Q: I was contemplating the first paragraph in your newsletter, and I was reminded of a question I have been stuck on for quite some time, that I was hoping you might be able to help me with. You talked about the “beginning of a creation cycle,” referring I believe to the beginningless and endless repetition of kalpas and pralayas.
My question is: how can I square the idea that moksha, when attained by an individual jiva, is eternal and permanent (I know it is said repeatedly that there’s no going back to samsara once moksha reveals itself) with the Vedic notion of time being circular (repeated kalpas/pralayas forever)?
“The beginning of a creation cycle” is the beginning of a kalpa (period of manifestation). There is no beginning of the eternal cycle of manifestation and dissolution. What is projected again and again is the complex of many worlds that, however subtle and advanced, are still samsara.
Beyond that is the Transcendent realm which is sometimes called Siddhaloka, the Siddha World. This is eternal. Those who attain ultimate moksha (for there is such a thing as liberation from rebirth in lower worlds but not from the higher worlds beneath Siddhaloka) dwell in that world.
However, if they wish they can re-enter any lower world at their will for the upliftment of those in that world. But they are never compelled to do so. It is their own divinized will that effects their descent. But for those still evolving, the continual cycle occurs. It is like an elevator. Those in the elevator that do not get out will go up and down. Those who step out stop going up and down.
Kalpa: A Day of Brahma–4,320,000,000 years.
Mahapralaya: The final cosmic dissolution; the dissolution of all the worlds of relativity (Bhuloka, Bhuvaloka, Swaloka, Mahaloka, Janaloka, Tapaloka, and Satyaloka), until nothing but the Absolute remains. There are lesser dissolutions, known simply as pralayas, when only the first five worlds (lokas) are dissolved.
Moksha: Release; liberation; the term is particularly applied to the liberation from the bondage of karma and the wheel of birth and death; Absolute Experience.
Samsara: Life through repeated births and deaths; the wheel of birth and death; the process of earthly life.
Siddha: A perfected–liberated–being, an adept, a seer, a perfect yogi.
Siddhaloka: The highest realm of existence in which the fully liberated (siddhas) live.
Jiva: Individual spirit.
- Living the Yoga Life: Liberation
- Can Women Attain Liberation?
- Podcast: Moksha, the Seven Levels of Consciousness, and Avatars