Inspired Video: Find That

Following a recent taka post, an anonymous devotee was inspired to make this thoughtfully crafted video. Below is a quote from Gurudeva’s Merging With Siva which relates.

The Hindu View of Liberation, from Merging with Siva Introduction

Merging with Siva is all about liberation, the earning of freedom from the body, mind and emotions through union with the Divine, ultimately in total inextricable merger of the soul in God. Having lived many lives, each soul seeks release from mortality, experiences the Divine directly through Self Realization and ultimately attains moksha, liberation from the round of births and deaths.

The religions of India are unique in their knowledge of the soul’s spiritual evolution through a multitude of physical incarnations. Scripture tells us this evolution culminates in Self Realization, which, once sufficient karma is resolved, confers moksha, release from the cycle of birth and death. Moksha, from the root much or moksh, has many denotations: to loose, to free, release, let loose, let go and thus also to spare, to let live, to allow to depart, to dispatch, to dismiss and even to relax, to spend, bestow, give away and open. Thus it means “release from worldly existence or transmigration; final or eternal emancipation.”

Moksha is not a state of extinction of the soul, nor of nonexistence, nor of nonconsciousness. It is perfect freedom, an indescribable state of nondifferentiation, a proximity to the Divine within. Moksha marks an end to the Earthly sojourn, but it may also be understood as a beginning, not unlike graduation from the university. Kaivalya is another apt term for this ineffable condition of perfect detachment, freedom and oneness.

To reach this emancipation beyond all joy and sorrow, all difference and decay, the soul must remove, in order, the three fetters: karma, which is “the power of cause and effect, action and reaction;” maya, which is “the power of manifestation” sometimes called illusion; and anava, “the power of egoity or veil of duality.” Once freed by God’s grace from these bonds — which do not cease to exist, but no longer have the power to bind — the soul experiences nirvikalpa samadhi. This is the realization of the Self, Atattva Parabrahman — timeless, formless, spaceless — a oneness beyond all change or diversity. Self Realization is man’s natural state, which each soul eventually comes to. While the ultimate goal of earthly life is the experience (or more precisely the nonexperience) of Self Realization, the by-product of that realization is moksha. These two are not synonymous.

While some sects of Hinduism teach that liberation comes only upon death, most embrace the state of jivanmukti, liberation in which the advanced soul unfolds its inherent perfection while alive. It is said of such a great one that “He died before he died,” indicating the totally real, not merely symbolic, demise of the ego. It is possible to realize the Self and still not reach the emancipated state. If this happens, the soul would return and in its next birth easily become a jivanmukta by virtue of the past realization. What distinguishes the mukta from the nonliberated is his total freedom from all selfishness and attachments, his permanent abidance in the all-pervading Divine Presence, his lucid, witnessing consciousness and his jnana, revealed in spontaneous utterances.

To attain liberation while living, the realization of the Self has to be brought through into every aspect of life, every atom of one’s body. This occurs after many encounters with nirvikalpa samadhi. Through harnessing the power of sadhana and tapas, the adept advances his evolution, moving ahead ten lives or more. Only great tapasvins achieve jivanmukti, for to catalyze the death of the astral body and then revive the life forces, one must be proficient in brahmacharya, yoga, pranayama and the varied sadhanas. It is a grace, made possible by guidance of a living satguru, attained by single-minded and strong-willed efforts of yoga, worship, detachment and purification. Non-yogis may be freed at death, provided all karmas have been worked out and the Self is realized as the body is released.

Even having attained perfect liberation, a soul may consciously choose to be reborn to help others on the path. Such a one is called an upadeshi — exemplified by the benevolent satguru — as distinguished from a nirvani, the silent ascetic who abides at the pinnacle of consciousness, shunning all worldly involvement. The concept of moksha for every Hindu sect is informed and modified by its understanding of the soul and its relationship to God. Most Hindus believe that after release from birth and death the soul will exist in the higher regions of the inner worlds where the Gods and mature beings live. Some sects contend the soul continues to evolve in these realms until it attains perfect union and merger with God. Others teach that the highest end is to abide eternally and separately in God’s glorious presence.

Temple Builder Sheela Venkatakrishnan

Satguru meets with long time temple builder Sheela Venkatakrishnan during his visit to Bengaluru on August 23, 2017

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