Everyone’s goal ?


Most Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh sects / philosophies / ideologies list moksha / liberation / nirvana / mukti / keval-jyana / shunya (to name but a few) as the ultimate goal for everyone to aim for.   

But is it ?

In the SMB Gita, Shri Krushna says, “bahunam janmanam ante jyanvan prapadyate”
It takes many lifetimes before we are even wise enough to even attempt for moksha. 

As a theory, moksha is all fine and well, but not everyone wants moksha ! 
For most of us, there are a lot of desires for us to work through, karmas to pay off and emotional ties to resolve before they are ready for Moksha.  To insist that everyone should aim for nirvana without having resolved all the other issues that are before you is sometimes premature.  Indeed, it is precisely because most people haven’t resolved the issues in their lives that they fail even as they climb up the ladder of spiritual progress.  This is the reason why so many people who have given up “everything” in a moment of “intense religious fervour” later end up in politics, managing “religious organisations”, charitable works, authoring countless books or sometimes illicit affairs.

Ofcourse, falling is no reason to stop striving.  Falling is indeed an integral part of the spiritual progress and like that inci vinci spider that kept trying to climb the spout, we have to keep trying again and again till we succeed.

However, without climbing the foot hills, you can’t attempt to climb mount Everest.  For most of us, aspiring for moksha is like hoping to climb the Everest without ever having tried going up a 14 flight of stairs.  As we come face to face with the gigantic wall of ice and stone, we simply quail and give up.  Having not trained prior to the attempt, what else can we expect ?

Similarly, unless and until you have gone through the other practices of yama, niyam, pratyahar, dhyan, dharna, sadhana, svadhyaya, manan, chintan, smaran, kirtan, atama nivedan, how can you attempt moksha ?  These are the foot hills before the Everest. 

To get to the foot hills, you still have to make a journey, and most of haven’t even resolved the issues of sibling rivalry, angst against parental control, explored our own feelings of love, hate, desire, pride, arrogance, apathy let alone achieve the things “we” want in life.  Without having done that, how can you hope to reach the spiritual foot hills or the towering hulk of Everest ?

Ofcourse, that’s not to say we should not keep moksha as our goal.  But we have to be realistic and say, what can I reasonably achieve given my resources (mental, physical, spiritual etc), my own inclinations and time allotted to me.  If our goals are realistic and achievable, we will have fun attaining them and will mature at our own pace that is “natural” to us.  There will be fewer disappointments, fewer regrets and fewer frustrations to deal with, thus smoothing the path to eventual progress for moksha.  

But, with constant barrage of spiritual leaders / teachers / gurus and religious books telling us to "hurry up" and get to mukti, we are all rushed – almost forced, into believing this is the only opportunity we will ever get to attempt the north face of the Everest.  So hurry up, get it over and done with ! NOW ! 

It is this almost terminal velocity of “it must be now or never” that often makes people rush and fail.  After several desperate, sincere attempts to “get there”, they become disappointed and disillusioned with all this fruitless striving.  To them, spirituality’s endless struggle to annihilate one’s own soul and ego into shunya becomes a pointless task.  Sometime, the failure is so spectacular, people come off the path and become totally disinterested in religion all together.   

To avoid such disappointments and catastrophic loss of “faith”, our ancient sages devised the gradual progression of an aspirant from a person totally mired in the maya and samsara to spiritual giant who can easily scale the heights of keval-jyana.  They set out a broad curriculum of social, spiritual and personal goals that people can achieve in order to get to moksha.  Over the millenniums, they devised a system of :-

Four ashrams to help us naturally progress and mature from one stage of life to the next. 
From student > samsara > sevak > sanyas. 
(bhramacharya > gruhastha > vanaprastha > sanyas)

Four varnas to help us work with our own innate nature and achieve that which is within our own ambit. 
Amongst us are the thinkers, leaders, entrepreneurs and workers.
(Four castes of brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya, shudra)

Four broad goals that all living being aspire to, progressing on a balanced, even keel, from one stage to another in our lives.  Like a vehicle, though you can ride on two wheels, three is a minimum for stability and four would be ideal.
Duty, desire, wealth and enlightenment. 
(Dharma, kama, artha, moksha)

Three fold instructions on how to achieve all the goals in lives. 
Calling them "yogas", sages concluded that we all need knowledge (jyana), action (karma) and dedication (bhakti) to achieve our goals. 


If we apply ourselves to these set of disciplines, know our own nature, accept ourselves “as we are”, work with our mind body & spirit – without fighting it, there is every chance that we will achieve our goals comfortably with ease and without “internal” struggles with ourselves.  This is the sahaj / easy / natural / holistic path our sages have proposed for us to achieve peace & prosperity, status & spirituality, bhoga & moksha.   



© Bhagwat Shah   
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