The Path to Enlightenment: karma & jnana

Moksha is a Sanskrit word meaning “free, release, liberate“.  This word is related to the Sanskrit word mukti meaning “liberation”.The root word of both is muc meaning “to be free” * .

In his commentary on the Upanishads, 8th century CE philosopher and theologian Adi Shankara speaks of Moksha. Shankara tells us that the Upanishads, the Gita, and the scriptures establish a path to Moksha. Sankara says:

“The Upanishads exhaust themselves simply by determining the true nature of the Self, and the Gita and the scriptures dealing with moksha have only this end in view” [Intro to the Isa Upanishad].

The Upanishads ‘liberate’ the soul through the removal of spiritual ignorance. Shankara explains:

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Katyayani: mother as bestower of paradise

Katyayani Navadurga Maata, Boodram, Creative Commons
Katyayani Navadurga Maata, Boodram, Creative Commons

Carl Jung noted a relation between the mother and paradise [1]. In the Hindu tradition, there is a word svarga or swarga meaning ‘paradise’ or ‘heaven’. In the Devi-Mahatmyam, the mother goddess (Devi) is honored as the bestower of paradise (svarga) and liberation. In Verse 11, 7 we read:

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Prakriti: mother nature

In Hinduism, Prakriti is the goddess of mother nature. The Sankhya Karika tells us that Prakriti means “nature” and that Mula prakriti is “original and unoriginate substance whence all substances proceed” [1].

In Shamkaya, it is understood that the cosmos is made up of two poles: consciousness and matter. These two aspects are represented by puruṣa and prakṛti. The living soul (jiva) experiences a world in which purisha and prakriti are bound and fused. It is said that puruṣa, as the cosmic consciousness, merges or identifies with prakriti (in the jiva) out of ignorance.

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