Let us therefore now concentrate upon these two verses. The problem of bondage and liberation is supposed to be the most important problem in Indian thought. No civilisation, no culture in the world has been so concerned with the problem of bondage, and how can one be free from the bondage. In fact every system of Indian philosophy has most important element in the form of discussion on this subject.
There is only one system, which does not deal with it and that is cārvāka. Charvaka theory is materialistic theory, and does not deal with the problem of bondage and liberation; because it says that as long as you live, live happily, and after the body is burnt away at the cremation, what remains? There is nothing to remain and therefore you don’t need to worry about it at all. Apart from this philosophy all the other systems of Indian philosophies regard the problem of bondage and liberation to be the most important problem. Buddhism, Jainism, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa, Uttara Mimamsa, and Uttara Mimamsa is called Vedanta, and all the systems of Vedanta consider this to be the most important problem.
To state the problem very simply, it can be said that there are two facts which are indubitable, which cannot be doubted. The fact is that every human being feels situated in a circumstance. To be in a circumstance is an indubitable fact: nobody can deny that you are in a circumstance. And every one is required to deal with a circumstance: you are either comfortable with a circumstance, or you are uncomfortable with a circumstance. Even when you are comfortable with a circumstance, you would wish that the same circumstance continues. And because that there is a fear that it may not continue, you make an effort to see that the same circumstance continues. If the circumstance is uncomfortable you try to see that it is removed: you either fight with it, and change the circumstance, or you try to escape from it, to come out of it; either of the two things happens while dealing with the uncomfortable circumstance.
Now, both the conditions are conditions of bondage. The fact is that you are required to deal with a circumstance, this “required” is a very important word; you are “required” to deal with a circumstance is an obligation; and obligation is a sign of compulsion; compulsion is a sign of bondage, you are bond to do it, you are obliged to do it. The Indian thought therefore, assumes that there are two elements: the one, which is subjective, is called Purusha, and the circumstance is called Prakriti. These are the two elements, which are supposed to be confronting with each other, or wedded together happily or unhappily, and something has to be done in regard to these two elements.
Now, the concept of bondage goes farther. It is not merely a question of one confronting the other, but one finding oneself ‘in’ the other. It is a further problem. It is as if one is found to be locked up in a prison. Confronting is one thing, it is also a kind of a prison, but a greater confinement arises because we feel as if we are locked up in the Prakriti. Without raising deeper questions we only look at the psychology of this “locked up” condition. In what way are we “locked up” in Prakriti? To be locked up means that there must be a hook on which we are fixed. What is the hook in Prakriti on which we are hanged? And we find ourselves so much tied up that we cannot come out of it.
The answer is that this Prakriti has three elements, by which the Purusha gets locked up: manaḥ, buddhiḥ, ahaṁkāraḥ. These are three words, which Sri Krishna speaks of in the 4th verse of the 7th chapter. These are three hooks as it were: the mind, the intellect and the ahaṁbhāva.
These three elements are themselves conscious, but not sufficiently conscious. Our mind is conscious, but not fully conscious; our intellect is conscious, but not fully conscious; our ahaṁkāra is conscious, but not fully conscious. Purusha on the other hand by its nature is conscious and fully conscious. Now, this fully conscious Purusha getting locked into three elements, which are not fully conscious, as a result of which one feels as to, the capacity to come out of it, is adequate or not.
Now, you compare this with the Para Prakriti. Purusha is basically a status of the Jiva, of which mention is made in the 5th verse: parā prakṛti jīvabhūtā, the original Jiva is in Para Prakriti, and Para Prakriti has the capacity of unity, the unifying consciousness: it is fully conscious. Apara Prakriti, particularly these three elements are inadequately conscious, whereas Para Prakriti is fully conscious. Jiva of which Purusha is a status is also fully conscious, because his stuff is Para Prakriti. It is that by which the whole unity of the world is maintained. If therefore this Jiva, of which Purusha is a status, which finds itself locked up in manaḥ, buddhiḥ, and ahaṁkāra, if it can be brought out of this, and turned into Para Prakriti, then Jiva would have an equation, proper equation, which is adequate to itself. Jiva being fully conscious, Para Prakriti being fully conscious, the two immediately unite harmoniously; whereas here, Jiva, which is fully conscious, whereas manaḥ, buddhiḥ, and ahaṁkāra are inadequate in the consciousness; therefore, the harmony between these two becomes very difficult.
There is no synchronisation. The problem is: how to arrive at the synchronisation, so that you shift from here to there; and mokṣa consists in getting released from these three inadequate hooks in the Apara Prakriti, lifting it up and entering into Para Prakriti. Now, these are only preliminary remarks in regard to the problem that you have raised: “what is Moksha?”