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Naishkarmya In Advaita Vedanta

In Advaita Vedanta, Naishkarmya represents a profound state of being, characterized by the absence of all karmas or rituals and actions. This term holds significant importance within the Advaita Vedanta tradition, encapsulating the notion of liberation known as jivanmukti, which is the attainment of freedom while still inhabiting a physical body.

The performance of karmas, whether they are actions or rituals, is considered possible only when an individual perceives the world through the lens of duality, which is brought about by avidya or nescience. Avidya veils the true nature of reality and the self, leading individuals to engage in actions prescribed by scriptures or perceived duties. However, with the destruction of avidya through atma jnana, which is direct experiential knowledge of the atman or the Self, one realizes the entirety of existence as an undivided pure consciousness, often described as sat-chit-ananda (existence-consciousness-bliss). In this state of realization, there arises an absolute incapacity to engage in any form of karma.

The mindset of the realized being, who perceives the entire universe, including oneself, as inseparable from pure consciousness, is termed 'naishkarmya' or 'naishkarmya bhava'. It signifies a state beyond the realm of actions, where the individual is untouched by the influences of karma due to the realization of the non-dual nature of reality.

However, it's essential to understand that the performance of actions ordained by scriptures, executed with the right attitude, leads to chitta shuddhi or the purification of the mind. This purification is a crucial step on the path to realization. Only an individual endowed with such a purified mind is considered fit to pursue jnana (knowledge), ultimately leading to the eradication of avidya. The destruction of avidya, in turn, culminates in the attainment of naishkarmya, wherein the individual abides in a state of absolute freedom beyond the realm of action and reaction.