Prasthanatrayi Swaminarayan Bhashyam (Study)
by Sadhu Gyanananddas | 2021 | 123,778 words
This page relates ‘Some Clarity Regarding Mukti’ of the study on the Prasthanatrayi Swaminarayan Bhashyam in Light of Swaminarayan Vachanamrut (Vacanamrita). His 18th-century teachings belong to Vedanta philosophy and were compiled as the Vacanamrita, revolving around the five ontological entities of Jiva, Ishvara, Maya, Aksharabrahman, and Parabrahman. Roughly 200 years later, Bhadreshdas composed a commentary (Bhasya) correlating the principles of Vachanamrut.
8. Some Clarity Regarding Mukti
1. Two Kinds of Mukti
In the Svāminārāyaṇa School, mukti is defined as becoming akṣararūpa and offering bhakti to Puruṣottama with dasbhava, either on the earth or in Akṣaradhāma. This mukti is real in both ways.
In the Svāminārāyaṇa School, two kinds of mukti are accepted.
2. Is Jīvanamukti The First Step for Videhamukti?
It is important to clarify here that if a devotee, due to some deficiency during his life, does not experience the state of jīvanamukti, in his final moments, his deficiencies can still be removed by the grace of Parabrahman and the Gunātita Satpuruṣa. Thus, that devotee is able to attain videhamukti and go to Akṣaradhāma.
3. The Place Where the Brāhmika Body is Attained
A mukta who goes to Akṣaradhāma attains a Brāhmic form (body) (Vacanāmṛta Gadhadā I/1), has a divine form (Vacanāmṛta Gadhadā I/12), and becomes a caitanya murti (Vacanāmṛta Gadhadā I/37, 71). Now the question arises that where and how one achieves the Brāhmic body? The answer to this question is-only through the wish of Parabrahman (Sār. 14).
The Bhāṣyakāra states:
“tattanusaṃpattiśca paramātmecchāmātrādhīneti tenaiva vyavasthapyate” (Brahmasūtra 4/4/13, link, p.424)
“To enrich the jīva with the Brāhmic body depends on the wish of Parabrahman, only He decides where and how it should be given to the jīva.”
4. The Service in Akṣaradhāma
The muktas who have reached Akṣaradhāma and attained qualities similar to those of Akṣara, forever remain in the service of Parabrahman (Vacanāmṛta Gadhadā I/21). However, in Akṣaradhāma, there is no other service to be performed; the darśana of Parabrahman is itself the service. Hence, muktas continually enjoy the bliss of the darśana of Parabrahman (Vacanamrut Loyā 14, Gadh. 2/13).
The Brahmasūtra reveals:
“nāsti tatra kimapi prākṛtalokavadupabhogyam” (Brahmasūtra 4/4/10, p.423)
“In Akṣaradhāma, there are no worldly objects for enjoyment.”
Then what they actually do in the name of service? The Bhāṣyakāra answers:
brāhmatanuyuktaḥ san sadaiva paramātmaparamadivyasukhaṃ divyā'kṣaradhāmnyanubhavatītyarthaḥ |” (Chāndogya-upaniṣad XII 8/12/2, p.387)
“This liberated self, enriched with the divine Brāhmic body, continuously experiences the bliss of Parabrahman.”
5. Number of Muktas and Their Arrangement
In Akṣaradhāma, like Parabrahman, the Akṣara-muktas reside with a divine body and divine adornments. As far as the number of muktas is concerned, it is infinite.
“Countless have become muktas, and countless more will become so.” (Vacanāmṛta Gadhadā I/18, p.56) Moreover,
“It is surrounded on all four sides by groups of muktas, who are seated facing Him, and who are engrossed in looking at that form of Parabrahman with a fixed gaze. The best way to elaborate upon these aspects is to understand them in the two contexts that the state can be experienced -after death, in Akṣaradhāma, and while alive, on earth.” (Vacanāmṛta Gadhadā II/13, p.419)
Bhadreśadāsa also confirms—sarve muktāḥ samā''kārā—here the plural form of the word indicates that the muktas are infinitive in number. Along with it, we should keep it in our mind that the jīvas and īśvaras maintain their individuality from Parabrahman and Akṣarabrahman. They do not renounce their actual root form.
6. Nothing to Achieve More Than That of Mukti
Svāminārāyaṇa reveals this brāhmic state as one of ethical perfection, personal holiness, freedom from māyā (kāma and base instincts), absolute fulfillment, and singular devotion to and total engrossment in Parabrahman. They also experience the divine bliss of Parabrahman, yet a master-disciple relationship (Vacanamrut Loyā 13, Gadh.2/67) is continuously maintained between Parabrahman and the akṣara-muktas, as is the relationship of the worshipped and the worshipper (Vacanāmṛta Gadhadā III/37).
