Moksa is ultimate emancipation from the cycle of embodiment and dis-embodiment alternately or in simple words, births and deaths. Attainment of Moksa marks liberation from the tenacious grip of Maya, being in absolute command of one’s own ultimate existence and one’s absolute identity established with finality.
For those who have faith in the institution of Moksa, ought to know that Moksa is attained only when following pre-conditions are honoured to be absolutely devoid of encumbrances of any hue whatsoever –
Entire spectrum of Rna-s i.e. indebtedness to anyone, must have been retired to the benefactor’s satisfaction. Three orders of Rna-s i.e. Pitra–Rna, Deva–Rna and Rsi–Rna must be retired satisfactorily to be eligible to attain Moksa. Seeker of Moksa is strictly not allowed to carry any Rna whatsoever from anyone before being eligible to attain Moksa.
Entire bouquet of Karma-s of all past and current lives matured to deliver rewards i.e. Prarabdha, is completely dissolved through redemption by undergoing proceeds of Prarabdha without accumulating any new Karma afresh while undergoing those proceeds.
Entire bouquet of Karma-s of all past and present lives yet to mature to deliver proceeds i.e. Sancita Karma-s, can be dissolved by undergoing Tapa of various orders and intensities.
All vanities, venalities and infirmities viz. Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha and Ahamkara must be subdued decisively and irrevocably.
Quite naturally, next question that raises it’s head is, how to satisfy all these pre-conditions to be absolutely liberated from all sorts of encumbrances before being eligible to attain Moksa.
First pre-condition of Rna-s is complied with by retiring all liabilities and debts to the satisfaction of lenders. Pitra–Rna i.e. indebtedness to ancestors, is retired through rituals of Tarpana, Sraddha, Pinda–Dana etc. Deva–Rna i.e. indebtedness to Deva-s is retired by undertaking Yajna-s as prescribed in Veda-s. Lastly, Rsi–Rna i.e. indebtedness to Rsi-s and Muni-s is retired by studying, propagating knowledge enshrined in scriptures, by observing continence on Parva-s i.e. auspicious days, following prescribed rituals etc. No obligation whatsoever be allowed to go unredeemed or neglected.
Second pre-condition of redemption of Prarabdha must be undertaken strictly in the spirit of Niskama Karma i.e. proceeds may be accepted absolutely dispassionately being a detached stoic. Any sense of affinity for proceeds of Prarabdha or related Karma-s would instantly engender another Karma afresh to be redeemed later. Such proceeds must be shared widest possible entirely bereft of even a trace of any expectation whatsoever from anyone.
Third pre-condition of dissolution of Sancita Karma may be attained through Tapa i.e. ascetic pursuits alone. Numerous manifests of Tapa have been narrated in scriptures and the best guide to direct to the most appropriate path is one’s Guru. An enlightened Guru who can perceive one’s Sancita Karma-s through his extra-ordinary divine accomplishments will suggest the best pursuit of Tapa essential for dissolution of one’s Sancita Karma. Without guidance of an enlightened Guru, it is impossible to be relieved of one’s Sancita Karma.
Fourth pre-condition of assuring all infirmities viz. Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha and Ahamkara are subdued effectively or dissolved completely ONLY by practising Yoga–Darsana of Maharsi Patanjali. Let us scrutinise what precisely he has prescribed for the avowed objective –
The Yoga–Darsana has 8 constituents to be rigorously pursued in order to be liberated from all venalities and vanities in the section of Sadhanapada i.e.
Yamaniyamasanapranayampratyaharadharanadhyanasamadhyoasta Vangani I (II/29)
Yama (Restraint), Niyama (Observance), Asana (Resolute posture), Pranayama (Regulation of breath), Pratyahara (Withholding of senses), Dharana (Fixity of mind), Dhyana (Meditation) and Samadhi (Perfect concentration) are the eight means of attaining Yoga.
Eight constituents are being introduced briefly as under –
Ahimsasatyasteyabrahmacaryaparigrha Yamah I (II/30)
Ahimsa (Non-injury), Satya (Truth), Asteya (Abstention from stealing), Brahamacarya (Continence) and Aparigraha (Abstinence from avariciousness) are the five Yama-s.
