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Moksha (Samskrit : मोक्षः) is the most unique of all the siddhantas (सिद्धान्ताः concepts) of Sanatana Dharma along with others, such as पुनर्जन्मः Punarjanma and कर्मा Karma, all of which form the foundation of Sanaatana Dharma in bharateeya samskriti. Mentioned as the highest of the four Purushardhas, moksha is the ultimate happening or state or existence (conscious and unconscious) of every Jiva or soul according to many philosophies. However, how a person views moksha may be broadly categorized into two headings
- Faith of surrender to a superlative force
- Faith in individual conscious effort
and in order to achieve it, various paths are available consequent to various philosophical definitions of Moksha.
Dr. Radhakrishnan says that Moksha is spiritual realization. The Hindu Dharma says, that a person does not live by bread alome, nor by his work, capital, ambition or power, or relations to external nature. One lives or must live by one's life of spirit. Moksha is self-emancipation, the fulfillment of the Atman is us in the heart of the eternal. This is what gives one ultimate satisfaction, and all other activities are directed to the realizations of this end.
Moksha is derived from the dhatu (root) मुच् मोक्षणे in the meaning of ‘let go’, liberate and release.
The following words are indicative of moksha all over the vedic literatures and darsana shastras - Amritatva, Kaivalya, Mukti, Jeevanmukti, Videhamukti, Parabrahman, Paramapurusha, Savikalpa and Nirvikalpa (saguna and nirguna) Brahman, Suddha chaitanya, Sat-Chit-Ananda.
A few translations of word Moksha include Immortality, Self realization, Liberation, Salvation, Freedom from bondage, Self, Absolute and Infinite Consciousness, Eternal Bliss.
In the study of philosophies about Moksha one should be familiar with the terms - Atma, Jiva, Paramatma, Brahman, Antaschetana, Jnana, Upasana, Karma, Punarjanma, Sat and Asat, Mithya, Avidya, Sukha-dukha, Manas, Chittavritti.
In classical Ayurveda treatise, Charaka samhita Moksha is defined as,
मोक्षो रजस्तमोऽभावात् बलवत्कर्मसङ्क्षयात्| वियोगः सर्वसंयोगैरपुनर्भव उच्यते|| (Char. Samh. 1.142)
mōkṣō rajastamō'bhāvāt balavatkarmasaṅkṣayāt| viyōgaḥ sarvasaṁyōgairapunarbhava ucyatē||
That the existence of Atma, Paramatma and Punarjama are the oldest concepts that prevailed from times immemorial is unequivocally given as follows in Rigveda mantras (which are the oldest texts available on earth).
अयं होता प्रथमः पश्यतेममिदं ज्योतिरमृतं मर्त्येषु । अयं स जज्ञे ध्रुव आ निषत्तो ऽमर्त्यस्तन्वा३ वर्ध॑मानः ॥४ (Rig. Veda. 6.9.4)
द्वा सुपर्णा सयुजा सखाया समानं वृक्षं परि षस्वजाते । तयोरन्यः पिप्पलं स्वाद्वत्त्यनश्नन्नन्यो अभि चाकशीति ॥२० (Rig. Veda. 1.164.20)
अपश्यं गोपामनिपद्यमानमा च परा च पथिभिश्चरन्तम् । स सध्रीची: स विषूचीर्वसान आ वरीवर्ति भुवनेष्वन्तः ॥३१(Rig. Veda. 1.164.31)
(From Vedamula yadartha svaroopam)
A sadhaka for mokshaprapti invariably has to use three attributes (vaiseshika, yoga)
1. मृत्युः मोक्षः इति *चार्वाकाः*।
