A verse from the gita :

Having come to Me and having reached the highest perfection, these great souls are no more subject to rebirth, which is transitory and an abode of pain.

So a great should that reaches the highest state is never born again?

Bg 7.3 — Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.

BG 8.21 — That which is describe as unmanifest(Brahman) and infallible, that which is known as the supreme destination, that place from which, having attained it, one never returns – that is My supreme abode.

But if a soul comes from this Supreme abode, only to just come back to it a few births later, where is the progress in that? Is the essence(the individual, the soul) undone when it reaches liberation, or is it just purified and still with its individual essence?

Edit: so it has been pointed out that a should doesn't necessarily come (fall) from Brahman, so does this mean that a soul has been living an infinity of lives in samsara? This is a sub question I think it ties to the main one


2 Answers 2


The answer to this question varies depending on the Vedanta school.

Advaita Vedanta

This school believes both in moksha while still living (Jivanmukti) or after death (krama-mukti). Essentially the liberated person attains the state of Brahman and does not go to any place.

Yudhisthira on Emancipation

There are two well-known paths (for us), viz, the path of the Pitris and the path of the gods. They that perform sacrifices go by the Pitri-path, while they that are for salvation, go by the god-path. By penances, by Brahmacharya, by study (of the Vedas), the great Rishis, casting off their bodies, proceed to regions that are above the power of death. Worldly enjoyments have been styled as bonds. They have also been called action. Liberated from these two sins (viz, bonds and action) one attains to the highest end. ….As a person on the hill-top looketh down upon men on the plain below, so he that has got up on the top of the mansion of knowledge, seeth people grieving for things that do not call for grief. He, however, that is of foolish understanding, does not see this. He who, casting his eyes on visible things, really seeth them, is said to have eyes and understanding. The faculty called understanding is so called because of the knowledge and comprehension it gives of unknown and incomprehensible things. He who is acquainted with the words of persons that are learned, that are of cleansed souls, and that have attained to a state of Brahma, succeeds in obtaining great honours. When one seeth creatures of infinite diversity to be all one and the same to be but diversified emanations from the same essence, one is then said to have attained Brahma. Those who reach this high state of culture attain to that supreme and blissful end, and not they who are without knowledge, or they who are of little and narrow souls, or they who are bereft of understanding, or they who are without penances. Indeed, everything rests on the (cultivated) understanding!’

Mahabharata Santi Parva Section XVII

Other Vedanta school say that the liberated is able to reside with the deity worshipped by him.

Dvaita Vedanta

According to this school moksha is only possible after death. In ascending order, this school believes in four levels of moksha: (1) salokya, (2) samipya, (3) sarupya and (4) sayujya. ….. In salokya mukti, the departed soul goes to Ishta-loka (the abode of Vishnu) and stays there blissfully enjoying His presence. In samipya-mukti the departed soul enjoys the bliss of extreme proximity to Vishnu. In sarupya-mukti the departed soul acquires the form of Vishnu and enjoys intense bliss. In sayujya-mukti the departed soul becomes blissfully absorbed in Vishnu.

Vishistadvaita Vedanta

The school of Qualified Non-dualism or Vishishtadvaita-vada, is a school of theism. Its main exponent was Ramanuja. According to this school, a person can have moksha only after the person’s death. Moksha means living blissfully in Vaikuntha (the abode of Vishnu) in spiritual bodies. They acquire many divine powers such as omniscience, but unlike God they cannot create, sustain, or dissolve the world. In spite of their exalted state they remain subservient to God.

What is the progress in coming from the Supreme abode and then going to that place again after a few births?

The Jiva does not come from the Supreme abode. The Jiva is an emanation of Brahman for the Advaita Vedanta school. Other schools do not say that the Jiva is an emanation of Brahman.

  • Well so in any school the soul has been living in samsara for eternity (without beginning) and after reaching liberation the soul is liberated from samsara but is not dissolved or merged?
    – Matko
    Dec 7, 2020 at 15:55
  • All schools agree that Jiva has been in Samsara for eternity. They differ on what happens after liberation. Only Advaita schools talks of merger. Other schools say that the liberated jiva maintains his identity. Dec 8, 2020 at 4:26
  • But if a jiva is not an emenation of Brahman, than what is it, ultimately no matter how we slice and dice it, it is obvious that reality is non dualistic.
    – Matko
    Dec 8, 2020 at 8:36
  • So, What happens in Advaita Vedant Moksha after death ? Do they again take birth ? Where they live ?
    – river
    Jan 7 at 4:18
  • One who has attained moksha does not come back to Samsara. A person who has attained moksha might remain in the state of union with Brahman or stay in some dualistic heaven after death. Jan 7 at 4:22

But if a should [soul?] comes from this Supreme abode

Only ISKCON believes this. Gaudiya acharyas before them don't believe in a fall from moksha. And all other Vedanta schools believe there was never a fall from moksha, and that the Jivatma (soul) has been stuck in samsara without beginning.

Is the essence(the individual, the soul) undone when it reaches liberation, or is it just purified and still with its individual essence?

You are still you when you get moksha. You don't lose your identity or your consciousness; it doesn't get merged with anyone.

For details on the nature of the experience in moksha, the 4th pada of the 4th chapter of the Brahma Sutras talk about it, and you can read the Visishtadvaita vedanta commentary on it here.

  • Except for ISKCON view im agreeing.Before creation individual soul were in garbhodhaka sriman Narayana.. without any feeling or inert.. but in moksha liberated should enjoy bliss. which is multiplied according to different sadhanas in the life. @Ikshvaku
    – Prasanna R
    Dec 7, 2020 at 16:41

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