Who is a Person of Firm Wisdom? (Jivan mukta / Jnani) (14)


Session 14 addresses Bhagavad Gita CH 2, verse 54, when Arjuna asks Lord Krisna “What is the description of a person of firm wisdom, one whose mind abides in the Self? How does such a person whose mind is not shaken by anything, speak, sit and walk?


  1. Wise people give up desires and fears as they arise in mind.

    Everything is subject to arrival and departure. There is not rest for a mind that's constantly contemplating or entertaining thoughts upon Objects that come and go.

    For this reason, wise person choose to abide in the Self as the Self. While simultaneously appreciating what comes and goes as prasād (grace of Īśvara).

    Another reason is because through constant practice of turning mind onto Self; interest in Objects simply wanes away. Because there is no greater security, peace and joy then Self (your ordinary, ever-present sense of Existence).

    NOTE: This doesn't say “Wise people try to extinguish desires or get rid of Desires“, as some schools of Buddhism would imply.

    Vedānta is clear on desire: There is nothing wrong with desire. It only becomes a problem to an uneducated mind. In which case desire naturally flows to carnal, selfish motives.

    But to an educated mind (by help of Śāstras-Scriptures), this inherent desire is channeled into Dharmic means such as: Appreciation of Īśvara through pujas/prayers, teaching this knowledge to others, starting a venture for benefit of the community, raising kids, being an inspiring example for others, etc.”

    What's more, desire belongs to different order of Reality (Mithyā). Which is non-separate from Reality of Satya. The jumper (desire) is the wool (Consciousness). But the wool (Consciousness), is not the jumper (Desire).

  2. Wise people go inwards like a turtle, when confronted with sense objects.

    yadā saṁharate cāyam kūrmo ‘ṅ gānīva sarva-saḥ
    indriyāṇ-īndri-yārthe-bhyah tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā

    When, like turtle the withdraws its limbs, this person is able to completely withdraw the sense organs from their objects, his knowledge is steady.

  3. What is anger? What is cause of anger?

    When an object has charmed one to a point of deep attachment, and when fear of its loss has started Coming up in waves to disturb the individual, then, such an individual's attitude towards those that come between him and the object of his attachment is called ‘anger'.

    Anger is thus nothing but a feeling that rises in us towards an obstacle between ourselves and the object of out attachment.

    This, anger arising within – is directly, proportional to the amount of fear one entertains on the score of the obstacle holding one back from winning one's object of love.

    Anger, therefore, is only our attachment (rāga) for an object, expressed at an obstacle that has come between us and the object of our desire. (2.56)

  4. Wise person is like an owl. Why?

    yā niśā sarva-bhūtānām
    tasyām jāgarti sam yamī
    yasyām jāgrati bhūtāni
    sā niśā paśyato muneḥ

    Interpretation 1:

    “A wise person is like an owl,

    1) awake while the world sleeps: World sleeps to no-outwards thought. Total inwards bliss of non-dual Self. Wise person is AWAKE to this inwards bliss.

    2) asleep when the world is awake: World is awake to senses, externalizing mind outwards. Neglecting Self. Wise person is ASLEEP to this externalization. Hence to wise person, there is only Self.

    Interpretation 2:

    Just as an owl (wise person) which is blind by day (when all senses go outwards), but sees clearly at night (when one experiences non-dual bliss of Self)… one who has realised the Ultimate Truth, sees everything as one, undivided Ultimate Truth.

  5. Fruit of mokṣa.

    Satisfied with everything. Even the ugly bits of our personalities. Why? Because jagat (world), which includes your Body-Mind-Intellect, wasn't created by you, by by Īśvara.

    Self-Test: Ask yourself “Am I happy with the ugliest parts of myself?”

    Although, Self-realized wise person is free to address them, but also free to not address them. They are not particularly bothered by either way, because all is seen as prasād (grace of Īśvara).

    Whereas, a person in bondage (saṃsāri), remains unsettled as long as their issues remain unresolved. IE: “I have to X, else I won't be happy!

Download visual mind map of this session that also summarizes session 13 (Karma Yoga).