2. आत्मोच्छेदः मोक्ष इति शून्यवादिनः *माध्यमिकबौद्धाः*।
3. निर्मलज्ञानोदयः मोक्षः इति *इतरे बौद्धाः*।
4. कर्मकृतस्य देहस्वरूपस्य आवरणस्य अभावे जीवस्य सततोर्ध्वगमनं मोक्षः इति *जैनाः*।
5. सर्वज्ञत्वादीनां परमात्मगुणानां प्राप्तिः याथात्म्येन भगवत्स्वरूपानुभवश्च मोक्षः इति *रामानुजीयाः*।
6. जगत्कर्तृत्व-लक्ष्मीपतीत्व-श्रीवत्सप्राप्तिरहितं दुःखामिश्रितं पूर्णं सुखं मोक्षः इति *माध्वाः*।
7. परमैश्वर्यप्राप्तिः मोक्षः इति *नकुलीशपाशुपताः*।
8. शिवत्वप्राप्तिः मोक्षः इति *शैवाः*।
9. पूर्णात्मतालाभः मोक्ष इति *प्रत्यभिज्ञावादिनः*।
10. पारदरसेन देहस्थैर्ये जीवन्मुक्तिः एव मोक्षः इति *रसेश्वरवादिनः*।
11. अशेषविशेषगुणोच्छेदः मोक्षः इति *वैशेषिकाः*।
12. आत्यन्तिकी दुःखनिवृत्तिः मोक्षः इति *नैयायिकाः*।
13. दुःखनिवृत्तिः सुखावाप्तिश्चापि इति मोक्षः इति *नैयायिकैकदेशिनः*।
14. स्वर्गादिप्राप्तिः मोक्षः इति *मीमांसकाः*।
15. मूलचक्रस्थायाः परानामिकायाः ब्रह्मरूपायाः वाचः दर्शनं मोक्षः इति *पाणिनीयाः*।
प्रकृत्युपरमे पुरुषस्य स्वरूपेण अवस्थानं मोक्षः इति *सांख्याः। (K N Ramesh)
17. कृतकर्तव्यतया पुरुषार्थशून्यानां सत्त्वरजस्तमसां मूलप्रकृतौ अत्यन्तलयः प्रकृतेः मोक्षः, चितिशक्तेः निरुपाधिकस्वरूपेण अवस्थानं मोक्षः इति *पातञ्जलाः*।
18. मूलाज्ञाननिवृत्तौ स्वस्वरूपाधिगमः मोक्षः इति *अद्वैतवेदान्तिनः*।
VEDA AND UPANISHADS:- In Vedas and Upanishads moksha means realization of self as Brahman. The knower of which is called as “JNANI” or “Brahman Jnani”.
GEETA :- Geeta has given different ways to obtain self realization. The knower of self is termed in Geeta, according to the path he has selected to obtain moksha, as Sthatipragya, Yogi, Bhakta, Jnani.
CHARVAK:- As explained earlier for charvak death is moksha.
SANKHYA:- In the sankhya philosophy, complete cessation of pain state of moksha is called as Kaivalya (Vivek Jnan). Sankhya accepts both “ Jeevanmukti” and “Videhmukti”
Yoga:- In the Yoga darshan salvation is defined as “Kaivalya” or “Moksha”. Yoga also accepts both “ Jeevanmukti” and “Videhmukti”
NYAY AND VAISHESHIK:- The nyay and vaishesika uses the terms moksha, upavarg and nihsreyasa to the state of salvation. Upavarg is defined as going beyond the trivargas of darma, artha and kama comprehending them after their fulfillment. Nihsreyasa can also be understood in the same way as discussed earlier. 131
MIMANSA:- The mimansa denies the state of jeevan mukta . According to them body is the cause of bondage. So the moksha of living being is not possible.
VEDANTA:- According to Shankar realization of self as bramhan is moksha. Skankar also accepts both “ Jeevanmukti” and “Videhmukti”.
VISHISHTAD:- In this philosophy Jeevanmikti is not accepted. The liberated soul does not become identical with Brahman, but only similar to Brahman. It realizes itself as the body of Brahman and ever dwells in direct communication with god, enjoying like god, infinite consciousness and infinite bliss. But it retains individuality for otherwise enjoyment of bliss in communication with god is not possible. It is categorized in four type of moksha (I) Samipya (ii) Sayujya (iii) Salokya (iv) Sarupya.
