Jivan Mukta

jīvan mukta - जीवन्मुक्त

One who is inwardly free while living in this world. (1) The jivan mukta has dissolved his limited ego in infinite consciousness and no longer accrues new karma. (2)

The reality of the jivan mukta is only God. A “fully victorious saint,” the soul has attained nirbikalpa samadhi, or final victory over self-identity and separation from the infinite soul. (3) Having been released from worldy desires, he  may live in the physical body while being free in spirit. He is no longer drawn by delusion. (4)

The jivan mukta nevertheless still has karma from past incarnations to dissipate. Although untouched by that karma, he must review the lifetimes of karmic involvement and realize them as dreams. (3) The karma exists of memories of ego-consciousness in the subconscious, and it is released into cosmic consciousness through meditation. (4) The jivan mukta may even work out karma from an entire lifetime in one meditation, or reincarnate in multiple bodies to work out karma more quickly. (1)

The jivan mukta becomes a siddha (“perfected being”) or param mukta (“supremely free soul”) after working out all past karma. He may reincarnate as an avatar (“descended being”) purely for the welfare of humanity. (1) He has achieved the rare state of kaivalya moksha, or full liberation from the material plane of existence. (4)

Yogananda said that the jivan mukta does not actually need to work out past karma, but does so as an excuse to help others attain liberation or without care because he is eternally free. (5) Ultimately, however, he merges with Satchidanandam (“ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new bliss”) as the infinite soul. (6)

Paramahansa Yogananda, as well as other great masters and disciples such as Sister Gyanamata, are considered jivan muktas. Each jivan mukta, according to divine will, must free at least six disciples for final liberation. (3)

  1. a b c The Essence of Self-Realization, by Paramhansa Yogananda. Chapter 10, “Working Out Karma.”
  2. The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, explained by Paramhansa Yogananda. Chapter 16, “The Supreme Science of Knowing God.”
  3. a b c Religion in the New Age, by Swami Kriyananda. Part III: Thoughts of a Disciple, Chapter 5, “Bliss-Avitar?”
  4. a b c The Promise of Immortality, by Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 5, “The Only Begotten – Why?”
  5. The Essence of Self-Realization, by Paramhansa Yogananda. Chapter 13, “Why Fight?”
  6. The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, by Swami Kriyananda. Step 14, “I. Philosophy: The Yogic Scheme of Life.”