Moksha (/ˈmoʊkʃə/; Sanskrit: मोक्ष, mokṣa), also called vimoksha, vimukti and mukti, is a term in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism which refers to various forms of emancipation, enlightenment, liberation, and release. In its soteriological and eschatological senses, it refers to freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth. In its epistemological and psychological senses, moksha refers to freedom from ignorance: self-realization, self-actualization and self-knowledge.
In Hindu traditions, moksha is a central concept and the utmost aim to be attained through three paths during human life; these three paths are dharma (virtuous, proper, moral life), artha (material prosperity, income security, means of life), and kama (pleasure, sensuality, emotional fulfillment). Together, these four concepts are called Puruṣārtha in Hinduism.
In some schools of Indian religions, moksha is considered equivalent to and used interchangeably with other terms such as vimoksha, vimukti, kaivalya, apavarga, mukti, nihsreyasa and nirvana. However, terms such as moksha and nirvana differ and mean different states between various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The term nirvana is more common in Buddhism, while moksha is more prevalent in Hinduism.
|English||Emancipation, liberation, release|
|Glossary of Hinduism|
Moksha is an abstract noun regularly derived from the root Sanskrit: मुच्, muc, which means to free, let go, release, liberate. The verb is found in Vedas and early Upanishads, conjugated in the passive voice as Sanskrit: मुच्यते, mucyate and meaning to be set free or release, such as of a horse from its harness.
The definition and meaning of moksha varies between various schools of Indian religions. Moksha means freedom, liberation; from what and how is where the schools differ. Moksha is also a concept that means liberation from rebirth or saṃsāra. This liberation can be attained while one is on earth (jivanmukti), or eschatologically (karmamukti, videhamukti). Some Indian traditions have emphasized liberation on concrete, ethical action within the world. This liberation is an epistemological transformation that permits one to see the truth and reality behind the fog of ignorance.[web 1]
Moksha has other definitions besides absence of suffering and release from bondage to saṃsāra. Various schools of Hinduism also explain the concept as presence of the state of paripurna-brahmanubhava (the experience of oneness with Brahman, the One Supreme Self), a state of knowledge, peace and bliss. For example, Vivekachudamani - an ancient book on moksha, explains one of many meditative steps on the path to moksha, as:
जाति नीति कुल गोत्र दूरगं
नाम रूप गुण दोष वर्जितम् |
देश काल विषया तिवर्ति यद्
ब्रह्म तत्त्वमसि भाव यात्मनि ||२५४||
Beyond caste, creed, family or lineage,
That which is without name and form, beyond merit and demerit,
That which is beyond space, time and sense-objects,
You are that, God himself; Meditate this within yourself. ||Verse 254||— Vivekachudamani, 8th Century AD
Moksha is a concept associated with saṃsāra (birth-rebirth cycle). Samsara originated with religious movements in the first millennium BCE.[web 1] These movements such as Buddhism, Jainism and new schools within Hinduism, saw human life as bondage to a repeated process of rebirth. This bondage to repeated rebirth and life, each life subject to injury, disease and aging, was seen as a cycle of suffering. By release from this cycle, the suffering involved in this cycle also ended. This release was called moksha, nirvana, kaivalya, mukti and other terms in various Indian religious traditions.
Eschatological ideas evolved in Hinduism. In earliest Vedic literature, heaven and hell sufficed soteriological curiosities. Over time, the ancient scholars observed that people vary in the quality of virtuous or sinful life they lead, and began questioning how differences in each person's puṇya (merit, good deeds) or pāp (demerit, sin) as human beings affected their afterlife. This question led to the conception of an afterlife where the person stayed in heaven or hell, in proportion to their merit or demerit, then returned to earth and were reborn, the cycle continuing indefinitely. The rebirth idea ultimately flowered into the ideas of saṃsāra, or transmigration - where one's balance sheet of karma determined one's rebirth. Along with this idea of saṃsāra, the ancient scholars developed the concept of moksha, as a state that released a person from the saṃsāra cycle. Moksha release in eschatological sense in these ancient literature of Hinduism, suggests van Buitenen, comes from self-knowledge and consciousness of oneness of supreme soul.
Scholars provide various explanations of the meaning of moksha in epistemological and psychological senses. For example, Deutsche sees moksha as transcendental consciousness, the perfect state of being, of self-realization, of freedom and of "realizing the whole universe as the Self".
Moksha in Hinduism, suggests Klaus Klostermaier, implies a setting-free of hitherto fettered faculties, a removing of obstacles to an unrestricted life, permitting a person to be more truly a person in the full sense; the concept presumes an unused human potential of creativity, compassion and understanding which had been blocked and shut out. Moksha is more than liberation from a life-rebirth cycle of suffering (samsara); the Vedantic school separates this into two: jivanmukti (liberation in this life) and videhamukti (liberation after death). Moksha in this life includes psychological liberation from adhyasa (fears besetting one's life) and avidya (ignorance or anything that is not true knowledge).
Many schools of Hinduism according to Daniel Ingalls, see moksha as a state of perfection. The concept was seen as a natural goal beyond dharma. Moksha, in the epics and ancient literature of Hinduism, is seen as achievable by the same techniques necessary to practice dharma. Self-discipline is the path to dharma, moksha is self-discipline that is so perfect that it becomes unconscious, second nature. Dharma is thus a means to moksha.
