Question 204: What are the characteristics of a Wise Person?

What are the characteristics of a Wise Person?Rama is curious about jnani’s, illuminated ones, the Wise. What is their mind, what is their experience, what is their action? Do they participate in the world like you and me? The Sage answers.


jivanmukta: permanently self-realised (or God-realised) person who no longer has any indentification whatsoever with his or her body.

sushupti: deep sleep state.

atmananda bliss of the soul

advaita San. n. ‘having no duality’, ‘one without a second’; unity, non-dualism – the philosophy which sees creator and created as one, not two. Advaita contends that only brahman has any actual existence and considers the empirical world as illusion. In the words of its propagator, Adi-shankara: ‘Brahman permeates everything as butter permeates milk. Brahman is other than the universe. Nothing exists that is not Brahman’. ‘All is Self. Self is all.’

akash: San. m., n. (ambara) sky, space, an expanse; the element of ether, the subtlest form of matter. Space gives things form and keeps them discrete. Its quality is sound. ‘It is through space that sounds are transmitted and heard. Love and play are products of akasha and seeds sprout on account of akasha.’ ‘Akasha pervades the cosmos but remains unstained.’ (BG: 23:32)

vikara: fault, blemish;

chitta San. noun. the mind (the seat of understanding and awareness, of intellect and will); memory, thought, reflection; the soul, heart. It is the individual consciousness, composed of intelligence and intellect (buddhi), ego (ahamkara) and mind (manas). In Vedanta, chitta is one aspect of Universal Consciousness (chit). The world hangs on the thread of consciousness – without consciousness, there is no world.


Question 204: Sir, what are the characteristics of a wise person? Kindly explain it to me.

Answer: Ramji, the characteristics of a jivanmukta or a wise person can be described thus :

(i) A wise person cognises the universe as in sushupti (deep-sleep).

(ii) He is free from envy.

(iii) Knowing the entire universe as an aspect of Atma, he remains in equilibrium and is always absorbed in Atmananda.

(iv) Despite his give-and-take with all, he neither gives anything to anybody nor takes anything from anybody, and performs all actions without ego.

(v) While seeing, hearing, drinking, eating and interacting with others, he is always gentle in his mind.

He is not worried or concerned about the past and the future, nor is he attached to the present. Always remaining a non-doer, he performs his actions. Such a wise person is always in sleep vis—a-vis the world and is awake towards Atma. Outwardly, he performs his actions with the sense organs, but maintains no desire for any object or action within. Overtly, he performs all actions, but is without ego within; he is not affected by joy or sorrow and is free from all illusions. Mentally, he acts without identifying himself with anything. He is an indulgent among the indulgent, non-indulgent among the non-indulgent, a fool among fools, a child among children, aged among the aged, calm among the quiet and happy among pleasures, and he lives with contentment. He remains unmoved in acts of virtue and vice. He is free from the ideas of bondage and liberation. Knowing everything as unreal, and being free from the attitude of duality, he is always stabilised in the non-duality (advaita). He is free from doubts and stays always like gentle akash (ether, space).

Ramji, a dream world arises in sleep in no time, and merges again in no time. You must cognise the waking world in the like manner. Joy, sorrow, desire, grief, attachment, etc., are the modifications of the mind, because where there is mind, there are faults (vikara) also. But where chitta (consciousness) is absent, faults are also absent. The illusion of the universe vanishes on contemplation.

Therefore, being desireless and mindless, you should always be absorbed in your Atmananda and being non-ideational, you should renounce everything and remain pure.


“The truly wise person (the jnani, the yogi, the Sthithaprajna, or Illumined One) is the one who recognizes inaction in action, and action in inaction. He or she sees that where there is apparent action taking place at the worldly level, there may be true inaction within the individual; likewise, where there is no apparent worldly action taking place, there may be considerable action occurring on the inner level.

“Arjuna, truly wise persons are in the world but not of it. They may be very busy with earthly matters but their heads and hearts stay in solitude. They are connected in this way to the Atma within. These are the wise ones untouched by karma.

“Those who are ignorant of the True Self, thinking instead that they are the body and the doer, may attempt to renounce worldly actions, but at the inner level they still have the turmoil resulting from their attachments and desires. That inner turmoil is itself action, and thus they are still incurring karmic consequences even while supposedly not acting.

“The truly wise act without scheming for the fruits of their actions, and are therefore without inner turmoil. This breaks the chain of karma. All their selfish desires have been consumed in the fire of knowing that they are not the body or the doer, but are indeed the Atma, the True Self within.

“These ideas are new to you, dear friend, so listen closely. The wise ones I have been describing are ever-content and need nothing. They have abandoned all external supports. This is true personal freedom. They act, but to them the actions are adorations of Divinity. Disentanglement from desire for the fruits of their actions is the key to their success. Bhagavad Gita: 4:18-20


What are the characteristics of a wise one?


Hamsa Gayatri
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Paramahamsaya Dheemahi
Tanno Hamsa Prachodayat

“May we realise Hamsa that is our own Self as the Swan. Let us meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self. May Hamsa illumine us.”

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