7 Aug


  1. Is it really unshakable “wisdom”? or is it simply unshakable “Reason” listening to these teachings it feels more and more that this has all been firmly “reasoned out” through centuries and centuries of solid debate and practice. Wisdom for me makes me think that it is some sort of “far away” mentally pretty mysticism not empirical fact which I’m beginning to accept these teachings really are. The toxic illusion of control, The acceptance that our desires control and define us, self understanding/mastery leading to lasting peace the whole scientific “theory” Advaita Vedanta is the truth.

    1. Wisdom is applied knowledge. Meaning: Knowledge gained > reasoned out to remove any doubts > once lived/practiced, it then makes person organically WISE without trying. That’s why when we say “wise person” in Vedanta, we’re actually speaking of a jñāni (liberated person). Wisdom in sanskrit is vijñāna (means assimilated knowledge which was already reasoned out in the past by means of mananam/nididhyāsanam).

      CH7 of B.Gītā is called: jñāna-vijñāna-yoga (Topic of indirect and direct knowledge). Vijñāna = wisdom = direct knowledge = one who is liberated.

      We need to let go of word “wisdom” picked up in various books. In Vedanta language, wisdom always means one who is living the vision of oneness.

      1. Thanks mate. I’m continuously astonished by the depth structured nature of the teachings. Let alone the entire thing being written in the form a rhyming song. The amount of effort that must have been put into this manual on the self is just crazy. Study continues….

  2. “ I am that which cannot be objectified because I am that already “
    I get a flash where I think I understand this, then it slides from my consciousness like sand through my fingers.
    I sit and try and visualise myself.
    Then I realise that is stupid.
    I sit and try and feel myself, but I know that is happening in the mind, which is not myself, even though it is.
    Wittgenstein said that “ language is the bewitchment of intelligence “.
    I feel like I am trying to grasp something with the mind that can’t be grasped.
    Yet it feels like a thin membrane between me and the truth.
    And I feel as though the understanding of this is beyond language and reason.
    I spend a lot of time during the day listening to your talks and reading Yogananda “ God Talks With Arjuna” The Bhagavad Gita.
    Is there something else I should be reading or doing to help me to stop going around in circles and help me come to realisation?
    Or do I just practice patience and keep on?

    1. ==========
      Is there something else I should be reading or doing to help me to stop going around in circles and help me come to realisation?
      Or do I just practice patience and keep on?

      When we’re first exposed to Vedānta, it’s likely we’re still reading something from the past.

      Eventually one drops these texts, realizing they end up creating further resistance/conflict.

      But “when to drop”? You’ll know.

      I basically dropped the huge world of Yoga (Hatha/Rāja/Kriyā). It took me some time. But in retrospect realize it has nothing which Vedānta doesn’t already answer in a more practical and relatable format.

  3. Thanks Andre.
    I feel hugely resistant to limiting my reading to Vedanta only.
    I am usually reading at least a couple of books at the one time and sometimes three or four.
    Have done for the last fifty years.
    It seems so restrictive to limit myself to one field of enquiry.
    Maybe addiction to learning has become my Vanasa.
    I will consider.

  4. Do you think I should give up my yoga too?
    That would be my reading, my meditation and my yoga.
    That is how I spend most of my waking hours every day.
    This would be a huge sacrifice and I am afraid I would get bored.
    I am willing to do it if you think it is the right way.

    1. One is not told do “THIS” or else. It’s your choice. One is only asked to consider:

      A Vedanta teachers job is to simply point out the big picture. For example, it’s common to study the 6 schools of philosophy: https://www.yesvedanta.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/6-major-schools-of-philosophy-of-india.png

      Meaning a teacher knows purpose and function of each school. Including Buddhism, Jainism, Yoga, Advaita.

      For example purpose of life in cārvāka philosophy is: After death, that’s the end of your existence. Thus purpose of life is to Eat, marry and drink (pursuing sense pleasures). So cārvāka indulges in maximum enjoyment while alive.

      Then after some lifetimes (or even same lifetime), person sees the pointlessness of cārvāka. And comes to Patānjali Yoga Sūtras (Sāṅkhya School). This school gets much credit for it’s advanced spiritual science. It’s ultimate aim in life is: samādhi.

