Benefits of Self-knowledge

Updated: Mar 31, 2019

Aikya jana phalam Benefits of the knowledge of oneness

Evaṁ ca vedāntavākyaiḥ sadgurupadeśena ca sarveṣvapi bhūteṣu yeṣāṁ

brahmabuddhirutpannā te jīvanmuktāḥ ityarthaḥ.

And in this manner, those for whom the knowledge of Brahman in all beings is born through the sentences of Vedanta, and by the teaching of a Sad guru, are liberated while living.

This is the last topic of the Tattvabodha text. In first verse of the first chapter itself, we have learned that this text is for the purpose of liberation. And now in the last chapter, ācārya needs to specify one more time that this liberation is gained (owned up) by the the knowledge of oneness between me and Brahman who is the consciousness principle of all beings. And this knowledge is born only through the sentence of Vedanta like tat tvam asi (you are that), aham brahma asmi (I am brahman), etc. which unfolded systematically by the teacher in the lineage of the teaching (sampradāya).

One who has own up this truth is called Jīvanmuktah - liberate person.

Nanu jīvanmuktaḥ kah? But, who is a jīvanmuktaḥ or a liberated person?

Liberation sounds wonderful, but one might have another question about the condition of a liberate person. What is his/her mindset? What are others benefits? etc.

Yathā deho'haṁ puruṣo'haṁ brāhmaṇo'haṁ śūdro'hamasmīti dṛḍhaniścayastathā nāhaṁ brāhmaṇaḥ na śūdraḥ na puruṣaḥ kintu asangaḥsaccidānandasvarūpaḥ prakāśarūpaḥ sarvāntaryāmi cidākāśa-rūpo'smīti dṛḍhaniścayarūpo'parokṣa jñānavān jīvanmuktaḥ I

Just as there is the firm conclusion (before self knowledge), “I am the body, I am a man, I am a brahmana, I am sudra” so too, the one who is liberated while living as firm, abiding, immediate knowledge (not mediated by sensory perception) that, “I am not a brahmana or sudra, or a man, but (on the other hand) I am unattached, of the nature of existence, consciousness, fullness, whose nature is effulgence, who is (the indweller) in all beings, in the form of all-pervasive consciousness.

Jīva is said to be the one who is identify with a particular confined body, therefore the limitation of that particular body is also being identified. No matter how good a position one is holding in this society, for sure it will be limited in the certain ways.

But this limitation is a distorted knowledge. I the consciousness is never limited, limitation is only at the level of upādhi-medium. Just like the sun is never limited by the pot, only the image of the sun in that particular pot is limited. Therefore to remove the sense of limitation, one should give up the identification by owning up one's own true nature as sat-cit-ānanda.

There is always a confusion about how the śastra described ātmā. It is always said that ātmā has no quality, but why it is said having the nature of sat-cit-ānanda? One's might have a numbers of qualities, and the nature of quality is being changes. When the nature of ātmā is sat-cit-ānanda, these three words are not three different things as the qualities of ātmā, but they are talking about the nature of consciousness which is explained in different ways as existence and limitless. This is called nature because it just never ceases away. Just like the nature of water is cooling, even though the water become hot in quality after being heat-up, it will come back to its cooling nature after sometimes. Because the word consciousness is difficult to comprehend, therefore ācārya is using others word to explain.

I consciousness even thought pervades the body mind complex, it is not attached to it. When body perishes, I consciousness continuous to exist. This unattached nature is called asanga-svarūpah.

Sarva-antaryāmi means inner-self of all being. It inherent in every being just like a thread behind every bead of a garland. Beads are visible, but not the thread which is holding beads together. Just like one ātmā which is invisible behind every visible individual, and being one holding all individuals in this creation. Though it pervades all the beads, yet it is unattached to them.

Cit-ākāśa-rūpah and prakāśarūpaḥ, ātmā is compared to the space and light which are of the nature of formless, division-less, unpolluted and has no boundary. Even though space is associated with every object, but it is not connected to any object.

A liberate person has assimilated this true nature of ātmā. He has no identification with whatever quality which are not belong to him, therefore he said "I am not brahmana" etc. There is no limitation for him.

