What is Moksha?
Moksha is a concept in Hinduism that refers to liberation or release from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (samsara). It is considered the ultimate goal of human life and the highest spiritual attainment.
According to Hindu belief, every individual has a soul (atman) that is eternal and bound by the cycle of samsara due to the accumulation of karma, the effects of a person's actions in their current and past lives. Moksha is attained when the soul is freed from this cycle, and it becomes united with the ultimate reality or Brahman, the universal consciousness.
Different approaches to achieve Moksha
Bhakti Yoga (devotion to God)
Jnana Yoga (path of knowledge)
Karma Yoga (path of selfless action)
Concepts related to Moksha
The concept of cause and effect, where a person's actions in their current and past lives determine their future life and status.
The righteous way of living that helps one to accumulate good karma and move closer to the attainment of Moksha.
The cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, which every soul is believed to go through until it attains Moksha.
The illusion of the physical world, which prevents one from realizing their true nature and the ultimate reality.
The eternal soul that is believed to be identical with Brahman, the universal consciousness.
The various spiritual practices and disciplines, such as meditation, self-discipline, and devotion to God, that help one to achieve Moksha.
Vedas and Upanishads
The ancient scriptures that provide the philosophical and spiritual basis for the Hindu understanding of Moksha.
Difference between Moksha and NIrvana
Moksha and Nirvana are two related but distinct concepts in Hinduism and Buddhism, respectively. While they share some similarities, there are also significant differences between the two:
- Moksha is a concept in Hinduism, while Nirvana is a concept in Buddhism.
- Moksha is the liberation or release from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, and the attainment of a state of unity with the divine. Nirvana, on the other hand, is the state of ultimate liberation from suffering and the cycle of rebirth.
- Moksha is seen as a union with Brahman, the universal consciousness, whereas Nirvana is the realization of the Buddha-nature, the inherent enlightenment of all beings.
- In Hinduism, Moksha is achieved through spiritual practices such as meditation, devotion to God, and self-discipline. In Buddhism, Nirvana is achieved through the Noble Eightfold Path, which includes ethical conduct, meditation, and wisdom.
- While Moksha is often seen as a goal to be attained in the afterlife, Nirvana is considered a state that can be experienced in the present life.
In summary, Moksha and Nirvana are both concepts of spiritual liberation, but they differ in their philosophical underpinnings, the means of attainment, and the ultimate nature of the liberated state.
How is Moksha defined in Vedanta?
Moksha in Hindu scriptures
The earliest Hindu scriptures, which include hymns, rituals, and philosophical discussions. The Vedas mention the idea of liberation from the cycle of birth and death, but do not use the term Moksha.
The Upanishads are a collection of philosophical texts that form the basis of Hindu metaphysics. They discuss the nature of the soul, the universe, and the ultimate reality, and emphasize the importance of attaining Moksha as the ultimate goal of human life.
The Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and the warrior Arjuna, and is considered one of the most important Hindu texts. In the Gita, Krishna teaches Arjuna about the nature of the soul, the importance of duty, and the path to Moksha through devotion to God.
The Puranas are a collection of ancient Hindu texts that include myths, legends, and stories about the gods and goddesses. They also discuss the importance of devotion to God as a means of attaining Moksha.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
The Yoga Sutras are a set of aphorisms that provide guidance on the practice of yoga. They discuss the different stages of spiritual development, including the attainment of Moksha through meditation and self-discipline.