Sample from the Winter 2003 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine

by H. H. Sri Swami Satchidananda

A Jivanmukta is immortal in the mortal life. Do you know the difference between what is mortal and what is immortal? Your true Self is immortal, unchanging. But, the Self by itself cannot function, cannot even exhibit itself, without the help of a body. So the body and mind are more or less your vehicles, the Self’s vehicles, to express itself and to function.

Who is the real me? If the body is me, how can I even say that it’s my body? What do you say if you are wearing a watch on your wrist? You would say: “Here is my watch.” You are not the watch. You are simply owning a watch. We say: “My house, my car, my body.” That means I am not the body which is the truth. We always forget it. So constant remembrance of the truth, “I’m not the body. I’m simply living in this. This is my R.V., my recreation vehicle.” Yes. It has everything built into it: office, kitchen, bathroom. Everything is built into the recreational vehicle.

You have to find out the truth yourself. Constantly analyzing, analyzing, analyzing. Every minute ask, “Who is the real me?” You may say, “Oh, I am hungry.” But, stop it there immediately. Question yourself: “I am hungry? Ahh, who is hungry? Me or my stomach?” Constant questioning. You say, “I burned my finger. I am in agony.” You burned your finger. Why are you in agony? It’s your finger that should be in agony, right? See? You are separating yourself, freeing yourself from these thoughts, from wrong identification.

The body-mind being part of nature will dissolve one day. What comes together will go apart one day or other. You, the one who lives in the body, is immortal. You don’t die. So if you know the truth about your own True Self, you realize that you are immortal and it’s only the body and the mind that dies. That is what you call real freedom.

Assert your true identity: “Aham Brahmasmi, Sivoham” What does that mean? “I am Brahma, I am Siva.” You are the immortal Self! Remember always: “I am only living in this body but I am not the body, I am the spirit. I am that Light.” In the case of Jesus and great sages and saints like him they were able to experience that. They were simply using the body as a vehicle but they are pure spirit-Self-realized.

So, to them, just dropping the body is very simple. As Bhagavad Gita says when the shirt is torn you just take it out. It becomes a way for them who realized that, that they are the pure spirits. Then even while you are in the body you are free.

Many still don’t understand exactly who the Jivanmuktas are, how the saints lived. They think they are just a person. Whom do you call the person? That’s what I am trying to say here. The person is the life force, not the body. The body is a house in which the person lives.

The Hindus call it Hiranyagarba, the cosmic body. That’s what you see in Lord Vishnu’s mythology. In the Bhagavad Gita, when Arjuna asked Krishna to show him the viswaroopa, the virat swaroopa, the cosmic body, He became the entire universe. In the western hemisphere probably only in Jesus’s life we see this resurrection and him appearing later on to many people for 40 days. Are there any others saints like that in the western hemisphere? In the east we have hundreds.

Unfortunately they are not well-known in the west. For example, there was Manickavasagar, one of the four great Nayanar saints. He went to Chidambaram. He was singing the praise of Lord Nataraja and walked into the Sanctum Sanctorum and then disappeared. He never came back. He got immersed, absorbed in the Jyothi, in the Light. Saint Ramalinga Swamigal went into the room and then that’s all. When they opened the room, there was nobody. He just disappeared. He was a great siddha. Even his body got completely changed into Light form…

Read the rest of this article in the Winter 2003 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine .