By surrendering to the Lord, one obtains the four kinds
of liberations, and the four Sidhis (sggs 1105).

Mukti (ਮੁਕਤਿ) or liberation (also called Moksha or Mokh - ਮੋਖ) is the Freedom from the veil of the false ego-sense (Haume), Maya (illusion, relativist consciousness and duality), worldly bondage, repeated suffering, the negative propensities (Bikaars) of the deluded mind (Kaam, Krodh, Lobh, etc.), and reactionary Kaarmic actions. This word Mokh came from the root (Moksha), has many connotations: to lose, to free, to release, to let go or let lose, to spare, to let depart, to let live, to send off, to dismiss, to use up, to give away and to open. The Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) puts number on kinds liberations to be "four". Some scriptures mention more than four kinds of liberations.

  • ਚਾਰਿ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਚਾਰੈ ਸਿਧਿ ਮਿਲਿ ਕੈ ਦੂਲਹ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੀ ਸਰਨਿ ਪਰਿਓ ॥: chaar mukati chaarai sidh mil kai doolah prabh kee saran pario: By surrendering to the Lord, one obtains the four kinds of liberations and the four Sidhis (sggs 1105).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੋ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਬੰਧ ਵਿਚਾਰੇ ॥: Gurmukh hovai so mukat kaheeai manmukh bandh vichaare: One who becomes Spiritual being (Gurmukh) is said to be liberated, while the poor materialists (Manmukhs) are in bondage (sggs 796).

But the bottom line is — it's the transcendental state of the mind one has to reach wherein one is released from material consciousness (unenlightened existence or the Manmukh lifestyle) or repeated suffering of the material world (Jagat or Sansaar) or shackles of the self-imposed limitations of the body-mid-intellect personality. In nutshell, it's the eternal emancipation. Also, the Gurbani reminds us that this sublime state cannot be experienced by the false.

  • ਮੁਕਤਿ ਭੇਦੁ ਕਿਆ ਜਾਣੈ ਕਾਚਾ ॥: Mukat bhed kiaa jaanai kaachaa: What can the false know about the secrets of liberation? (sggs 223

As indicated in the Gurbani, liberation is not a state of extinction of the Soul, nor of nonexistence or inactivity, but an ineffable state ("Goonge Kee Mathiyaaee") of non-differentiation — a Oneness beyond all change and diversity. It's the state where one experiences closeness to his Divine Self ("Joti-svaroopa") within. Kaivalya Samaadhi is another apt term for this state.

The Gurbani embraces the state of Jeevanmukti (living liberated), in which the advanced Soul (the Gurmukh) unfolds inherent perfection (Pooran Pada) of his True Nature ("Joti-svaroopa") while alive — total demise of the false ego-sense (Haume). The Self-abiding Jeevanmukta relinquishes all his attachment to the illusory or temporary (Mithiya) external happiness and is satisfied with the Bliss (Anand) derived from the Aatamaan within. In other words, this has to be brought through into every aspect of one's life. What distinguishes a liberated Soul from the non-liberated is his perfect detachment from all selfishness and clinging attachments to the finite sense-objects, unbroken abidance in the Divine Presence within (Naam etc.), witnessing consciousness, spontaneity (Sahaj Avasthaa), humility, compassion, contentment in all situations, Wisdom, patient, and so on.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਪਾਈਐ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰੁ ॥: Nanak gurmukh bujheeai paaeeai mokh duaar: O Nanak, the Gurmukh understands, and finds the Door of Liberation (sggs 27).
  • ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਸੋ ਆਖੀਐ ਮਰਿ ਜੀਵੈ ਮਰੀਆ ॥: Jivanmukata so aakheeye mar jeevai mariya: He who effaces his ownself (false ego) and is so dead in life, is said to have been liberated while alive (sggs 449).
  • ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕੋ ਹੋਈ ॥: Jeevan mukat gurmukh ko hoee: How rare are those who, as Gurmukh, become Jeevamukta - liberated while yet alive (sggs232).
  • ਜੀਵਤ ਮੁਕਤ ਸਦਾ ਨਿਰਬਾਨ ॥: Jeevat mukat sadaa nirabaan: Those who are Jivan-mukta, liberated while yet alive - are forever in the state of Nirvaana (sggs 1167).
  • ਮਾਰਗੁ ਮੁਕਤਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ॥: Maarag mukathaa houmai maar: The path of liberation is found by killing the ego (sggs 1274).
  • ਮੰਨੈ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਮੋਖੁ ਦੁਆਰੁ ॥: Mannai paavahi mokh duaar: The faithful find the Door of Liberation (sggs 3).
  • ਸਹਜੇ ਸਹਜਿ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਜਗਜੀਵਨੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਸਮਾਏ ॥੧॥: Sahje sahaj miliaa jagjeevan Nanak sunn samaae||1||: With Sahaj, one meets the Life of the World (i.e., God) . O Nanak, (that person) remains absorbed in Sunn ||1|| (sggs 774).

