Salokya, Sayujya and Sadharmya
In the tradition of Buddhism, which is a variation of jnanayoga in which the attainment is also a kind of salokya-mukti because in that state the individual no more remains; as in jnanayoga, the individuality is lost. There is in jnanyoga only oneness with the Supreme, only Supreme remains and nothing else remains. In the case of bhaktiyoga, the individual remains as a child of God, so there is a difference between the individual and the Supreme. In Buddhism also it is like salokya because there also, there is no individuality left at the end of the road in the state of liberation.
Question: But there is no God in Buddhism?
In Buddhism the ultimate state is not substance, is not sat but it is asat, it is non- being, it is shunya. What is shunya, what is that asat, is a difficult question and there is a lot of controversy into which we need not go. But this is the main difference, you might say, between the jnanayoga of the Hindu tradition and the jnanayoga of Buddhism. You might also remember that Upanishads also speak of asat. So it is not as if the Upanishads were not aware of the experience of asat. In that sense you might say that Buddhism is not entirely different or completely alien to something that was in the Upanishads. Upanishads also spoke in one of the statements: sat came from asat. That is one of the statements of the Upanishads.
In the veda also there is a recognition of asat. In any case it is recognised by spiritual practitioners that there is a state which is beyond the state of substance. By whatever name we may call, shunya or asat or nihil, whatever you might call, but there is a state beyond the state of substance. But the ultimate effect is that individuality does not remain and there is salokya-mukti. Jainism has a different tradition. It is also a kind of a variation of jnanayoga. The only point is that salokya is not one with the Supreme substance but the realisation is of the individual as a true individual, but the content of the experience is similar to the experience that is described in jnanayoga, of the experience of the brahman. It is silent, it is pure, full of knowledge, luminosity, but it says that that nature belongs to every individual. It is not as if there is one substance. There are multiplicities of individuals and each individual can rise up to that level and he becomes liberated when he realises that he is inactive, luminous and supreme, omniscient.
So you might say that salokya-mukti is basically having these threefold variations. In sayujya-mukti there are many variations of one basic thing, namely that individual remains but the kind of relationship that individual may have with the Supreme may be different. You may recognise yourself as a child of God or a friend of God, beloved of God, servant of God, or you might even say that God is your child, not that you are his child but even God is looked upon as your child; Balgopal realisation in which Gopal is your child and you have a relationship with him. All these are variations of sayujya mukti. But in the tradition of the Veda, Upanishad and the Gita, there is a further movement which is called sadharmya-mukti. The Bhagavad Gita clearly speaks of the word sadharmya towards the end of the Bhagavad Gita itself. In the Veda and the Upanishads the descriptions are given where sadharmya-mukti can be discerned. Sadharmya-mukti is to become God-like, which you can become only when salokya and sayujya, both are combined and you go forward, still further. Salokya and sayujya are the conditions for attaining to the sadharmya. To become godlike, dharma is the law of action. When your law of action becomes one with the law of action of the Divine Himself, then you attain to sadharmya-mukti. To attain to the same status of being where God is one, to attain to some kind of relationship with the Divine is another, but to attain to the same law of action as the Divine has, requires a further development of yoga, a further spiritual discipline. If you read the last six chapters of the Gita, you'll find that the purpose of those last six chapters is precisely this, to indicate that mere karmayoga and jnanayoga and bhaktiyoga described in the first twelve chapters is not enough. There is a further thing to be done which is expounded in the last six chapters where the law of action is described. The last six chapters are devoted to the law of action. If you read closely the last six chapters you will find Sri Krishna describing various kinds of dharmas, sattva dharma, rajasa dharma, tamaso dharma, with regard to everything. The sense of worship has three dharmas, sattvadharma, rajodharma, tamodharma; the kind of actions have but three dharmas; the support of action has three dharmas; shabda is of three kinds, tamoguni shabda, rajoguni shabda, sattviki shabda. All law of action of all parts of our being are described and then it is told that so long as you remain within the confines of the law of karma, or law of dharma as described here, you have not reached the highest level. The highest level is reached when sarvadharman parityajya, when you give up all dharmas, reach a point where you are able to give up all dharmas – which are limited to our own law of action – and when you become one with the law of action of the Divine Himself, and that is why it is said that this can be done only when you completely surrender to the Divine in everything. Not only in your status of being, not only in your relationship with the Divine but in everything, when you are breathing, when you are eating, when you are drinking, in every action; in every movement. Then there is a great result which comes out by this surrender: the Divine nature, the divine law of action takes possession of you and a transformation takes place. That is the law of action. And it is that which is the last note of the Bhagavad Gita: sadharmya-mukti.
Now this tradition of sadharmya-mukti has been greatly relegated into the background in the history of India. As a result of that, even the emphasis on action has become relegated. It is said that so long as you are in samsara you remain active but the ultimate goal is to give up action and when you are salokya you are absolutely liberated. Then no action remains, you are free from all action. Even sayujya-mukti people believe that you give up all action and the only action that remains is relationship with the Divine, bhajan, kirtan, adoration, admiration of the Divine and dance for the Divine; this is all that remains, no other action. But then you can act as the Divine acts in the world so that the active parts of our being are also divinised. Now this yoga which was developed in the Veda, Upanishads, and the Gita has remained undeveloped afterwards.