Adi Sankaracharya declares: 'For an enlightened person, his identification with the
limitless Self, is as effortless and intimate as Dehatma Buddhi is for ignorant, with the result that it has completely negated his former Dehatma Buddhi; such a person is spontaneously liberated while living, even if he does not desire moksha. (Upadesa Sahasri Verse 45, Panchadasi Verse 7.20)
By pondering deeply over this verse, one can easily recognize the fallacy in the thesis
that 'enlightenment is purely a matter of intellectual understanding' and has nothing to do with experiencing oneself as pure limitless Consciousness. Vachaspati Mishra states in Bhamati, his commentary on Brahma Sutra Bhashya that since our ignorance is experiential (and keeps us in bondage), enlightenment must perforce be experiential too, for it confers the liberating knowledge!
Beatitude of Aporakha Jnanam:
It does not benefit us personally if countless Jnanis have vindicated the veracity of the scriptures before, because their experience cannot release us from the Samsara, just as others enjoying a sumptuous feast cannot appease our gnawing hunger. At best their experience reinforces our faith appease our gnawing hunger. At best their experience reinforces appease and conviction in the revealed knowledge of the Vedas
and propels us forward with renewed vigor. The ultimate vision has to be our own, for converting our Samvadi Bhrama into Prema, the true Knowledge.
Self Knowledge, as the very term suggests, is truly self referential (Svatah Pramanaa). (Talks 189) and needs no validation from any external authority. This is the unique catholicity and humility of Upanishadic teachings (See Viveka Chudamani Verse 4.3.22), for they step aside after leading the seeker to the very portals of Advaita Anubhuti without binding him or her to the Revealed Word or the One Book for ever.
To sum up the present context, it can be safely said, 'Truth is That which sets you free' and can never be a matter of unverifiable beliefs.
Assimilation of the Vedantic vision surely transforms a genuine seeker into a great saint who can inspire and guide countless seekers in the same path that he himself has traveled. But only upon awakening through 'direct experience' (pratya bhijna)
and staying firmly anchored in it. does he become a full fledged Sage. Such an enlightened mahatmaa becomes a living embodiment of the Truth (like a Buddha,
Sankara or Ramana) in whose abiding vision of unity, and all differential notions (Bheda Buddhi) vanish without a trace, the true hall mark of the highest wisdom (Samyak Darsanam).
contd., from the next issue.