The Samkhya school of Hinduism, for example, suggests that one of the paths to moksha is to magnify one's sattvam. To magnify one's sattvam, one must develop oneself where one's sattvam becomes one's instinctive nature. Many schools of Hinduism thus understood dharma and moksha as two points of a single journey of life, a journey for which the viaticum was discipline and self-training. Over time, these ideas about moksha were challenged.
Dharma and moksha, suggested Nagarjuna in the 2nd century, cannot be goals on the same journey. He pointed to the differences between the world we live in, and the freedom implied in the concept of moksha. They are so different that dharma and moksha could not be intellectually related. Dharma requires worldly thought, moksha is unworldly understanding, a state of bliss. How can the worldly thought-process lead to unworldly understanding? asked Nagarjuna. Karl Potter explains the answer to this challenge as one of context and framework, the emergence of broader general principles of understanding from thought processes that are limited in one framework.
Adi Shankara in the 8th century AD, like Nagarjuna earlier, examined the difference between the world one lives in and moksha, a state of freedom and release one hopes for. Unlike Nagarjuna, Shankara considers the characteristics between the two. The world one lives in requires action as well as thought; our world, he suggests, is impossible without vyavahara (action and plurality). The world is interconnected, one object works on another, input is transformed into output, change is continuous and everywhere. Moksha, suggests Shankara, is that final perfect, blissful state where there can be no change, where there can be no plurality of states. It has to be a state of thought and consciousness that excludes action. How can action-oriented techniques by which we attain the first three goals of man (kama, artha and dharma) be useful to attain the last goal, namely moksha?
Scholars suggest Shankara's challenge to the concept of moksha parallels those of Plotinus against the Gnostics, with one important difference: Plotinus accused the Gnostics of exchanging an anthropocentric set of virtues with a theocentric set in pursuit of salvation; Shankara challenged that the concept of moksha implied an exchange of anthropocentric set of virtues (dharma) with a blissful state that has no need for values. Shankara goes on to suggest that anthropocentric virtues suffice.
Vaishnavism, one of the bhakti schools of Hinduism, is devoted to the worship of God, sings his name, anoints his image or idol, and has many sub-schools. Vaishnavas (followers of Vaishnavism) suggest that dharma and moksha cannot be two different or sequential goals or states of life. Instead, they suggest God should be kept in mind constantly to simultaneously achieve dharma and moksha, so constantly that one comes to feel one cannot live without God's loving presence. This school emphasized love and adoration of God as the path to "moksha" (salvation and release), rather than works and knowledge. Their focus became divine virtues, rather than anthropocentric virtues. Daniel Ingalls regards Vaishnavas' position on moksha as similar to the Christian position on salvation, and Vaishnavism as the school whose views on dharma, karma and moksha dominated the initial impressions and colonial-era literature on Hinduism, through the works of Thibaut, Max Müller and others.
The concept of moksha appears much later in ancient Indian literature than the concept of dharma. The proto-concept that first appears in the ancient Sanskrit verses and early Upanishads is mucyate, which means freed or released. It is the middle and later Upanishads, such as the Svetasvatara and Maitri, where the word moksha appears and begins becoming an important concept.
Kathaka Upanishad, a middle Upanishadic era script dated to be about 2500 years old, is among the earliest expositions about saṃsāra and moksha. In Book I, Section III, the legend of boy Naciketa queries Yama, the lord of death to explain what causes saṃsāra and what leads to liberation. Naciketa inquires: what causes sorrow? Yama explains that suffering and saṃsāra results from a life that is lived absent-mindedly, with impurity, with neither the use of intelligence nor self-examination, where neither mind nor senses are guided by one's atma (soul, self). Liberation comes from a life lived with inner purity, alert mind, led by buddhi (reason, intelligence), realization of the Supreme Self (purusha) who dwells in all beings. Kathaka Upanishad asserts knowledge liberates, knowledge is freedom. Kathaka Upanishad also explains the role of yoga in personal liberation, moksha.
Svetasvatara Upanishad, another middle era Upanishad written after Kathaka Upanishad, begins with questions such as why is man born, what is the primal cause behind the universe, what causes joy and sorrow in life? It then examines the various theories, that were then existing, about saṃsāra and release from bondage. Svetasvatara claims bondage results from ignorance, illusion or delusion; deliverance comes from knowledge. The Supreme Being dwells in every being, he is the primal cause, he is the eternal law, he is the essence of everything, he is nature, he is not a separate entity. Liberation comes to those who know Supreme Being is present as the Universal Spirit and Principle, just as they know butter is present in milk. Such realization, claims Svetasvatara, come from self-knowledge and self-discipline; and this knowledge and realization is liberation from transmigration, the final goal of the Upanishad.
In myths and temples of India and Bali Indonesia, Sarasvati appears with swan. Sarasvati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, learning and creative arts, while swan is a symbol of spiritual perfection, liberation and moksa. The symbolism of Sarasvati and the swan is that knowledge and moksa go together.
Starting with the middle Upanishad era, moksha - or equivalent terms such as mukti and kaivalya - is a major theme in many Upanishads. For example, Sarasvati Rahasya Upanishad, one of several Upanishads of the bhakti school of Hinduism, starts out with prayers to Goddess Sarasvati. She is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, learning and creative arts; her name is a compound word of ‘‘sara’’ and ‘‘sva’’, meaning "essence of self". After the prayer verses, the Upanishad inquires about the secret to freedom and liberation (mukti). Sarasvati's reply in the Upanishad is:
It was through me the Creator himself gained liberating knowledge,
I am being, consciousness, bliss, eternal freedom: unsullied, unlimited, unending.
