Moksha (), also called enlightenment, vimoksha, vimukti, mukti, nirvana and Kaivalya, and means emancipation, liberation or release from samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth. Moksha connotes freedom, self-realization and self-knowledge.
Moksha is a central concept and included as one of the four aspects and goals of human life; the other three goals are dharma (virtuous, proper, moral life), artha (material prosperity, income security, means of life), and kama (pleasure, sensuality, emotional fulfillment). Together, these four aims of life are called Purushartha.
Moksha is not merely an absence of suffering and release from bondage to samsara, but also the presence of the state of paripurna-brahmanubhava (oneness with Brahma, the One Supreme Self), a state of knowledge, peace and bliss.
Let's look more deeply into Moksha and discover its relative and Absolute levels. Moksha is more of a path than a destination. Moksha is first realized when the individual has the direct experience of living in the present moment while witnessing the physical life going on by itself.
Level 1 Moksha is where the prana mind has become the viewpoint of consciousness and you witness the physical mind and physical body from that perspective.This is where you begin to live in the NOW. When this has become your 24x7 reality, then you have attained what Maharishi calls "Cosmic Consciousness."
Level 2 Moksha is realized when the person shifts the focus of consciousness from the prana mind to the manomaya kosha mind and witnesses the prana mind and prana body from that higher perspective.This is what Maharishi calls "God Consciousness."
Level 3 Moksha is the experience of witnessing the manomaya kosha from the vijñanamaya kosha mind. You have attained what Maharishi would call Unity Consciousness when this is your experience. This is relative Unity Consciousness because you have the experience of being one with all life in this relative universe.
Level 4 Moksha is the realization that the person is the Creator of this universe, hence witnessing vijñanamaya kosha from the perspective of Anandamaya Kosha. Brahman Consciousness is another name for this level of experience.
Level 5 Moksha is the destination that arises with the realization that the person is an Eternal Companion of Krishna in Goloka. This is Krishna Consciousness or could also be labeled as Bhakti but there is considerable confusion around that label so be careful. True Bhakti is not some show of mood making, singing, chanting and dancing in the physical life.
We are extolled by Eckhart Tolle and others that living in the NOW is the key to enlightenment or Moksha. But they do not offer a practical way to get there. The story goes that one day Eckhart thought "I cannot stand to live with myself" and that triggered a sudden shift in consciousness where he questioned "who is this I" and who is this "myself"! He noticed that there must be two viewpoints of consciousness in operation simultaneously. This is astute and of course correct. The challenge is to shift from the "myself" consciousness to the "I" consciousness and live life from that higher perspective. We would say that "myself" consciousness is physical mind and body consciousness and "I" consciousness is the more subtle prana mind and body consciousness.
In this video, Eckhart explains the life that is lived only on the physical level. He says it is frustrating to live this way and that people are not aware of the NOW. He says the shift in consciousness arises when you become aware of a deeper presence. He is talking about becoming spontaneously aware of the prana mind and then witnessing physical life from that perspective. He says this is how you become detached from all the physical thoughts and attachments of the physical mind. He says to sense the presence that you are and when you realize that alive, luminous presence in the background of your life, then you are no longer in the grip of desire and attachement because you have something more real. Freedom comes into the life.
Eckhart Tolle - Reality of The Present Moment
What Eckhart leaves out is a practical way to reach this state of freedom in life that comes from living in the NOW. So our task is to determine how to live in the NOW, and to do that we must identify this prana mind within our self and identify with it as our true self and witness the physical mind as a lesser level of consciousness. If we can do this, then living in the NOW becomes practical. Before this stage, it is literally impossible to live in the NOW. The physical mind is incapable of doing this because it always is taking inventory or planing for the future. When we meditate we come closest to living in the NOW as we think the mantra, which has no meaning. This makes it impossible to think "about" the mantra.
Thinking the mantra is Dharana and that is a physical mind activity. But the mantra is more than a meaningless word, it is a vehicle of transcending.
Our instruction for meditation is not to think the mantra but to start the mantra. Then we are told the mantra can continue by itself and may change in some ways. It could change in tempo, rate (faster or slower), value, pitch, length, or pronunciation. So if the mantra can continue by itself, then the conscious physical mind is doing the thinking while another part of ourself is witnessing this. When this witnessing occurs we have transitioned to Dhyana and we are witnessing from the prana mind.
