I did this piece as a guest post for James Harbeck’s blog Sesquiotica. Thanks James!
Moksha is the ultimate destination for all as far as Hindu philosophy goes. It’s the Hindu equivalent of Nirvana in Buddhism. You would find it most often with Karma, reincarnation, and Maya, because Maya is the tool by which the impersonal Self creates the illusion of separation, suffering (Karma) and ego (personal-self). Maya is inert but still holds key for the divine play called Lila, of which Moksha is just a part. Lila is the play in which illusion of suffering (Karma) and separation is created by Maya for the entertainment of impersonal self.
Moksha is also known as Jeevan-Mukti, Mukti, Arhata, Satori (glimpse of Samadhi), Samadhi, Emancipation, Uddhar, The Way, and Aum. Moksha is also name of a language. It’s a Russian language spoken in the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family, by about half a million people in the western and southern parts of Mordovia, a dependent republic within Russia, and in some of adjacent regions.
How do you pronounce Moksha? You stretch your lips out together in almost a circular shape, similar to the way you do when you want to kiss, and let the sound of “Mo” be created, and then your tongue touches your palate and creates the sound of “ksh” by cutting air out. It’s similar to the “k-Shhhhh” sound created with the one finger on your lips to hush someone, with the only difference that it’s slightly less stretched and you cut air out sharply.
As with most of the Hindi words, the Moksh became Moksha in English. Mumukshu is someone who has had enough of cycles of birth and death. Mumukshu is like Bodhisattva in Buddhism but the only difference is that Mumukshu is hell-bent on getting Moksha, which is perhaps still an achievement for him, whereas Bodhisattva postpones his own enlightenment and keeps helping everyone out of their suffering because of his immense compassion. Mumukshu is the one who works day and night for attaining liberation. Mumukshu is not to be confused with the Mummu, the spirit of pure Chaos; it’s also not the Momos (A Nepali-Tibetan dish) or Momus, the Greek god of satire, criticism, and writers; rather, it’s a soul devoted to sole goal of ending suffering forever.
A Moksha in time saves two incarnations too many. I hope this is true, because Moksha takes its own time. Moksha is not Mocha, the dark coffee from selected beans from Arabia; neither is it moksa: various cycles of rebirth in various forms. Moksha might be something worth Monkish people, but it’s certainly not achievable if you remain too mawkish too long, because sensitivity helps in initial stages but then you need to transcend thoughts and emotions in order to get Moksha. It’s not related to Mosaic Laws given to the Israelites by Moses; neither is it related to Hindi Moja for socks.
The first recorded use of this word is in Upanishadas, which were written by Aryans in India. This was used in Adaivaita Vedanta Philosophy of Shankaracharya. Jeevan-Mukti, a compound of Jeevan (life) with Mukti, is also frequently used for Moksha.
The Sanskrit root muc, meaning “to let free”, is used in both Moksha and Mukti. Atma-jnana, which literally means “Self-Knowledge,” is a synonym of Moksha. The Moksha is the end of illusion of separation and suffering, it’s ultimate unity at which Yoga aims, it’s Henosis, it’s the true reality of all realities. Moksha, unlike Salvation, is final emancipation, the Uddhara of a soul.
It’s Fana in Sufism; Murquaba – the true death, the annihilation, the dissolution in the ultimate truth, after which there are no deaths. It’s also known as Kaivalya or Kaival-Jnana in Jainism. Abrahamic religions don’t have a concept of Moksha, because after-life is somewhat similar to the life here, only with the paradise or hell forever. Moksha is enlightenment, Atman, Self, Illumination, Buddhatva, Buddhahood, Bodha, Kensho, Prajna, Atmabodha, Bodhi, Jnana, Sambodhi, Jagriti, Tathata, Bramhan and Ananda.
Moksha is not an achievement, therefore there is no competition. More realized souls are more realized because they were less realized in earlier incarnations and hence suffered, and less realized souls of today will be more realized souls of tomorrow because they are burning their Karma off today and so and so on. There are no timestamps in the dimension where Moksha happens, so contrary to what that Guru-next-door tells you, there is no urgency. Enjoy that cup of your coffee, or glass of wine and wait for the kick by Maya and you will get it!
Image Source: Google images