My perfect consciousness shines your world, like a beautiful face in a soiled mirror,
Seeing that reflection I wish myself you, an individual soul, as if I could be finite!
A finite soul, an infinite Goddess - these are false concepts,
in the minds of those unacquainted with truth,
No space, my loving devotee, exists between your self and my self,
Know this and you are free. This is the secret wisdom.— Sarasvati Rahasya Upanishad, Translated by Linda Johnsen
The concept of moksha, according to Daniel Ingalls, represented one of many expansions in Hindu Vedic ideas of life and afterlife. In the Vedas, there were three stages of life: studentship, householdship and retirement. During the Upanishadic era, Hinduism expanded this to include a fourth stage of life: complete abandonment. In Vedic literature, there are three modes of experience: waking, dream and deep sleep. The Upanishadic era expanded it to include turiyam - the stage beyond deep sleep. The Vedas suggest three goals of man: kama, artha and dharma. To these, the Upanishadic era added moksha.
The acceptance of the concept of moksha in some schools of Hindu philosophy was slow. These refused to recognize moksha for centuries, considering it irrelevant. The Mimamsa school, for example, denied the goal and relevance of moksha well into the 8th century AD, until the arrival of a Mimamsa scholar named Kumarila. Instead of moksha, Mimamsa school of Hinduism considered the concept of heaven as sufficient to answer the question: what lay beyond this world after death. Other schools of Hinduism, over time, accepted the moksha concept and refined it over time.
It is unclear when the core ideas of samsara and moksha were developed in ancient India. Patrick Olivelle suggests these ideas likely originated with new religious movements in the first millennium BCE.[web 1] Mukti and moksha ideas, suggests J. A. B. van Buitenen, seem traceable to yogis in Hinduism, with long hair, who chose to live on the fringes of society, given to self-induced states of intoxication and ecstasy, possibly accepted as medicine men and "sadhus" by the ancient Indian society. Moksha to these early concept developers, was the abandonment of the established order, not in favor of anarchy, but in favor of self-realization, to achieve release from this world.
In its historical development, the concept of moksha appears in three forms: Vedic, yogic and bhakti. In the Vedic period, moksha was ritualistic. Mokṣa was claimed to result from properly completed rituals such as those before Agni - the fire deity. The significance of these rituals was to reproduce and recite the cosmic creation event described in the Vedas; the description of knowledge on different levels - adhilokam, adhibhutam, adhiyajnam, adhyatmam - helped the individual transcend to moksa. Knowledge was the means, the ritual its application. By the middle to late Upanishadic period, the emphasis shifted to knowledge, and ritual activities were considered irrelevant to the attainment of moksha. Yogic moksha replaced Vedic rituals with personal development and meditation, with hierarchical creation of the ultimate knowledge in self as the path to moksha. Yogic moksha principles were accepted in many other schools of Hinduism, albeit with differences. For example, Adi Shankara in his book on moksha suggests:
अर्थस्य निश्चयो दृष्टो विचारेण हितोक्तितः |
न स्नानेन न दानेन प्राणायमशतेन वा || १३ ||
By reflection, reasoning and instructions of teachers, the truth is known,
Not by ablutions, not by making donations, nor by performing hundreds of breath control exercises. || Verse 13 ||
Bhakti moksha created the third historical path, where neither rituals nor meditative self-development were the way, rather it was inspired by constant love and contemplation of God, which over time results in a perfect union with God. Some Bhakti schools evolved their ideas where God became the means and the end, transcending moksha; the fruit of bhakti is bhakti itself. In the history of Indian religious traditions, additional ideas and paths to moksha beyond these three, appeared over time.
The words moksha, nirvana (nibbana) and kaivalya are sometimes used synonymously, because they all refer to the state that liberates a person from all causes of sorrow and suffering. However, in modern era literature, these concepts have different premises in different religions. Nirvana, a concept common in Buddhism, is a state of realization that there is no self (no soul) and Emptiness; while moksha, a concept common in many schools of Hinduism, is acceptance of Self (soul), realization of liberating knowledge, the consciousness of Oneness with Brahman, all existence and understanding the whole universe as the Self. Nirvana starts with the premise that there is no Self, moksha on the other hand, starts with the premise that everything is the Self; there is no consciousness in the state of nirvana, but everything is One unified consciousness in the state of moksha.
Kaivalya, a concept akin to moksha, rather than nirvana, is found in some schools of Hinduism such as the Yoga school. Kaivalya is the realization of aloofness with liberating knowledge of one's self and union with the spiritual universe. For example, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra suggests:
तदभावात्संयोगाभावो हानं तद् दृशेः कैवल्यम् |
After the dissolution of avidya (ignorance),
comes removal of communion with material world,
this is the path to Kaivalyam.
Nirvana and moksha, in all traditions, represents a state of being in ultimate reality and perfection, but described in a very different way. Some scholars, states Jayatilleke, assert that the Nirvana of Buddhism is same as the Brahman in Hinduism, a view other scholars and he disagree with. Buddhism rejects the idea of Brahman, and the metaphysical ideas about soul (atman) are also rejected by Buddhism, while those ideas are essential to moksha in Hinduism. In Buddhism, nirvana is 'blowing out' or 'extinction'. In Hinduism, moksha is 'identity or oneness with Brahman'. Realization of anatta (anatman) is essential to Buddhist nirvana. Realization of atman (atta) is essential to Hindu moksha.
