5

Vasista is known to be a guru of Lord Rama.

It is well known that he is one of the rishi in sapta rishis.

Was he a jivan mukta?

6

Yes, as per commentary on Brahma-Sutra 3.3.32:

Rishi Apantaratama was born again as Vyasa. Sanatkumara was born as Skanda. So also other Rishis like Vasishtha and Narada were born again. Now these Rishis had attained the knowledge of Brahman, and yet they had to be reborn. If that is so, what is the utility of such knowledge of Brahman?—says the opponent. This Sutra refutes it and says that ordinarily a person after attaining Knowledge is not reborn. But the case of those who have a divine mission to fulfil is different. Those perfected sages have one or more births until their mission is fulfilled, after which they are not born again. But then they never come under the sway of ignorance although they may be reborn. Their case is analogous to that of a Jivanmukta, who even after attaining Knowledge continues his corporeal existence as long as the Prarabdha Karma lasts. The divine mission of these people is comparable to the Prarabdha Karma.

4

According to the minor Sannyasa Upanishdas, there are different types of ascetics, whose sole purpose is to seek for liberation viz- Kuticaka, Bahudaka, Hamsa, Paramhamsa, Turiyatata and Avadhuta. Of these the first type (Kuticaka) is at the lowest stage of realisation and Avadhuta and Turiyatita at the highest stage. Of these,ONLY the last two are considered as beings liberated while living (Jivanmukta).

To those who renounce at a time of mortal danger and to Kuticakas belong the earthly world and the atmospheric world, respectively. To Bahudakas belongs the heavenly world, to Hamsas the Penance-world, and to Paramahamsas the Truthworld. To Turiyatitas and to Avadhutas belongs the attainment of liberation in their very selves through the deep meditation on their own true nature in the manner of the wasp and the worm.

Narada Parivrajaka Upanishad


At the outset, then, such a person becomes a Kutlcaka, then in due order he advances to the Bahudaka state, and when he is a Bahudaka he proceeds to the Hamsa state. Once he is a Hamsa he becomes a Paramahamsa. He comes to know the entire universe by the deep contemplation of his own nature. Staff, water pot, waistband, loincloth, and garment—all these he throws into water after performing the rites prescribed in his own rule. He then becomes naked, giving up even the use of discolored old clothes, bark garments, or antelope skins.

Now, In Bhikshu Upanishad Rishi Vashishta is mentioned as an ascetic of the Kuticaka type.And to this type belongs the Earthly realm or the Bhur Loka and this type is not Jivanmukta.


There are four types of mendicants who aspire to liberation: Kuticakas, Bahudakas, Hamsas, and Paramahamsas . Kuticakas are people such as Gautama, Bharadvaja, Yajnavalkya, and Vasistha, who, eating eight mouthfuls, seek only liberation by the yogic path. Bahudakas are those who carry a triple staff and a water pot; who wear a topknot, a sacrificial string, and an ochre garment; -who, avoiding honey and meat, beg eight mouthfuls of food from the house of a Brahmin seer; and who seek only liberation by the yogic path.

Paramahamsas are men such as Samvartaka, Aruni, Svetaketu, Jadabharata, Dattatreya, Suka, Vamadeva, and Haritaka, who, eating eight mouthfuls, seek only liberation by the yogic path. They live at the foot of trees, or in deserted houses, or in cemeteries.

Bhikshuka Upanishad

As you can see Paramhamsas like Dattatreya are considered as Jivanmuktas and not the ones mentioned under Kuticaka. So, from these evidences at least we can not conclude convincingly that Vashishta was a Jivanmukta.

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