Moksha, aka: Mokṣa, Moksa, Mokṣā; 14 Definition(s)

Introduction

Moksha means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit terms Mokṣa and Mokṣā can be transliterated into English as Moksa or Moksha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Purana

[Moksha in Purana glossaries]

Mokṣa (मोक्ष).—No bondage; three-fold mokṣa; renunciation by knowledge, diminution of rāga and loss of tṛṣṇā;1 dharma of;2 is yogasiddhi;3 salvation, attained at the sacred Benares;4 oneness with Brahmam.5

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 3. 55; Vāyu-purāṇa 23. 81; 102. 76, 78, 80, 93.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 10. 116.
  • 3) Ib. IV. 36. 52; 44. 108.
  • 4) Matsya-purāṇa 180. 52; 183. 36-37; 185. 15; 193. 40.
  • 5) Vāyu-purāṇa 104. 94.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

[Moksha in Pancaratra glossaries]

Mokṣa (मोक्ष) refers to an aspect of nṛsiṃha (‘man-lion’), according to the Vihagendra-saṃhitā 4.17, which mentions seventy-four forms (inlcuding twenty forms of vyūha). He is also known as Mokṣanṛsiṃha or Mokṣanarasiṃha. Nṛsiṃha is a Tantric deity and refers to the furious (ugra) incarnation of Viṣṇu.

The 15th-century Vihagendra-saṃhīta is a canonical text of the Pāñcarātra corpus and, in twenty-four chapters, deals primarely with meditation on mantras and sacrificial oblations.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Pāñcarātra
Pancaratra book cover
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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Mīmāṃsā (school of philosophy)

[Moksha in Mimamsa glossaries]

Mokṣa (मोक्ष, “liberation”).—Mīmāṃsā suggests that liberation (mokṣa) cannot be achieved by Right Knowledge alone, for the Self must first exhaust its negative and positive potentialities gained through action (karma), as a seed fulfils itself through growth. No amount of contemplation (dhyāna) will enable one to arrive at the ultimate goal of human destiny; therefore, the emphasis is on the ethical aspect of life rather than on the rational. All arguments to support this thesis are based on the premise that the Self by definition is eternal. The actions to be done (karma) and the rewards (phala) that follow are enjoined in the Veda and interpreted by Mīmāṃsā.

(Source): Srimatham: Mīmāṃsa: The Study of Hindu Exegesis
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Mimamsa (मीमांसा, mīmāṃsā) refers to one of the six orthodox Hindu schools of philosophy, emphasizing the nature of dharma and the philosophy of language. The literature in this school is also known for its in-depth study of ritual actions and social duties.

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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

[Moksha in Vaishnavism glossaries]

Mokṣā (मोक्षा) refers to the second of twenty-six ekādaśīs according to the Garga-saṃhitā 4.8.9. Accordingly, “to attain Lord Kṛṣṇa’s mercy you should follow the vow of fasting on ekādaśī. In that way You will make Lord Kṛṣṇa into your submissive servant. Of this there is no doubt”. A person who chants the names of these twenty-six ekādaśīs (eg., Mokṣā) attains the result of following ekādaśī for one year.

(Source): Devotees Vaishnavas: Śrī Garga Saṃhitā
Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

[Moksha in Jyotisha glossaries]

Mokṣa (मोक्ष).—The separation of the eclipsed body after an eclipse, the last contact, or the end of the eclipse. Note: Mokṣa is a Sanskrit technical term used in ancient Indian sciences such as Astronomy, Mathematics and Geometry.

(Source): Wikibooks (hi): Sanskrit Technical Terms
Jyotisha book cover
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Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha or jyotish) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents one of the six additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas. Jyotiṣa concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

[Moksha in Shaivism glossaries]

Mokṣa (मोक्ष, “liberation”) is accomplished by performing mantrasādhana (preparatory procedures) beginning with japamālā using a rosary bead made of lotus seed beads, according to the Kakṣapuṭatantra verse 1.43. Accordingly, “for the accomplishment of all kinds of kāma (love), one should recite a mantra using a rosary made of rudrākṣa beads. For the accomplishment of dharma (virtue), artha (wealth), kāma (love), and mokṣa (liberation), one should recite a mantra using a rosary made of lotus seed beads”.

(Source): Shodhganga: Mantra-sādhana: Chapter One of the Kakṣapuṭatantra
Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Nyaya (school of philosophy)

[Moksha in Nyaya glossaries]

Mokṣa (मोक्ष, “liberation”).—According to Vātsyāyana, mokṣa or apavarga should consist of complete cessation of the specific qualities of the self (cf. Nyāyabhāṣya). Śrīdhara, defines mokṣa as the cessation of all the special qualities of the self and the attainment of its natural state. The Nyāya system gives a knowledge of truth for the understanding of the summum bonum of life. It is stated in this system that liberation means absolute freedom from all pain and suffering.

According to Vātsyāyana, liberation is the supreme condition of the soul. It is a state where there is no fear, which is free from decay and change, where there is no death and so on. (cf. Nyāyabhāṣya on Nyāyasūtra, 1.1.22) Śrīdhara holds that the knowledge of reality and the performance of duties are necessary for liberation. It is produced from knowledge. Udayana also maintains the same view on liberation.

