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Importance Of Longing For Moksha For A Spiritual Aspirant In Hinduism

Longing for moksha is of great importance for a spiritual aspirant in Hinduism. We normally live in a state of ignorance. Every ordinary thought or feeling which connects us to different happenings, events, and persons keeps us continuously in ignorance. The world-related mental realm in which we usually live veils the Truth from us and binds us perpetually to the ever-changing objective world.

We need to go in the reverse direction — towards the subject from the objective world, towards inner silence from the outer noise, and then into divine consciousness from worldly consciousness. How do we break away from this continuous outward thought current which keeps us in ignorance? It is the power of mumukshutva (longing for moksha), provided it is sufficiently strong and continuous, that releases the mind from attachment to the world, the bondage of past memories, and the limitations of the ego.

Therefore, for those who have taken up Vedanta sadhana, spiritual preceptors have the following advice: - Without giving any time to desires and related objects, until you go to sleep or until death overtakes you, spend all your time in the contemplation of the object of Vedanta (the supreme Reality).

When Adi Shankaracharya says ‘moksha-karanasamagryam bhaktir-eva gariyasi; among things conducive to liberation, bhakti alone holds the supreme place’, he perhaps implies the role of emotion involved in aspiration for liberation and Self-realization by his use of the word ‘bhakti’.

Even though bhakti is specifically interpreted as svasvarupa anusandhana, seeking after one’s real nature, in the very next line of the text, the power of emotion — bhakti, which is one of the important faculties of the mind — also has to be channeled and transformed throughout sadhana to keep mumukshutva alive. Hence, along with reason, some refined form of bhakti is very much needed. That is why we see the expression of unusual guru bhakti in sages who have followed the path of jnana.

What sustains mumukshutva or spiritual aspiration? In Vedanta sadhana, it is viveka (discernment), supported by vairagya (detachment) towards the world, that kindles mumukshutva. The will to seek God receives further strength when the intellect understands the evanescence of the world and looks beyond to experience that which is eternal. The emotional drive that aspiration generates thus gives the seeker willpower to reject the visible known world and seek the invisible unknown Divine. Finally, it is this continual force of emotion in the form of aspiration to experience one’s higher Self that powers and sustains sadhana.

Source excerpts from article titled ‘Aspiration’ by Swami Muktidananda published in the January 2010 issue of Prabuddha Bharata magazine.