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Lexicon of Religions:

Salvation in Hinduism

Hindus call "Moksha" redemption, liberation from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, the end of all suffering. The exact definition of what this salvation means and the statements about the state of the soul after salvation differ considerably in the various teachings.

From unreality lead me to reality
From darkness to light
From death lead me to immortality
Well-known prayer from the Upanishads

To be in one of the different heavens due to good deeds after death does not mean moksha. The individual soul stays there until the good earnings are used up. Then she has to be born again. All beings are subject to this cycle of rebirths. However, salvation is only achieved through a human life. Even the gods (in the sense of "devas", heavenly beings of light) are not redeemed, but live in a happy, but not eternal world. They too have to be reborn as human beings before they can ultimately attain moksha.

The various Hindu faith traditions and schools of thought come to different conclusions when introducing moksha, as shown below.

Unity of the soul with the highest

According to the doctrine of "karma" (consequences of deeds from past lives), some see only one's own effort as a possibility to achieve the blissful state of moksha. In their view, the absolute “Brahman”, the All-Soul, has always been a unity in reality with the self (“Atman”) of the individual. The individual person and the different heavens are nothing more than delusion, are unreal like a dream. In this teaching, salvation means a recognition of reality - the equality of the individual with the absolute highest, with Brahman. Knowledge leads to moksha. Then the suffering is overcome and misconceptions disappear like a dream disappears. According to this tradition, liberation is achieved during human life, not after the death of the body.

Moksha as the eternal presence of God

Others, on the other hand, do not see the individual soul as an illusion, for them the individual and “Brahman” remain a duality forever. This is about fellowship with God. The soul retains its individuality and, after salvation, goes into “Brahmaloka”, the highest heaven. There she abides in the eternal, blissful presence of God. This view is particularly represented in the "Bhakti" currents, in which the love of God is at the center of the life of faith. It is assumed here that moksha is only experienced after physical death through God's grace.

Review article on Hinduism

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