Nirvana | निर्वाण – Liberation from Samsara



Nirvana is a Sanskrit word that literally means ‘blown out’. In Indian religions, this is the achievement of moksha, or liberation from reincarnation. Nirvana refers to the extreme silence of the mind after one has tempered the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion. It is most commonly associated with Buddhism, though Hinduism and Jainism use the concept in association with their versions of enlightenment. Overall, the three agree that it is a release from Karma.


In Jainism, Moksha and nirvana are interchangeable. Moksha is release from karma. The Gautama explains it as a safe place without old age, sickness, death, or disease. It is safe, happy, quiet, difficult to reach, but those who reach it are free from sorrows, and have put an end to the stream of existence, reaching complete peace.


Buddhism shares very similar views to those of the other indian religions. The Buddhists call it perfect peace, when all cravings are eliminated. When the forces of raga(attachment), dvesha(aversion), and moha/avidya(ignorance) come to an end, so does dukkha(suffering).


Hinduism‘s views of nirvana are a bit different, many apparently consider nirvana to be a buddhist term, though there are some that say that from the Bhagavad Gita onwards the term has been linked with Brahman, the absolute principle from the Upanishads and the Vedic traditions. The religion occasionally uses nirvana in place of Moksha. Moksha infers liberation, meaning to be set free of bonds. The nirvana of the Gita directly contradicts buddhism in that a person attains egolessness and unison with the Brahman, rather than perfect stillness.

Nirvana Across Traditions

Buddhism has differing approaches to the enlightenment of the buddha, Mahayana Buddhists believe in Dharmakaya saying that the buddha was born to benefit humanity and is one aspect of the buddha while Theravada Buddhists believe the buddha achieved libertation through human efforts. The Dhammakaya movements in Thailand and India view the true self of the buddha as being present in all beings.

Nirvana is death in much of the buddhist traditions. It is the ultimate freedom of life and most Buddhists consider it to be the aim of life. The buddha teaches the way.



The concept of Dharma is elusive to describe due to the complexity of the concept; it does not translate directly into english and is a complex esoteric Indian term to describe a vocation, calling, or path of righteousness that an individual follows in life. This extends out to the dharma of the world as a whole, which is either aligned or imbalanced (in which case it will soon be rebalanced). The idea exists in all of the Indian religions, most notably Buddhism and Hinduism, where Dharma is considered to be the path of duty and virtue that is right with the order of the universe. The path is righteous and winds in accordance with the laws of Karma until the cycle of Samsara is broken and Maya gives way to Moksha. The ultimate journey Dharma leads to the doorway of enlightenment.

Enlightenment is the unlocking of the mind and freedom from the illusions of consciousness, more particularly thoughts. Thoughts take away from your ability to be present and receive the beauty and feel of the world around you, so at this point in the evolution of consciousness they are not necessary. Union is felt between all beings and awareness is supreme, a light against the darkness of ignorance. At least that is what it is supposed to be like.

Ultimately, enlightenment has to be a spectrum, relative, as all things are. People that push the envelope, disrupt, change us, evolve us, these are the ones that are bringing enlightenment to the world. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, modern musicians, peace advocates, technologists pushing the world forward like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are all people bringing enlightenment to our lives, but its hard to get to the truth of their lessons in the face of the lies that we are told from our first thoughts.

“(stop thinking) just do it”
“What’s (missing) in your wallet?)”
“The best part of waking up (is our shit coffee) in your cup”

We are bombarded with commercials and TV that convinces us to think about things certain ways that do not in any way conform to reality. Many people in the world succumb to the illusion that the world depends on things, when in fact the world depends upon human time. Instead of being focused internally, many are focused externally on survival, on being able to feed hungry mouths and try to win measures of comfort and vacations from your job that allow some measure of relaxation and bliss in an otherwise unfulfilling lifestyle. But the world is slowly changing.

People are learning to prosper and how to share abundance. Nice things are only as nice as the people you can share them with and comfort is something that every human should have access to, but we are slowly learning how to take care of ourselves. The world is still divided and disconnected, but slowly it is connecting itself, using tools like the internet, cell phones, satellites, and so much more. We have hope for the future because it seems like a mass awakening is occurring, people are waking up.

Practices like yoga and meditation are quickly becoming very available to the wealthy of the world, and soon after, the noble arts of internal surrender, meditation, reflection, breathing exercises, and energy movement will become available to everyone. In order to truly unite the world, people must unite through action; words mean nothing and have no weight when it comes to character. People are going to learn to prosper in ways that the world has never before know. I strongly believe that yoga is going to be one of those ways, I think the world is going to reform with the spread of eastern philosophies and ideas in the West.

The world is learning to find its Dharma. The question of dharma beckons the questions of existence: Why does life exist? Does life have a purpose? What is the next step of evolution? Dharma attempts to answer these questions by saying that it is life’s purpose to be lived fully, completely. The next step of evolution is peace and life was meant to flourish and spread and unite the universe in life. Being is the purpose of all things.

