Types of Jnanis – Spiritually Enlightened People

Tripura Rahasya‘, is a text on Advaita Vedanta which personifies the supreme consciousness as Tripura (three cities or the ruler of three cities), a feminine form who is also known as Tripura Sundari. The states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep are the three cities ruled by Tripura.

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Click here to read quotes of wisdom from Tripura Rahasya

What is Misery? – Tripura Rahasya 2:19 and Hedonic Treadmill

The following is an excerpt from the 19th chapter of Tripura Rahasya:

80-83. Those are the best who are free from all of the vasanas, and particularly from the least trace of that of action. If free from the fault of mistrust of the teachings of the
Master, the vasana due to desire, which is not a very serious obstruction to realisation, is destroyed by the practice of contemplation. Dispassion need not be very marked in this
case. Such people need not repeatedly engage in the study of scriptures or the receiving of instructions from the Master, but straightaway pass into meditation and fall into samadhi, the consummation of the highest good. They live evermore as Jivanmuktas (emancipated even while alive).

84-86. Sages with subtle and clear intellect have not considered it worthwhile to eradicate their desire, etc., by forcing other thoughts to take their place, because desires do not obstruct realisation. Therefore their desires continue to manifest even after realisation, as before. Neither are they tainted by such vasanas. They are said to be emancipated and diverse-minded. They are also reputed to be the best class of Jnanis.

87-90. Rama, he whose mind clings to the ignorance of the necessity of work cannot hope for realisation even if Siva offers to instruct him. Similarly also the person who has the fault of marked indifference to or misunderstanding of the teachings. On the other hand, a man only slightly affected by these two vasanas, and much more so by desires or
ambitions, will by repeated hearing of the holy truth, discussion of the same, and contemplation on it, surely reach the goal, though only with considerable difficulty and after a long lapse of time. Such a Sage’s activities will be small because he is entirely engrossed in his efforts for realisation.
[Note: His activities will be confined to the indispensable necessities of life.]

91. A Sage of this class has, by his long practice and rigorous discipline, controlled his mind so well that predispositions are totally eradicated and the mind is as if dead. He belongs to the middle class in the scheme of classification of Sages and is said to be a Sage without mind. 

92-94. The last class and the least among the Sages are those whose practice and  discipline are not perfect enough to destroy mental predispositions. Their minds are still active and the Sages are said to be associated with their minds. They are barely Jnanis and not Jivanmuktas as are the other two classes. They appear to share the pleasures and pains of life like any other man and will continue to do so till the end of their lives. They will be emancipated after death. 

95-96. Prarabdha (past karma) is totally powerless with the middle class, who have destroyed their minds by continued practice. The mind is the soil in which the seed, namely prarabdha, sprouts (into pleasures and pains of life). If the soil is barren, the seed loses its sprouting power by long storage, and becomes useless. 

97-103. There are men in the world who can carefully attend to different functions at the same time and are famous and extraordinarily skilful; again some people attend to work as they are walking and conversing, while a teacher has an eye upon each student in the classroom and exercises control over them all; or you yourself knew Kartaviryarjuna, who wielded different weapons in his thousand hands and fought with you using all of them skilfully and simultaneously. In all these cases, a single mind assumes different shapes to suit the different functions at the same time. Similarly the mind of the best
among Jnanis is only the Self and yet manifests as all without suffering any change in its eternal blissful nature as the Self. They are therefore many-minded. 
[Note: Kartaviryarjuna was the chief of the Haihayas who were the sworn enemies of Parasurama. He was himself a devotee of Sri Dattatreya and had received the most wonderful boon from his Master, namely, that his name should be transmitted to posterity as that of an ideal king unparalleled in legend or history. His reign was
indeed remarkable and his prowess was unequalled, much less excelled. Still, as destiny would have it, he was challenged by Parasurama and killed in battle.] 

104-05. The prarabdha of Jnanis is still active and sprouts in the mind but only to be burnt up by the steady flame of jnana. Pleasure or pain is due to the dwelling of the
mind on occurrences. But if these are scorched at their source, how can there be pain or pleasure? 

106-08. Jnanis of the highest order, however, are seen to be active because they voluntarily bring out the vasanas from the depth of the mind and allow them to run out.
Their action is similar to that of a father sporting with his child, moving its dolls, laughing at the imagined victory of one doll over another, and appearing to grieve over the injury to another, and so on; so the many-minded Sages have pleasure or pain from work.

