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I want to know if the concept of JivanMukta(attaining moksha while in this very body) exist in Vaishnava sects? From what I know through ISKCON/Gaudiya Vaishnava, Advaita Moksha/Mukti means merging with God(Krishna)'s BrahmaJyoti (effulgence). I don't know if there are other definitions of Moksha in Vaishnavism.

So I want to know if one can be self realized while in this very body according to Vaishnava sects.

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  • Self realized need not be muktha and the definition of realization is different for different philosophy
    – Prasanna R
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 12:57
  • Jivanmukti seems to be exclusive to Advaita , in the light of Upanishads. Vaishnava sects are aligned to Kramamukti , liberation by stages, they go to brahmaloka, goloka , vaikuntha, and from there they may attain liberation.
    – Athrey
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 16:19

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Yes, jivana-muktas have been described in the Bhagavata Purana. An example is Jada Bharata who was immersed in spiritual consciousness remaining unnoticed. Below are a few verses from his story.

The brothers of Jada Bharata don't recognize his position

पितर्युपरते भ्रातर एनमतत्प्रभावविदस्त्रय्यां विद्यायामेव पर्यवसितमतयो न परविद्यायां जडमतिरिति भ्रातुरनुशासननिर्बन्धान्न्यवृत्सन्त ॥ ८ ॥

After the father died, the nine stepbrothers of Jaḍa Bharata, who considered Jaḍa Bharata dull and brainless, abandoned the father’s attempt to give Jaḍa Bharata a complete education. The stepbrothers of Jaḍa Bharata were learned in the three Vedas — the Ṛg Veda, Sāma Veda and Yajur Veda — which very much encourage fruitive activity. The nine brothers were not at all spiritually enlightened in devotional service to the Lord. Consequently they could not understand the highly exalted position of Jaḍa Bharata.

Sri Jada Bharata tolerates the actions of materialistic men

स च प्राकृतैर्द्विपदपशुभिरुन्मत्तजडबधिरमूकेत्यभिभाष्यमाणो यदा तदनुरूपाणि प्रभाषते कर्माणि च कार्यमाण:
परेच्छया करोति विष्टितो वेतनतो वा याच्ञया यद‍ृच्छया वोपसादितमल्पं बहु मृष्टं कदन्नं वाभ्यवहरति परं नेन्द्रियप्रीतिनिमित्तम् ।
नित्यनिवृत्तनिमित्तस्वसिद्धविशुद्धानुभवानन्दस्वात्मलाभाधिगम: सुखदु:खयोर्द्वन्द्वनिमित्तयोरसम्भावितदेहाभिमान: ॥ ९ ॥
शीतोष्णवातवर्षेषु वृष इवानावृताङ्ग: पीन: संहननाङ्ग: स्थण्डिलसंवेशनानुन्मर्दनामज्जनरजसा महामणिरिवानभिव्यक्तब्रह्मवर्चस: कुपटावृतकटिरुपवीतेनोरुमषिणा द्विजातिरिति ब्रह्मबन्धुरिति संज्ञयातज्ज्ञजनावमतो विचचार ॥ १० ॥

Degraded men are actually no better than animals. The only difference is that animals have four legs and such men have only two. These two-legged, animalistic men used to call Jaḍa Bharata mad, dull, deaf and dumb. They mistreated him, and Jaḍa Bharata behaved for them like a madman who was deaf, blind or dull. He did not protest or try to convince them that he was not so. If others wanted him to do something, he acted according to their desires. Whatever food he could acquire by begging or by wages, and whatever came of its own accord—be it a small quantity, palatable, stale or tasteless—he would accept and eat. He never ate anything for sense gratification because he was already liberated from the bodily conception, which induces one to accept palatable or unpalatable food. He was full in the transcendental consciousness of devotional service, and therefore he was unaffected by the dualities arising from the bodily conception. Actually his body was as strong as a bull's, and his limbs were very muscular. He didn't care for winter or summer, wind or rain, and he never covered his body at any time. He lay on the ground, and never smeared oil on his body or took a bath. Because his body was dirty, his spiritual effulgence and knowledge were covered, just as the splendor of a valuable gem is covered by dirt. He only wore a dirty loincloth and his sacred thread, which was blackish. Understanding that he was born in a brāhmaṇa family, people would call him a brahma-bandhu and other names. Being thus insulted and neglected by materialistic people, he wandered here and there.

King Rahugana criticizes Jada Bharata who remains unaffected

अहो कष्टं भ्रातर्व्यक्तमुरुपरिश्रान्तो दीर्घमध्वानमेक एव ऊहिवान् सुचिरं नातिपीवा न संहननाङ्गो जरसा चोपद्रुतो भवान् सखे नो एवापर एते सङ्घट्टिन इति बहुविप्रलब्धोऽप्यविद्यया रचितद्रव्यगुणकर्माशयस्वचरमकलेवरेऽवस्तुनि संस्थानविशेषेऽहं ममेत्यनध्यारोपितमिथ्याप्रत्ययो ब्रह्मभूतस्तूष्णीं शिबिकां पूर्ववदुवाह ॥ ६ ॥

King Rahūgaṇa told Jaḍa Bharata: How troublesome this is, my dear brother. You certainly appear very fatigued because you have carried this palanquin alone without assistance for a long time and for a long distance. Besides that, due to your old age you have become greatly troubled. My dear friend, I see that you are not very firm, nor very strong and stout. Aren't your fellow carriers cooperating with you?

In this way the King criticized Jaḍa Bharata with sarcastic words, yet despite being criticized in this way, Jaḍa Bharata had no bodily conception of the situation. He knew that he was not the body, for he had attained his spiritual identity. He was neither fat, lean nor thin, nor had he anything to do with a lump of matter, a combination of the five gross and three subtle elements. He had nothing to do with the material body and its two hands and legs. In other words, he had completely realized his spiritual identity [ahaṁ brahmāsmi]. He was therefore unaffected by this sarcastic criticism from the King. Without saying anything, he continued carrying the palanquin as before.

Jada Bharata speaks about his past lives

सा मां स्मृतिर्मृगदेहेऽपि वीर
कृष्णार्चनप्रभवा नो जहाति ।
अथो अहं जनसङ्गादसङ्गो
विशङ्कमानोऽविवृतश्चरामि ॥ १५ ॥

My dear heroic King, due to my past sincere service to the Lord, I could remember everything of my past life even while in the body of a deer. Because I am aware of the falldown in my past life, I always keep myself separate from the association of ordinary men. Being afraid of their bad, materialistic association, I wander alone unnoticed by others.

The 5 types of Mukti

And by the direction of the Lord, because He is the ultimate benefactor, the living entity is at once awarded the necessary spiritual body befitting his association with the Lord in the manner of sārūpya (equal bodily feature), sālokya (equal facility to live on the same planet with the Lord), sārṣṭi (equal possession of opulence like the Lord), and sāmīpya (equal association with the Lord). Even the impersonalist cannot achieve the desired merging into the existence of the Supreme (sayujya) without being favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (BG 4.11) that the Lord awards similar results, as one desires, in one's present life. The living entities are given freedom to make their choice, and the Lord awards them accordingly.

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