In a literal sense, moksha is the desire to be released from birth and rebirth, but the term has come to mean the release itself. It is used inter-changeably with mukti. Moksha is the highest spiritual goal in the Hindu tradition (the term is used in JAINISM and SIKHISM as well). Traditional Hinduism recognizes four primary ENDS OF LIFE and moksha is the last in the list.
   While every Hindu tradition sees moksha as the ideal, there are different understandings of its nature. Some traditions believe that one can be liberated while still alive—JIVANMUKTA. Some see liberation as a merging into a characterless BRAH-MAN, while others see liberation as simply becom-ing one with God, or being liberated near God.
   Further reading: M. C. Bharatiya, trans. and ed., Moksa the Ultimate Goal of Indian Philosophy (Ghaziabad: Indo-Vision, 1984); Balbir Singh, Atman and Moksha: Self and Self-Realization (Atlantic Highlands, N. J.: Humanities Press, 1981).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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