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Ignorance is the Cause of Bondage and Liberation | Upanishads

According to the Upanishads, ignorance is the cause of bondage and liberation is the result of knowledge.

In ignorance there is no distinction like eternal and ephemeral. In it, there is dualism, egoism and plurality.

It is the intellectual knowledge having the distinction of subject and object. It is the knowledge of objects in the context of space, time and causality.

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It is the field of actions. It is the cause of re-birth. By real knowledge, one gets liberation and the bondage of transmigration is broken. This knowledge is obtained through immediate ex­perience. It is beyond intellectual knowledge. It is determined by space, time or causality. It is the field of higher knowledge through identity.

The ego is born through ignorance. This ego is the real cause of bondage. Due to it, the Jiva identifies himself with the sense organs, mind, intellect or body. Knowledge of the physical world creates bondage. The causes of bondage are egoism, selfishness and attachment.

Annihilation of ego through knowledge and the realization of the real nature of Brahman by identity cause the disappearance of bondage. The knowledge of Brahman implies being Brahman. This is to see Brahman everywhere and to see oneself in all. It is to see self in all. In it there is the unity and identity of the Jiva and God.

In it there is no fear of merit and de-merit, attachment and aversion, pleasure and pain, etc. It is the indescribable eternal peace. It is without dualism and pluralism. It is a unity. It is the ultimate self-consciousness, selfless will and attributes less consciousness, and the stage of indescribable bliss.

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Not only have the Upanishads theoretically discussed the nature of bondage and liberation, but they have also discovered means to achieve liberation. As a matter of fact, the Upanishads do not make absolute distinctions between knowledge and activity, philosophy and life. To acquire the knowledge of Brahman is to become Brahman.

Hence the Upanishads have discussed in detail the means of achieving liberation. This includes the entire ethics of the Upanishads, because liberation is the ultimate end sought by them. Self-realization is the only means of liberation. But in the evolution towards perfect self-realization many other means have to be utilized. It is necessary to discuss these subsidiary means also.

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