Being born and brought up in Indian culture; the ideas of mythology always fascinated me. And browsing though ‘religious’ books, watching TV soaps and through general discussions, one thing was very clear to me – there is something called ‘moksha’ that was sort of ‘preached’ to us as our aim of life. It was presented in a way that this is what we live for; this is what we must strive to achieve. As I grew up meaning of the word, became clearer to me; and simultaneously did the question – Why Moksha – became more tempting to me.
Let me first tell you how is the concept portrayed to the general Indian. We were told that once we die, we are bound to be reborn in some other form. Death is nothing but the departure of the soul from the body. This soul enters another body to give birth to an individual. They say that in a lifetime body suffers through sorrows. And hence we must make efforts to free the soul from the birth cycle and gain never ending joy. This freedom is what is called moksha. How do we achieve moksha? By doing ‘good deeds’.
Somehow this idea did not fit into the scheme of my logic. Too abstract for my appetite. I had to find out what does this actually boil down so that a person as crazy as me can digest. And hence sat a group of philosophical lunatics of the hostel to materialise the abstract. And that discussion – which ended at 3 am that night – added a dimension to look at life.
“Turns out that it is true that in a lifetime, we come across many sorrows; moments of shattered hopes and grave depression. But no one can deny the fact that life gives moments of joy, excitement, fun, love, peace and satisfaction. So the argument of the orthodox that life is full of sorrows stands on shaky grounds. The concept of rebirth is speculative. If I do not know whether or not I would ever be reborn, why should I care about what is going to happen in the next birth?”
OK, I get your point, but if I don’t care about what is going to happen after I die, what do I care about? Umm…of course my present life. So what does a person seek in life? Well surely… not money as it is only an agent…”
“Agent to do what? Buy… buy what? Happiness… Yes got it! We seek happiness. Or things which make us happy. Like we seek money to buy things of luxury; we seek fame as someone praising us makes us happy. We seek to listen to songs, go for outing; and that makes us happy. Gotcha!”
“But I you look carefully, there is one cause of all happiness – Realisation – you earn money; buy an air conditioner to realise what it feels like to be in an air-conditioned room. You go to Kashmir to realise what it feels like to be in a paradise. You seek beautiful places to realise that such masterpieces exist in nature. What is the greatest realisation? What is it that gives you unbound joy?”
“To know something is truly a joy forever. To discover how mysteries of nature unfold is what gives joy whenever we think of it. If the smallest of discoveries like how to make a pebble bounce on water, how to climb a tree and how to plant a sapling can give us unparalleled joy, how joyous would be the moment when we know why the nature is the way it is?”
The magical words had been spelled. The answer was there for the taking. To have a complete knowledge of how nature works is what I believe Moksha is supposed to mean. Moksha is freedom in true sense. Freedom from all sorrows because if you know nature, you would be able to realise that all the materialistic sorrows have to perish and all materialistic joy has to end. What will sustain is the eternal joy – the joy of knowing everything…