SthitaPrajña – How does a Jīvana mukta live

Created on 08-10-2020

6.14 SthitaPrajña – How does a Jīvana mukta live.

 

We have understood  dharma, the importance of dharma, importance of following one’s svadharma and finally moving beyond dharma, immersing in eternal peace and bliss. The one who is beyond dharma and enjoys eternal peace and bliss is known as ‘sthitaprajña’. ‘Sthita’ means that which is established or rooted or merged or that which constantly abides. ‘prajñā’ means intellect. However, in the current context it means ‘consciousness’. In simple words, Prajñā = Jñāna (Knowledge / Wisdom) = Consciousness.

 

Those who are interested to know why Prajñā is Jñāna or Consciousness, the author has added a note after the article.

 

One may have the curiosity to know about jivan mukta (a liberated jīva).

 

In Gītā, the question asked by Arjuna is how the man constantly established in Jñāna, the one absorbed in samādhi, speaks, sits and moves about.

 

Here, ‘speaking’ indicates his behaviour, ‘sitting’ meaning how one constantly remains established or absorbed in samādhi and ‘walking’ means how he keeps relationship with others.

 

Bhagavāna gives answers in next 17 slokas No # 55-72 in which the qualities of a sthitaprajña is given and the way to become one. However, the answer in short is given in slokas next 5 slokas # 55-59

 

We will understand the reply in Q and A format for easy understanding

 

Q: Who is the one known as sthitaprajña, the sage constantly absorbed in blissful samādhi?

 

A: When one fully renounces all the desires that have entered the mind, and remains satisfied in the Self (Brahman) by the Self (‘I’, without external help and no presence of a second one), such a blessed one is known as sthitaprajña the man constantly absorbed in samādhi.

 

Note: ‘I’ for first person or consciousness is not different from Ātmā or Brahma.

 

Q: How does a man who is constantly absorbed in samādhi behave with the society? (How does he speak and move about)

 

A: He whose mind is not shaken by adversity, who does not hanker after pleasures, and is free from attachment, fear and anger, such a sage is known as sthitaprajña , the man absorbed constantly in Brahman (Self).

 

The prajñā (consciousness) of that person remains established in Brahman who has no attachment for anything anywhere, who neither welcomes nor rejects anything whatever good or bad when he comes across it. Such a saint is known as sthitaptajña.

 

Such person neither accepts nor rejects. He is free from likes and dislikes, so his intelect does not identy anything as good or bad. His mind remains detached and so neutral. His mind is not attached to any one or any sense objects.

 

 

Q: How does one remain absorbed in samādhi? (how does he sit)

 

A: When, like the tortoise which withdraws from all sides its limbs, he withdraws his senses from the sense-objects, then his Jñāna becomes steady i.e. his prajñā or consciousness, ‘I’ , remains detached and stays merged in Brahman or Ātman.

 

The mind is neutral and so strong enough to stay detached from sense objects and do not get attracted towards them. Such a detached mind does not long for sense objects and turns inwards. So it is said that objects return back before touching him (influencing / attracting him). The introvert mind then merges into it’s source which is Brahman or Ātman or Self or Consciousness.

 

Since the purified mind does not get attracted to sense objects, it is steady and peaceful. There is no fickleness. Mind needs to hold on to something. So it turns itself towards it’s source which is Brahman or Ātman. But by trying to find the source, just a a salt doll melts in the ocean losing it’s own existence, so does the purified mind seeking it’s source merges in infinite Brahman losing it’s own individual identity.

 

-

 

6.14.1 Notes on the translation of word ‘Sthitaprajña’ and ‘Jñāni

 

The word sthitaprajña is made up of two words – sthita + prajñā. ‘Sthita’ means that which is established. Here it means ‘one who is constantly absorbed’. ‘Prajñā means ‘intellect’. Prajñā has many meanings. In the mahāvākya, ‘prajñānam brahma‘ (प्रज्ञानम् ब्रह्म) of  - Rig Veda, Aitreya Upanishad 3.3 is translated as ‘Consciousness is Brahman’. So prajñā also means consciousness. ‘Consciousness’, ‘Knowledge’, ‘Wisdom’ all refer to Ātmā ‘ (Ātman) or ‘Brahma’ (Brahman) which is nothing other than ‘Jñāna’ often referred to as ‘Ātmajñāna or ‘Knowledge of Self’

 

 

This consciousness is referred in śāstras by many names like ‘Ātmā’ (Ātman), ‘Brahma (Brahman), ‘Jñāna’ or ‘Brahmajñāna’ or ‘Ātmajñāna‘ or ‘Satya’ or ‘Sat-chit-ānanda‘. Many use to describe it as ‘The state of Self Realisation’ or ‘God Consciousness’. Since the knower of truth is not different from truth, the intellect i.e. prajñā is not different from ‘Jñāna which is in normal case is translated as ‘wisdom’. Hence prajñā is translated as ‘Consciousness’. So whenever the term ‘wise man’ is used by śāstras, it generally means the knowers of truth which means the Self Realised ones. At times it also refers to those paṇḍita-s who are well versed in vedas and other śāstras.

