The Jnani or Jivan Mukta
6. “Is there no ‘I-am-the-body’ idea for the Jnani? If, for instance, Sri Bhagavan is bitten by an insect, is there no sensation?
Bhagavan: “There is the sensation and there is also the ‘I-am-the-body’ idea. The latter is common to both the Jnani and the ajnani with this difference, that the ajnani thinks ‘only the body is myself’, whereas the Jnani knows ‘all this is the Self’ or ‘all this is Brahman’; if there be pain, let it be. It is also part of the Self. The Self is perfect”.
“Now with regard to the actions of the Jnanis, they are only so called because they are ineffective. Generally the actions get embedded as samskaras (impressions) in the individual. That can be only so long as the mind is fertile, as is the case of the ajnani. With a Jnani the mind is only surmised; he has already transcended the mind. Because of his apparent activity the mind has to be inferred in his case, and that mind is not fertile like that of an ajnani. Hence it is said that the Jnani’s mind is Brahman. Brahman is certainly no other than the Jnani’s mind. Vasanas cannot bear fruit in that soil, His mind is barren, free from the vasanas, etc.
“However, sinceprarabdha is conceded in his case, vasanas also must be supposed to exist. But they are only vasanas for enjoyment, leaving no impressions to be the seeds for future karma.”
Note: In this text we have a full view of the Jnani’s state: in pains, in action, in the working out of an old, and the generation of a new, karma, etc. It all amounts to this; his perceptions of pain and pleasure and of the world are exactly like those of the ajnani, as we have discussed in Note 45 of the last chapter. He sees other bodies and his own exactly as others see them, but, unlike others, he knows the truth about them. A peasant who, for the first time goes to a cinema-show and sees fierce fire raging on the screen, starts screaming and tries to run out of the theatre, taking the fire to be real; whereas the others sit Backin their chairs unconcerned. This is the exact difference between the Jnani and the ajnani in their perceptions. Both see the very same sights, yet their knowledge of them vastly differs.
As for the actions of Jnani they are equally productive – often even more so – as those of the ajnani (the word ‘ineffective’ in the text is likely to be misrepresented as qualifying actions, whereas it qualifies the production of samskaras, but they are without vasanas, although they appear as if they were. They resemble Coleridge’s wonderful pen picture of “a painted ship on a painted ocean”, though ship and ocean are real. The actual ship is there, the actual ocean is also there, but there is no movement in either on account of the curse. The same are the vasanas of the Jnani which leave no impressions on his mind. The driving force in an action which produces Karma is its motive, which is absent in the Jnani s; hence there is no creation of a new karma for him. The actor is there, the action is also there, but the driving force of the action is, in his case, automatic, being impersonal, vasana free. The Srutis compare it to the fried seed which can no longer sprout. That is why the action of the Jnani is viewed as inaction. The Jnani appears to act, and efficiently too, but he is not acting at all. This is the significance of inaction in action and action in inaction. The motiveless mind is Brahman Itself. This is one of the most revealing statements of Bhagavan.