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What is meant by moksha in Hinduism?

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Quick Answer

In Hinduism, "moksha" refers to an individual's emancipation from the cycle of life and death, known as "samsara." Moksha is the fourth and ultimate goal in Hinduism after dharma (virtuous living), artha (security and prosperity) and kama (emotional fulfillment). Some schools of Hinduism believe that moksha is attainable while still part of the earthly existence, and that it can be achieved through an awareness of the oneness of the individual soul with Brahma, the Supreme Being.

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Full Answer

The Vedantic school separates moksha into jivanmukti, which is liberation in this life, and videhamukti, which is liberation after death. Many of the Hindu schools view moksha as a state of perfection which can be achieved through the heightened self-discipline that can be realized through the practice of dharma. Moksha is a release from the fog of ignorance imposed upon humans by the illusions of the mundane world, and it is attainable through self-discipline.

The major schools of Hinduism have continued a debate over whether moksha can be achieved only after this life or during it. At least two sub-schools of the Vedanta tradition believe that moksha is an ongoing process that continues from this life into the next.

In the psychological sense, moksha has been described as "transcendental consciousness," a state of-realization in which an individual becomes aware of the self existing as part of the whole universe. In the epistemological sense, moksha represents an individual's attainment of self-knowledge and freedom.

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