      Then after some lifetimes (or even same lifetime), person sees pointlessness of Yoga. And finally comes to Advaita Vedanta (uttara-mīmāṁsā), which permanently solves the beginningless problem of ignorance.

      Reality is, even when teacher points this out, the student still resists becomes it’s so hard to undo years of spiritual notions that ironically lead to more seeking.

      That’s why we’re not telling you what to do. We’re simply pointing out where you are in your journey.

  5. Thanks Andre.
    Because your teaching I have had a radical shift in my perspective on Yoga and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
    My aim was to achieve samadhi.
    I now see this is a means that has been mistaken for an end.
    I understand that anything or any experience that takes place in time is limited and therefore cannot be the ultimate.
    I am 65 years of age and apart from the spiritual benefits I use yoga to maintain fitness and flexibility.
    Do you think it is advisable for me to continue my yoga practice and meditation with this revised attitude for the physical benefits and the mind purification as long as I don’t confuse the process as an end, or do you think this will only reinforce previously acquired mind distortions.
    Of course I want to keep practicing, but how do I know this is not just another addictive Vasana?
    I will make my own decision, but value your perspective.

    1. ====
      Do you think it is advisable for me to continue my yoga practice and meditation with this revised attitude for the physical benefits and the mind purification as long as I don’t confuse the process as an end

      This is definitely in line with more clear thinking. Not confusing Yoga practice/meditation as ultimate end. But only continuing it for it’s intended benefits like mental alertness/fitness/long-life/etc.

  6. Anger, therefore, is only our attachment (rāga) for an object, expressed at an obstacle that has come between us and the object of our desire. (2.56)
    Hi Andre.
    Back here again.
    Couldn’t help thinking when reviewing this talk,
    “ what about anger when you see someone mistreating a vulnerable woman or a child purely through superior physical strength?
    What about the urge to protect and intervene?”

    I know you could counter by saying it is raga for a just outcome, but does a wish or innate urge to preserve dharma constitute raga?

    You could also counter that you should intervene without anger because a knowledge of the person’s Vasana’s would lead you to understand why they act as they do.

    Wouldn’t anger be appropriate and useful here to help you overcome your fear and risk physical injury to intervene on a weaker ( physically) parties behalf?

    I only ask theses questions to make the vedantic definition of Anger useful to me in everyday life.

    1. ===========
      “ what about anger when you see someone mistreating a vulnerable woman or a child purely through superior physical strength What about the urge to protect and intervene?”

      Let’s analyze step-by-step:

      1) Eyes perceives the scene constituting: Woman, Treatment, Perpetrator.

      2) The antaḥkaraṇa receives this information.

      3) Information is processed by: memory, intellect, emotions.

      4) Whatever conclusion took place in #3 is colored in by saṃskāras.

      IE: Past habits or attitudes towards:

      – woman (asian, caucasian, black, indian)
      – treatment (fast/slow movement, knife, belt)
      – perpetrator (black, indian, old, young, what is he wearing).

      EG: If witness has general dislike towards “old woman”, then that will also alter the urge to protect her, then if she was “younger woman”.

      In otherwords, your personal likes/dislikes will influence the natural urge to intervene and protect (which comes from dharma).

      SUMMARY: Yes, person will intervene out of dharma. However the intensity/quality of intervening will also be influenced by likes/dislikes towards each object in the total scene.

      1. Thank you Andre.
        I accept what you are saying.
        I am still left with the conclusion that anger is a useful emotion in a dharmic situation like this where intervention is required at some risk to the individual.
        When Arjuna’s anger left him he was unable to act and had to be coaxed by Krishna.
        There may not be time for this in a dynamic one on one situation.
        I accept that ethically anger can be considered undesirable as a general principle.
        It just seems to me that dharmically it may be sometimes required.
        I will move on. 😊

        1. Yes positive/constructive anger is useful in Arjuna’s case, motivating him to seek the solution. We can say Arjuna’s anger was also because he knew what was right (dharmic), but didn’t know HOW to resolve the enormity of situation. Thus Arjuna’s own ignorance was an obstacle between him and his desire for harmony. Hence sought Krishna’s help.

