.three days in Jaipur, Rajasthan with Project Hop
four days in Jaipur, Rajasthan with Project Hope
photographs and text by Lee Cantelon c. 2014
photographs and text by Lee Cantelon
Moksha means liberation or salvation from the suffering (dukkha) that always exists in the world.
In the religious literature of the world, this is one of the subjects that has been most discussed. The Hindu holy books describe several ways of achieving this liberation: Karma (the way of works), Jnana (the path of enlightenment), Bhakti (the path of love and worship). a. Karma (the way of deeds) This path to salvation is the path pursued by a large number of people. It means the performance of right actions. The law of Karma is the law of cause and effect. This means that one's present state is the consequence of one's past actions. So by making one's actions conform with the laws and precepts of the Dharma, the fruits of these actions will bring spiritual benefits. Many people think of the Karma-marga very narrowly in terms of the correct performance of rituals. But Baha'u'llah stresses the importance of right moral and ethical actions: Holy words and pure and goodly deeds ascend unto the heaven of celestial glory. Strive that your deeds may be cleansed from the dust of self and hypocrisy and find favour at the court of glory. Baha'is should strive to make certain that they do not just talk about high moral and ethical values but rather that their actions match their words. Guidance hath ever been given by words, and now it is given by deeds. Every one must show forth deeds that are pure and holy, for words are the property of all alike, whereas such deeds as these belong only to Our loved ones. Strive then with heart and soul to distinguish yourselves by your deeds. In this wise We counsel you in this holy and resplendent tablet. Jnana (the path of enlightenment) Some of the most important schools of Hinduism have taught that one can know Reality directly through jnana, enlightenment. Various approaches to jnana are advocated in the Hindu books. The different schools of Yoga believe that it is possible to attain to jnana through systems of meditation and exercises. The philosophical basis for this approach has been formulated by teachers such as Shankara. Many Hindu scholars have written on this subject. They state that it is man's task to overcome maya, the illusion that the physical world is real, and to see Absolute Reality beyond this. And so it is avidya (ignorance) that keeps man back from liberation. Baha'u'llah also writes of the need to strive to see through the illusion and unreality that surround us in the world: We cherish the hope that through the loving-kindness of the All-Wise, the All-Knowing, obscuring dust may be dispelled and the power of perception enhanced, that the people may discover the purpose for which they have been called into being. In this Day whatsoever serveth to reduce blindness and to increase vision is worthy of consideration. This vision acteth as the agent and guide for true knowledge. Indeed in the estimation of men of wisdom keenness of understanding is due to keenness of vision. Abdu'l-Baha has also written of the illusory nature of this physical world. He likens it to a mirage in a desert: Know ye that the world is even as a mirage rising over the sands, that the thirsty mistaketh for water. The wine of this world is but a vapour in the desert, its pity and compassion but toil and trouble, the repose it proffereth only weariness and sorrow. Abandon it to those who belong to it, and turn your faces unto the Kingdom of your Lord the All-Merciful, that His grace and bounty may cast their dawning splendours over you. Bhakti (the path of love and worship) This path is the one followed by the majority of Hindus. It is the path of love and devoted worship of the Deity. Among the means used are prayer, meditation, rituals and constant awareness of God. This total surrender to God will attract God's grace and love, which in turn will lead to liberation.Baha'u'llah also teaches the importance of this path:
O Son of Being!
Love Me, that I may love thee.
If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee.
Know this, O servant.
O Son of Man!
If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself; and if thou seekest My pleasure,
regard not thine own; that thou mayest die in Me and I may eternally live in thee.
O Son of Being!
My love is My stronghold; he that entereth therein is safe and secure,
and he that turneth away shall surely stray and perish.
The Path To Moksha
Each school of Hinduism has given a different emphasis to these various paths to Moksha. But the many schools in Hinduism can be divided into two main groups: those who follow the Vedanta which stresses the path of jnana or wisdom; and the bhakti cults, whether they be followers of Vishnu or Shiva, which have stressed the path of love and devotion.