Once the realization of the Absolute Reality dawns, a person becomes 'free'- and will be called a 'jeevanmukta'.
Such a person will invariably have to continue the normal daily activities and interactions in this mortal world. However, there will be noticeable changes in his or her reactions to the circumstances and difficulties thrown upon him/ her by life.
There are two ways in which one can respond to troubles and tribulations of life-
To react impulsively- blurt out, burst in anger, shout, contradict, cry etc.
To choose not to react, and calmly respond in an appropriate way to lighten the situation
It is not easy to attain such a state of equanimity- to choose not to react- even after acquiring The Knowledge.
It is similar to the situation of someone who learns cycling. He/ she knows very well to balance and ride, and does so easily when the road is smooth and clear. However, she stumbles and goes off balance when encountered with a sudden obstacle in the road.
The expertise of the cyclist can be gauged by how well she reacts to such obstacles.
Frequency- how often she feels troubled by obstacles
Intensity- how intensely she goes off balance and gets hurt
Recovery- how quickly she restores her composure and balance
Swami Paramarthananda gives this valuable tool to assess our proficiency in being a 'stitha-pragnya' to progress further in our spiritual journey. As we progress-
Frequency- the frequency of our episodes of getting upset will gradually reduce
Intensity- the intensity of response will decrease. Dr. Hegde points out the 3 levels in the response-
Emotional- feeling frustrated, angry, sad, depressed
Verbal- answering loudly, talking back, harsh and abusive sms/ WhatsApp message/ mail
Physical- wide eyes, changed facial features and intimidating body posture, tremors
Once we are aware of these features, we can work towards reducing the 'FIR' of our response to obnoxious stimuli in our day to day lives.
Swamiji points out that the Jnana is not going to remove the obstacles in our lives, but it helps in reducing the FIR of our response to such difficulties.