          Then we have Bharat’s anger towards his mother Kaikeyi for telling King Dasaratha to exile Rāma (who was supposed to be the next king) for 14 years in forest and make Bharat the king instead.

          Upon discovering this, Bharat disowned Kaikeyi as his mother for doing something so despicable. So Bharat’s anger was justified because Kaikeyi violated dharma.

          However Rāma (God incarnate) wasn’t angry at Kaikeyi, even though showed displeasure on the outside. Because Rāma understood (1) Kaikeyi is doesn’t have all knoweldge (2) Loves her son Bharat (3) Wants Bharat to be happy.

          One responds with anger. Another with compassion. And BOTH Bharat and Rāma are embodiment of dharma.


          Then we have Duryodhana’s anger which was negative/destructive on bases of his ambition for kingdom (like) and jealously towards Pandavas (dislike).

  7. Hey Andre,
    how does a jiva actually have FREE WILL to take certain actions, if we all are not the one taking decisions but the Self, Pure Consciousness, that which is above any attributes like good or bad, that which is AWARE of the B-M-I and uncontaminated by the world?

    As we all know, the jiva’s “free will” from time to time also goes into the “bad” directions.
    Wouldn’t this be predetermined anyway by ones vasanas? Where is the free will then?

    Thank you!

    1. Persons’s vasana pull is certainly strong. Meaning, it inclines one to think or choose in a certain direction.

      However, amidst the pull, the jiva is also given:

      a) Power to intellectually assess.

      EG1: Should I marry her or her? (And yes, we know even this decision will be FIRST dictated by vasana. But what FOLLOWS UP is Intellectual assessment. So both vasana and power to override the vasana are in simultaneous operation.)

      EG2: We assess subtle gestures of car drivers on the road, constantly evaluating and making corrections to keep us driving safely.

      b) Power of self-awareness (IE: I know that I am now choosing A over B; vice-versa).

      These 2 are what is defined: Freedom to will (or: “Freewill” in short).


      CONCLUSION: Like a computer program designed to make decisions, it can’t unless electricity is flowing through CPU. Similarly, jiva’s subtle-body is capable of assessing due to being endowed with Consciousness.

  8. Thanks for the answer and the answers to the other comments too. I guess where the unclarity was for me, WHO does the karma yoga, good deeds, takes decisions etc., also WHY, if we already are that.

    I slowly hope to get it 🙂 So the way I see it now, I (Consciousness) already am whole, complete etc., but it‘s the B-M-I I‘m experiencing which has the free will, which can do karma yoga, inquiry etc.
    So it‘s more or less a show where the B-M-I learns how to behave appropriately and takes decisions, but the real I is the eternal watcher, and the intellect has to be established in the fact that ‘I’ am totally unrelated to the happenings of the world.

    But then, in theory, after firm establishment of Knowledge, wouldn‘t even free will be illusory (clearly part of mityah)?
    Also, does the doer sense ever fall away, or how does it change?

    1. Karma Yoga (KY) is an attitude change in our actions.

      Without KY spirit: I am doing THIS (cooking, talking, asking a question, working for a boss) to BENEFIT me. I also expect positive results from my actions. If positive results are not guaranteed, I’m not interested in participating. IE: Focus is the selfish person. The individual who puts themselves in center of the universe.

      With KY spirit: Actions done by this body-mind are only ever going to the Lord (which I am not apart from). I gladly contribute to this world the little that I can. Whether someone acknowledges or disrespects my work, it doesn’t bother me, as there is only God here.


      IN SHORT: Karma Yoga actualizes the knowledge into a concrete reality. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Intellectual knowledge of math is insufficient. It’s only when one tackles REAL LIFE math problems. In course of time, it solidifies one’s math knowledge. Self-knowledge is just the same.

      real I is the eternal watcher

      That’s true. But the world is not separate from the “real I”. If they are, that’s duality. If one is established in the self as the self, their body-mind will gladly participate in the world according to one’s skills.

      Devotion to God (yourself) means: Glad participation in this world (according to Felix’es specific strengths), while never losing (even for a moment) the firm knowledge of the watcher.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *