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D: What are the characteristics of the jivan-mukta (the liberated in life) and the videha-mukta (the liberated at death)?

M: 'I am not the body; I am Brahman which is manifest as the Self. In me who am the plenary Reality*, the world consisting of bodies etc., are mere appearance, like the blue of the sky'. He who has realized the truth thus is a jivan-mukta. Yet so long as his mind has not been resolved, there may arise some misery for him because of relation to objects on account of prarabdha (karma which has begun to fructify and whose result is the present body), and as the movement of mind has not ceased there will not be also the experience of bliss. The experience of Self is possible only for the mind that has become subtle and unmoving as a result of prolonged meditation. He who is thus endowed with a mind that has become subtle, and who has the experience of the Self is called a jivan-mukta. It is the state of jivan-mukti that is referred to as the attributeless Brahman and as the Turiya. When even the subtle mind gets resolved, and experience of self ceases, and when one is immersed in the ocean of bliss and has become one with it without any differentiated existence, one is called a videha-mukta. It is the state of videha-mukti that is referred to as the transcendent attributeless Brahman and as the transcendent Turiya. This is the final goal. Because of the grades in misery and happiness, the released ones, the jivan-muktas and videha-muktas, may be spoken of as belonging to four categories -Brahmavid, - vara--variyan, and varishtha. But these distinctions are from the standpoint of the others who look at them; in reality, however, there are no distinctions in release gained through jnana.

* If there is prolonged meditation that the worlds are an appearance in me who am the plenary Reality, where can ignorance stand?

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