by Swami Sivananda
Commentary by Swami Krishnananda
This is "Moksha Gita" or the "Song of Liberation." By practising its teachings one gets liberated from all bondage and becomes Immortal. Moksha Gita is an exhaustive treatise of the highest wisdom of the Advaita Vedanta. One cannot but be transformed into a higher spiritual state, after reading this blessed Gita. A study of Moksha Gita alone is enough to guide a sincere aspirant in the path of Jnana-Yoga. It will clear all his doubts and raise him to the Truth of Self-Consciousness. Having studied, understood and realised this highly spiritual philosophy, one does not stand in need of any other performance for Liberation. It will lead him to the highest meditation on Brahman. The Knowledge of the method of attaining Moksha expounded here, shall bring suffering to an end and give a unique consolation to the heart. It is the essence of all that is best, noble and sublime. Every seeker after Brahma-Jnana should study this book. It will dispel his ignorance and raise him to the higher Consciousness of the Reality. This Gita is an exposition of the way to attain the State of the Supreme Satchidananda, the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss-Absolute! This is the highest Brahma-Vidya!
The First Chapter treats of the approach of the seeker after Liberation to the Brahmanishtha Guru. The aspirant feels the pains of Samsara, the imperfections of worldly life, the misery of individual existence and runs for help to the Spiritual Preceptor who has transcended the consciousness of phenomenal life, and is established in Brahman. The Teacher instructs him on the highest Jnana, whereby one reaches Immortality and Supreme Bliss. The birthless and the deathless state of the Self is asserted.
The nature of the Eternal Brahman is described in the Second Chapter. Brahman is the Reality that alone is. That is the object of quest of all religions and philosophies. Brahman is Light, Power, Wisdom and Bliss that is absolute. It is the Seat of Immortality. It is the Self of all. All thoughts and actions must be directed towards the realization of the One Brahman.
The nature of the Divine Illusion, Maya, is explained in the Third Chapter. Maya is the limiting Power or Shakti of Brahman, which hides the Truth of Brahman and projects the untruth of the world and the individual. Ishwara is a limitation through Maya. All passions, lusts and evil traits are due to the belief in the existence of the world, which is really non-existent. The removal of this Maya through the Knowledge of Brahman constitutes Liberation or Moksha.
The Fourth Chapter is the description of the nature of Avidya or Maya in relation to the Jiva. Avidya limits the real Self to Jivahood and shuts it within the egoism of separateness, doership and enjoyership. When Avidya is dispelled, the whole universe disappears from sight, and only the Supreme Brahman is beheld. Avidya is miniature Maya. It is the cause of the appearance of the outer bodies of the individual.
The Fifth Chapter deals with the nature of the universe. The whole universe is an unreality, a dream of Consciousness. It is a mere superimposition on Brahman. Faith in the reality of the universe is the cause of birth and death, desire and worldly activity. The whole universe is an effect of the Vikshepa-Shakti of the Anadi-Maya. It brings delusion to all through its Avarana-Shakti.
The nature of the mind is explained in the Sixth Chapter. Mind is a materialisation of Consciousness, an expression or hardening of the all-pervading Self. Mind is the cause of egoism. Mind is Avidya itself. It has got the habit of always running outwards. The control of the mind and merging it in the Self is the purpose of all Sadhana. Mind is very fickle in its character and cannot exist without duality. It can be destroyed only through meditation.
The method of Vedantic Sadhana is expounded in the Seventh Chapter. Adhyaropa should be removed through Apavada. Sadhana cannot be practised without first purifying the mind. After one gets established in the practice of the preliminary qualifications of the Sadhana-Chatushtaya, he is fit to start the actual Sadhana through Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana. The Mahavakyas of the Upanishads indicate the identity of the Self with Brahman, and hence their meaning should be meditated upon. A complete renunciation of the three worlds together with their contents is necessary before starting Sadhana for Self-realization. Then only the Truth will be revealed to the seeker.
The forms of ignorance and wisdom are described in the Eighth Chapter. One who feels that he is the body and that the world is real is an ignorant man. One who realises that the world is an illusion and that the Eternal Self alone is true is a wise man.
The nature and working of the five sheaths of the self are described in the Ninth Chapter. The different sheaths are the expressions of the inner thought materialised in different degrees of density. The farther the sheath is from the self, the grosser and the more perishable is its nature. The sheaths become subtler and more enduring as they go inward. The destruction of these bodies rooted in Avidya through Atma-Jnana, is the Final Emancipation.
The state of Jivanmukti is described in the Tenth Chapter. The Jivanmukta is a liberated sage, who lives in the knowledge of Brahman. For him, the world has vanished for ever. The Self alone is everywhere. He does not perceive plurality or even duality. He rests in the Oneness of Consciousness. He exists with a body as long as the present Prarabdha-Karma lasts. At its end, he attains Videha-Mukti and exists as the Absolute.
The Eleventh Chapter explains the final Brahma-Upadesha given by the Guru to the Sishya. The highest transcendental assertions are made. The whole universe and the body are denied and the One Brahman is affirmed. The disciple is made to grasp fully the nature of the Non-Dual Existence of Brahman.
The Twelfth Chapter deals with the concluding sentences of the Preceptor and the disciple. The disciple gives expressions to his ecstatic condition of Self-Knowledge and speaks of his unique spiritual experience.
This Moksha Gita is both a philosophical exposition as well as a practical teaching. It is a double-edged sword to slay the enemy of nescience. The Secondless Brahman alone exists. The universe and the individual do not exist in the three periods of time. Everything is One Mass of Infinite Consciousness. This is the essence of the Moksha Gita.