The Bhāṣyakāra backs the fact while commenting on the videhamukti verse of the Iśopaniśad where the liberated self presents itself in front of Parabrahman in Akṣaradhāma.
“tasya na kiñcidapi jñātavyamavaśiṣyate” (Īśa-upaniṣad 8, p.18)
“The mukta has left nothing to know after attaining Parabrahman.”
They indulge in the bliss of Parabrahman as told ‘Sah brahmanā vipaschita'’ i.e. in the company of omniscient Parabrahman (Parabrahman), the mukta gets all his desires (Kārmas) fulfilled because the mukta has now attained similarity in form and other characteristics. The power, excellence, attributes, divine form, etc., which Parabrahman and Akṣarabrahman possess -the same things the liberated selves also acquire in Akṣaradhāma by the grace of Parabrahman. The liberated selves enjoy the same bliss now which Akṣarabrahman enjoys eternally in the company of Parabrahman. 410
sarve muktāḥ samā''kārā nyūnā'dhikatvavarjitāḥ |
strīpuruṣatvaśūnyāśca kṣudhādirahitāstathā || SSSK 439 ||
“All of these released selves possess the same form in Akṣaradhāma. There is no difference in their relative significance. They are above gender difference and beyond hunger and thirst.”
Thus, in the Svāminārāyaṇa School, it is thoroughly accepted that there is no respective difference as far as the jīva’ s form is concerned. All the muktas have identical beatific and beauteous ‘sat-cit-ānanda’ form -figure-personality, have similar possession and excellence and have the sukha or the enjoyment of the same Lord, and the enjoyment of the same measure of happiness and bliss. Thus, in the abode, there is no ‘ānanda-tāratamya,’ i.e. the gradations in the enjoyment of divine bliss among muktas, according to Svāminārāyaṇa.
8. No Nitya Mukta
In the Svāminārāyaṇa School of philosophy, the concept of nitya mukta is strongly refuted. Bhadreśadāsa explores:
ato na nityamuktatvaṃ nā'nādirbrahmarūpatā |
kasyā'pi labdhamokṣasya jīvasya veśvarasya vā ||S SSK 432 ||
“There is no eternal brahmabhāva and permanent mukta bhāva either for the jīva or īśvara.”
There are only two eternal entities who are permanent muktas, Akṣarabrahman and Parabrahman. No one else.
9. No Return from Akṣaradhāma
If the power and glory of the released self depend upon the supreme Parabrahman, it being independent or impotent, there is the possibility of the return of the self into saṃsāra. Here, the Sūtrakāra explains that the self is not subjected to return in anyway.
The Bhāṣyakāra explains:
“evaṃ bhūtasya muktasya tādṛśāpavargadaśāyā anāvṛttiḥ naiva pratyavartanamiti śabdāt śrutismṛtiśabdādeva liṅgādevāgamyate” (Brahmasūtra 4/4/22, p.431)
“Through the Śrutis and Smṛtis, it is known that there is no return for those released selves who have attained Akṣaradhāma.”
So there is no return from the abode of Parabrahman, and no rebirth as well after attaining Akṣaradhāma.
10. Power of Attorney
The released self attains so much power from Parabrahman except in the matter of cosmic activities. The cosmic activity consists of control over the difference of the essential natures, existence, and activity of all sentient and non-sentient things.
Brahmasūtra itself defines:
jagadvyāpāravarja prakaraṇādasaṃnihitatvācca || Brahmasūtras 4/4/17 ||
jagadvyāpāravarjaṃ jagatsambandhī yo vyāpārastadutpattisthitiniyamanā'vasānādirūpastadvarjamevā'kṣarādhipatyanugrahalabdhamuktaiśvaryaṃ bhavitumarham | sakalajagadutpattiniyamanādivyāpārastu svātantryaेṇa parabrahmaṇastannityecchayā'kṣarabrahmaṇaścetyubhayoreva | (Brahmasūtra 4/4/17 p.428)
Although the mukta has power and some qualities of ‘apahtpapmadi’ as mentioned in the scriptures, only Parabrahman and by his wish Akṣarabrahman are mentioned in the scriptures as the cosmic cause, sustentation, and destruction. The released selves are not at all mentioned, and hence, cosmic activity does not belong to the liberated self. Thus Brahman and Parabrahman are independently responsible for the activities regarding the cosmos.
11. No Deficiency in Akṣaradhāma
The seekers of salvation, during their worldly existence in the embodied state, maybe men or women, high born or low born, blind or lame, deaf or dumb, old or young, handsome or ugly, leper or leucodermic; but when they become ekāntik and acquire brahmanhood, they attain emancipation and as muktas in the abode of Parabrahman, they all attain identical divine form-figure devoid of any earthly (human) defect-deformity in them.
