“Moksha means liberation. The pursuit of Moksha, or liberation of the soul from the cycle of life and death, is the highest goal and is the goal of our higher nature (soul). The desire for liberation is the motivating force behind all spiritual growth and evolution. Largely unconscious at first, the pursuit of liberation motivates the human being toward his or her highest virtues. As the human being progresses, awareness of the journey becomes evident and this further motivates the seeker.
Moksha is achieved when all karma has been exhausted. This can only occur by fully surrendering to the Divine Self within and subduing the desires of the ego. This requires all of the tools that are described in the science of Yoga. While Moksha is a goal of the higher Self, the lower self (ego) is entangled in this goal as well. When the ego attaches itself to Moksha, it hopes for something in return. Actions motivated by the hope of reward in terms of material benefit, emotional peace, heavenly rewards, or even spiritual bliss, all are signs of the involvement of the ego. Actions taken in the pursuit of pure virtue are rarely pure. Deep in the mind of the individual there may be hope for gratitude from others, being liked, inner peace, or a more enjoyable after-life. All of these hopes are just additional desires – the desires of the ego.
Attachment of the ego to spiritual pursuits is a natural step along the journey. The ego has a desire for receiving the fruits of serving the greater good. Thus, it is the ego that begins the journey toward the light. Along the way, the ego often expresses spiritual arrogance. This is pride in spiritual accomplishments. “Look at me. Look at what I have accomplished. Look at my practices.” These inner thoughts may or may not be expressed out loud. They often lurk just below the surface. Sometimes, spiritual arrogance leads to megalomania. “I am special. I am a great teacher.” This person appears very spiritual and acts very spiritual and even desires liberation. However, their “holier than thou” attitude becomes an obstacle on the journey that must be overcome. The karma of this way of being will ultimately teach this person humility. Moksha is the highest goal or aim of life. Achieving this goal is the most difficult of all.”
Excerpt from “Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine,” by Dr. Marc Halpern, Founder of the California College of Ayurveda