Distinguish between videha-mukti and jivan-mukti.

Benefit of knowledge of the Self is presented in two forms in Upanishads. One is the benefit that can be obtained in this life itself while the other is the benefit after death. Katha Upanishad speaks of both the benefits namely, Jivan mukti and videha mukti.

More than the benefits after death, like freedom from cycle of birth and death and immortality, benefits obtained while living in the body itself draw one’s attention for authentic meaningful living as human beings here on earth.

Jivan mukti is the benefit of knowledge enjoyed mostly at the mental level in different ways. A sense of fulfillment in life is the first fruit of realization. The realized person is free from limitation and belongs to all. There is no sense of isolation or rejection as there is a realization of all-pervading Self within oneself. Secondly, one becomes independent mentally and emotionally. Nothing affects him emotionally in case of accumulation or deprivation of things, of relation or departure of people.

While Jivanmukti is liberation while living, videhamukti is freedom after death. Katha Upanishad clearly states about what happens to a person who is still in ignorance. After death these unrealized persons would drop only the body. Death becomes only a separation of the self with the physical body which is made out of five elements. To these five elements the body returns back. The other two bodies namely the subtle and causal bodies continue to exist for an ajnani, ignorant person.

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