Bhakti Yoga Meditation
Home: Jnana Yoga: Divine Grace and Moksha


Divine Grace is Required
to Attain Moksha

Ultimately, final liberation (moksha) is attained through divine grace. Nondual realization is impossible until a jnani adds bhakti or devotion into his practice.

The reason for this is that maya is of two kinds:

  • Vidya maya or swaroopavarika maya

  • Avidya maya or gunavarika maya

As described in the description of samadhi, vidya maya is the original veil of maya, obscuring our essence as soul. Avidya maya is that aspect of maya that causes us to form attachments in the world.

Another way to understand this is there are three qualities in maya: satva, rajas, tamas. Rajas and tamas are avidya maya. The jnani can transcend these two through his own effort. After this point, a jnani becomes an atma jnani or self-realized, a knower of his self (the soul). But he is not yet a brahm jnani, a knower of the impersonal aspect of God.

Non-dual realization only happens after he transcends the quality of satva, which is vidya maya. But this quality of satva is only overcome through God's grace, not through a jnani's personal effort of any kind. Thus, through gyan practices, a jnani could terminate his avidya maya, but he can't eliminate vidya maya.

The jnani who practices devotion to a personal form of God receives God's grace and then his maya ends. If his maya doesn't end, even if he has reached the height of self-realization, he is bound to lose this spiritual accomplishment because he is still under the influence of maya.

Grace is only received from the personal form of God. God is one and whatever powers God possesses, He possesses in all His aspects. However, the impersonal aspect of God is called avyakt-shaktik brahm . Avyakt-shaktik means His shaktis, powers, are concealed and inactive. They are there, but dormant. It is merely a nondual divine existence.

The giving of grace is a quality of sakar brahm, the personality of God. If a practitioner desires nondual realization, in order for him to transcend maya completely, he must receive grace from this aspect of God, and that is accomplished through bhakti or devotion.

So, without devotion to God, both liberation and perfect nondual realization are impossible. This is why it is said that it may be possible to extract clarified butter from water, it may be possible to extract oil from sand, but without devotion to God, one can't attain liberation -- no matter who they are.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna said,

Shankaracharya said,

Whatever jnana he has attained on his own is all material, because the gatherers of knowledge are the senses, mind and intellect, which are material. A jnani can't go beyond self-realization on his own.

So there is every possibility a soul will be able to cross maya, attain absolute liberation and nondual bliss by surrendering to the personal form of God.