The nature of happiness of moksha
Vedantas explain about the concept of moksha (eternal happiness). Moksha is the highest destination and land of light, Vishnuloka or Vishnupada. It also explains that the nature of happiness here is not the same as in the material world. In this world for happiness there has to be connection with matter (sapekshita). For example, the Sun god gives light that is the root of the satisfaction for all living entities. It is pleasing to the eye, the body and the stomach. The Sun manifested in many different ways. To experience happiness in all kinds of situations- rain, Crops, heat, cold, time, seasons and with all living beings, the Sun is very important. In the absence of the sun at night, the Moon is visible. If the Moon is not seen, then we see the stars. When the stars are not in the sky, then there is electricity. If electricity is not there, there is fire. Therefore the light is manifest in different forms that gives rise to happiness. Therefore unless it is defined what is the source of eternal happiness it is not possible to exactly say the nature of happiness of this world. Nachiketa’s final question is concerned with this eternal happiness.
While trying to glorify the comparative happiness between human and adhyatmik, Shrutis begin with te ye shatam, and got exhausted describing the Brahamananda. The Taittriya Upanishad says it as, yatho vacho nivartante. It says that Brahma ananda is indescribable.
Nachiketa who has never been to such place as parama pada, is asking question to Yamaraja and Yamaraja’s answer is very extraordinary.
Oh Nachiketa! The light (Jyothi) which is in your mind, the sun, the moon, the stars, fire etc. are all dependent light, they are not source but effect ||prakartha ( mundane) light with a beginning and an end. However there is another light that is the source of the light of all the material loka (लोकः). This light is inexhaustible, its flame burns eternally. The light of other material cannot stand to this light, such is the power of this light. As this light is eternal, sometimes the relative light in darkness has the power to give light. The Parmatma illuminates as light being source of all life. The paramapada,which is eternal has the power to give appropriate happiness according to parama jyoti.
"tameva bhantam anubhati sarvam tasya bhasa sarvam idam vibhati ||"
Vyasadeva explaines jyoti darshanatah (1.3.41) as Paramatma, this mantra comes in between two episodes. The same mantra is there in the atharva shaka in mundaka shruti (2.2.11) and the same incident is more clearly mentioned there. Wherever it is addressed as Paramjyoti in other words as light but it that parmatama, Which is extraordinary. Paramjyoti rupa sampadya (chandogya 8.12.2).
"Tam deva jyoti sham jyotihi ayoryho upasate amrutam (brhada4.4.16) "
"atha yadatha paro divo jyothih dipyate (chah 3.13.7) "
etc, one can see many examples here. Therefore according to vyasadeva, it is addressing paramatma as Jyoti, and associatoin with him is Moksha.
"Soshnute saravahan Kaman saha bramhana vipashchita(taittriya sruti). "
In the brahma sutras it is said,
"jyothih charanabidanata (1.1.25)"
To summarize, there is nothing higher than the bhagavan, in all illuminating things or people. One sees comleteness of Dva, in him. The Paramatama who is possessing divine form, which is full of light is Himself, is Paramapada, Vaikuntha is defined as land of illumination( Vishnu sahsranama 406). The description of such mantras is the purpose of this mantra.
Here Yamaraja’s instruction has come to come to the description of highest destination(paramapada). Yamaraja felt Nachiketa did not completely understood, therefore Yamaraja felt to explain in detail.
Moksha sukha(bliss in moksha)
This is the summum bonum (highest good) of yoga. The darshan (vision) of Paramatama removes all the ||kaamna (desires) or dissolves them. That is the time the ||martya (the mortal) becomes immortal or nector personified. Despite being a part of samsara (the material world), the samasara gives us an opportunity for brahma prapti (attaining Brahman) as the facility for upasana (worship). Notably, Moksha cannot happen without transcending this samsara. The sense of hopelessness should be given up as because one can attain moksha while being a part of this world. A great poet of South India said, esa beku iddu jayesa beku (while being here we have to swim across). The person who has seen God, that yogi’s heart which had many knots get automatically untied, this is moksha. Beyond this here can be no more explanations on the process of attaining Moksha;
One can explain the steps towards मोक्ष||moksha but the process of moksha has to be experienced by the individual himself and cannot be explained through words.
- From Vedamula yadartha svaroopam)
- Radhakrishnan, S. (1926). Hindu view of life. George Allen And Unwin Ltd, London.
- Charaka Samhita (Sharirsthanam Adhyaya 1 Sutram 142)