A (Ted): Moksha literally means, “liberation.” It indicates freedom from dependence on objects (i.e., anything perceivable, conceivable, or in any way experienceable) for happiness, contentment, or a sense of wholeness and completeness. And since it is our vain pursuit of permanent fulfillment through impermanent objects that is the cause of suffering, moksha also implies freedom from all suffering.
Moksha is the essential purushartha (i.e. goal or end) that we are seeking, though in most cases not consciously, through our pursuit of artha (security), kama (pleasure), and dharma (virtue). If we analyze the objects we chase in any of these categories, we invariably find that it is not actually the object itself that we want, but rather the sense of peace and/or happiness that it seemingly provides us. Admittedly, the objects we seek to obtain in these areas are either necessary for our survival or enhance our enjoyment of life, but all are limited. And no limited object can provide limitless fulfillment. Thus, if we depend on these objects for our happiness, we doom ourselves to inevitable disappointment and certain suffering.Continue reading →
Q: In Advaita, it is said that the heaven and the hell are mithya. They are just ideas for bhakti-natured people. But Advaita says this world is mithya too. So even though heaven and the hell are mithya, we are still gonna go there just as this world is mithya but it is still real enough for us? I mean the idea of heaven and hell is mithya but it is still as real as this world. So they indeed exist just as this world. Is that the correct interpretation?
A (Ramesam): Firstly the simple and straightforward answer: Yes, you are right, heaven and hell are mithya and are ideas for bhakti-natured people, in the sense that they are experienced by the people who believe in them but these loka-s (worlds) lack a substantive reality by themselves. However, we have to note that they are the second degree imaginations – imaginations of the already imaginary worldly people! By this logic, perhaps they will be strictly comparable to dreams in their order of reality. (The word mithya includes both the empirical (vyavaharika) reality and the dream world (prAtibhAsika) reality). Continue reading →