MOKSHA: The stream-current of life
Moksha means liberation from the stream-current of life, from the chain of Karma. Moksha is not a negative state but one of completeness of fullness of being free from the bondage of Karma and thus from the endless round of birth, death and rebirth, leading to Nirvana, the final freedom expressed in unity in the Supreme. Moksha is gained through three ways or paths knowledge, devotion and ritual works (Karma). Some may attain Moksha at death but the goal is to achieve it well in advance, as certain yogis and the true gurus do. A guru in the fullest sense of the word should be ‘jivanmukta’ i.e. one who has attained liberation before death. Thus Moksha is the highest aim of human existence.

Most Hindu traditions consider moksha the ultimate goal of life.The other three goals are considered temporary but necessary stepping-stones towards eternal liberation.

The main differences of opinion centre on the precise nature of moksha. Although practically all schools consider it a state of unity with God, the nature of such unity is contested. The advaita traditions say that moksha entails annihilation of the soul's false sense of individuality and realisation of its complete non-difference from God. The dualistic traditions claim that God remains ever distinct from the individual soul. Union in this case refers to a commonality of purpose and realisation of one's spiritual nature (brahman) through surrender and service to the Supreme Brahman (God).

Scriptural Passages

"0 best amongst men (Arjuna), the person who is not disturbed by happi­ness and distress, and is steady in both, is certainly eligible for liberation."Bhagavad Gita 2.15

Useful Analogy 1
The drop of water in the ocean
The drop of water in the ocean
The soul is compared to a drop of water and liberation to its merging into the vast ocean which represents the Supreme Soul (God).

According to the advaita schools, the soul and God are equal in every respect, and liberation entails realisation of one's Godhood. Thus, one's mistaken sense of individuality is dissolved, and one merges into the all-pervading Supreme.

Useful Analogy 2
The green parrot in the green tree
The individual soul is compared to a green bird that enters a green tree (God). It appears to have "merged", but retains its separate identity.
The green parrot in the green tree
The personalistic schools of thought maintain that the soul and God are eternally distinct and that any "merging" is only apparent. "Oneness" in this case refers to:

unity of purpose through loving service realisation of one's nature as brahman (godly) but maintenance of one's spiritual individuality.

Liberation involves entering God's abode, though many schools teach that those souls who have become free from material contamination are already liberated, even before leaving the material body

Related Practices:
Many religious practices and rites of passage are aimed at liberation. Particularly relevant are those designed to remove our attachment to this world and its transient pleasures. Renunciation, especially in old age, is an important feature of Hinduism. Without conquering qualities such as lust, anger and greed, and without control of the mind and senses, there is no question of being liberated from the entanglement of the material world.

Scriptural Passages

"Though engaged in all kinds of activities, My pure devotee, under My protection, reaches the eternal and imperishable abode by My grace."
Bhagavad-gita 18.56

"Perfection is characterised by one's ability to see the self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless spiritual happiness, realised through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being so situated, one is never shaken even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all mis­eries arising from material contact."

By: +Prof: Koti Madhav Balu Chowdary

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