Saucasantosatapah Svadhyayesvarapranidhanani Niyamah I (II/32)
Sauca (Cleanliness), Santosa (Contentment), Tapa (Austerity of mental & physical discipline), Svadhyaya (Study of scriptures and Japa) and Isvarapranidhana (Devotion to the Supreme) are the Niyama-s.
Sthirasukhamasanam I (II/46)
Motionless and agreeable form of staying in the posture.
Tasmin Sati Svasprasvasyorgativicchedah Pranayamah I (II/49)
Asana having been perfected, regulation of the flow of inhalation and exhalation is Pranayama.
Svavisayasamprayoge Cittasya Svarupanukar Ivendriyanam Pratyaharah I (II/54)
When separated from their corresponding objects, organs follow, as it were, nature of the mind, that is called Pratyahara (restraining of organs).
Desbandhaschittasya Dharana I (III/1)
Dharana is the mind’s fixation on a particular point in space.
Tatta Pratyayaiktanata Dhyanam I (III/2)
In that Dharana, continuous flow of similar mental modifications is called Dhyana (meditation).
Tadevarthamatranirbhasam Svarupasunyamiva Samadhih I (III/3)
When the object of meditation only shines forth in the mind as though devoid of the thought of even the self (who is meditating), that state is called Samadhi or concentration.
The moment one succeeds in satisfying all aforesaid pre-conditions, births and deaths become meaningless and (s)he is entirely at liberty to be born in any manifest of life on any Planet or decline to be born at all. (S)he is thereafter universal and eternal in existence. And that alone is the real state of our existence.
This eight-fold endeavour to attain ultimate liberation is complete and perfect in itself. It has taken care of all the possible repurcussions and ramifications that one may encounter during it’s pursuit. The real marvel of Astangayoga lies in it’s complete and absolute objectivity, based on unedited and unadulterated cosmic realities. I venture to emphasise again, there is absolutely no trace of any subjective element whatsoever, in it’s entire philosophy. So much so that even a Muslim-fanatic may dub it as Allah-Yoga or a diehard Faith-Harvester Christian-Benedict as Christ / Jesus-Yoga !!! If someone’s take happens to be that some Sufi fellow with the name Jalaluddin Rumi attained salvation by traversing the path of Islam, my rejoinder would be that even while practising five Namaz a day, Rumi could not have ignored elements of Astangayoga i.e. Yama, Niyama…etc. He had to practise these, even in the name of Islam if he really attained Moksa !!! Religions are merely spring-boards to higher state of existence. Ultimate salvation is altogether a different proposition which no other religion can attain. Ardent pursuit of even Hinduism as a mere religion cannot lead anyone to Moksa, leave alone Islam or Christianity. Religion is a means to a higher state of existence while Astangayoga is the highest means to the highest state of existence. Even so-called most intelligent man of 20th Century, Albert Einstein practised Astangayoga to open up innumerable locks in his brain whose keys were irretrievably lost into his ocean of ignorance.
A mountaineer intending to arrive at Mount Everest may come from any corner of the world yet he shall have to report at the Base-Camp before embarking on the heroism of summiteering. Cosmic journey from the base-camp to the summit constitutes Astangayoga wherein the base-camp is ‘Yama‘ while the summit is ‘Samadhi‘. Journeys from various corners of the world to the base-camp are indeed, sects i.e. Islam, Christianity, Judaism, so on and so forth. As entanglement with the gross world is multi-pronged and multifarious, equally compatible spiritual regime is essential to combat the entanglement at the same level. Mysticism of Astangayoga lies in it’s absolute neutrality towards all faiths because mere pursuit of faith adds to entanglement with the gross i.e. Maya. Astangayoga is amply competent to dissolve the drag caused by pursuit of faiths. Owing to it’s absolute objectivity and pristine purity, Astangayoga is Param-Satya Yoga as well as Param-Brahma Yoga, too.
There is no other faith / pursuit in any corner of Planet Earth so comprehensive, so deep-rooted, all encompassing and complete in all respects to lead to the highest state of existence i.e. Moksa. It is impossible to attain Moksa without practising Sanatana Hinduism. All those who attained Moksa so far, pursued Sanatana route alone, advertently or inadvertently.