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Can devas achieve moksha? Or do they have to die and reincarnate as a human to achieve moksha?

And if devas cannot achieve moksha, does that imply that they cannot change their mind?

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  • duplicate question Nov 28, 2022 at 5:26
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    @SwamiVishwananda link? Nov 29, 2022 at 3:08
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    I would recommend you to check Brahmasūtra (1.3.26-33) along with the commentaries. It will answer your question fully.
    – Bingming
    Dec 28, 2022 at 12:09

2 Answers 2

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In Ramanuja Sampradaya:

  1. Everyone from Brahma to a blade of grass is a jIva. (Ref. VedarthaSangraha)
  2. All jIvas are same from the point of view that they have to surrender to the Lord (Ref Ramanuja Bhashya on Bhagavad Gita 9.29)
  3. The Lord promises that he will protect anyone who surrenders to him be it an animal or human or bird. (Shandilya Smriti quoted by Vedanta Desika in Srimad Rahasyatrayasara).
  4. In Srimad Ramayana, Rama says that to any living being who has surrendered to Him once, He would grant shelter/protection. Protection is interpreted her to be mokSha according to Ramayana commentators like Govindaraja.

From these 4 it follows that all jIvas (including Devas or animals) are capable of attaining mokSha.

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  • You're saying that animals can achieve moksha in this life? Nov 27, 2022 at 14:07
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    The sastras say so.
    – hashable
    Nov 28, 2022 at 10:51
  • How could an animal surrender to the Lord? Are you sure He isn't using hyperbole? Nov 29, 2022 at 3:05
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    @TerjijKassal Gajendra surrendered to Narayana. If the animal has elevated consciousness and understanding, then it can surrender.
    – Ikshvaku
    Nov 30, 2022 at 13:10
  • @Ikshvaku OK, but can devas achieve moksha, without descending to the level of a human? Nov 30, 2022 at 13:14
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Can devas achieve moksha? Or do they have to die and reincarnate as a human to achieve moksha?

According to Rishi Badarayana, ( in BrahmaSutra first pada ( 1.3.26-33) ) Devas are entitled for Brahma Vidya , so can obtain the Knowledge(of Brahman) , while in their Devahood.

This implies they can achive moksha without reincarnating as human

भावं तु वादरायणः, अस्ति हि ॥ ३३ ॥
But Badarayana (maintains) the existence (of qualification on the part of the gods for the knowledge of Brahman), because (all those causes like body, desires, etc., which qualify one for such knowledge) do exist (in the case of the gods).
Badarayana thinks that besides the luminary orbs like the sun, moon, etc., each of them has a presiding deity of that name with body, intelligence, desires, etc., and as such there being all the causes which can qualify them for the Upasanas and Supreme Knowledge, the gods also are entitled to them.
Brahma Sutra 1.3.33

Chandogya upanishad 8.7 , mentions Indra deva, has obtained the supreme knowledge (Brahma Vidya) from Prajapati , while Virochana fails to acquire it.

Taitriya upanishad Bhriguvalli states, Varuna deva had imparted Brahma Vidya to his son Sage Bhrigu

Yet ,Human birth is highly conducive for attaining moksha , and the chances are less likely for Devas, in comparison

(Katha Upanishad /Adhyaya 2 /Valli 3)

यथादर्शे तथात्मनि यथा स्वप्ने तथा पितृलोके । यथाप्सु परीव ददृशे तथा गन्धर्वलोके छायातपयोरिव ब्रह्मलोके ॥ ५ ॥ yathādarśe tathātmani yathā svapne tathā pitṛloke | yathāpsu parīva dadṛśe tathā gandharvaloke chāyātapayoriva brahmaloke || 5 ||

As in a mirror, so within one's self; as in dreams, so in the world of the manes; as indistinctly seen in water, so in the world of the Gandharvas; as of light and shade, so in the world of Brahma

Shankaracharyas Commentary: —How is explained. As one in the world sees his own image reflected in a mirror very distinctly, so the realisation of the atman in one's intelligence, when spotless like a mirror, becomes clear. As in dreams, the perception is indistinct and produced, i.e., (obscured) by the reminiscences of the waking state, so indistinct is the realisation of the atman in the world of the manes, being engrossed in the enjoyment of the fruits of karma. As the image of one's self reflected in water is seen indistinctly, with the various parts not defined, so is the realisation of the atman in the world of the Gandharvas certainly indistinct. Thus, it is inferred from the authority of the shaastras, even in other worlds, it is only in one, the Brahmaloka, that it is very distinct, as that of light and shadow and that (Brahmaloka) is hard to attain requiring as means, a combination of very special karma and knowledge, i.e., (worship). The drift, therefore, is that one should attempt to realise the atman even while here (in this world).

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