Q&A 14. Swarga and Moksha

இப்பதிவைத் தமிழில் படிக்க இங்கே க்ளிக் செய்யவும்.

Question:  Is Swarga (heaven) the same as  Moksha (liberation)?

Answer: We tend to use the two terms Swarga and Moksha interchangeably. When we are extremely happy, we exclaim, ‘this feels like heaven!’.   When someone passes away, we say the person attained Swarga or Moksha. So we are right in wondering if the two terms convey the same meaning.  However, the truth is, these two terms Swarga and Moksha are totally different from each other. 

Q and A

As you are aware, our next birth is based on our good deeds or sins committed in the current birth. Based on one’s karma (deeds), one gets to become a king, a pauper, a brave man, a coward or any other.  The one who performs good deeds gets to be born in a good place and enjoys all pleasures. Those who commit sins are born as animals or as those suffering from various ailments or problems.

To be born as human is considered a great virtue. This is because only humans are aware of the consequences of their actions.  When humans are involved in performing auspicious deeds they get to be born as divine beings in Swarga which bestows them with happiness. However, this happiness is not permanent. Once the person runs out of good deeds, he is born again in our world.  The same goes for those who suffer in Naraka (hell) for the extent of sins they had committed. Thus by accumulating punyam (virtues) and papam (sins) continuously, we get stuck in an endless cycle of birth and death in this world.

Liberation from this endless cycle is Moksha. When one attains liberation, the chain of Samsara (worldly activities) is broken permanently. The person gets to serve at the feet of the Lord forever. We all need to aspire for this state only. There is only one pre-condition to attain this state. We all should be free of both punyam and papam such that the net result is zero. This raises a question – we can refrain from committing sins, but is it logical to stop accumulating virtues? The answer lies in the words of our preceptors: When one performs a good deed without expectation of benefits from it, he is free from accumulating good virtues as well. This, along with an unshakeable belief in the Lord will lead us to Moksha.

This concept is well-explained in Bhagavad Gita as given below:

Chapter 9 – Sloka 20:

“Whoever is worshipping me through rituals and sacrifices as prescribed in the Vedas, will be blessed with a residence in Indra Loka where he will enjoy all pleasures.”

Chapter 9 – Sloka 21:

“Those who enjoy Indra Loka on account of their positive virtues will once again be born in this world once their account is exhausted. Once again based on their Karma, the birth-death cycle continues.”

Chapter 9 – Sloka 28:

“When you submit the results of all your deeds completely to me, you will become free of all the virtues and sins. That’s when you can attain me permanently.”

Thus it is clear that Swarga and Moksha are two different things. We as human beings have to always aspire to attain Moksha. Only it can help us break the shackles of repeated life and death and reach the lotus feet of the Lord to serve him endlessly.

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Author Details

Rangarajan has been blogging for over 12 years now on various topics. With Thedal, he becomes one with the universe and he is hoping that his search will help him discover the eternal truth.  Please join him as he traverses through the universe across temples, philosophies and science!

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