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Mumukshu In Hindu Religion

One who longs to get liberated from worldly bondage is called a mumukshu in Hindu religion. The aspiration to experience the supreme Truth in the objective realm that we see in the path of bhakti takes an inward turn towards the subjective pole of existence, and even beyond, in Vedanta sadhana. Here, the search is to find the Atman — the eternal core of our personality and the real basis of our identity — and its relation to Brahman, the divine Principle, the supreme Reality. According to Shankaracharya, as mentioned in his Vivekachudamani, a mumukshu should be intelligent and learned, with great power of comprehension, and be able to overcome doubts by his reasoning; he should have discernment, should not crave for worldly enjoyments, and should also possess tranquility and the allied virtues.

Jnana marga, the path of knowledge, is predominantly based on reason and enquiry. It specifically deals with the exploration of truth about the nature of ‘I’ and the basis of ‘I-consciousness’— Ko’ham? Who am I? — as practiced and preached by Sri Ramana Maharshi, a great saint of modern India.

The fourfold discipline, comprising discernment, detachment, the six spiritual virtues, and longing for moksha (mumukshutva), are the primary and practical aspects of Vedanta sadhana. But it is possible to practice the six virtues, like the restraint of external sense organs and the mind, only by first having mumukshutva. It is the intensity of the yearning for liberation of the mumukshu, the longing aspirant, that makes sadhana a smooth going and takes the aspirant faster towards the goal. The popular Vedantic text Vedanta-sara describes the mumukshu graphically as like one with head on fire running towards a lake to extinguish it. Similarly, a mumukshu with burning aspiration for liberation runs towards the supreme Self. Hence, in Vedanta sadhana, burning aspiration is an indispensable need.

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