Prakrit is the name for a group of Middle Indic, Indo-Aryan languages, derived from Old Indic dialects. The word itself has a flexible definition, being defined sometimes as, "original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual", or "vernacular", in contrast to the literary and religious...
: मोक्ख ) means liberation, salvation or emancipation of soul. It is a blissful state of existence of a soul, completely free from the karmic bondage, free from samsara
thumb|right|200px|Traditional Tibetan painting or [[Thanka]] showing the [[wheel of life]] and realms of saṃsāraSaṅsāra or Saṃsāra , , literally meaning "continuous flow", is the cycle of birth, life, death, rebirth or reincarnation within Hinduism, Buddhism, Bön, Jainism, Sikhism, and other...
, the cycle of birth and death. A liberated soul is said to have attained its true and pristine nature of infinite bliss, infinite knowledge and infinite perception. Such a soul is called siddha or paramatman and considered as supreme soul or God. In Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...
, it is the highest and the noblest objective that a soul should strive to achieve. It fact, it is the only objective that a person should have; other objectives are contrary to the true nature of soul. With right faith, knowledge and efforts all souls can attain this state. That is why, Jainism is also known as or the “path to liberation”.
The concept of , presupposes an existence of infinite eternal souls, who alone are doer, enjoyer and responsible for their action. Thus, all souls are entangled in the mundane worldly activities, bound to karmas since beginningless time and transmigrating and reincarnating from one existence to another. According to Jainism, all souls can bring an end to this repeated cycle of births and deaths and attain liberation, that is .
Description in Jain texts
contains the following description of Nirvāṇa -
- Where there is neither pain nor pleasure, neither suffering nor obstacle, neither birth nor death, there is emancipation.(617)
- Where there are neither sense organs, nor surprise, nor sleep, nor thirst, nor hunger, there is emancipation.(618)
- Where there is neither Karma, nor quasi-Karma nor the worry, nor any type of thinking which is technically called Artta, Raudra, Dharma and Sukla, there is . (619)
Uttaradhyana Sutra provides an account of Gautama explaining the meaning of to Kesi, a disciple of Parsva.
There is a safe place in view of all, but difficult of approach, where there is no old age nor death, no pain nor disease. It is what is called Nirvâna, or freedom from pain, or perfection, which is in view of all; it is the safe, happy, and quiet place which the great sages reach. That is the eternal place, in view of all, but difficult of approach. Those sages who reach it are free from sorrows, they have put an end to the stream of existence. (81-4)
However, from the point of view of potentiality of , Jain texts bifurcates the souls in two categories–bhavya and abhavya. Bhavya souls are those souls who have faith in and hence will make some efforts to achieve liberation. This potentiality or quality is called bhavyata. However, bhavyata itself does not guarantee , as the soul needs to expend necessary efforts to attain it. On the other hand abhavya souls are those souls who cannot attain liberation as they do not have faith in and hence never make any efforts to attain it.
The concept of individuality
Jainism upholds the concept of individuality of souls, even after liberation. There are infinite living beings who have attained moksa and infinite living who have not attained , The soul continues to maintain distinct individuality even after . Hence, there are infinite siddhas or liberated beings existing in eternal infinite bliss.
According to Jain cosmology
Jain cosmology is the description of the shape and functioning of the physical and metaphysical Universe and its constituents according to Jainism, which includes the canonical Jain texts, commentaries and the writings of the Jain philosopher-monks...
, Siddhasila is the place where all the siddhas i.e. the liberated beings reside. It is at the apex of the universe.
Moksa or liberation can be attained only in the human birth. Even the demi-gods and heavenly beings have to re-incarnate as humans and practice right faith, knowledge and conduct to achieve liberation. According to Jainism, human birth is quite rare and invaluable and hence one should make wise choices.
A soul is bound by the karmas since beginningless time. The first step to achieve is to inculcate Samyaktva or rational faith or perception.
According to Jainism, Samyak darsana (Rational Perception), Samyak Jnana (Rational Knowledge) and Samyak Caritra (Rational Conduct) collectively also known as Ratnatraya or the three Jewels of Jainism constitute true Dharma. According to Umasvati, Samyak Darsana, Jnana Caritra together constitutes marga or the path to liberation.
Samyak Darsana or rational perception is the rational faith in the true nature of every substance of the universe.
Samyak Jnana or rational knowledge is the right knowledge of true and relevant knowledge of the reality, the tattvas. It incorporates the two principles of Anekantvada or non-absolutism and Syadvada or relativity of truth. Right knowledge must be free from three main defects: doubt, delusion, and indefiniteness
Samyak Caritra or rational conduct is the natural conduct of a (soul) living being. It consists in following austerities, engaging in right activities and observance of vows, carefulness and controls.
Once a soul secures samyaktva, is assured within a few lifetimes.
Kevala Jñāna, the highest form of transcendental knowledge that a samyakdristi soul can attain, also means “absolute knowledge”, “Enlightement” and “Omniscience” . Kevala is the state of isolation of the jīva from the ajīva attained through ascetic practices which burn off one's karmic residues, releasing one from bondage to the cycle of death and rebirth. Kevala Jñāna, thus means infinite knowledge of self and non-self, attained by a soul after annihilation of the all ghātiyā karmas. Such is person who has attained Kevala Jñāna is called a Kevali. He is also known as Jina (the victor) or Arhat (the worthy one) and worshipped as a god by the Jains. The soul who has reached this stage achieves at the end of his life span, after annihilation of the aghātiyā karmas.
means final release from the karmic bondage. When an enlightened human, such as, an Arhat or a Tirthankara extinguishes his remaining aghatiya karmas and thus ends his worldly existence, it is called . Technically, the death of an Arhat is called of Arhat, as he has ended his wordly existence and attained liberation. Moksa, that is to say, liberation follows . However, the terms moksa
are often used interchangeably in the Jain texts. An Arhat becomes a siddha, the liberated one, after attaining nirvana.