109-12. The vasanas not inimical to realisation are not weeded out by the best class of Jnanis because they cannot seek new ones to crowd the old out. Therefore the old ones continue until they are exhausted and thus you find among them some highly irritable, some lustful and others pious and dutiful, and so on.

What is Misery? – Tripura Rahasya 2:19 and Hedonic Treadmill

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Tripura Rahasya, an old text of Advaita talks about what we call today as ‘Hedonic treadmill’. Human beings are miserable not because they are not happy; but because their happiness is limited and they crave for more! One keeps chasing for happiness in the objective outcomes of life. But his happiness always remains limited, leaving him in discontent. If that limited happiness recedes,  misery creeps in. The text deals with the path to moksha (liberation), that puts an end to this misery.

Tripura Rahasya was an ancient text that Ramana Maharshi recommended seekers to read. Parashurama, an ancient sage,  is said to have got the essence of this text as a upadesa (teaching) from Dattatreya, in Gandhamadhana mountains situated in Pamban islands, Tamil Nadu, India. Parashurama then attained Atma Jnana (Self-realization or spiritual enlightenment) and then moved to Pothigai hills near Papanasam in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. (By the way, I live in Tirunelveli and it takes just about an hour to reach Pothigai hills by bike).

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The following lines from Chapter 1 of Tripura Rahasya explain how one gets a Vairagya Bhavana (an attitude of non-attachment) after looking at the hedonic treadmill, the inherent misery or Dhukka in life and finds his guru:

31. Even now I understand nothing of the workings of
the universe. Where does it rise from, in all its grandeur?
32. Where does it end? How does it exist? I find it to be
altogether transient.
33. But worldly happenings seem permanent. Why
should that be? Such happenings seem strangely enough to
be unconsidered.
34. How strange! They are on a par with the blind man
led by the blind!
35. My own case furnishes an example in point. I do
not even remember what happened in my childhood.

36. I was different in my youth, again different in my
manhood, still more so now; and in this way, my life is constantly
changing.
37, 38. What fruits have been reaped as the result of
these changes is not clear to me. The end justifies the means as
adopted by individuals according to their temperaments in
different climes and in different times. What have they gained
thereby? Are they themselves happy?
39. The gain is only that which is considered to be so
by the unthinking public. I however cannot deem it so,
seeing that even after gaining the so-called end, the
attempts are repeated.

40, 41. Well, having gained one purpose, why does
man look for another? Therefore, what the man is always
after should be esteemed the only real purpose — be it the
gaining of pleasure or removal of pain. There can be neither,
so long as the incentive to effort lasts.
42. The feeling of a need to work in order to gain
happiness (being the index of misery) is the misery of
miseries. How can there be pleasure or removal of pain so
long as it continues?
43-45. Such pleasure is like that of soothing unguents
placed on a scalded limb, or of the embrace of one’s beloved
when one is lying pierced by an arrow in the breast; or of the
sweet melodies of music heard by an advanced consumptive!
46. Only those who need not engage in action, are
happy; they are perfectly content, and self-contained, and
they experience a happiness which extends to all the pores
of the body.
47. Should there still be a few pleasurable moments
for others, they are similar to those enjoyed by one who,
while writhing with an abdominal pain, inhales the sweet
odour of flowers.

48. How silly of people with innumerable obligations,
ever too busy seeking such moments of pleasure in this world!
49. What shall I say of the prowess of indiscriminating
men? They propose to reach happiness after crossing interminable
hurdles of efforts!

50. A beggar in the street labours as much for happiness
as a mighty emperor.
51, 52. Each of them having gained his end feels
happy and considers himself blessed as if he had reached
the goal of life. I too have been unwittingly imitating
them like a blind man following the blind. Enough of
this folly! I will at once return to that ocean of mercy —
my Master.
53. Learning from him what is to be known, I will
cross the ocean of doubts after boarding the boat of his
teachings.
54. Having resolved thus, Parasurama of pure mind
immediately descended the hill in search of his Master.
55. Quickly reaching the Gandhmadan Mountain, he
found the Guru sitting in padmasana posture as if illuminating
the whole world.

(I will soon be making a video regarding Tirupura Rahasya; subscribe to my Youtube channel to receive my new videos on your feed: Truth About Spiritual Enlightenment – Youtube Channel )