 

‘Prajñā is also known as ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’

 

Some translators use to word ‘Wise men’ for ‘Jñānī’. The word Jñānī has different meaning for absolute and empirical standpoints. For Absolute standpoint, Jñānī means ‘The Self Realised one’ or ‘Ātmajñānī’. From empirical standpoint, it means ‘one who is well versed in śāstras’.

 

When we hear the word ‘wise’ we generally take it as talking about the one who is highly intelligent or a scholar or emotionally and mentally mature person taking right decision at a right time, etc. Sanskrit words for ‘wise’ are ‘paṇḍita,  ‘viveki , ‘vidura, ‘chatura, ‘buddhimāna, ‘ārya, ‘vidyamānamati, and also ‘prajñan. There is no proper English word for ‘Jñāni.

 

Popular translators like Sri Ghambhirananda ji of Sri Ramakrishna Mission, whose commentary and translation is very lucid, and Swami Sivananda ji of Divine Life Society, whose translations are well known, have translated the word ‘sthita prajña‘ as ‘steady wisdom’ or ‘man of steady wisdom’. However, the saints of that time used the words that were popular at that time to keep the reading experience lucid. Often the Indian authors have been influenced by the vocabulary used by the Western translators who have done scholarly or critical translations of our śāstras and used similar words in their translations too. However, the time has changed and we now do not need to use English words if they do not do justice to the original Sanskrit word. Translation means anuvāda. However, translated word must retain it’s ghudhārtha (essence) and bhāva (intention, sentiment) i.e. it should be bhāvānuvāda and not just anuvāda. The word must be able to connect to our heart. Hence the atuhor either retains original sanskrit words or attempts different not-so-common words to trasnlate important sanskrit word in English.

 

With this, we end our discussion on dharma. Let us now understand what is Sanātana Dharma. Since dharmas are explained in our śāstras, let us first understand what are śāstras


Relevant Sanskrit slokas and their translations are given below for interested readers.


6.14.2 Sanskrit mūla slokas with English translations by Swami Gambhirananda and Swami Sivananda of Divine Life Society.

 

अर्जुन उवाच
स्थितप्रज्ञस्य का भाषा समाधिस्थस्य केशव।
स्थितधीः किं प्रभाषेत किमासीत व्रजेत किम्।।2.54।।

 

English Translation By Swami Gambirananda

2.54 Arjuna said O kesava, what is the description of a man of steady wisdom who is Self-absorbed? How does the man of steady wisdom speak? How does he sit? How does he move about?

 

English Commentary By Swami Sivananda

2.54 स्थितप्रज्ञस्य of the (sage of) steady wisdom? का what? भाषा description? समाधिस्थस्य of the (man) merged in the superconscious state? केशव O Kesava? स्थितधीः the sage of steady wisdom? किम् what (how)? प्रभाषेत speaks? किम् what (how)? आसीत sits? व्रजेत walks? किम् what (how).

 

Bhagavāna gives answers in next 17 slokas No # 55-72 in which the qualities of a sthitaprajña is given and the way to become one. However, the answer in short is given in slokas next 5 slokas # 55-59

 

English Translation By Swami Gambirananda

2.55 The Blessed Lord said O Partha, when one fully renounces all the desires that have entered the mind, and remains satisfied in the Self alone by the Self, then he is called a man of steady wisdom.

 

English Commentary By Swami Sivananda

2.55 The Blessed Lord said When a man completely casts off, O Arjuna, all the desires of the mind and is satisfied in the Self by the Self, then is he said to be one of steady wisdom.

 

English Translation By Swami Gambirananda

2.56 That monk (sage) is called a man of steady wisdom when his mind is unperturbed in sorrow, he is free from longing for delights, and has gone beyond attachment, fear and anger.

 

English Commentary By Swami Sivananda

2.56 He whose mind is not shaken by adversity, who does not hanker after pleasures, and is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady wisdom.

 

English Translation By Swami Gambirananda

2.57 The wisdom of that person remains established who has not attachment for anything anywhere, who neither welcomes nor rejects anything whatever good or bad when he comes across it.

 

English Commentary By Swami Sivananda

2.57 He who is everywhere without attachment, on meeting with anything good or bad, who neither rejoices not hastes, his wisdom is fixed.

 

English Commentary By Swami Sivananda

2.58 When, like the tortoise which withdraws on all sides its limbs, he withdraws his senses from the sense-objects, then his wisdom becomes steady.

 

English Commentary By Swami Sivananda

2.59 The objects of the senses turn away from the abstinent man leaving the longing (behind); but his longing also turns away on seeing the Supreme.



With this, we end our discussion on dharma. 


Let us understand two important terms ‘Religion’ or ‘Mazhab’ and ‘Prophet’ or ‘Nabi’ and how their use for dharmika words ‘Dharma’ and ‘Guru’ do not do justice.

Is Dharma is different from Religion or Mazhab and Guru different from Prophet or Nabi?

Those who wish to skip this article can continue to understand Sanātana Dharma. Since dharmas are explained in our śāstras, let us begin by understanding what are śāstras

Comments