Now it is possible to live in the NOW. The prana mind is a witnessing mind, and it is not active at all. So we can easily and spontaneously be in the NOW if our conscious awareness is in the prana mind, witnessing the physical mind. There is no trying or mood making about living in the NOW. So for that 20 minutes we are living in the NOW, then we come out of meditation and at that point we have a choice: 1) return all of our conscious awareness to the physcial mind with perhaps a memory of witnessing from the prana mind (and this gives us a sense of expansion and freedom) or 2) retain our experience of witnessing of the physical from the prana mind.
To accomplish 2) is the challenge, but we do not need to try to accomplish this, nor should we. It is enough to know that 2) is the ultimate objective and continue with 1) until 1) gradually and spontaneously transitions to 2).
When we sit to meditate, it is important to gain the greatest value from the session of meditation by taking the correct start of meditation. First, sit quietly and notice and feel the silence in the mind. That silence is your prana mind. Identify yourself with that part of your mind and start the mantra, like you would start your car engine. Notice that after thinking the mantra a few times you can let go of it and the mantra will continue in the physical mind. If you are identified with your silent prana mind, this is very easy to do. So let go of the mantra and follow it with your prana mind and see where it goes. The mantra will naturally go deeper and deeper until it is with you in your prana mind, but simultaneouly the silence you feel will have become deeper as you transition to yourmanomaya kosha mind and witness the mantra in your prana mind from that perspective. Continue and soon the mantra will be in the manomaya kosha mind while you transition to witness from the vijñanamaya kosha mind. Continue until the mantra is in the vijñanamaya kosha mind and you are established in Anandamaya Kosha.
Along the way thoughts will come into the physical mind to compete with the mantra. Just witness those thoughts. Do not engage them or follow them. Only engage and follow the mantra. This takes practice. Like physical training to do yoga asanas or some exercise. You practice for a while and become tired but some progress is made. The next session, after some rest, you continue and more progress is made. Take your time of meditation seriously and focus. This is not the time to just go to sleep! You are training your minds and experiencing very subtle differences between the physical mind and the prana mind. It takes mental energy, but do not strain. Straining and concentration works against your progress. There is a delicate balance to be found. You do not want to be totally passive and you do not want to strain. Find that edge that will keep you gently focused and keep the dicotomy of physical mind and prana mind in place. This is the key: find that dicotomy and hold it in place throughout the meditation session. If you find you have slipped back into thinking the mantra instead of witnessing the mantra, return to the prana mind and witnessing the mantra. If you find your physical mind has stopped thinking the mantra, and is probably engaged in thoughts, come back to the mantra, and start it again. The mantra must always be going in the conscious physical mind during meditation.
Eventually you will witness your life for a few minutes after meditation and then the witnessing value will be lost until the next meditation. This period of witnessing will become longer and longer with each passing day until you are witnessing from the end of the morning meditation until the evening meditation then you are witnessing from the end of the evening meditation and as your body goes to sleep at night. You will witness how the prana body floats above the physical body for a while during each sleep cycle (you sleep in 90 minute cycles) and also you will witness dreams as they arise and watch them as if you are watching a movie.
The Levels of Moksha will be experienced a percentage of the time, for example you may experience Level 1 Moksha 90% of the time and Level 2 20% and Level 3 10% and Level 4 0% and have an occasional glimpse of Level 5. We would consider that you are experiencing Moksha if Level 1 is 90% or more. We are all constantly evolving to higher levels of Moksha. To reach 100% on all five levels would be exceedingly rare. A survey appears below that you can complete to give you an indication of where you are in this evolutionary process of realizing Moksha.
Ashlynn - Ananga Manjari, , February 1, 2017 at 3:23 PM
I'm not sure how to answer number 4 because I can't say that I've heard Krishna's flute but I do experience the silence. Most of the time I don't have thoughts, so I'm very much in the moment. I still have emotions but they don't seem to be inspired by thoughts. When I have an emotion, like anger, I often find myself laughing about it internally with a feeling of "this is not me" - it's hard to explain.
