In simple word, Nirvana literally means “blown out” as in candle. The word “nirvana” holds different meanings in different religion. Nirvana is also known as “Enlightenment”
Nirvana in Buddhism
Nirvana is basically associated with Buddhism. In Sanskrit Nirvana is also pronounced as “nibbana”. Nirvana is a place of happiness and peace such as heaven. In Buddhism, nirvana is the highest state someone can attain. It means the desires and suffering of an individual will go away. According to Buddhist tradition, Gautama Buddha attained “Nirvana” after six years of rigorous practices and meditation under the tree of Bodi Tree.
Nirvana is the highest goal that Buddha gave in his religion and some others are Pantam (Being the excellent), Suddhi (Purity), Khemam (Security), etc. Being in a state of freedom from suffering and rebirth and annihilation of greed, hatred, delusion is also another meaning of Nirvana.
In Buddhist tradition, Buddha was accused of being nihilist and Buddhist strongly denied such words by stating
“One thing and only one thing do I teach, suffering and cessation of suffering.”
Nirvana is the highest aim in Theravada Buddhism. Theravada, one basically starts to learn by practicing in the realization of Nirvana. In Theravada, there are four levels of Nirvana. They are as follows:
- Stream-Enterers – Those who have destroyed first three chains of life (false view of self, doubt, and clinging to rites and rituals)
- Once-Returners – Those who have destroyed three chains of life and have lessened the chains of lust and hatred
- Non-returners – Those who have destroyed five chains of life, which binds to the world of senses.
- Arahants – Those who have reached Nirvana
Samyutta Nikaya of five nikayas of the Buddhist scripture state
“The extinction of greed, the extinction of delusion: that is indeed called Nirvana.”
Nirvana in Hinduism
According to Hindu tradition, Nirvana is basically called Mokshya and is literally getting liberation from the cycle of birth, death, and life and returning to “Brahman”, the universal God or soul. In Hindu tradition, Nirvana is also called as “Mukti”, “Vimoksha”. Most hindu tradition represent “Moksha” as ultimate goal of life aside from other three aspects of being “Dharma”, “Artha”, and “Kama”.View Statues of Buddha in our collection
Nirvana in Jainism
The word “Moksha” or Nirvana basically comes from Jain literature, and literally means liberation or salvation of soul. To break the cycle of eight aspects of Karma is to attain Nirvana. The eight aspects of Karma are, of knowing, of seeing, of attachment, and concerning age, name, caste, feeling and obstacles. So basically Nirvana means breaking these Karmic cycles, and liberating the soul.