By Swami Harshananda
Muktapuruṣa literally means ‘the liberated person’.
The basic works of the religion like the Upanisads and the Bhagavadgitā and also several secondary treatises based on them like the epics and the purānas, have described in detail, the characteristics of a muktapuruṣa, the liberated person, also called ‘jīvanmukta’. The ātman or the soul is essentially free. But he has got himself entangled in the body-mind complex, suffering much and he is undergoing transmigration repeatedly, is also a recognized fact.
Though the cause of his bondage and the means of his deliverance as described in the various philosophical systems of the religion may appear to differ, descriptions of his state of liberation are almost similar. The Kathopaniṣad says that a muktapuruṣa is fully free from all kinds of desires. So does the Bṛhadāranyaka Upaniṣad. Some of the other Upaniṣads declare that a liberated soul is absolutely untouched by any kind of sin, heinous or venial.
Synonyms of Muktapuruṣa
It is variously called as:
Other Works on Muktapuruṣa
Excellent and detailed descriptions of a muktapuruṣa are found in a number of authoritative religious works. The various works are:
The gist of all these descriptions is that his mind has transcended all happiness, misery, likes, dislikes, passions and prejudices like lust and greed, avarice and delusion, pride, vanity and jealousy. He is ever immersed in the bliss of the ātman inside and looks upon the world as a reflection or a manifestation of Brahman, the Absolute.
- Jīvanmukta means the ‘liberated even while living in the body’.
- Kathopaniṣad 5.1
- Bṛhadāranyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.7
- Kausītaki Brāhmanopaniṣad 3.1
- Laghuyogavāsistha 5th sarga
- Bhagavadgitā 2.54-64
- Bhagavadgitā 12.13-19
- Bhagavadgitā 14.21-26
- Śāntiparva 245.12-24
- Muktikhanda 5.9-42
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore