What Is Moksha?


Moksha Definition

Moksha is liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth which is central to Indian religions and their philosophies.

You will find the principles of moksha in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

Moksha is achieved by eradicating karma and by overcoming desires and ignorance.

Moksha Deep Dive

Moksha is a concept central to Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism although they all have a slightly different take on the idea. It is closely linked to the concept of universal consciousness and being at one with the divine.

The term moksha is interchangeable with Buddhism’s nirvana.

Moksha is derived from the Sanskrit word mukt which can be translated as “liberation,” “emancipation,” or “release,” and refers to emancipation from samsara – the cycle of rebirth.

Living a life of attachments, greed, and other unhelpful traits traps us in samsara, tying us to suffering.

Within Hinduism, the cycle of death and rebirth which is dependent on karma is known as samsara. Moksha is the ending of this cycle and marks the overcoming of all worldly desires in order to attain ultimate freedom.

Within Indian philosophy, moksha is the ultimate goal of our existence and is a state of freedom, bliss and peace. Moksha is believed to be our true nature which we have forgotten and the path is to uncover true liberation. 

There is not just one path to attaining liberation. Within yoga, there are four main paths; Jnana, Bhakti, Karma and Raja.

  • Jnana – the yoga of knowledge/wisdom
  • Bhakti – the yoga of devotion
  • Karma – the yoga of action
  • Raja – the royal path

Moksha in your Life

Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga provide a path to moksha. While many of us are unlikely to reach moksha, the eight limbs provide us with a great map of social and moral observances for our daily lives.

Leaning into the practices that lead to moksha such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra can provide our lives with a greater sense of meaning and purpose as well as self-development. 

The path of moksha can remind us to enjoy the journey and take a better step forward toward the next life.

yogajala linebreak

To go deep and expand your yogic knowledge, access our free Yoga Terms Encyclopedia, where we host a profound wealth of ancient and timeless yogic wisdom in an accessible modern format.

yogajala linebreak

More On Yoga Theory:

Photo of author
Sarah is a Brighton-based yoga teacher and teacher trainer with a passion for teaching self-inquiry and rest.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.