Moksha and The Two Paths


Moksha's three aspects: fully realizing God, resolving karma, performing dharma well. The advanced soul. Through many lives, have all the experiences Earth has to offer. Otherwise be pulled back. Two ways to achieve moksha: Go into the forest and do tapas; find a guru, renounce the world, study under Him as a sannyasin. The sannyasin is detached from the world, the householder dharmically pursues goals in the world. Gain maturity through experience then naturally turn within; seek liberation.

Master Course, Dancing with Siva, Lesson 340

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, II.18

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

From today's Dancing with Siva lesson, Sloka 30.

"How Do Hindus Understand Moksha?

"The destiny of all souls is moksha, liberation from rebirth on the physical plane. Our soul then continues evolving in the Antarloka and Sivaloka, and finally merges with Siva like water returning to the sea.

"Moksha comes when earthly karma has been resolved, dharma well performed and God fully realized."

I call this Gurudeva's long definition of moksha. Just has three items; sometimes he defines moksha just with two. But this time, in this instance, he gives it three aspects.

"God fully realized." That's I think the most self-evident one. To achieve moksha we have to realize God. Fully!

Resolving all karma. That one's obvious too. We have to keep getting reborn until there is no more karma that needs to be worked out on Earth. So we need to resolve all our karma.

But the third one is one that we might not think of: "...dharma well performed..." So Gurudeva explains that in the next sentence. What does dharma well performed mean?

"Each soul must have performed well through many lives the varna dharmas, or four castes and lived through life's varied experiences, in order to not be pulled back to physical birth by a deed left undone."

In other words, we need to experience different things, otherwise, we'll be pulled back. And lack of certain experiences is enough to pull us back. So we're here not only to achieve moksha but to have all the experiences needed that Earth has to offer. So, that's dharma well performed. We need to have experience.

"All souls are destined to achieve moksha, but not necessarily in this life. Hindus know this and do not delude themselves that this is, that this life is the last. While seeking and attaining profound realizations, they know there is much to be done in fulfilling life's other goals (purusharthas): dharma, righteousness; artha, wealth; and kama, pleasure..."

In other words, those are the experiences we're supposed to have unless we're a monk. "Artha, wealth; and kama, pleasure," governed by dharma. We pursue them both in a way that's dharmic. So the three comprise the guidance we need to fulfill dharma. Pursuing artha and kama in a dharmic way.

"...Old souls renounce worldly ambitions and take up sannyasa in quest of Parasiva, even at a young age. Towards life... Toward life's end, all Hindus strive for Self Realization, the gateway to liberation."

In other words, in the sannyasa ashrama, the guideline is age 72 but these days, we're living and working so long we might still be working at age 72. So the sannyasa ashrama really starts when you no longer think about earning money. That is taken care of. You're just living off what you've earned. That's when the sannyasa ashrama starts. Could, we call it retirement but some people work just for the fun of it these days. So, it's not quite so cut and dried, if you're, particularly if you're self employed. But it starts, sannyasa ashrama starts when you're no longer thinking about earning money. That's done and therefore, you have more free time. And it's natural to put some of that extra free time into extra religious practices. So that's what it's suggesting here.

"...After moksha, subtle karmas are made in inner realms and swiftly resolved, like writing on water."

That's the dilemma, if you've ever thought about it, it's catch 22 that to, to resolve karma you have to act. But, if you act you're creating more karma, right? So, therefore, isn't karma endless? If I resolve this karma then so doing I act again and create a new karma, it's a more refined karma, but aren't I just constantly creating more and more refined karmas that the cycle is endless. So, this is saying: No! At the end "...subtle karmas are made in the inner realms and swiftly resolved, (so) like writing on water."

You acted but the reaction is gone as soon as the motion of the water stops. That's what happens in the, for an advanced soul. There's a reaction but it dissolves almost instantaneously. Therefore, you're not creating a karma to resolve in the future; you already resolved it at the time of the action.

"At the end of each soul's evolution comes vishvagrasa, total absorption in Siva. The Vedas say, 'If here one is able to realize Him before the death of the body, he will be liberated from the bondage of the world.'"

There's a very nice story in the Upanishads, I think it's Mundaka Upanishad. Talks about charitable deeds. And it says: Charitable deeds get you into heaven, which is wonderful, because you've earned punyam. But eventually that punyam runs out and you get reborn. So, how do you end up in heaven permanently? Charitable deeds won't do it. So it's, then it's just two ways. One is going into the forest and doing tapas and the other is finding a guru and studying under him as a sannyasin. So it, the sannyasa path is what's talked about or renunciation of the world. It's the only way you can get out of that cycle because punya runs out. Won't keep you there forever.

But, as this points out, the whole writing, there's really two paths and it's one of the points that's not that well understood. When I attended the student's gathering, Hindu Students Association gathering in Texas. I gave a two hour presentation and they submit questions ahead of time and then I write up the answers and hand them a print-out and we talk about it. In an effort to talk about what they're actually interested in. 'Cause it's very easy just to talk about what you're interested in, right? And the students aren't interested in that at all. So it's an effort to try and avoid that problem to go through that process.

And two of them asked the question: Asked: "The world is maya, we're supposed to be detached from it?"

Said: Well that's mixing up the two paths. The sannyasin is detached from the world but the householder is very much involved in the world, the pursuing goals in the world, which is artha and kama in a dharmic way. That's not detachment that's dharma. So, that's confusion, trying to live like a sannyasin but being a householder. The family person is supposed to become wealthy and share that wealth. Supposed to enjoy life but in a dharmic way. And the sannyasin is supposed to bypass that. So, two different approaches.

One last thought here that relates from Patanjali, Verse 18, Chapter 2,

"What is experienced has the characteristics of brightness, activity, and inertia." ( That's a translation of our sattva, sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic.) It is embodied in the elements and the sense organs. Its purpose (meaning the world, experiencing the world) is to provide both experience and liberation. "

So Patanjali's saying the same thing. We're here to have a certain amount of experience. And then, we start looking for realization. But the experience part, which Gurudeva calls "fulfilling all dharma" is an important part. So, we don't want to short-cut and think we can stop experiencing things too early on. We have to experience things in a dharmic way or learn to go through life without getting upset by it.

That's that chapter on self control in the Tirukural. It says: "Greater than the mountain is the man who in his domestic state achieves self control."

Meaning, if you're single and living by yourself it's easy to be self controlled but if you're married and have three kids who are young, boy is it harder. But that's the challenge is to learn self control. It's easy to be peaceful in a quiet place but to learn to be peaceful in a very busy place, that's the next step. Once you can be peaceful in a quiet place you have to hold that peace in a place that's not peaceful on the outside. So that's experience. We need to gain maturity through experience and then we naturally turn within. Seek liberation.

Wonderful day.

Aum Namah Sivaya

Photo of  Gurudeva
The greatest inhibiting factor in practicing bhakti yoga is the doubting, cynical, intellectual mind. Doubt and skepticism harden the heart and narrow the mind.
—Gurudeva