According to the Mahankosh of Bhai Kahan Singh, the "four" liberations are: (1) Saalokiya, (2) Sameepiya, (3) Saroopiya, and (4) Saayujiya. This four-part classification of liberation indicates states or stages of the mind — liberation of the mind from bonds of the senses. In other words, these are the stages of Formlessness, absorption (in the Pritam's Love) or perfect spiritual efforts (the Gurmukh lifestyle). Literal meanings of these four terms are briefly summarized below.

(1) Saalokiya: living in the realm of the Supreme.

(2) Sameepiya: To be near the Supreme.

(3) Saroopiya: To look alike the Supreme.

(4) Saayujiya: Merging, blending, linking or becoming one with the Supreme.

The Gurbani repeatedly indicates that it's impossible to attain real liberation by imitating or by Pakhand (Dhong, mere talks or hypocrisy). It's simply a question of becoming the Gurmukh and living the Gurmukh lifestyle (Divine Life). Thus, the Gurbani's emphasis is on Karanee (Amal or practice). To put it otherwise, the Gurbani holds that liberation etc. is not to be acquired from without. For it's the innate nature of the human Soul — which is the repository of the Infinite Wisdom — thus birth right of we all. Thus, liberation, freedom, deliverance, Sahaj, Sunn or Nirvana has to be discovered within. Also, as eluded to before, liberation does not mean an end to intelligence, duty and responsibility. Neither it means running away from the world. It simply calls an end to the enslavement of the Manmukh lifestyle (false lifestyle); because, as the Gurbani says, the false cannot "know about the secrets of liberation".

  • ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਕੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥ : Paakhandi keenai mukti na hoi ||2||: Practicing hypocrisy, no one finds liberation ||2|| (sggs 839).
  • ਙਿਆਨੀ ਤਤੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਾ ਕਉ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਧਾਰੀ ॥੫॥: Giaanee tatu gurmukh beechaaree. Nanak Jaa Kaou kirapaa dhaaree ||5||(sggs 251).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੈਰਾਗ ਨ ਛੂਟਸਿ ਮਾਇਆ ॥੧॥: Bin bairaag na shootas maya ||1||: Without detachment, Maya cannot be gotten rid of (cannot be liberated from Maya, etc.) ||1|| (sggs 329).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਨੁ ਜੀਤਿਆ ਗਤਿ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਘਰੈ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਇ ॥: Gur kai Shabadai mann jeetiyaa gati mukti ghrai mahi paayi (sggs 26).
  • ਮੁਕਤਿ ਭੇਦੁ ਕਿਆ ਜਾਣੈ ਕਾਚਾ ॥: Mukat bhed kiaa jaanai kaachaa: What can the false know about the secrets of liberation? (sggs 223).

The vehicle of life has four wheels - Dharma, Artha, Kaam, and Moksha also called "Chaar Sidhis or Padaarath"). Artha and Kaam are needed only to fulfill one's necessary needs toward realizing Dharma and Moksha. Once a man becomes truly Dhaarmic he wants to inquire as to what is real and what is unreal. By renouncing false, he develops Bairaag or dispassion for the unreal. He considers God as the ultimate doer and enjoyer and surrenders to God's Hukam (Will). Ultimately, the Gurbani indicates that this type of growth in spiritual personality leads one to complete liberation (Mukti).

