As we discussed earlier, the four fundamental pillars of Indian philosophy are – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
In our previous posts we dealt with the three pillars of Dharma, Artha and Kama. In this post we would briefly dwell upon the final pillar Moksha, which in short means enlightenment or liberation.
For many that might mean ‘death’ itself. They think with death we are liberated from all pains and sufferings we have had to endure in life.
To others it might mean getting detached from the worldly life and live the life of a hermit or a recluse who is no longer interested in the worldly ways or disinterested in life.
Still for others it might mean taking up the rigorous path of being enlightened in a special way.
Moksha has nothing to do with all that. It has nothing to do with religion or religious practices. It is simply a way of thinking and living.
And what might that mean?
It means integrating science and spirituality. It stresses on the use of scientific or objective knowledge to solve our problems in our lives without being detached from the spiritual knowledge that gives rise to wisdom based on which all actions to solve problems are taken. It is interesting to note the context in which the word spiritual is used here (Ref 1).
The thinking is based on the firm understanding that all actions must be tested and founded on wisdom. Or wisdom has to be extracted from the actions taken in our life. In other words Action and Wisdom have to go together as these are not separable.
The symbol that is widely used and understood in India is shown by depicting Krishna (signifying wisdom) and Arjuna (signifying action) together. And they together win many well known and famous battles and wars.
That would mean that action without wisdom is meaningless and harmful. Similarly, wisdom without action is equally meaningless and harmful.
How would one develop such a combination of Wisdom based Action or Action based Wisdom?
Learning from ‘self experience’ is the suggested way of going forward on this path of Moksha. But at the same time we are forewarned not to blindly follow anyone who gives advice or teaches us without proper reasoning.
The suggested path follows the ¼ or 25% rule (made up of four equal divisions)
¼ of such knowledge might be gained from a teacher or guru (a person who helps remove the darkness).
¼ by analyzing and understanding self
¼ by discussing with others (having dialogs that change the way we think)
The last ¼ of the path might only be traveled by living out wisdom and action in real life through constant practice and by constantly modifying and upgrading existing understanding and knowledge. This is also a test. A person who is neither changing his or her understanding or actions based on reality of an experience is not really living the path. Therefore, this last 25% appears to be the most important part in the whole game.
Such a person can surely be said as a leader of self who sets himself/herself up as an example for others to follow just as the Buddha and other Indian leaders did for thousands of years.
Interestingly, what are common between the four pillars of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are Wisdom and Action.
This path of Action based on Wisdom and Wisdom based on Action is open to all. This is the true meaning of Moksha or the path of enlightened leadership.
1. Chapter 40 of Yayurveda of the Upanisads
The other stories that illustrate this point of view are: