Nirvana - What is its meaning in Eastern Religions

What is Nirvana? The literal meaning of Nirvana is freedom or liberation. Although, this English meaning is only a direct translation, when looked from a spiritual context, it has a much deeper meaning.

In the eastern religions, majorly in India and south Asian regions, Nirvana is synonymous with Moksha. It is the state of the highest happiness that one can attain after liberation from attachment and sufferings.

In Hindu philosophy, it is achieved when the brahma (the soul) is united with the param-brahma (the divinity). And this union is the ultimate goal of every living being on earth. So, to attain moksha, one has to realize that she/he is not only that body of bones and flesh, rather the whole world is an extension of herself/himself. Thus, what we call as ourself is not the only self that we have. Rather, everything outside of ourselves is also part of me. And this realization is only liberation.

Getting liberated from this body and belonging to everything around is only path to moksha. And this can be done only when human beings get to know themselves.

They need to free themselves from the bondage. They need to free themselves from the attachment. They need to free themselves from the sorrows. And after all the services and righteousness, liberation is the right of every soul. Liberation is the ultimate pursuit of life.

And thus, one who realizes that he/she is not this body, becomes free from the bondage of life and death. Every soul is infinite and limitless. Every soul is immortal. Thus, nirvana realizes that immortality. Nirvana also suggests becoming the master of one’s mind and not be its slave. Freedom from the slavery of senses is also liberation.

And most importantly, nirvana suggests us to not ask for joy. It rather says to become the master of joy. That itself is liberation. After all, joy is inside us, and not outside. But there is a paradox in this material world. And that is–we all have brahma within us–the satchidanand (divine joy) and yet we search for joy outside.

1 January 2023

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