Ancient literature of different schools of Hinduism sometimes use different phrases for moksha. For example, Keval jnana or kaivalya ("state of Absolute"), Apavarga, Nihsreyasa, Paramapada, Brahmabhava, Brahmajnana and Brahmi sthiti. Modern literature additionally uses the Buddhist term nirvana interchangeably with moksha of Hinduism. There is difference between these ideas, as explained elsewhere in this article, but they are all soteriological concepts of various Indian religious traditions.
The six major orthodox schools of Hinduism have had a historic debate, and disagree over whether moksha can be achieved in this life, or only after this life. Many of the 108 Upanishads discuss amongst other things moksha. These discussions show the differences between the schools of Hinduism, a lack of consensus, with a few attempting to conflate the contrasting perspectives between various schools. For example, freedom and deliverance from birth-rebirth, argues Maitrayana Upanishad, comes neither from the Vedanta school's doctrine (the knowledge of one's own Self as the Supreme Soul) nor from the Samkhya school's doctrine (distinction of the Purusha from what one is not), but from Vedic studies, observance of the Svadharma (personal duties), sticking to Asramas (stages of life).
The six major orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy offer the following views on moksha, each for their own reasons: the Nyaya, Vaisesika and Mimamsa schools of Hinduism consider moksha as possible only after death. Samkhya and Yoga schools consider moksha as possible in this life. In Vedanta school, the Advaita sub-school concludes moksha is possible in this life, while Dvaita and Visistadvaita sub-schools of Vedanta tradition believes that moksha is a continuous event, one assisted by loving devotion to God, that extends from this life to post-mortem. Beyond these six orthodox schools, some heterodox schools of Hindu tradition, such as Carvaka, deny there is a soul or after life moksha.
Both Sāmkhya and Yoga systems of religious thought are mokshaśāstras, suggests Knut Jacobsen, they are systems of salvific liberation and release. Sāmkhya is a system of interpretation, primarily a theory about the world. Yoga is both a theory and a practice. Yoga gained wide acceptance in ancient India, its ideas and practices became part of many religious schools in Hinduism, including those that were very different from Sāmkhya. The eight limbs of yoga can be interpreted as a way to liberation (moksha).
In Sāmkhya literature, liberation is commonly referred to as kaivalya. In this school, kaivalya means the realization of purusa, the principle of consciousness, as independent from mind and body, as different from prakrti. Like many schools of Hinduism, in Sāmkhya and Yoga schools, the emphasis is on the attainment of knowledge, vidyā or jñāna, as necessary for salvific liberation, moksha. Yoga's purpose is then seen as a means to remove the avidyā - that is, ignorance or misleading/incorrect knowledge about one self and the universe. It seeks to end ordinary reflexive awareness (cittavrtti nirodhah) with deeper, purer and holistic awareness (asamprājñāta samādhi). Yoga, during the pursuit of moksha, encourages practice (abhyāsa) with detachment (vairāgya), which over time leads to deep concentration (samādhi). Detachment means withdrawal from outer world and calming of mind, while practice means the application of effort over time. Such steps are claimed by Yoga school as leading to samādhi, a state of deep awareness, release and bliss called kaivalya.
Yoga, or mārga, in Hinduism is widely classified into four spiritual practices. The first mārga is Jñāna Yoga, the way of knowledge. The second mārga is Bhakti Yoga, the way of loving devotion to God. The third mārga is Karma Yoga, the way of works. The fourth mārga is Rāja Yoga, the way of contemplation and meditation. These mārgas are part of different schools in Hinduism, and their definition and methods to moksha. For example, the Advaita Vedanta school relies on Jñāna Yoga in its teachings of moksha.
The Vedantic school of Hinduism suggests the first step towards mokṣa begins with mumuksutva, that is desire of liberation. This takes the form of questions about self, what is true, why do things or events make us happy or cause suffering, and so on. This longing for liberating knowledge is assisted by, claims Adi Shankara of Advaita Vedanta, guru (teacher), study of historical knowledge and viveka (critical thinking). Shankara cautions that the guru and historic knowledge may be distorted, so traditions and historical assumptions must be questioned by the individual seeking moksha. Those who are on their path to moksha (samnyasin), suggests Klaus Klostermaier, are quintessentially free individuals, without craving for anything in the worldly life, thus are neither dominated by, nor dominating anyone else.
Vivekachudamani, which literally means "Crown Jewel of Discriminatory Reasoning", is a book devoted to moksa in Vedanta philosophy. It explains what behaviors and pursuits lead to moksha, as well what actions and assumptions hinder moksha. The four essential conditions, according to Vivekachudamani, before one can commence on the path of moksha include (1) vivekah (discrimination, critical reasoning) between everlasting principles and fleeting world; (2) viragah (indifference, lack of craving) for material rewards; (3) samah (calmness of mind), and (4) damah (self restraint, temperance). The Brahmasutrabhasya adds to the above four requirements, the following: uparati (lack of bias, dispassion), titiksa (endurance, patience), sraddha (faith) and samadhana (intentness, commitment).
The Advaita tradition considers moksha achievable by removing avidya (ignorance). Moksha is seen as a final release from illusion, and through knowledge (anubhava) of one's own fundamental nature, which is Satcitananda.[note 1] Advaita holds there is no being/non-being distinction between Atman, Brahman, and Paramatman. The knowledge of Brahman leads to moksha, where Brahman is described as that which is the origin and end of all things, the universal principle behind and at source of everything that exists, consciousness that pervades everything and everyone. Advaita Vedanta emphasizes Jnana Yoga as the means of achieving moksha. Bliss, claims this school, is the fruit of knowledge (vidya) and work (karma).
