by Swami Krishnananda
Granthi bhede’pi saṁbhāvyā icchāḥ prārabdha doṣataḥ, buddhvāpi pāpa bāhulyāt asantoṣo yathā tava (263). Even if one overcomes the impulses of these granthis, or the knots of the heart – that is, avidya-kama-karma – their effect does not completely leave a person on account of the impulse of prarabdha itself. We have already noticed the extent to which prarabdha can act upon even a jivanmukta purusha. The sanchita karmas, the accumulated store of actions, are burnt up by knowledge. Therefore, there is no future birth for a jivanmukta. The cause for another birth, which is the remnant of the storehouse of desire, is no more there, so the jivanmukta will not be reborn into this world.
There is another kind of karma called agami karma – fresh actions performed every day and added to the existing storehouse of sanchita. The jivanmukta does not perform fresh actions. He is a detached person and, therefore, there is no action with a desire behind it, in his case. The only thing that persists with him is prarabdha, which has given birth to this body and so on. Account of the persistence of this prarabdha, some kind of desires, peculiar impulses, longings, etc., may be seen even in a jivanmukta.
Varieties of jivanmuktas are there. They are all curious persons. One does not behave in the same way as the other behaves. Jadabharata was like an idiot. He would not talk to anybody; he sat there like a stone. He was a jivanmukta. Vasishtha was a jivanmukta, but was a great ritualist. Every day he would perform yajnas, havanas, agnihotras in the most traditional Mimamsa fashion, though he was also a great jivanmukta. Shuka was a brahmanistha. He did not even know that he had a body. Clothes used to slip away from his body, and he would not know that the clothes had gone. He would walk like a raving mad man, and children would pelt stones at him, thinking that he was crazy. Such was the condition of Shuka, a jivanmukta.
Vyasa was a jivanmukta. He was a poetic writer, great litterateur, who wrote all the scriptures; he was another kind altogether. Lord Krishna was a jivanmukta, and we know what kind of person Krishna was – impossible to describe. There are various causes behind the different behaviours of these great men. The kind of personality that they assumed – either the personality was assumed deliberately as an incarnation, as in the case of Lord Krishna, or the personality had been thrust upon them somehow or other by the prarabdha karma – in either case, the propulsion from the nature of the personality varied. That is why different great men behave differently. They do not have uniformity of thinking, and sometimes they look like contradictory.
We may say that Jadabharata and Lord Krishna were opposites, and yet they were equal in knowledge and power. The power of these people is unthinkable. Jadabharata was a hefty, stout boy. He was sitting quiet, without talking to any person, and one night some dacoits caught hold of him. They wanted to offer him to Kali and behead him. He would not say anything. They dragged him; he wouldn't speak one word, though he was being dragged. They tied him with a rope; he would not utter one word. Then Jadabharata was tied to a pillar where he was to be offered, and the priest sprinkled holy water on his body. Even then he would not utter one word. He was just blinking as the sword was lifted by the priest to behead him. Immediately that image of Kali burst forth, and the real Kali came out. She pulled the sword from the hand of the priest and beheaded all those dacoits, and nobody was left alive except for this Jadabharata. She untied him, and left.
What is this mystery? Can we imagine that such a thing is possible? This story is in the Bhagavad Mahapurana. What power these people have! What power! Yet, their prarabdha is there, which goes on harassing them with this little body. In the previous talk I told you the story of Vasishtha, and today I told you the story of Jadabharata. They are peculiar people, but wonderful people – Godmen, all equal.
Ahaṁkāra gate cchādyaiḥ deha vyādhyādibhi stathā, vṛkṣādi janma naśairvā cidrūpāt mani kiṁ bhavet (264). Nothing worries them. If somebody is cutting a tree in the forest, we are not bothered. Let them cut it. Nothing is happening, though the tree in the forest is being cut by somebody. So many are collecting fuel; women are climbing trees and chopping off branches for fuel. Are we worried about all these things? We look at these events taking place as if they are not taking place at all. Many events in the world which are causes of great anxiety to people like us are no events at all for these Godmen, to whom these events happen. They are as if they do not take place. If the prarabdha which is working through this body manifests itself in the form of some experience – as Jadabharata had an experience, for instance – it matters not to these Godmen. Whether they are alive or dead, it makes no difference, because they cannot die essentially. And even if they are alive, it is not a great virtue for them because, after all, what is this life except through this body born of prarabdha? Birth and death mean the same thing.
Granthi bhedāt purā pyevam iti cettanna vismara, ayameva granthi bhedaḥ tava tena kṛtī bhavān (265). The breaking of the knots of the heart, the destruction of avidya, kama, and karma, is an eternal event. Actually, avidya-kama-karma do not exist at all, just as a limitation to vast ether does not exist, even if it appears that the ether is thrust into the pot, as it were. This knowledge that avidya-kama-karma did not even exist right from the beginning itself, is itself the destruction of avidya-kama-karma. When we know that the world was never created, the world does not exist for us. Only when we believe that it is there in front of us like a hard wall or a rock, it harasses us. The destruction of the granthis – avidya-kama-karma – is virtually the same as the realisation of the fact that they never existed at all at any time.
