[INDOLOGY] jIvanmukti

James Madaio jmmadaio at gmail.com
Wed Nov 1 15:24:28 UTC 2017

Hi Patrick,

As you know this is a rather broad inquiry considering that *jīvanmukti* is
a term used across traditions in different ways.  Before it was used in
Advaita Vedānta it was employed in the non-dual Śaiva context and in the
*Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha*/*Mokṣopāya* (from where it may have made transit into
Advaita Vedāntin *sampradāya*s as a technical term [but not as a new
conceptual notion]).

Advaita Vedānta is not doctrinally uniform across time and space and, to
paraphrase Daya Krishna, all that is Advaita Vedānta is not Śaṃkara. It is
difficult therefore to speak across the whole tradition but I can say that
in the fourteenth century, Vidyāraṇya, in his *Jīvanmuktiviveka*, argues
that the *"jīvanmukta*" is precisely the one who has secured, stabilized or
safeguarded non-dual knowing (*jñānarakṣā*).  So, in this case, there are
no obstacles for the one who is called a *jīvanmukta*; however, there may
be potential obstacles for  knowers of *brahman* (but they are therefore
not yet considered *jīvanmukta*s).  Antecedents of this position—i.e., that
there may be obstacles for knowers—can be found in the commentarial works
of Śaṃkara, as noted here by Aleksandar.

The term *jīvanmukti*, of course, indicates something philosophically
different in other *vedānta* traditions, as well as in *haṭha* yogic,
*rasāyana*, and Nāth-Siddha texts, etc. This is, of course, to say nothing
of regional or vernacular traditions (some of which are advaitic in
orientation) where the term is also employed.

I have included here some references that engage with the issue of
*jīvanmukti* which may, in some cases, overlap with the notion of the
“perfected body.”  (I have not listed individually the interesting articles
in the excellent volume edited by Andrew Fort and Patricia Mumme).


Arapura, J.G. 1987.  *Hermeneutical Essays on Vedāntic Topics*.  Delhi:
Motilal Banarsidass.

Bansat-Boudon, Lyne. 2013. “The contribution of Nondual Śaivism of Kashmir
to the Debate on *jīvanmukti*: A Thematic Perspective on the Question of
Periodization.” In *Periodization and Historiography of Indian Philosophy*,
ed. Eli Franco.  Wien: De Nobili Research Library, 307-326.

Das Gupta, Shashi Bhushan. 1946. *Obscure Religious Cults*. Calcutta: Firma

Eliade, Mircea. 1958. *Yoga: Immortality and Freedom*. Translated by
Willard R. Trask. New York: Pantheon.

Fort, Andrew O. 1998. *Jīvanmukti in Transformation: Embodied Liberation in
Advaita and Neo-Vedanta*. New York: State University of New York.

Fort, Andrew O., and Patricia Y. Mumme (eds.). 1996. *Living Liberation in
Hindu Thought. *Albany: State University of New York Press.

Mallinson, James and Mark Singleton.  2017.  *Roots of Yoga*.  London:
Penguin Books.

Ondračka, Lubomír. 2015.  "Perfected Body, Divine Body and Other Bodies in
the Nātha-Siddha Sanskrit Texts." *Journal of Hindu Studies* 8:2, 210-232

Prajnanananda, Swami. 1992. *Is a Jīvanmukta subject to ignorance*.
Kolkata: Ramakrishna Vedanta Math.

Ram-Prasad, Chakravarthi. 2001. *Knowledge and Liberation in Classical
Indian Thought*. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Saraogi, Serbaeva Olga. 2010.  “Liberation in life and After Death in Eary
Śaiva Mantramārgic Texts: The Problem of Jīvanmukti.” In *Release from Life
— Release from Death: Indian Perspectives on Individual Liberation*, eds.,
Andreas Bigger, et. al. New York: Perter Lang, 211-234.

Slaje, Walter. 2000. “Liberation From Intentionality and Involvement: On
the Concept of Jīvanmukti According to the Mokṣopāya.” *Journal of Indian
Philosophy *28:2, 171-194.

Slaje, Walter.  2000.  “Towards a history of the jīvanmukti concept: the
Mokṣadharma in the Mahābhārata.” In *Harānandalaharī: volume in honour of
professor Minoru Hara on his seventieth birthday*, eds., Ryutaro Tsuchida
and Albrecht Wezler. Reinbek: Verlag für Orientalistische

Srivastava, L. K. L. 1990. *Advaitic Concept of Jīvanmukti*. Delhi:
Bharatiya Vidya Prakashan.

Suthren Hirst, Jacqueline. 2016.  "When the body does not fall: Śaṃkara,
Sureśvara and Ānandagiri on living while liberated." *Journal of Hindu
Studies* 9:1, 1-28.

White, D.G. 1996. *The Alchemical Body: siddha traditions in medieval India*.
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press





Dr. James Madaio

Fellow, Oriental Institute (Prague), Czech Academy of Sciences

Fellow, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

Associate Editor, Journal of Hindu Studies

On Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 4:20 AM, Aleksandar Uskokov via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Dear Patrick,
> Sankara (who does not use the term jivan-mukti except once in the
> Bhagavad-gita-bhasya, but "if it walks like a duck ...") under
> Brhad-aranyaka 1.4.7 justifies the need for nididhyasana the third Vedantic
> process, when the Self had been known (and, eo ipso, liberation attained)
> by the application of sravana and manana the first two processes, with the
> consideration that the karma that had started bearing fruits trumps
> knowledge of the Self. Thus even the knower of the Self needs restrain
> (niyama) to guard against the functions of the body, mind, and senses. It
> must follow, theoretically, that there is a danger, however slight, that
> the state of liberation could be lost, or perhaps that final liberation
> could be delayed through relapse in identification.
> It is probably worthwhile to remember that jivan-mukti did not mean the
> same thing to everyone (and not to forget its aspect of freedom from the
> requirement to perform one's duties). Thus Bhaskara, who argued vehemently
> against jivan-mukti as Advaitins understood it under Brahma-Sutra 3.4.26-7,
> claiming that liberation in life was not possible, nevertheless affirmed
> explicitly a form of jivan-mukti under BS 4.1.14, that is, freedom from the
> psychological torments such as passion and aversion (śarīra-pāte tu viduṣo
> muktir avaśyaṁ-bhāvinīti | dvidhā-muktir jīvad-avasthāyāṁ rāga-dveśa-mohaiḥ
> tad-aṅgaiś ca madādibhir vimuktiḥ | pātottara-kālam ātyantikīti). Since
> final liberation happens only after death, provided one maintained perfect
> meditation on Brahman and the performance of one's ritual till death, it
> must also follow that this kind of jivan-mukti could theoretically be lost
> as well, by slacking in meditation and ritual.
> All best
> Aleksandar
> On Tue, Oct 31, 2017 at 7:39 PM, patrick mccartney via INDOLOGY <
> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
>> Dear Friends,
>> Is there any mention that, once the state of *jīvanmukti* is attained,
>> can it be undone or reversed? Or, is it a theoretically permanent
>> disposition?
>> Thanks.
>> All the best,
>> Patrick McCartney, PhD
>> JSPS Fellow - Kyoto University
>> Visiting Fellow - Australian National University
>> Skype - psdmccartney
>> Phone + Whatsapp:  +61 414 954 748 <+61%20414%20954%20748>
>> Twitter - @psdmccartney
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