The Dvaita (dualism) traditions define moksha as the loving, eternal union with God (Vishnu) and considered the highest perfection of existence. Dvaita schools suggest every soul encounters liberation differently. Dualist schools (e.g. Vaishnava) see God as the object of love, for example, a personified monotheistic conception of Shiva or Vishnu. By immersing oneself in the love of God, one's karmas slough off, one's illusions decay, and truth is lived. Both the worshiped and worshiper gradually lose their illusory sense of separation and only One beyond all names remains. This is salvation to dualist schools of Hinduism. Dvaita Vedanta emphasizes Bhakti Yoga as the means of achieving moksha.
The Vishistadvaita tradition, led by Ramanuja, defines avidya and moksha differently from the Advaita tradition. To Ramanuja, avidya is a focus on the self, and vidya is a focus on a loving god. The Vishistadvaita school argues that other schools of Hinduism create a false sense of agency in individuals, which makes the individual think oneself as potential or self-realized god. Such ideas, claims Ramanuja, decay to materialism, hedonism and self worship. Individuals forget Ishvara (God). Mukti, to Vishistadvaita school, is release from such avidya, towards the intuition and eternal union with God (Vishnu).
Among the Samkhya, Yoga and Vedanta schools of Hinduism, liberation and freedom reached within one's life is referred to as jivanmukti, and the individual who has experienced this state is called jivanmukta (self-realized person). Dozens of Upanishads, including those from middle Upanishadic period, mention or describe the state of liberation, jivanmukti. Some contrast jivanmukti with videhamukti (moksha from samsara after death). Jivanmukti is a state that transforms the nature, attributes and behaviors of an individual, claim these ancient texts of Hindu philosophy. For example, according to Naradaparivrajaka Upanishad, the liberated individual shows attributes such as:
When a Jivanmukta dies he achieves Paramukti and becomes a Paramukta. Jivanmukta experience enlightenment and liberation while alive and also after death i.e., after becoming paramukta, while Videhmukta experiences enlightenment and liberation only after death.
Balinese Hinduism incorporates moksha as one of five tattwas. The other four are: brahman (the one supreme god head, not to be confused with Brahmin), atma (soul or spirit), karma (actions and reciprocity, causality), samsara (principle of rebirth, reincarnation). Moksha, in Balinese Hindu belief, is the possibility of unity with the divine; it is sometimes referred to as nirwana.
The moksha definition is to attain the awareness of being free. Even while living, the awareness of ‘I am free’ should always be there. The first stage of moksha can be experienced in this life itself, but only after attaining Self Realization from a living Gnani Purush (Self-Realized one). In this stage of moksha, you experience a sense of freedom from unhappiness in this very life.
The second stage of moksha is attained when you become free from all your karmas ie: freedom from all attachment of worldly atoms.
|Glossary of Buddhism|
In Buddhism the term "moksha" is uncommon, but an equivalent term is vimutti, "release". In the suttas two forms of release are mentioned, namely ceto-vimutti, "deliverance of mind", and panna-vimutti, "deliverance through wisdom" (insight). Ceto-vimutti is related to the practice of dhyana, while panna-vimutti is related to the development of insight. According to Gombrich, the distinction may be a later development, which resulted in a change of doctrine, regarding the practice of dhyana to be insufficient for final liberation.
With release comes Nirvana (Pali: Nibbana), “blowing out”, "quenching", or “becoming extinguished” of the fires of the passions and of self-view. It is a "timeless state" in which there is no more becoming.
Nirvana ends the cycle of Dukkha and rebirth in the six realms of Saṃsāra (Buddhism).[note 2] It is part of the Four Noble Truths doctrine of Buddhism, which plays an essential role in Theravada Buddhism. Nirvana has been described in Buddhist texts in a manner similar to other Indian religions, as the state of complete liberation, enlightenment, highest happiness, bliss, fearless, freedom, dukkha-less, permanence, non-dependent origination, unfathomable, indescribable. It has also been described as a state of release marked by "emptiness" and realization of non-Self. Such descriptions, states Peter Harvey, are contested by scholars because nirvana in Buddhism is ultimately described as a state of "stopped consciousness (blown out), but one that is not non-existent", and "it seems impossible to imagine what awareness devoid of any object would be like".
In Jainism, moksha and nirvana are one and the same. Jaina texts sometimes use the term Kevalya, and call the liberated soul as Kevalin. As with all Indian religions, moksha is the ultimate spiritual goal in Jainism. It defines moksha as the spiritual release from all karma.
Jainism is a Sramanic non-theistic philosophy, that like Hinduism and unlike Buddhism, believes in a metaphysical permanent self or soul often termed jiva. Jaina believe that this soul is what transmigrates from one being to another at the time of death. The moksa state is attained when a soul (atman) is liberated from the cycles of deaths and rebirths (saṃsāra), is at the apex, is omniscient, remains there eternally, and is known as a siddha. In Jainism, it is believed to be a stage beyond enlightenment and ethical perfection, states Paul Dundas, because they can perform physical and mental activities such as teach, without accruing karma that leads to rebirth.
