    so, perception of the these three ,viz EGO, MIND AND THE BODY, is not a problem but imputing it with false reality , due to ignorance of “what is actually real(brahman)”, is the root cause of the problem. One may continue too “see” mirage water, but that person , at the level of buddhi, will not expect it to quench, his or her, thirst.

    On the contrary, the wise man, see these as glory of Ishwara (vibhuti), and can “use” them intelligently.



    • Thanks Vishal ji for those observations. They depict the correct position of the Vedanta on the matter of the jivanmukta.

      Best regards,

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