Naivaṁ jānanti mūḍhāś cet so’yaṁ granthir na cāparaḥ, granthi tad bheda mātreṇa vaiṣamyaṁ mūḍha buddhaoḥ (266). But ordinary people are not aware of the fact that avidya-kama-karma have no substantiality. The not knowing this fact itself is granthi. This is the bondage of these people who have no proper illumination. For the illumined person, the granthis did not exist at any time at all and, therefore, they do not exist even now. But the ignorant person who cannot believe that they did not exist at any time considers them as solid realities.
The difference between an ignorant person and a learned person is this: that a non-existent thing is considered to be existing in the case of the ignorant person. And in the case of the enlightened person, even that which appears to be existing is known to be non-existing finally. This is the difference between an illumined person and an ignorant one.
Pravṛttau vā nivṛttau vā dehendriya manodhiyām, na kiñchidapi vaiṣamyam astya jñāni vibuddhayoḥ (267). But outwardly they are all the same. When we see a person, we cannot know whether he is a fool or a Godman. They look the same. They – the Godmen – eat the same food as the fool eats, they speak the same language, and they behave practically in the same way – like children, like fools, like wise men. With old men, they are like old men; with children, they are like children; with youth, they are like youth; with ignorant people, they behave like ignorant people; with wise men, they behave like wise men; and with a person whose back is bent, they will have a bent back. There is no personality for them.
Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj was like that. He had no personality of his own. He was just the same person who he saw in front of him. Whatever we are, that he was at that time, as he had no personality for himself. If we cried, he would sympathise. If we laughed, he would say "wonderful". Both were good, equally nice.
The pravritti and nivritti, the action-oriented behaviour or the absence of action in the case of these people, makes no difference to them. The coming and going of things, and the evolution and involution of the universe are great matters for us. They are matters of great consequence. These Godmen see a thing there, of course, but they do not make any difference between the jnani and the ajnani. The outward behaviour cannot be regarded as the criterion for the inner character of a person. This is the definition here. We cannot know a person by merely looking at that person from outside. Outwardly, they look the same.
There was a doctor, S. K. Krishnan. He was the director of the National Physical Laboratory, a very famous facility. One day he came here, wearing a turban. Swamiji said a special seat must be arranged for him, and every arrangement was made to give him a comfortable seat just behind Gurudev. When Dr. Krishnan was about to sit on that seat, the boy who was preparing the seat said, "Don't sit here. This is meant for Dr. Krishnan." "Oh, I see, I see," he said, "Ok, Ok." He went and sat on the other side, in the corner.
Look at this. This is the greatness of a man. He did not say, "I am Dr. Krishnan." "Oh, I see," he said. And when Gurudev arrived for satsanga, he called Dr. Krishnan and made him sit. All were stunned because this was the same man who they had shut out. Great people are like simple children.
Vrātya śrotiyayor veda pāṭhā pāṭha kṛtā bhidā, nāhārā dāvasti bhedaḥ so’yaṁ nyān’tra yogyatām (268). In the case of one who is learned in the Vedas and one who is not at all proficient in the Vedas, the difference is in the knowledge – the proficiency in the Vedic wisdom and the ignorance of it. But in the matter of eating food, we are same. The person who is enlightened in Vedic knowledge and the one who knows nothing about the Vedas eat the same food and speak the same language. Outwardly, they behave in the same manner.
Great jivanmuktas, therefore, cannot be recognised. Those whom we cannot understand, on them we should not pass any comment. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says, "Lest he be a great person and his curse may fall on you, make no comments on people whom you cannot understand."
Na dveṣṭi saṁpra vṛttāni na nivṛttāni kāṅkṣati, udāsīna vadāsīna iti granthi bhido cyate (269). This is a verse from the Bhagavad Gita. If something comes, he does not dislike it. He does not ask why it has come. And if something goes, he does not ask why it has gone. Neither he exults if something comes to him, nor he grieves if something goes. Let it come, let it go, because the coming is not a gain and the going is not a loss.
Udāsīna vadāsīna: Like an idle person concerned with nothing, he sits quiet. Iti granthi bhido cyate: This is the characteristic of people whose granthis have been broken. Avidya-kama-karma have been destroyed.
Audāsīnyaṁ vidheyaṁ cet vacchabdā vyarthatā tadā, na śaktā asya dehādyā iti cedroga eva saḥ (270). When it is said that they look like idle people, it does not mean that they are really idle. They ‘look like’; the word ‘vat’ is used here. They look like, they appear to be like idle people; but they are very active people. Somebody went and asked Ramanamarshi, "Why don't you do some work for the world?" He said, "How do you know that I am not working for the world?"
Great people work through their thoughts. The greater a person is, the less he speaks and the more he thinks, and the works that people do with their hands and feet are nothing before this thought that emanates from these great men. One thought is sufficient; it will vibrate until eternity. And that service that the person does to humanity is greater than all the politicians that the world has seen up to this time.
He is not sitting quiet like a sick man. He is very active, very powerful he is, but looks almost like a nobody in this world. He goes unwept, unhonoured and unsung, as it were; but the gods will sing his glories.