What is MOKSHA


The word ‘moksha’ is a commonly used Sanskrit word. It is used by people, who do not even know Sanskrit, as it is present in almost every Indian language. The widely used meaning of the word ‘moksha’ is liberation from the transmigratory cycle of samsara or repeated lifetimes of births and deaths. However, it is necessary to see the other meanings and the origins of this Sanskrit word. Sanskrit is a classical language like Greek, Latin, and Persian. And in Sanskrit, as in most classical languages, most words are derived from a stem or root.

The word ‘moksha’ is derived from the word moksh by adding a ghain suffix. The word moksh is derived from the root word much, which means to loosen, let loose, free, let go, slacken, release, liberate, spare, let live, set free, allow to depart, dismiss, despatch, relinquish, abandon, leave, quit, give up, set aside, depose, yield, grant, bestow, send forth, shed, emit, utter, discharge, throw, cast, hurl, shoot, put on, deliver one’s self from, get rid of, escape, abstain from, be deprived or destitute of, cause to loosen or let go or give up or discharge or shed, unloosen, unyoke, unharness, absolve from, redeem, open, give away, spend, bestow, gladden, delight, and yield enjoyment.


The word ‘moksha’ means emancipation, liberation, release from worldly existence or transmigration, final or eternal emancipation, death, sacred hymns conducive to final emancipation, the liberation of an eclipsed or occulted planet, the last contact or separation of the eclipsed  and eclipsing bodies, end of an eclipse, falling off or falling down, effusion, setting free, deliverance, loosening, untying, settling, acquittance of an obligation, discharge of a debt, shedding or causing to flow, casting, shooting, hurling, strewing, scattering, utterance, relinquishment, abandonment, freedom, escape, rescue, delivery, and the deliverance of the jivatma or individual soul from recurring births or transmigration. ‘Moksha’ also means the last of the four ends of human existence, namely, dharma, artha, kama, and moksha. It also means unbinding, causing to fall down, discharging, and a name of the patali tree of the bignoniacea family.


‘Moksha’ means the end of all three kinds of suffering, namely the suffering that is produced by one’s body and mind, by other living beings, and by natural and cosmic forces. ‘Moksha’ signifies the destruction of all aspirations, expectations, and hopes upon attaining the bliss of the knowledge of one’s true nature. It also means the realisation of one’s true nature, the Atman. It also means the falling of dry leaves from a tree. It means the destruction of ignorance. This word also means practical intellect and rejection. It is also used to refer to the ghantaparali or the white trumpet flower or the dhatura plant in the brugmansia family. The word ‘moksha’ also refers to the mushkaka or the weaver’s beam tree having the botanical name schrebera swietenioides in the oleaceae or jasmine family.


‘Moksha’ refers to the state of no bondage. It signifies renunciation by knowledge, diminution of attachment and aversion, and loss of desires. It also signifies one’s realisation of one’s identity with Brahman.


Author is Editor Prabuddha Bharata. The Balabodha series as written is a glossary of words and not an article.


To read all articles by the Author

This article was first published in the May 2019 issue of Prabuddha Bharata, monthly journal of The Ramakrishna Order started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896. This article is courtesy and copyright Prabuddha Bharata. I have been reading the Prabuddha Bharata for years and found it enlightening. Cost is Rs 180/ for one year, Rs 475/ for three years, Rs 2100/ for twenty years. To subscribe https://shop.advaitaashrama.org/subscribe/

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