Nirvana or Moksha- “Liberation”

Nirvana or Moksha- “Liberation”

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“The desire for liberation arises in human beings at the end of many births through the ripening of their past virtuous conduct”. (Paingala Upanishad 2:11)

When the five cognitive senses together with the mind cease (from their normal activities) and the intellect itself does not stir, that, they say, is the Highest State. (paramam gatim)( Katha Upanishad4:3:10)

Nirvana means the cessation of the cycle of rebirth. It is Liberation (Moksha or Mukti) from the state of embodiment in the material world. Emancipation from Karma and its results, and subsequent Liberation from the cycle of rebirth can be obtained in several ways, for there are many ways to Liberation and Beatitude. Each individual must essentially follow his/her own path and work out his/her own way to Moksha under the guidance of a competent Spiritual Preceptor (Guru) according to the Cosmic Laws (Dharma) and his/her own disposition and stage of spiritual development. There are two views about the processes to Nirvana: —

  1.  Personal effort — Liberation as a self‐initiated process facilitated through the framework of • Mystical union born of reflection and meditation . (Jñana Yoga),
    • Through good works done without personal motive. (Karma Yoga)
    • Through devotion to God. (Bhakti Yoga)
  2.  The Taking of Refuge — the act of self‐surrender to God (Prapatti, Saranagati) and reliance upon His Grace.

The first three means are ‘self‐initiated’ activities but the fourth is ‘God‐initiated’. The Blessed Lord has stated quite clearly in the Bhagavad Gita 18;66 that He will liberate all those who simply surrender to Him having abandoned all self‐initiated attempts at emancipation. This is known as Prapatti — the Way of Self‐surrender.

Nirvana or Moksha- “Liberation”

Through meditation, works and/or devotional service to God we actively burn up our Karmas through our own personal spiritual practice, and ascend towards the Godhead. Through ‘Surrender’ we acknowledge our inability as frail human beings to effect our own liberation and rely totally upon the love and compassion of God. This surrendered state of mind then naturally leads one to reflection, devotion and good works — so all four ways are included in the taking of refuge.

Different sects stress one or other of these paths to Liberation but it is conceded that the only difference between them is the degree of ease and practicability — dependant upon the disposition, development stage and capacity of the individual.

Liberation in Hinduism is individual not collective. There is no “elect group”. All beings are destined for and will ultimately achieve reunion with the Divine in view of the fact that every being is an inseparable mode of the Divine expression and as such is already perfect. All jivas are photons of the Divine Light and therefore eternal separation from the Divine is inconceivable. Sanatana Dharma teaches that Liberation is simply a matter of realizing our true essential nature — not achieving a state of heavenly well‐being. The difference is with regard to the timing not the “potential”.

Nirvana or Moksha- “Liberation”

Nature of Liberation

Nirvana means “the state of non‐return”. It is a positive state of Being, Consciousness, and Bliss. Sanatana Dharma recognizes four grades or stages of Beatitude or final bliss (called: — MokshaMuktiNirvanaParamapada etc.) which is the goal of spiritual practice. All are transcendental states and are thus by definition free from any material limitations of space and time.

  1. Dwelling as an individual in the presence of the Lord and participation in His divine Nature and activities. (salokya )
  2. Attainment of a divine form and state similar to that of the Divine but without the power to create universes. (sarupya)
  3. Attainment of a state of close proximity to the Godhead and the eternal contemplation of the Beatific Vision. (samipya)
  4. Complete unification with the Godhead and the cessation of all notion of individuality. (sayujya)

When all the desires stationed in the heart are dispensed with one becomes liberated, undoubtedly, even while living. Garuda Purana (1:236: 12)

Nirvana or Moksha- “Liberation”

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