Jaina traditions believe that there exist Abhavya (incapable), or a class of souls that can never attain moksha (liberation). The Abhavya state of soul is entered after an intentional and shockingly evil act, but Jaina texts also polemically applied Abhavya condition to those who belonged to a competing ancient Indian tradition called Ājīvika. A male human being is considered closest to the apex of moksha, with the potential to achieve liberation, particularly through asceticism. The ability of women to attain moksha has been historically debated, and the subtraditions with Jainism have disagreed. In the Digambara tradition of Jainism, women must live an ethical life and gain karmic merit to be reborn as a man, because only males can achieve spiritual liberation. In contrast, the Śvētāmbara tradition has believed that women too can attain moksha just like men.
The Sikh concept of mukti (moksha) is similar to other Indian religions, and refers to spiritual liberation. It is described in Sikhism as the state that breaks the cycle of rebirths. Mukti is obtained according to Sikhism, states Singha, through "God's grace". According to the Guru Granth Sahib, the devotion to God is viewed as more important than the desire for Mukti.
I desire neither worldly power nor liberation. I desire nothing but seeing the Lord.
Brahma, Shiva, the Siddhas, the silent sages and Indra - I seek only the Blessed Vision of my Lord and Master's Darshan.
I have come, helpless, to Your Door, O Lord Master; I am exhausted - I seek the Sanctuary of the Saints.
Says Nanak, I have met my Enticing Lord God; my mind is cooled and soothed - it blossoms forth in joy.
Artha (; Sanskrit: अर्थ) is one of the four aims of human life in Indian philosophy. The word artha literally translates as "meaning, sense, goal, purpose or essence" depending on the context. Artha is also a broader concept in the scriptures of Hinduism. As a concept, it has multiple meanings, all of which imply "means of life", activities and resources that enable one to be in a state one wants to be in.Artha applies to both an individual and a government. In an individual's context, artha includes wealth, career, activity to make a living, financial security and economic prosperity. The proper pursuit of artha is considered an important aim of human life in Hinduism. At government level, artha includes social, legal, economic and worldly affairs. Proper Arthashastra is considered an important and necessary objective of government.In Hindu traditions, Artha is connected to the three other aspects and goals of human life: Dharma (virtuous, proper, moral life), Kama (pleasure, sensuality, emotional fulfillment) and Moksha (liberation, release, self-actualization). Together, these mutually non-exclusive four aims of life are called Puruṣārtha.Ashrama (stage)
An Ashrama in Hinduism is one of four age-based life stages discussed in Indian texts of the ancient and medieval eras. The four ashramas are: Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retired) and Sannyasa (renunciate).The Ashrama system is one facet of the Dharma concept in Hinduism. It is also a component of the ethical theories in Indian philosophy, where it is combined with four proper goals of human life (Purusartha), for fulfilment, happiness and spiritual liberation.E with diaeresis (Cyrillic)
E with diaeresis (Ӭ ӭ; italics: Ӭ ӭ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script. Its form is derived from the Cyrillic letter E (Э э Э э).
E with diaeresis is used in the alphabet of the Kildin Sami language, where it represents the close-mid front unrounded vowel /e/, following a palatalized (sometimes called "half-palatalized") stop, /nʲ, tʲ, dʲ/. In Moksha, it was used for the near-open front unrounded vowel /æ/, however, in contemporary Moksha it's been replaced by Я or word-initially by Э.Kirat Mundhum
Kirat Mundhum (also Kirati Mundhum or Kiratism) are the stories recited/sung by the shamans (called 'Fedangma/Samba') of the Kirati ethnic groups of Nepal: Limbu, Rai, Sunuwar and Yakkha peoples. The practice is also known as Kirat Veda, Kirat-Ko Veda or Kirat Ko Ved. According to some scholars, such as Tom Woodhatch, it is a blend of animism (e.g., ancestor worshiping of Sumnima/Paruhang and Yuma Sammang/Tagera Ningwaphumang), and Saivism. It is practiced by about 3.1% of the Nepali population. It's slogan is, "ᤀᤠᤪᤣ ᤕᤪᤔᤠ ᤗᤠᤶᤔᤠᤲ" ("Aum Yumā Sammang.")Moksha (Jainism)
Sanskrit moksha or Prakrit mokkha refers to the liberation or salvation of a soul from saṃsāra, the cycle of birth and death. It is a blissful state of existence of a soul, attained after the destruction of all karmic bonds. A liberated soul is said to have attained its true and pristine nature of infinite bliss, infinite knowledge and infinite perception. Such a soul is called siddha and is revered in Jainism.
In Jainism, moksha is the highest and the noblest objective that a soul should strive to achieve. In fact, it is the only objective that a person should have; other objectives are contrary to the true nature of soul. With the right view, knowledge and efforts all souls can attain this state. That is why Jainism is also known as mokṣamārga or the "path to liberation".
According to the Sacred Jain Text, Tattvartha sutra:Owing to the absence of the cause of bondage and with the functioning of the dissociation of karmas the annihilation of all karmas is liberation.Moksha language
The Moksha language (Moksha: мокшень кяль, romanized: mokšenj kälj, [ˡmɔkʃenʲ kælʲ]) is a member of the Mordvinic branch of the Uralic languages, with around 2,000 native speakers (2010 Russian census).
Moksha is the majority language in the western part of Mordovia.
Its closest relative is the Erzya language, with which it is not mutually intelligible. Moksha is also considered to be closely related to the extinct Meshcherian and Muromian languages.Mokshas
The Mokshas (also Mokshans, Moksha people, in Moksha: Мокшет/Mokšet) are a Mordvinian ethnic group belonging to the Volgaic branch of the Finno-Ugric peoples who live in the Russian Federation, mostly near the Volga and Moksha rivers, a tributary of the Oka River.
