Key Difference – Moksha vs Nirvana
Moksha and Nirvana are two concepts in Hindu and Buddhist philosophies between which a difference can be seen. These talk about liberation from the endless cycle of birth and death. Human Life has been described by saints as one full of sufferings and that the aim of every human being in his lifetime should be to work towards attainment of enlightenment or freedom from the cycle of life and death. Hindu and Buddhist sages have talked about the futility of individuals to remain involved in bodily pleasures that are fleeting and momentary in nature. They have maintained that Moksha or Nirvana is the ultimate objectives of every human being. So it is liberation whether it is Moksha for Hindus and Nirvana for the Buddhists. Let us find out in this article if there are any differences between these two very similar concepts.
What is Moksha?
Right from the time we are born as human beings and till the time we die, all of us remain chained to our deeds and, therefore, to sorrow. Moksha is liberation from all sorrow and attainment of enlightenment. Moksha has been talked in Hindu religion as the final goal of life. It means liberation from the cycle of births and deaths to escape from the harsh realities of life that is full of sorrows. It is through truth alone that man can attain liberation from reincarnation and all the pain and suffering that every human being is subjected to in all his lives. It is when a human soul realizes that it is just a part of the larger soul or is being that an individual attains liberation or Moksha. The soul of an individual is referred to as atman while the soul of the Supreme Being is referred to as paramatman. It is when atman vanishes into paramatman that one is said to have attained Moksha.
What is Nirvana?
Nirvana is a concept in Buddhism that is believed to be the end of all sufferings. It is also called enlightenment as the founder of the religion himself attained. Nirvana is the highest individual attainment in the life of an individual and a state of mind where all pain, hatred, greed, desire etc. melt and dissolve. These are the feelings or emotions that are believed to be at the root of all the pain and suffering that a human being goes through. It is when there is inner awakening the individual realizes what reality is. This is when a person has become a Buddha, the enlightened one.
What is the difference between Moksha and Nirvana?
Definitions of Moksha and Nirvana:
Moksha: Moksha is liberation from all sorrow and attainment of enlightenment.
Nirvana: Nirvana is a concept in Buddhism that is believed to be the end of all sufferings.
Characteristics of Moksha and Nirvana:
Moksha: Moksha is a concept in Hinduism.
Nirvana: Nirvana is a concept in Buddhism.
Moksha: Moksha in Hindu religion refers to liberation from the cycle of births and deaths as human life is believed to be one full of pains and sufferings.
Nirvana: Nirvana in Buddhism is believed to be a state of mind that is attained when one reaches enlightenment. It is a state of mind when human emotions become stable, and the feelings or emotions get dissolved.
1. Gajendra Moksha [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
2. “Sukhothai“. [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons