Moksha is sometimes erroneously used as a synonym for swarga. Attaining moksha is not to be confused with reaching Swarga, said Adur Asuri Madhavachari. Swarga is presided over by Indra. Moksha refers to Sri Vaikuntha, the place where there is only gnana. Swarga is perishable. During the deluge, Swarga too gets destroyed along with everything else. Only Lord Narayana is there at the time of the deluge. Therefore Sri Vaikuntha is eternal, but Swarga is not. And the only way to get to Sri Vaikuntha, that is the only way to attain moksha, is to surrender at the feet of Lord Narayana.

Who qualifies to offer surrender? Even birds and the beasts can go to Sri Vaikuntha, if someone does the act of surrender on their behalf. The Jiva is denoted by common nouns such as animal, bird, plant, tree and man. Only the external appearance has a name of reference. The Jiva has none. The atma is nameless. It has gnana and ananda. In fact the atma is the embodiment of gnana.

Then we may wonder, why it is that some Jivas are born as animals, some as birds, and why even among humans some have happy lives, and some do not. Jivas take a form according to their karma, and have experiences in accordance with their karma.

If the attainment of moksha is the goal, and surrender is the way to reach His feet, how does one go about doing the act of surrender? One must seek out an Acharya, without whose help one cannot attain the ultimate goal.

If animals can attain moksha, and if surrender is the way to attain moksha, how can animals, not being blessed with human intelligence, resort to surrender? How will they approach an Acharya and do what needs to be done to attain moksha? A human being can offer surrender on behalf of an animal.

Thus if a person rears, say, a cow, and is anxious that the Jiva that has taken the form of a cow should also attain moksha, he can offer surrender on behalf of the cow. The cow, after all is a name for the body which that particular Jiva has taken in this birth. Moksha is for the Jivatma, not for the external form.

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