The vikārah or deficiencies in the form of six-fold human infirmities (oromia) such as: distress (ṣoka), delusion (moha), old age (jarā), death (mṛtyu), hunger (kṣudhā) and thirst (pipāsā) no more exist in the state of liberation (mokṣa). There is no sleep and fatigue, aging and disease, or any other ephemeral defect in the state of mokṣa. All muktas are attuned to Parabrahman. The muktas are lost in Parabrahman. All are in a state of divine ecstasy or euphoria, enjoying the bliss of Parabrahman forever.
There is no aging, no disease, no death, no return into saṃsāra (the cycles of birth and death), no disappointment, no frustration, no consequent pain-suffering, nor any defect or deficiency in the state of mokṣa. Every mukta is attuned and absorbed in enjoying the nectarine-mellow of unalloyed bliss of Parabrahman's beautiful personality. Every mukta cherishes joy, bliss, and transparent devotion to Parabrahman in equal measure with all others. There is no envy, strife, or competition in the state of mokṣa.
12. The Concept of Dāsatva
The goal of the devotee is not to become sugar itself but to taste it. His goal is not to become Parabrahman Himself, but to enjoy the bliss of His company and communion.
So there is no ‘Svarūpa ekya’ or any other relation between Parabrahman and the mukta than the svāmī-sevaka or upasya-upasaka relation.
“ato muktāvapi sevyasevakabhāvo nocchidyate iti rahasyaṃ vijñāpayitukāma iha sūtrakāraḥ” (Brahmasūtra 3/3/25, p.331)
“Thus, even in the state of mukti, the relation of sevya sevaka never subsides. This is all about explained by the author of the Brahmasūtra.” 413
13. Persistence of Atomic Nature of Jīva
Śrutis and Smṛtis clearly proclaim that the jivātman is extremely subtle and is atomic in size. Also, in the state of liberation, the jivātman retains its subtle atomic nature. This atomic nature of jīva does not change, nor does it transform into a new bodily shape. In the state of emancipation (mukti), jīva’ s atomic nature continues, but its knowledge/consciousness (dharmabhutajnāna) becomes fully expanded and all-pervading, and thus acquires omniscience. It is this aṇutva (atomic nature), that remains as the distinguishing characteristic in the state of liberation; and consequently, the excellence and effulgence of Parabrahman continue to remain far more superior to the mukta-jīvas (released selves).
14. Attainment of Akṣaradhāma and Other Realms
The Bhagavad-Gītā explains the vast difference between both:
ābrahmabhuvanāllokāḥ punarāvartino'rjuna |
māmupetya tu kaunteya punarjanma na vidyate ||Bhagavad-Gītā 8/16 ||
“The dwellers of all the worlds, below the world of Brahmā, are subject to the miseries of repeated birth and death. But, after attaining Me, O Arjuna, one does not take birth again.”
Thus, in the Svāminārāyaṇa School, only brahmarūpa devotees can attain the ultimate liberation. Otherwise, through only conducting charities or the sāttvika kārmas, one can attain Swarga Loka (heaven). After enjoying heavenly sense pleasures, they return to this mortal world upon the end of their good kārma (or punya). In this manner, Bhadreśadāsa explains, the performers of Vedic rituals take repeated birth and death without being brahmarūpa. Moreover, the Worshippers of the devas go to the devas, the worshippers of the ancestors go to the ancestors, and the worshippers of the ghosts go to the ghosts, but my devotees, who offer upāsanā to Parabrahman come to me and are not born again. And those who have committed only sins in their lives will be subjected to infernal realms.
Footnotes and references:
Vacanāmṛta Sārangpur 11
muktāvapi tu muktānāṃ bhedo'styeva svarūpataḥ |
mithaścā'kṣarataścaiva puruṣottamatastathā || 441 ||
Vacanamruta. Rahashya 3/67
yāmavāpya punarnaiva māyābandhanasambhavaḥ |
jīvato divyadeśe vā sthitasya cetanā''tmanaḥ || Svāminārāyaṇa Siddhāntasudhā Kārikā -434 ||
Bhagavad-Gītā 15/6, 8/21, Chāndogya-upaniṣad XII 8/15/1
Vacanamrut Loyā 18
Brahmasūtra 4/4/19, pp.429-430
Brahmasūtra 4/4/20, p.430
Vacanāmṛta Kāriyānī 1, Gadh. 2/66
Brahmasūtra 2/3/23, Chāndogya-upaniṣad XII 3/14/2-3, Brhadāraṇyaka-upaniṣad 4/3/7
Bhagavad-Gītā 9/21, p.214, Mundaka-upaniṣad 1/2/10, p.252
Bhagavad-Gītā 9/25, p.216
Brahmasūtra 3/1/12, link, p.275