“Brahman is not only the cause and supporting power and indwelling principle of the universe, he is also its material and its sole material. Matter also is Brahman and it is nothing other than or different from Brahman” : Sri Aurobindo
Hinduism says that the four main aims of life are Kama, Artha, Dharma and Moksha. While I understand the first three, I have never quite been comfortable with the fourth one – or even how it affects us.
I understand that we have kama, that we are at some level animals, driven by our desires, to lust, to procreate; I understand that we desire artha, to amass wealth or worldly material objects to satisfy us; I also understand that both kama and artha ought to be guided by Dharma, sense of righteousness, duty to ourselves, our fellow beings, Mother Nature, a sense of purpose, to guide our desires and control them so they don’t run amok and become insatiable.
It’s not that I didn’t know what moksha meant, or what its definition was.But why would I want liberation – to be free this material universe.?
This ever changing, dynamic matrix of creation is such a grand karmabhumi, a glorious field of action, the melting pot for fulfilling ones karma, ones purpose. Why would I wish to not be part of it for all eternity, why would we not wish to keep coming back to it again and again?
Moreover if I – “me”, as an individual entity, or soul, were to achieve moksha, what would happen to all the other beings that still haven’t lost their attachment to the material world?
I have heard some people say that all else is maya, or illusion, and we ought to focus on just our individual liberation. But that sounds like such a selfish act.
Besides, if “everything is maya”, then wouldn’t our own moksha be just as much of
an illusion. And if all existence and beings are expressions of the Brahman, the Universal Consciousness, then how is maya not an essential element of the Brahman too?
On delving further into Hindu teachings rather than just scratching at its surface from hearsay, I understood that liberation is not an escape from this dynamic matrix but to be able to engage it in a more eternal manner.
Firstly, if one were to wish for moksha merely as an escape from his karma and karmabhumi, that individual is unlikely to achieve it anyhow.
But more importantly, we as individual entities or beings are able to engage the dynamic world in a certain limited capacity, we try to change it for the better, and sometimes succeed and sometimes we don’t and other times we don’t even try or are unaware that we ought to.
But if we follow on the path of Dharma, as its active agent and not just as leaves blown about in a whirlwind without any control over our destinies, there may come a stage in our lives, in this one or the next or any one after, when we realize our limitation as an individual entity.
At that stage, if we were to aim for moksha, we would go from being just transient entities to being conscious part of the eternal Brahman. In that state, as part of the eternal, we would be able engage the same universe, the same dynamic matrix from a more subtle point of view. It’s not that we would have escaped our karamabhumi; we have become a part of it in ways not possible at individual level.
I should mention, I don’t consider myself as being someone who is ready for moksha; I have way too many attachments to this world, and I don’t believe that I have served my fellow beings sufficiently enough as an individual entity to be worthy of serving them in a capacity more than I can comprehend as yet. As such, my views of moksha can only be cerebrations and mental viewpoints as they are not the words of someone who has experienced moksha themselves.
In fact, my desire to understand the concept of moksha was spurred by something as transient and illusory as a movie, a re-watching of the film Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray’s character starts to relive the same day over and over again.
But should it be surprising that a movie could lead to me deepen my understanding about something of such significance as moksha? If everything is part of the eternal Brahman and an expression of it, then isn’t something as illusory as a movie not part of it too? And as Hinduism says, our Dharmic paths to the Ultimate Reality are many, some more winding than others.
“Hands that Serve are Holier than Lips that Pray”…Sathya Sai Baba
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