What is Kaivalya?
The ultimate aim of yoga is the attainment of salvation or Kaivalya or Moksha. Kaivalya has been called by many names in all religious texts such as Mukti, Moksh, Kaivalya, Apvarga, Paramgati etc. Moksha is a state where the soul is freed from the cycle of birth and death. After that, the soul attains a state of liberation called Kaivalya. It indicates the disappearance of ego, destiny, karma and samskaras. According to the Samkhya philosophy, Kaivalya is that state of liberation in which a person’s consciousness (purusha) realizes that it is separate from Prakriti.
The word Kevalya is used in Jain texts and the liberated soul is called Kevalin. Jain scriptures outline twelve steps by which the soul attains this goal. The soul that has attained the knowledge of Kevala is called Kevalin. According to Jains, only Kevalin can understand things in all their aspects and manifestations. Moksha and Nirvana are one and the same in Jainism. Salvation is the ultimate spiritual goal in Jainism just like in all other philosophies. It defines Moksha as spiritual liberation from all karma.
Kaivalya according to Patanjali
According to Raja Yoga, Kaivalya is the final state of knowledge that a yogi can reach. In this state, the yogi becomes completely fearless and free. It is a state of complete awareness. One who desires to attain Kaivalya must overcome his desires and attachments. A Kevalin is also free from modifications of the mind. As Patanjali says in the Sutras, “The soul ends in freedom, knowledge and Kaivalya.
According to Patanjali, when the soul becomes self-realized from the inner soul of the mind, karma is abandoned. Then, the state of the soul moving towards salvation in the consciousness of knowledge is considered Kaivalya.
Kaivalya originates from isolation. It is the freedom from ignorance or from the sufferings it causes. Kaivalya is also defined by Patanjali as the return of the origin of qualities (pratiprasava). It’s the establishment of the nature and force of higher awareness (chitta-shakti). In Kaivalya, there is pure seeing. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Kaivalya is realized when the essence of the individual mind reaches a state of purity similar to that of Purusha.
How to attain Kaivalya
The methods of attaining Kaivalya have been outlined in Yoga Darshana. The remedies that Maharishi Patanjali talks about are the devotion of the mind, enthusiasm from happiness, memory from enthusiasm, stability and concentration of the mind from memory and from stability. Through these, one attains the full of wisdom( ritimbhara pragya).
According to Patanjali, Abhyas and Vairagya are the first steps to attain Kaivalya. On the way to attaining Kaivalya, the seeker of salvation should also adopt Tap, Swdhaya, Ishwar Pradidhan and Kriya Yoga. The combination of Buddhi and Purush due to the influence of avidya is the Kaivalya of the Drasta. The cause of bondage is Avidya and knowledge is the cause of Kaivalya. Pratiprasava (re-birthless rhythm) of Purush shoonya qualifies as Kaivalya. Therefore, it is considered Kaivalya to establish the power of the mind in its own form.
The ordinary man can also attain salvation or Kaivalya. Ishopanishad says that all living beings can attain the state of liberation or moksha if they selflessly dedicate all their deeds to their teacher or guru. In other words, it can be said that a person who performs all their actions with dedication attains the path of liberation.