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by Swami Sivananda

Moksha is the summum bonum of life. Moksha is the fulfilment of life's purpose. Life ends on this earth plane when you attain Moksha or liberation from birth and death. The realisation of your real object in life is freedom or Moksha. Moksha bestows on you eternal life of undecaying bliss and perennial joy. Moksha is not annihilation. Moksha is the annihilation of this little self-arrogating ego only. Moksha is realisation of the identity of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul. By annihilating this little self you possess the whole of true universality, you attain an eternal life.

Mukti is obtained through the knowledge of the Self. To attain Jnana, you must have one-pointedness of mind (Ekagrata). Ekagrata comes through Upasana. Upasana comes through purity of heart (Chitta Suddhi). Chitta Suddhi comes through Nishkamya Karma Yoga. To do Nishkamya Karma, you must have controlled the Indriyas. The Indriyas can be controlled through Viveka and Vairagya.

Moksha is not to be regarded as a becoming into something which previously had no existence. Moksha is not something to be achieved. It is already achieved. Everything is one with Absolute or Para Brahman. What is to be achieved is annihilation of the sense of separateness. Moksha is the direct perception of that which has existed from eternity, but has hitherto been concealed from us on account of the veil of ignorance. Moksha is attainment of the Supreme Bliss or Immortality and removal of all kinds of pain. Moksha is freedom from birth and death.

Freedom or Mukti is your only real nature. You will have to know this truth only through direct intuitive experience. You will have to cut asunder the veil of ignorance by meditation on the Self. Then you will shine in your original pristine purity and divine glory.

Brahman, Self, Purusha, Chaitanya, Consciousness, God, Atman, Immortality, Freedom, Perfection, Bliss, Bhuma or the unconditioned are synonymous terms. If you attain Self-realisation alone, will you be freed from the round of births and deaths and its concomitant evils. The goal of life is the attainment of the final beatitude or Moksha. Moksha can be attained by constant meditation with a heart that is rendered pure and steady by selfless service and Japa.

Moksha is the highest benefit, Parama Prayojana. Jnana is the benefit which one gets in the internal (Avantara Prayojana). Just as plantain fruit is the highest benefit which one gets, and the leaves, etc., are the Avantara Prayojana in the interval before one gets the fruit, so also Moksha is the highest benefit and Jnana is Avantara Prayojana. Jnana is only the means to attain the highest bliss.

The Jiva falsely superimposes the body and others which are not Self upon himself and identifies himself with them. This identification constitutes bondage. The freedom from this identification is Moksha. That which causes this identification is Avidya or nescience. That which removes the identification is Vidya. Attainment of knowledge of the Self eradicates this Avidya and its effects. The Svaroopa of Moksha is the attainment of Supreme Bliss and removal of all kinds of sufferings.

The right knowledge of Brahman consists in knowing that He is one with one's own self. The difference between the Jiva and the Brahman lies only in the Upadhi or limiting adjunct. The Jiva, though he is Brahman in reality or essence is subject to the miseries of worldly existence as caused by his connection with the Upadhi of Antahkarana or the fourfold mind (the inner instrument). As there is no real distinction between them, it should be known that Brahman is identical with the Self. Hence it is said that those who know the real truth understand Brahman to be identical with the Self as declared in the great sentences of the Upanishads or Mahavakyas: "I am Brahman"-"This Self is Brahman." They even teach the same thing to their disciple in the words: "Tat Tvam Asi-Thou art That." Therefore it should be known that Brahman is identical with the Self.

The knower of Brahman becomes Brahman itself. Having become Brahman while yet alive, he is freed from the round of birth and death. Knowledge of Brahman alone is the means of emancipation or Moksha.

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