Though the schools of Advaita, Visishtadvaita or Dvaita follow different paths when they discuss the Supreme Brahman, the universe and the Jivatma, the goal of their enquiry is the realisation of the Supreme Brahman. The Supreme Self which sustains the entire creation from the tiniest atom to the greatest manifestation is of the essence of consciousness which exists eternally and is ever blissful. One who understands this truth as an experience in the inner being is free from the shackles of the external world (including his own body/mind/complex) which he knows are mere temporary states, pointed out Sri C. L. Ramakrishnan in a lecture. Such a person is termed a Jivanmukta — one who is inwardly free though bound by the body and the world in which he lives. This inner freedom gained by Jnana is a state of high spiritual attainment. Krishna uses the terms Stitaprajna, Gunatita, Kshetrajna, etc., to describe the characteristics of such a person.

The example of the potter’s wheel is used to illustrate this idea. The potter makes the pot by rotating the wheel. But even after the pot is made, the wheel keeps rotating for some time. Likewise after becoming enlightened, a person continues to live the rest of his ordained time on earth, since even a jnani has prarabdha karma and has to expend it during his lifetime. He will have to eat, sleep, pray, and do his daily duties even after he has attained realisation. For him, these daily acts are done in a matter-of-fact manner with full commitment but with no desire for any personal gain. In fact, his renounced state serves to inspire the idea of detachment to worldly objects in those who are spiritually inclined.

Every human birth is an opportunity to gain spiritual attainment. This is not easily attained and Lord Krishna says that very rarely a Jivatma, after many births of striving, may attain enlightenment. The Lord says that spiritual effort is not wasted and every Jivatma moves forward through favorable conditions for realisation in successive births. The analogy of aiming to target a mango by pelting stones is used to describe this effort. Success or failure may be the outcome, but the effort to hit the mango has to continue.