(Source): Shodhganga: A study of Nyāya-vaiśeṣika categories
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Nyaya (न्याय, nyaya) refers to a school of Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. The Nyaya philosophy is known for its theories on logic, methodology and epistemology, however, it is closely related with Vaisheshika in terms of metaphysics.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Moksha in Hinduism glossaries]

In Indian religions, moksha (mokṣa; 'liberation'), or mukti ('release') is the liberation from samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth. This liberation can be attained while one is on earth (jivanmukti) or eschatologically (karmamukti). Moksha is attained by disidentification with the body and mind, which are temporary and subject to change, and realisation of our true identity.

"Moksha" means "mukti", "eternal freedom from social and natural programming". Moksha and mukti are both from the root muc "to let loose, let go".

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Mokṣa (मोक्ष, “liberation”) has the most important place in Indian Philosophy. It is accepted in many schools. Mokṣa is considered to be the highest ideal and end of human life. So, the Indian Philosophical systems are called to be mokṣa-sāśtras. S.N. Dasgupta says that “The doctrine of mukti and karma are the two certain principles which Hindu Philosophy could not deny even in its highest soarings. The notion of mukti is in fact the essence through which all systems of Indian Philosophy revolve”.

The human body with the sense organs feels undesirable, unpleasant, painful feelings. Therefore, in liberation (mokṣa) soul becomes released from the body and the sense-organs. It leaves both painful and pleasurable experiences. Moreover, it ceases to have any experience or consciousness. “So in liberation the self exists as a pure substance free from all connection with the body, neither suffering pain, nor enjoying pleasure, nor having consciousness even.” Liberation (mokṣa) may be considered as the state of good sleep, as a state of release from some disease, from some bodily or mental injury. As a whole, liberation is absolute freedom from pain for all time.

(Source): Shodhganga: A study of Nyāya-vaiśeṣika categories (h)

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[Moksha in Jainism glossaries]

Mokṣa (मोक्ष, “liberation”).—What is meant by liberation (mokṣa)? Total separation of karmas from the soul is called mokṣa. Synonyms of moksa are liberation and emancipation. It is the state of pure soul.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 1
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[Moksha in Marathi glossaries]

mōkṣa (मोक्ष).—m (S) Final and eternal happiness; the deliverance of the soul from the body, its exemption from further transmigration, and its absorption into the divine essence. 2 S Liberation, emancipation, act of freeing or freed state.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

mōkṣa (मोक्ष).—m Final and eternal happiness. Liberation.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

[Moksha in Sanskrit glossaries]

Mokṣa (मोक्ष).—[mokṣ-ghañ]

1) Liberation, release, escape, freedom; साऽधुना तव बन्धे मोक्षे च प्रभवति (sā'dhunā tava bandhe mokṣe ca prabhavati) K.; Me.63; लब्धमोक्षाः शुकादयः (labdhamokṣāḥ śukādayaḥ) R.17.2; धुर्याणां च धुरो मोक्षम् (dhuryāṇāṃ ca dhuro mokṣam) 17.19.

2) Rescue, deliverance, delivery; ते यतध्वं परं शक्त्या सर्वे मोक्षाय पार्थिवाः (te yatadhvaṃ paraṃ śaktyā sarve mokṣāya pārthivāḥ) Mb.5.173.15.

3) Final emancipation, deliverance of the soul from recurring births or transmigration, the last of the four ends of human existence; see अर्थ (artha); धर्मार्थकाममोक्षाणां यस्यैकोऽपि न विद्यते । अजागलस्तनस्येव तस्य जन्म निरर्थकम् (dharmārthakāmamokṣāṇāṃ yasyaiko'pi na vidyate | ajāgalastanasyeva tasya janma nirarthakam) ||; Bg.5.28;18.3; Ms.6.35; R.1.84.

4) Death.

5) Falling down, dropping down, falling off; वनस्थलीर्मर्मरपत्रमोक्षाः (vanasthalīrmarmarapatramokṣāḥ) Ku.3.31.

6) Loosening, untying, unbinding; वेणिमोक्षोत्सुकानि (veṇimokṣotsukāni) Me.11; मदकलयुवतीनां नीवि- मोक्षस्तु मोक्षः (madakalayuvatīnāṃ nīvi- mokṣastu mokṣaḥ)

7) Shedding, causing to fall down or flow; बाष्पमोक्ष, अश्रुमोक्ष (bāṣpamokṣa, aśrumokṣa).

8) Shooting, casting, discharging; बाणमोक्षः (bāṇamokṣaḥ) Ś.3.5.

9) Scattering, strewing.

1) Acquittance or discharge of an obligation (debt &c.).

11) (In astr.) The liberation of an eclipsed planet, the end of an eclipse.

12) Name of a tree (pāṭali).

13) Utterance (of a curse).

14) Settling (a question).

Derivable forms: mokṣaḥ (मोक्षः).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

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Mokṣanarasiṃha (मोक्षनरसिंह) is short for Mokṣa, one of the aspects of nṛsiṃha (‘man-lion’), ac...
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Mokṣaśāstra (मोक्षशास्त्र) referst to the “science of freedom”.—The principal philosophical sys...
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Mokṣanṛsiṃha (मोक्षनृसिंह) is short for Mokṣa, one of the aspects of nṛsiṃha (‘man-lion’), acco...
Mokshabhava
Mokṣabhāva (मोक्षभाव).—liberation. Derivable forms: mokṣabhāvaḥ (मोक्षभावः).Mokṣabhāva is a San...

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