By Swami Harshananda
Jivanmukti literally means ‘liberation even while living’.
Types of Mukti
The scriptures of Vedānta accept two types of mukti or liberation from trans-migratory existence. They are:
- Jīvanmukti : liberation even while living
- Videhamukti : liberation from all the bodies including the present one
When a person attains ātmajñāna or direct experience of one’s true nature as the ātman or Self, he is liberated from future births and hence he is called as a ‘mukta’.
Since the prārabdhakarma that started the present body is still in existence, a mukta person continues to live with all the experiences brought about by that karma. But his reactions to those experiences are completely different. He already knows from his mystic experience that he is just the pure spirit and not the material body in which he has temporarily made his abode. Such a person is called a ‘jīvanmukta’. He is liberated even while living in the body.
When the prārabdhakarma gets exhausted and the body falls, he attains ‘videhamukti’ which is like a river entering into an ocean and losing its identity.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore