A jnani has attained liberation even while alive, here and now. It is immaterial to Him as to how, where and when He leaves the body. Some Jnanis may appear to suffer, others may be in samadhi; still others may disappear from sight before death. But that makes no difference to their jnana. Such suffering is only apparent, seeming real to the onlooker, but not felt by the Jnani, for He has already transcended the mistaken identity of the Self with the body. The Jnani does not think He is the body. He does not even see the body. He sees only the Self in the body. If the body is not there, but only the Self, the question of its disappearing in any form does not arise.
In books, it is mentioned that the greatest malady we have is the body, the TYúSôn (bhava-noy - disease of birth), and if one takes medicine to strengthen and prolong its life, it is like a man taking medicine to perpetuate his disease. A Sanskrit verse in Canto XI of the Bhagavata says the body is not real (impermanent). Whether it is at rest, or moves about, and whether by reason of prarabdha it clings to Him or falls off from Him, the Self-Realized Siddha is not aware of it, even as the drunken man blinded by intoxication is unaware whether his cloth is on his body or not.
Illustrations are given in the books as to how a Jnani who is in the sahaja state and who always sees only the Self, can move about and live in the world like everyone else. For instance, you see a reflection in the mirror, you know the mirror to be the reality and the picture in it a mere reflection. In order to see the mirror, is it necessary that one should cease to see the reflection in it?
Or again take the screen illustration: There is a screen. On that screen first appears the figure of a king. He sits on a throne. Then before him in that same screen a play begins with various figures and objects and the king on the screen watches the play on the same screen. The seer and the seen are mere shadows on the screen, which is the only reality supporting these pictures. In the world also, the seer and the seen together constitute the mind and the mind is supported by, or based on, the Self.
You are under the impression you are the body. So you think the Jnani also has a body. Does the Jnani say He has a body? He may look to you as having a body and doing things with the body as others do. The burnt rope still looks like a rope but it cannot serve as a rope if you try to bind anything with it. As long as one identifies oneself with the body, all this is difficult to understand.
Examine all the different kinds of states. Take hold of that State which alone is the Supreme and True One and engage yourself in action in the world, regarding your life there as mere sport. You have discovered That which is the Reality inside your Heart behind all the appearances of this world. So, without ever letting That out of your sight, disport yourself as you like in the world. Seeming to have enthusiasm and gratification, anxieties and aversions (but really having none of them), seeming to begin and persevere in endeavours (but really having no attachment to such efforts), engage yourself in the affairs of the world without any detriment to yourself. Freeing yourself from all sorts of bonds, maintaining the same equanimity and doing work externally in conformity with the environment in which you find yourself, disport yourself as you like in the world.
He whose mind is not attached to any desires, does no action in reality, though his body may act. He is like one who hears a story with his mind elsewhere. Similarly, the man whose mind is full of desires is really acting though his body may be actionless. A man may be sleeping here with his body inert, and yet he may be climbing hills and falling from them in dream at the same time.
It is all the same to one who is fast asleep in a cart, whether the cart moves or stops, with the bulls left yoked or unyoked. Similarly for the Jnani who has gone to sleep in the cart of His physical body, it does not matter whether He works or is in deep meditation (samadhi), or is asleep.
The statement that the Jnani retains prarabdha while free from sanchita and agamya karmas 1. is only a formal answer to the questions of the ignorant. Of several wives none escapes widowhood when the husband dies; even so, when the doer goes all three karmas vanish.
The non-action of the Sage is really unceasing activity. His characteristic is eternal and intense activity. His stillness is like the apparent stillness of a very fast-rotating top. Its extreme speed cannot be followed by the eye and so it appears to be still. This must be explained, as people generally mistake the stillness of the Sage for inertness.