Their native language is Mokshan, one of the two surviving members of the Mordvinic branch of the Uralic language family. According to the 1994 Russian census, 49% of the autochthonal Finnic population in Mordovia identified themselves as Mokshas, totaling more than 180,000 people. Most Mokshas belong to the Russian Orthodox Church; other religions practised by Mokshas include Lutheranism and paganism.Mordvinic languages
The Mordvinic languages, alternatively Mordvin languages, or Mordvinian languages (Russian: Мордовские языки, Mordovskiye yazyki, the official Russian term for the language pair),
are a subgroup of the Uralic languages, comprising the closely related Erzya language and Moksha language (both spoken in Mordovia).
Previously considered a single "Mordvin language",
it is now treated as a small language family. Due to differences in phonology, lexicon, and grammar, Erzya and Moksha are not mutually intelligible, to the extent that the Russian language is often used for intergroup communications.The two Mordvinic languages also have separate literary forms. The Erzya literary language was created in 1922 and the Mokshan in 1923.Phonological differences between the two languages include:
Moksha retains a distinction between the vowels /ɛ, e/ while in Erzya, both have merged as /e/.
In unstressed syllables, Erzya features vowel harmony like many other Uralic languages, using [e] in front-vocalic words and [o] in back-vocalic words. Moksha has a simple schwa [ə] in their place.
Word-initially, Erzya has a postalveolar affricate /tʃ/ corresponding to a fricative /ʃ/ in Moksha.
Next to voiceless consonants, liquids /r, rʲ, l, lʲ/ and the semivowel /j/ are devoiced in Moksha to [r̥ r̥ʲ l̥ l̥ʲ ȷ̊].The medieval Meshcherian language may have been Mordvinic or close to Mordvinic.Mordvins
The Mordvins, also Mordva, Mordvinians, Mordovians (Erzya: эрзят/erzät, Moksha: мокшет/mokšet, Russian: мордва/mordva), are an Uralic people who speak the Mordvinic languages of the Uralic language family and live mainly in the Republic of Mordovia and other parts of the middle Volga River region of Russia.The Mordvins are one of the larger indigenous peoples of Russia. They identify themselves as separate ethnic groups: the Erzya and Moksha, Teryukhan and Tengushev (or Shoksha) Mordvins who have become fully Russified or Turkified during the 19th to 20th centuries. Less than one third of Mordvins live in the autonomous republic of Mordovia; the rest are scattered over the Russian oblasts of Samara, Penza, Orenburg and Nizhny Novgorod, as well as Tatarstan, Chuvashia, Bashkortostan, Central Asia, Siberia, Far East, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the United States.
The Erzya Mordvins (Erzya: эрзят, Erzyat; also Erzia, Erza), who speak Erzya, and the Moksha Mordvins (Moksha: мокшет, Mokshet), who speak Moksha, are the two major groups. The Qaratay Mordvins live in the Kama Tamağı District of Tatarstan, albeit with a large proportion of Mordvin vocabulary (substratum). The Teryukhan, living in the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast of Russia, switched to Russian in the 19th century. The Teryukhans recognize the term Mordva as pertaining to themselves, whereas the Qaratay also call themselves Muksha. The Tengushev Mordvins live in southern Mordovia and are a transitional group between Moksha and Erzya.
The western Erzyans are also called Shoksha (or Shoksho). They are isolated from the bulk of the Erzyans, and their dialect/language has been influenced by the Mokshan dialects.Nirvana
Nirvāṇa ( neer-VAH-nə, -VAN-ə, nur-; Sanskrit: निर्वाण nirvāṇa [nɪɽʋaːɳɐ]; Pali: निब्बान nibbāna; Prakrit: णिव्वाण ṇivvāṇa, literally "blown out", as in an oil lamp) is commonly associated with Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, and represents its ultimate state of soteriological release, the liberation from repeated rebirth in saṃsāra.In Indian religions, nirvana is synonymous with moksha and mukti. All Indian religions assert it to be a state of perfect quietude, freedom, highest happiness as well as the liberation from or ending of samsara, the repeating cycle of birth, life and death.However, Buddhist and non-Buddhist traditions describe these terms for liberation differently. In the Buddhist context, nirvana refers to realization of non-self and emptiness, marking the end of rebirth by stilling the fires that keep the process of rebirth going. In Hindu philosophy, it is the union of or the realization of the identity of Atman with Brahman, depending on the Hindu tradition. In Jainism, it is also the soteriological goal, it represents the release of a soul from karmic bondage and samsara.Prehistoric numerals
Counting in prehistory was first assisted by using body parts, primarily the fingers.
This is reflected in the etymology of certain number names, such as in the names of ten and hundred in the Proto-Indo-European numerals, both containing the root *dḱ also seen in the word for "finger" (Latin digitus, cognate to English toe).
Early systems of counting using tally marks appear in the Upper Paleolithic.
The first more complex systems develop in the Ancient Near East together with the development of early writing out of proto-writing systems.Puruṣārtha
Puruṣārtha (Sanskrit: पुरुषार्थ) literally means an "object of human pursuit". It is a key concept in Hinduism, and refers to the four proper goals or aims of a human life. The four puruṣārthas are Dharma (righteousness, moral values), Artha (prosperity, economic values), Kama (pleasure, love, psychological values) and Moksha (liberation, spiritual values).All four Purusarthas are important, but in cases of conflict, Dharma is considered more important than Artha or Kama in Hindu philosophy. Moksha is considered the ultimate ideal of human life. At the same time, this is not a consensus among all Hindus, and many have different interpretations of the hierarchy, and even as to whether one should exist.