The ultimate purpose of human life is indicated to be the Realization of the Unconditioned Reality within. Mokh is the byproduct of the Self-Realization. Thus, a true seeker or a pure devotee does not care for either liberation (Mukti) or materiality (Bhugti). For he is after the real thing: Realization of his Pure Being or Unconditioned Consciousness within (Joti-Svaroopa) - the Unfoldment of the Spiritual Perfection that already exists in each one of us. All other things such as liberation, etc., are added unto one. The Gurbani stresses the importance of Naam-Simran (meditation on God's Name or Jap) and Saadh-Sangat (Good Company, the Company of the Holy etc.) in Kali Yuga as a sure path to salvation, since it is conducive to the cleansing of one's deluded mind. If the Gurbani's (Shabad-Guru) timeless teachings are imbibed in life, they can bring about an end to all bondage enabling one to experience supreme Peace and Bliss (Anand) in life.

  • ਰਾਜੁ ਨ ਚਾਹਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਚਾਹਉ ਮਨਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਚਰਨ ਕਮਲਾਰੇ ॥: (O Prabhoo, I) neither desire for empire (Bhugati or materiality) nor liberation (Mukti); (my) mind longs for the love of your lotus feet (Virtues, Wisdom, Naam, Hukam...). (sggs 534).
  • ਮੁਕਤਿ ਬਪੁੜੀ ਭੀ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਤਿਆਗੇ ॥: A spiritually Wise forsakes even liberation (sggs 1078).
  • ਪ੍ਰਣਵਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੈਸਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੋਇ ॥: Pranvati Nanak giaanee kaisaa hoi. Aapu pashaanai boojhai soi: Prays Nanak, of what nature is the Giaanee (the Wise one, the knower of the Truth...)? (A true Giaanee is he who) recognizes his (Mool-ਮੂਲ, Source, Origin, Essential Nature, etc.), such (Giaanee-ਜੋ ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਨੂੰ ਪਛਾਣਦਾ ਹੈ) Understands God (sggs 25).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਰਸ ਰਾਤੇ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: Bin rs raate mukti na hoee: Without being imbued with the subtle essence within, there is no liberation (sggs 831).
  • ਮੁਕਤਿ ਭੁਗਤਿ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਉ ॥: Mukti bhugti jugti Hari naayu. Prem bhagati Nanak gun gaayu: Liberation, worldly pleasures, and worldly success are all in God's Name. With loving devotion, O Nanak, sing His Glorious Praises (sggs 200).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੁਕਤੋ ਬੰਧੁ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ਛੁਟੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਇ ॥: Gurmukh mukato bandh na paai. Sabad beechaar shhutai har naai: As the Gurmukh, we are liberated, and are not bound. Contemplating the Word of the Shabad, we are emancipated through the Name of the Lord (sggs 152).
  • ਮਨਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ਤਾ ਪਾਏ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰੁ ॥: Man niramal naam dhiaaeeai taa paaeai mokh duaar: Man niramal naam dhiaaeeai taa paae mokh duaaru: Meditating on the Divine Name with a pure mind, the Door of Liberation is found (sggs 33).
  • ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਆਨੰਦੁ ॥: Har kee bhagati mukati aanand: Through devotional worship of the Lord, liberation and bliss are obtained (sggs 154).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਭਾਈ ॥: Bin gur mukati na paaeeai bhaaee: Without the Guru, liberation is not obtained, O brother (sggs 864).
  • ਮੁਕਤਿ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਸਾਧ ਕੀ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਜਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਧਾਮ ॥: Mukati baikunth saadh kee sangat jan paaio har kaa dhaam: Liberation and heaven are found in the Good Company; there his humble servant finds God's whereabout (sggs 682).
  • ਮੁਕਤਿ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਸਾਧੂ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਉ ॥: Mukti padaarath saadhoo sangat amrit har kaa naao: (For me) The Company of the Holy is the Mukti Padaarath (liberation) and the Lord's Name is the Amrit (sggs 1220).

— T. Singh