Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pankaj Jain, Rita Sherma, Madhu Khanna

Mokṣa

  • Aleksandar Uskokov
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_579-1

Definition

Liberation from the cycle of rebirth

Introduction

Mokṣa or liberation from the cycle of rebirth (saṁsāra) is perhaps the most important idea in Hinduism or more generally in South Asian intellectual history. It is commonly described as the highest of the four goals of human life (puruṣārtha), the other three being “religion” (dharma), wealth (artha), and pleasure (kāma). It is also customarily said to be the cornerstone of Indian philosophy: the famous historian Surendranath Dasgupta claims, for instance, that the related doctrines of karma and mukti, liberation, are the two “fixed postulates” of Hindu philosophy, summing up “all the important peculiarities,” so “cardinal and inviolable that there was hardly any voice … in India that protested against them” ([7], p. 10). Another historian, A.G. Krishna Warrier, describes liberation as “the raison d’etre of all system-building in India” (see also [28, 38], p. 13). While not everyone would agree with such assessments, they...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aleksandar Uskokov
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of South Asian Languages and CivilizationsUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA