Everyone wants Security, Happiness and Peace. People try to achieve these goals
through Artha, Kaama and Dharma. Food, house, bank balance, medical facilities,
insurance, etc are all sought after aiming for security. All luxuries, music,
fine arts, racing, exotic cusine, etc are all sought after aiming for happiness.
Artha and Kaama are restrained so that they are sustainable for the person and
so that it does not infringe upon these pursuits of others. This restraint is
exercised in pursuit of peace.
To gain these three, the person has to work hard in the world. By actively
pursuing these, the person eventually comes to certain conclusions.
No amount of money, insurance, medical facilities, etc can give a sense of
security. No amount of indulgence in the sense objects can give real happiness.
No amount of restraint can give a real sense of peace. And apparently, people
with very less money also seem to have a sense of security. People with very
less enjoyments also seem to be happy. This security, happiness and peace seems
to elude everyone. In reality, they do not seem to depend upon Artha, Kaama and
This realization is a big turning point. The person starts looking for answers
to his questions. Finally he come to know that the only real source of Security,
Happiness and Peace is not outside, but it is inside. So, to attain it, he has
to search inside. Then starts the pursuit of the fourth goal – Moksha – Freedom.
From this point, he is called a spiritual aspirant – saadhaka.
Moksha is often defined as “Freedom from rebirth”. But a more down-to-earth and
practical definition is “Freedom from sorrow”. Moksha is freedom from all kinds
of psychological imperfections. This is attained by gaining access to and claiming
right to the source of real Security, Happiness and Peace, which is within. The
person who has attained this goal is called a Jivanmukta – One who is free when
living. This is the real goal of all human pursuits.
The eternal fountain inside is covered by three layers. Only when all these three
layers are removed, the person can reach what he has been seeking. These three
layers are called Malam (dirt), Vikshepa (turbulence) and Aavarna (ignorance).
The first layer exists in the mind as the six defects – desire, anger, greed,
delusion, vanity and jealousy. Activity in the world help to purify the mind of
these defects. Action brings out these defects to the conscious mind. Then the
person can work consciously to become free from this. The world serves as a
gymnasium. The person continues to work in the world as before, but he knows
fully well that they will not give him the security, happiness and peace that he
seeks. He knows that action will bring out his defects and help him fix them.
This is called Karma Yoga.
When the first layer is cleared to a large extent, the second layer comes into
picture. The mind is unsteady. It is always in a state of movement. To steady the
mind, there are various techniques like japa, pranayama, concentration, etc. All
these techniques are called Upaasana Yoga.
When the mind is almost steady, then the last step can be followed. This is done
by listening to the Truth contained in the Mahaavaakyaa – Great statements about
the Truth. This is called Jnaana Yoga.
If the person has fully perfected the first two steps and his mind is totally pure
and steady, he is called a Uttamaadhikaari. He has no dicotomy between the intellect
and conviction. There is absolute unity between his thought, word and deed. His mind
is totally under control. What he is convinced of intellectually is implemented into
action without any dilution. When such a person listens to the Truth contained in the
Mahaavaakyaa, which present the Truth very clearly, he directly realizes the Truth.
He becomes a Jivanmukta.
If the person has not fully perfected the first two steps, but has almost reached
there, tries to reach the Truth, he passes through three phases. In the first phase
of Sravana, the seeker tries to get an intellectual understanding of the Truth. In
the second phase of Manana, the seeker realizes the Truth for himself. Though he has
realized the truth, because the mind is not fully free from dirt and turbulence, he
is not a Jivanmukta yet. He passes through the third phase of Nidhidyaasana, where
he completes the left out work of the first two steps of Karma and Upaasana. After
this he becomes a Jivanmukta.
Thus the goal is attained.