Not sure about number 12 either as I still experience emotions (I feel like I've been destressing quite a bit from the Maha Mantra) but I have been having an expanding experience of love and acceptance of all things and have for a few years now felt the inner-connectivity of everything in varying degrees and seeing how they all play a part in this reality. I often feel silence of the mind but I don't feel like it extends out into my environment - like I'm hyper sensitive to the people around me but I don't have thoughts about it. Make sense? I have a hard time sometimes pulling myself out of silence to be in activity - especially when I go to dome regularly. Although recently I've been able to do a lot more in activity (my anxiety about doing what needs to be done has gone down considerably and have noticed that things I use to think were procrastinated due to anxiety were actually because I was just not meant to follow through with them - I've been working more from the level of doing what feels right to do). As a note, I actually get impressions of these things more than I actually Think them. Like suddenly I have an inner knowing. I've had people blow up on me and I am able to keep my inner stillness and handle it calmly as it needs to be handled, I don't get caught up in emotion.
With 14, for a couple years now I've had a deep knowing of how there are infinite realities with infinite "us's"and sometimes feel the shift from one body into the next with each decision that is made. Also, since getting the Maha Mantra I've noticed my devotion has grown considerably to the point where I no longer wish to have a companion - I see Him as my companion. I don't feel the need to pray for anything because I feel Krishna is watching over me in every aspect and will provide for me anything that I need - I know I am limited in seeing what it is I actually need for my own evolution and so have surrendered to Him.
I guess the confusion with these is mostly because of how I experience almost none of these things in my sleep and it says “At all times”. It's like I have a start of some of these but all the other stuff mentioned in the same question I don't experience.
I hope it's ok I wrote this here. I thought about emailing but I figured maybe it might help someone else to see.
Sri Visvamitra, Cedar Crest, NM, United States, February 3, 2017 at 7:59 AM
Dear Ananga Manjari,
Feeling the silence within is a very good experience, this silence is your connection to the subtle mind which begins in Pranamaya Kosha and extends all the way to your Absolute Body in Goloka. Your experience of being with Krishna is also excellent! You have connected with Him on the deepest level. This is an aspect of Level 5 Moksha, Krishna Consciousness. Feeling the inner-connectivity of everything is an aspect of Unity Consciousness or Level 3 Moksha. Hearing the sound in the head, which seems to many to be a high-pitched "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..." sound at first, is what we call the sound of Krishna's Flute. Often this sound is first noticed after meditation, before beginning normal activity. Eventually the sound is always present, if you "look" for it. This sound is not distracting or annoying, rather it is a "presence" that reminds one of the depth of silence that is the subtle mind.
When you see the statement in the survey "at all times" but do not have the experience during sleep but have it during waking state, then give yourself some credit for this experience for the time you do have it. Maybe record level 5 or 6, depending on the strength of the experience.
Jai Guru Dev,
Robert Bailey, Fairfield Iowa USA, October 13, 2016 at 11:05 PM
This is an interesting survey, but does not really encapsulate my experience. My experience is more profound in waking state than sleep, Dream or meditation. I often have lucid flying dreams I control. But not always. In waking state I am in a an ocean of silence and effulgent light. A field of light along with the experience of the relative world. Sometimes this has a golden cast. Unity is only on rare occasions. I have no idea where I am in regard to the states of consciousness. The bliss I used to experience on a daily basis has been absorbed into the background. This state of consciousness has been static or stable for 10 plus years. I witness sleep and of course waking state. Any comments ??
Sri Visvamitra, Cedar Crest, NM, United States, October 14, 2016 at 11:40 AM
You have definitely achieved Level 1 Moksha (Cosmic Consciousness). From your experiences it appears you are very close to God Consciousness (Level 2). For Level 2, 3, 4 and 5 to be experienced in this lifetime you will need some additional techniques. Otherwise, these levels will arise during your time in the Celestial realms after you drop this body. If you would like to stay around and help others and enjoy the Krishna Golden Age, you can achieve these other levels during your stay. For these advanced techniques and life extension, you can enroll in the Satyug Kaya Kalpa Programme: http://www.satyugkayakalpa.org.