Moksha | मोक्ष

Moksha is the concept of emancipation, liberation, and release from the cycle of Samsara or repeated rebirth. Mukti, vimosha, and vimukti are all interchangeable words that mean emancipation, freedom, self-knowledge, and self-realization. In the Upanishads, it refers to this release with the same word used to release horses from their carriage, but each school of yoga describes a different origin of Moksha and method for achieving it.

Moksha is a word that is similar to Nirvana, but Nirvana tends to be a buddhist concept while Moksha is Hindu; Nirvana means “blown-out” or perfect stillness of the mind. However, in both religions, this is a release from the endless cycles of samsara or the infinite cycles of rebirth. Samsara is seen as a cycle of suffering, pain, injury, death, and bondage, so release from this is the ultimate goal of an individual’s life, in combination with the four other purusarthas, or objective human pursuits. There are two different schools of thought as to how Moksha is obtained: on earth (Jiva Mukti), as an ultimate destiny, or only through concrete, ethical actions in the world. Moksha is a transformation of knowledge that allows an individual to see beyond the fog of ignorance.

The state itself is described as a oneness with Brahman, or the universal god energy that fuels the universe bringing absolute peace, bliss, and a state of knowledge. One of the written ways of achieving this is through meditating on Brahman, or universal “god” at the core of the being that is liberated. In essence, Moksha is liberation into the core essence of the energy of the universe, while relinquishing the sufferings of consciousness.

Jivan muktis, or self-realized humans are said to have the following attributes in the Upanishads (keep in mind these are guidelines and in the tradition, there have been many jivan muktis):

  • not bothered by disrespect and endures cruel words, treats others with respect regardless of how others treat him;
  • when confronted by an angry person does not return anger, instead replies with soft and kind words;
  • even if tortured, speaks and trusts the truth;
  • does not crave for blessings or expect praise from others;
  • never injures or harms any life or being (ahimsa), is intent in the welfare of all beings;[87]
  • is as comfortable being alone as in the presence of others;
  • is as comfortable with a bowl, at the foot of a tree in tattered robe without help, as when in a mithuna (union of mendicants), grama (village) and nagara (city);
  • doesn’t care about or wear sikha (tuft of hair on the back of head for religious reasons), nor the holy thread across the body. To the Jivan Mukti knowledge is sikha, knowledge is the holy thread, knowledge alone is supreme. Outer appearances and rituals do not matter, only knowledge matters;
  • there is no invocation nor dismissal of deities, no mantra nor non-mantra, no prostrations nor worship of gods, goddess or ancestors, nothing other than knowledge of Self;
  • humble, high-spirited, of clear and steady mind, straightforward, compassionate, patient, indifferent, courageous, speaks firmly and with sweet words.

So you can see that there is an idea of what a Jivan Mukti is supposed to be: a teacher, a sage, a mentor, a guide on the path of Dharma.The Jivan Mukti is not only a friend for everyone, the Mukti strives for the liberation of all beings. The Mukti no longer lives for their self, but for others.



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!