Dharma can also be considered vocational, or like a job. For instance, a doctor would have a dharma of helping sick people, or a computer programming would have a dharma of making more efficient algorithms for people to connect through the internet. I believe I find my dharma through teaching and practicing yoga, but it is far more complicated than just that. Music, traveling, friends, and family to name a few factors.

According to Hinduism, the stability of the universe is dharma, the earth, gravity, the laws of physics are all propagated by this righteous force that is leading life. Dharma is intrinsically related to truth, or the natural and changeless state of all things, also known as Satya. The Buddha is the one that lived Dharma and his release into nirvana gives a model for us to follow.

I think that perhaps the way to the true core of your being, of find your true dharma, is through silence and being alone. The buddha was alone for extended periods of time, many believe that Jesus was isolated as an Essene for his formative years, and many of the most famous transcendentalists isolated themselves. So did the most famous of philosophers. It gets to the core of your humanity, what is at the base of your existence. Your temporality.

I think this is what I am going to try to do in India. See how much stillness I can find within myself. Maybe on the way I’ll find some truth.

Progress Where?


I am a bit confused about something. Where are we all going? Where is the progress of this world’s technology, science, and medicine taking us? Since we have industrialized as a country, it seems that we are all trying to progress towards something. it seems to be some ideal of hope (thanks Obama, you asshole), or space travel to colonize another planet (we keep searching, but our planet is still the best we know of and we are destroying it actively), or even to just push things to the next level. But I am really confused about what that is. Why are we pillaging our planet’s resources for great efficiency and more power? There is no destination besides the one we are already at. These things do not lead us anywhere and certainly do not lead to increased happiness. As a race, we need to reconsider what we value, what we want to protect. We need to make the decision of where we want to go collectively so that we can stop wasting our planet going in circles.

I see a world being built right now that I do not want to be a part of. Climate change is acceptable, endangered species are normal, pollution isn’t a big concern, people work in cubicles, drive square cars, live in square houses with square lawns and driveways and windows, dogs are left in kennels all day or stuck in square houses, genetically modified foods kill our bees, we are a part of a dictatorship that forces us into war, our troops get little support for all that they sacrifice, our veterans are forgotten, and our wars aren’t really wars. Prescription drugs are given to 5 year olds because they can’t sit still in a classroom listening to a boring teacher talk about something boring, teenage girls are constantly told they aren’t good enough and need the newest beauty products, and all the while, we sit in our cubicles, saddened by our depressing jobs, waiting for something to change but knowing that it probably won’t.

Why does it seem like we have no control? I thought the American people were the ones that made the decisions, the free-est most powerful people in the world, right? Looks like we have a pretty messed up system going down and I think its going to get worse. We can’t even choose our presidential candidates, people within the individual parties that are influential and well liked within that party get sponsored by major corporations that pay for their campaign. Then the amount of advertising done during the campaign usually determines who wins. People vote, but their votes for president don’t count. Really, the only thing that matters for them is the local elections, which don’t affect things on a big scale. We are stuck with a shitty system, with shitty people in charge that have had to claw their way to the top through massive amounts of shit to get to the top of the pile.

So we are in a dilema. What do we do, it seems so overwhelmingly messed up and dysfunctional. But we can’t waste energy worrying about it, or we will be asleep before we know it. I think we should stop putting energy into the problems and start putting energy into how you want to live. Grow your own food, supply your own water, build sustainably, cultivate eco-systems instead of farms, stop driving so much, ride a bike, keep buying electric and hybrid cars, support small business instead of Wal-mart, eat organic and avoid Monsanto, but most of all, vote for what you want every day. Support what you believe in, stop giving in, stop compromising your values. Its hard, but we have to do it, or this world will be dead and us with it. This is our home, lets start acting like it.

So stop going places without purpose, start being where you are with purpose. In yoga, there is this idea called “Dharma” and it means purpose, conduct, virtues, laws, values, rights, and “the right way to live”. I think that as a planet, we are out of balance, we are too focused on progress. There is a natural balance between Pragati, and Dharma or progress and purpose in life and we are too far on the pragati side, for no reason. This leads to depression, sickness and overall increased disease in our lives. We have enough progress, the technology available today is simply mind numbingly incredible; as a race, we have to learn how to use it effectively to help fulfill our purpose. So what is the purpose of all of this progress?

I don’t think we have to know the answer. As a race, we are still very young, we understand so little about ourselves. But I do think that the method is just as important as the outcome (if not more important in the majority of cases) and the way we are doing things is not leading to prosperity of the whole. A lot of people mention that if there were no countries, there would be no war, but we have to organize ourselves into groups somehow. If it’s not countries, it’s something else. I don’t think this is the problem, but I do think that we need to start defining ourselves as members of the world, rather than citizens of a country. Lets start to unite, rather than separate and blame every time there is a conflict. If I hear about bombing Iraq one more time, I am going to lose my shit…

I know this is controversial, and a rant, but I was feeling ranty, political, and frustrated this morning. Everyone seems to be going nowhere really fast and I don’t get it. Can we please slow things down and enjoy ourselves? So much work and so little play. Where the hell is everyone going anyways? Lets just hang out together and have a little party…

Responses, comments, criticisms are totally welcome!