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Geetaa on Moksh

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Geetaa-On Moksh

Human beings are born with certain qualities and potentialities of body mind and intellect as a result of previous activities (Karm) and tendencies (Vaasanaa). This holds us in a strong grip, but still we have the freedom to liberate ourselves. Our activities in the present body decide the future of the soul, whether it be complete or partial liberation from past Karm or further bondage. The Grace of God can bring about liberation, however, great may be the previous bondage. This is so, not only because of the inherent power of Grace, but also because the soul's efforts to obtain that Grace have themselves, like other motions of the mind, Kaarmik potency. The Bhagvad Geetaa teaches what these efforts should be, to which it gives the name of Yog. The Yog of the Geetaa is a progressive and multiple process. There is nothing to lose in attempt and failure, as very sincere effort is a gain in itself. Geetaa talks of the following efforts:-

(1) Control of the senses, purity of conduct, and regulation of the routine of life, worship, work, food, sleep etc,
(2) Unselfish and attentive performance of the duties which one is expected to perform by one's natural fitness and by reason of one's place or position in the social arena or set-up.
(3) Cultivation of true detachment and an even temperament when faced with success or failure, joy or grief, etc.
(4) Vigilant control of the motions of the mind, and the elimination of passions that disturb it - lust, anger, greed etc.
(5) Periodical turning of the mind inwards, for silent, concentration and meditation; and
(6) Surrender to Gods grace.

In practice, all the above efforts are mutually connected and inseparable. They are not mutually exclusive. We are free to adopt any of the Yog advocated in the Geetaa for the purpose of attaining Moksh (Liberation) by adopting a proper synthesis of those Yog.

Chapter 2, Verse 51
Karmajam Buddhiyuktaa hi Phalam Tyaktwaa Maneeshinah
Janma Bandh Vinirmuktaah Padam Gachchhanti Anaamayam

"The wise, possessed of knowledge, having abandoned the fruits of action and freed from the fetters of birth, go to the state which is beyond all evil (janma bandh vinirmuktaah padam gachchhanti anaamayam)." Those who know the art of living undertake all work, maintaining in themselves the full evenness of mind, and thus abandon all anxieties for the fruits of their actions. An entity who works or acts renouncing both ego and ego-motivated desires is considered as wise in the Geetaa. Identifying with the agitations of the mind, the ego is born, and the ego so born gets riddled with desires as it gets anxious over the fruits of its actions. If one works with neither ego nor desires, one gets one's Vaasanaa-- purgation. It is the mental-impressions in us that shoot the subtle body or the Antahkaran from one embodiment to another, and when the existing Vaasanaa have ended ie, when we get completely relieved from both the ego and the ego-prompted desires, that entity can no longer have any occasion to take another embodiment. An individual minus his ego is the Self (Aatmaa) and, therefore, a Karm Yogee, rid of the ego may reach, theoretically at least, the state beyond all sorrows.

Mere Karm, however noble and perfect it may be, can not give us Self-Rrealization. Shankaraachaarya, in his famous Vivek Choodaamani, states, "Let erudite scholars quote all scripture, let gods be invoked through sacrifices, let elaborate rituals be performed, let personal gods be propitiated. ......yet, without the experience of one's identity with the Self, there shall be NO LIBERATION for the individual, not even in the lifetime of a hundred Brahmaa put together", which according to Hindu mythology is equivalent to 311,040,000,000,000 years 311,040 billion years). Shankaraachaaya further asserts, "It is clear that LIBERATION can not be the effect of good works, for Shruti declares that there is no hope for immortality by means of wealth "(na dhanen amritatwam aasuh). Thus selfless service (Niswaarth Sevaa) alone is not sufficient for achieving Liberation (Moksh). Selfless actions purify the mind and prepare the individual for higher meditations through which ultimately he discovers himself to the Self, 'which lies beyond all evil'. Incidentally, the "immortality" promised by the Shruti is not a state or condition that comes to us after our departure from this world. It is a perfection that can be lived here and now.

Chapter 2, Verse 71
Vihaay Kaamaanyah Sarvaan Pumaanshcharit Nisprahah
Nirmamo Nir-Ahankaarah Sah Shaantim Adhigachchhati

"That man attains peace, who, abandoning all desires, moves about without longing, without the sense of 'I-ness' and 'my-ness'." Real peace is within oneself and has to to be discovered there and not outside in the pluralistic world. One who wants to attain liberation should renounce all desires and must be without attachments or longings. The verse asserts that the intellect of such a person should be without any sense of 'I-ness' and 'my-ness'. The ego is the cause of all sense attachments and longings. This verse, in its sum total, advises us that all our suffering in the world is caused by our own egocentric misconception and consequent arrogance characterized by our ever-multiplying demands for wealth and our endless desires.

On this verse Shankaraachaarya has commented as follows:- "That man of renunciation who entirely abandons all desires , goes through life contented with the bare necessities of life, who regards not as his , even those things which are needed for mere bodily existence, who is not vain of his knowledge--- such a man of steady knowledge, that man who knows Brahman, attains peace (nirvana), the end of all the misery of mundane existence (Sansaar). In short he becomes Brahm." That is what is meant by Liberation. Thus, detached action, eradication of all desires and attachments in the heart and uprooting of 'I-ness' and 'My-ness' from the intellect are the key to to Liberation (Moksh).

Chapter 4, Verse 16
Kim Karm Kim Karmeti, Kavayopyatra Mohitaa
Tatte Karm Pravakshyaami Yajgyaatwaa Mokshyase Ashubhaat

The Lord tells Arjun that He would teach him about Karm (action) (the nature of action including inaction), by knowing which he shall be liberated from the evil of Sansaar--- the wheel of birth and death. Here what the Lord is conveying to us through Arjun is that an action, in itself, can not be considered either as good or bad. It is the motive behind it which determines the quality of the action. By knowing as to what exactly constitutes right action, Lord Krishn promises here that one can save himself from evil and thus liberate himself.


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 3/9/02
Modified on 12/13/10