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In Hinduism and Jainism, moksha (Sanskrit: liberation) or mukti (Sanskrit: release) refers to liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth.

Beliefs as to how moksha may be achieved differ considerably from tradition to tradition. Overall, three distinct approaches or margas (Sanskrit: paths) are recognized:

  1. Karma Marga ("the path of action"): This path draws its inspiration from the Vedas and the teachings of Brahmans. It does not require one to pay visit to a temple or shrine or anything of the sort. All that is required is behaviour that results in the resolution of one's karma.
  2. Jnana Marga ("the path of knowledge"): intense meditation and self-reflection. This path draws its inspiration from the Upanishads and the gurus that teach them.
  3. Bhakti Marga ("the path of devotion"): this breed is more popular than the difficult second path. It is the identification of a worshipper with a particular God. In effect, it is the total devotion to a single God, usually Rama or Krishna. The first great text of "devotionalism" is the Bhagavad Gita ("The Song of God"). Krishna appears in this text and says: "only with love can you come to me".

See also: samsara - maya - shunyata - nirvana