Journey to Moksha - Palitana

Beyond time, beyond space, beyond memories, there is ‘Moksha’. Cutting the thread that connects me to this world. Liberating me from this bond of existence, time and space, where I meet my end. For eternity. 

In Jainism, ‘moksha’ is the highest and the noblest objective that a soul should strive for. That is why Jainism is also known as ‘Mokṣamārga’ or the "path to liberation". Mere Death is not ‘Moksha’. ‘Moksha’ is escape from the cycle of birth and death, breaking out from the wheel of time. It’s a wish for nothingness, into the Formless. 

Navanu Yatra is one of the toughest Spiritual Journey in Jainism with the ultimate aim to attain ‘Moksha’. 

Devotees climb Mt. Shatrunjaya 99 times in 45 days. According to modern mythology regarding Jainism, on Mt. Shatrunjaya, 23 out of 24 Tirthankara’s (spiritual teacher) preached. There are approximately 3750 stairs to reach the top. Pilgrims take 2 to 3 trips every day in order to finish the task. The climb is not an easy one. People of all physical conditions wish to reach the top. Exhausted Pilgrims, hire locals for help by physically holding / pushing, even carrying them in a ‘Doli’.

I met a small girl crying while doing Navanu but her mother told her not to quit, as both of them will attain ‘Moksha’ together. She summoned all her energy and started climbing again. I wondered what she even understood of ‘Moksha’.

It is said, if one dies on Mt. Shatrunjaya, he / she will surely attain ‘Moksha’ and get out of the cycle of life and death. But is anyone ever ready and prepared to die? Or for that matter attain ‘moksha’, then why give birth? Why to start another cycle?
 
Modern Jainism contradicts its own self, if there is no creator or destroyer and if god is found within, then why pray, why have temples and idols. Is Navanu Yatra really pursued for ‘moksha’? 

 

Recipient of Sahapedia Frames Grant 2019

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