Brahmaivāhamasmītyaparoksajñānena nikhila-karma-bandha-vinirmuktih


Thus, by the immediate knowledge, “I am indeed Brahman”, one would be totally freed from all bonds of karma.

In śastra, knowledge usually is divided into three types:

1. Paroksa jñānam, knowledge of an object which is far away from us and which is not available for direct experience.

2. Pratyaksa jñānam, knowledge of an object which is available in front of us and we can have a direct experience of it.

3. Aparoksa jñānam, immediate knowledge, where the self-knowledge is fall under here.

Both paroksa and pratyaksa jñānam refer to the knowledge of particular object alone. The different between these two is in the proximity or remoteness of the object of experience. Self-knowledge doesn't fall under either of the category, because I the self am not object of experience. I can experience my body and my thought but I can not experience myself as consciousness. I consciousness can never be the object of experience either remote nor proximate. I consciousness is always the subject / the experiencer / the knower, never be the object of experience either direct nor indirect. Therefore the liberate person own up the immediate knowledge "I am Brahman", not equated "I" with an entity called Brahman as the object, but knowing "I am of the nature of sat-cit-ānandā" with firm conviction. How convince? As convince as one knowing one's own existence which doesn't need approval of anybody.

Brahmaivāhamasmītyaparoksajñānena nikhila-karma-bandha-vinirmuktih syāt.

Thus, by the immediate knowledge, “I am indeed Brahman”, one would be totally freed from all bonds of karma.

Laws of Karma Q: Karmāṇi kati vidhāni santīti cēt.

If asked, “How many kinds of karma are there?”

A: āgāmi-sañcita-prārabdha-bhedena trividhani santi.

They are of three types with the differences as āgāmi-sañcita-prārabdha.

Q: Āgāmi karma kim?

What is āgāmi-karma?

A: Jñānotpattyanantaraṁ jñānidehakṛtaṁ puṇyapāparūpaṁ karma yadasti


Karma in the form of result of action (punya and pāpa), performed by the body of the wise man (the self), after the dawn of knowledge, is called āgāmi-karma.

Q: Sañcitam karma kim?

What is sañcita-karma?

A: Anantakoṭijanmanāṁ bījabhūtaṁ sat yat karmajātaṁ pūrvārjitaṁ

tiṣṭhati tat sañcitaṁ jñeyam.

The accumulated load of karma what was gathered before in countless crores of births,

which stands (exist) in a seed form, is to be known as sañcita.

Q: Prārabdham karma kimiti cet?

If asked, what is prārabdha-karma?

A: Idaṁ śarīramutpādyeha loke evam sukhaduḥkhādipradaṁ yat-karma tat prārabdhaṁ. Bhogena naṣṭaṁ bhavati. Prārabdha-karmaṇāṁ bhōgādēva kṣaya iti.

That karma which having created this body in this world in this manner (of parentage, limitations of body etc.), which gives comfort, pain, etc., is prārabdha. It gets destroyed by going through the experiences, thus only by going through experiences does the exhaustion of prārabdha-karma take place.

Laws of Karma for Jnani

Sañcitaṁ karma brahmaivāhamīti niścayajñānena naśyati.

The sañcita-karma (accumulate result of action) is destroyed by this definite knowledge, I am indeed Brahman.

Āgāmi-karma-api jñānēna naśyati. Kiñca-āgāmi-karmaṇāṁ

nalinīdalagatajalavat jñānināṁ sambandhō nāsti.

The āgāmi-karma is also destroyed by knowledge. Further, just like the water on the lotus leaf, the wise men have no connection with āgāmi-karma.

After the raised of knowledge, the liberate person has his/her āgāmi-karma burned, and from that time onwards, whatever he/she has done, will not causing any new result because there is no more identification with the body, therefore there is no more motive behind the action. The action without motive will not cause any result. Just like the sun can not be blamed when it's heat burns the forest, nor can be praised when the light gives the life-force for the entire world. It is it's the nature to shine.

Because sañcita and āgāmi karma are burned, therefore after exhausting the prārabdha karma of this life, the wise men does not get re-birth. In this point of view, the liberate person is called videha-muktih. And from the view point of while he/she is living is called jīvan-muktih.

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