Historical Indian scholars recognized and debated the inherent tension between active pursuit of wealth (Artha purusartha) and pleasure (Kama), and renunciation of all wealth and pleasure for the sake of spiritual liberation (Moksha). They proposed "action with renunciation" or "craving-free, dharma-driven action", also called Nishkam Karma as a possible solution to the tension.Samayasāra
Samayasāra (The Nature of the Self) is a famous Jain text composed by Acharya Kundakunda in 439 verses. Its ten chapters discuss the nature of Jīva (pure self/soul), its attachment to Karma and Moksha (liberation). Samayasāra expounds the Jain concepts like Karma, Asrava (influx of karmas), Bandha (Bondage), Samvara (stoppage), Nirjara (shedding) and Moksha (complete annihilation of karmas).Siddhashila
Siddhashila is an area in Jain cosmology at the apex of the universe, which is where the Jains believe people who have become arihants and tirthankaras go after they die and attain moksha. Such people are called siddhas after they discard their mortal body, hence the origin of the term.Snakes and Ladders
Snakes and Ladders is an ancient Indian board game regarded today as a worldwide classic. It is played between two or more players on a gameboard having numbered, gridded squares. A number of "ladders" and "snakes" are pictured on the board, each connecting two specific board squares. The object of the game is to navigate one's game piece, according to die rolls, from the start (bottom square) to the finish (top square), helped or hindered by ladders and snakes, respectively.
The game is a simple race contest based on sheer luck, and is popular with young children. The historic version had root in morality lessons, where a player's progression up the board represented a life journey complicated by virtues (ladders) and vices (snakes). A commercial version with different morality lessons, Chutes and Ladders, is published by Milton Bradley.State Anthem of the Republic of Mordovia
The National Anthem of the Republic of Mordovia, also known as Hail, Mordovia! (Moksha/Erzya: Шумбрат, Мордовия!; Russian: Радуйся, Мордовия!) is the anthem of the Republic of Mordovia. It was composed by N. Koshelieva with words by S. Kinyakin. This anthem's lyrics was composed in three official languages of Mordovia, which is Moksha (first verse and parts of the chorus), Erzya (second verse and remaining part of the chorus) and Russian (third verse) languages. The chorus of the anthem is a mixture between Moksha and Erzya languages which Moksha has the predominance over the chorus.Tattva (Jainism)
Jain philosophy explains that seven tattvas (truths or fundamental principles) constitute reality. These are:—
jīva- the soul which is characterized by consciousness
ajīva- the non-soul
āsrava (influx)- inflow of auspicious and evil karmic matter into the soul.
bandha (bondage)- mutual intermingling of the soul and karmas.
samvara (stoppage)- obstruction of the inflow of karmic matter into the soul.
nirjara (gradual dissociation)- separation or falling-off of part of karmic matter from the soul.
mokṣha (liberation)- complete annihilation of all karmic matter (bound with any particular soul).The knowledge of these reals is said to be essential for the liberation of the soul.Vishishtadvaita
Vishishtadvaita (IAST Viśiṣṭādvaita; Sanskrit: विशिष्टाद्वैत) is one of the most popular schools of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy. Vedanta literally means the end of the Vedas. VishishtAdvaita (literally "Advaita with uniqueness; qualifications") is a non-dualistic school of Vedanta philosophy. It is non-dualism of the qualified whole, in which Brahman alone exists, but is characterized by multiplicity. It can be described as qualified monism or qualified non-dualism or attributive monism. It is a school of Vedanta philosophy which believes in all diversity subsuming to an underlying unity.
Ramanuja, the main proponent of Vishishtadvaita philosophy contends that the Prasthanatrayi ("The three courses"), namely the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Brahma Sutras are to be interpreted in a way that shows this unity in diversity, for any other way would violate their consistency. Vedanta Desika defines Vishishtadvaita using the statement, Asesha Chit-Achit Prakaaram Brahmaikameva Tatvam : Brahman, as qualified by the sentient and insentient modes (or attributes), is the only reality.Volga Finns
The Volga Finns (sometimes referred to as Eastern Finns) are a historical group of indigenous peoples of Russia living in the vicinity of the Volga, who speak Uralic languages. Their modern representatives are the Mari people, the Erzya and the Moksha Mordvins, as well as extinct Merya, Muromian and Meshchera people. The Permians are sometimes also grouped as Volga Finns.
The modern representatives of Volga Finns live in the basins of the Sura and Moksha rivers, as well as (in smaller numbers) in the interfluve between the Volga and the Belaya rivers. The Mari language has two dialects, the Meadow Mari and the Hill Mari.
Traditionally the Mari and the Mordvinic languages (Erzya and Moksha) were considered to form a Volga-Finnic or Volgaic group within the Uralic language family, accepted by linguists like Robert Austerlitz (1968), Aurélien Sauvageot & Karl Heinrich Menges (1973) and Harald Haarmann (1974), but rejected by others like Björn Collinder (1965) and Robert Thomas Harms (1974).
This grouping has also been criticized by Salminen (2002), who suggests it may be simply a geographic, not a phylogenetic, group. Since 2009 the 16th edition of Ethnologue: Languages of the World has adopted a classification grouping Mari and Mordvin languages as separate branches of the Uralic language family.