Role models worth emulating

Role models worth emulating

In the spiritual tradition of India, in historic as well as recent times, there have been many great personages who by their attainments, have been recognised as ‘liberated beings’ or ‘Jivanmuktas’ in Vedantic parlance.

Liberated in the sense that while still alive, they have attained a transcendental state, a state of supreme consciousness, a state where they have crossed all barriers of desires and worldly attachments.

A few of the many such names are—Sadashiva Brahmendra, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi, Kanchi Paramacharya and Sri Chandrashekara Bharati.

Adi Shankaracharya, himself a Jivanmukta expatiates on this in his treatise Vivekachudamani.

Shankara explains that the happiness that man derives from the pursuit of worldly things comes with its own troubles too.

It engenders a cyclical process of wants, gratification and more wants. Creates anger and disillusionment when not attained.

It makes man swerve from the path of righteousness. It makes man lose his sense of right and wrong, rendering him incapable of reasoning and balanced judgement. 

Thus, material happiness is neither unmixed nor everlasting.

Men who are able to conquer their senses, who have risen above all human limitations are the Jivanmuktas.

Shankara says that such great personalities have acquired the power of discrimination between the real and the transitory through an arduous process of annulling their harmful and evil tendencies and building up a reserve of pure, divine and spiritual tendencies.

This has been acquired over several lives, as it cannot be achieved in one lifetime. 
Thus, Shankara says that if great men have become Jivanmuktas in their present lives, it means that they have been gradually annulling their negative tendencies over many previous lives to the point of complete extinction in their present lives.

Thus, a Jivanmukta is an enlightened being, one who has conquered his passions, one who is at peace with himself and with the world.

He radiates an effulgence that is not of this world. He has experienced oneness with the supreme.

Thus, neither pain nor grief affects him. He is completely absorbed in the divine consciousness. He has no wants.

He is like a child, totally oblivious to the surrounding world. Sometimes people call him insane, but he remains unaffected.

Therefore, Shankara says, such a one is totally detached, absorbed in the supreme spirit.

The question may well be asked now, of what use is all this to ordinary mortals, struggling as they are in the midst of their mundane lives?  

It must be noted that their very presence is like a lighthouse, guiding ships safely to port in the choppy seas. Their mere being raises the moral and spiritual tone of society.

In their presence, men derive a sense of purpose and direction.

They enthuse men to take to a path of truth, discipline and righteousness. They are role models to emulate.

What better way to lead life?