Okay, this is a topic I like to speak about.
First, let me start off with a quote:
"The Sanskrit word moksha derives from the root muk, which has many connotations: to loosen, to free, release, let loose, let go and thus also to spare, to let live, to allow to depart, to dispatch, to dismiss and even to relax, to spend, bestow, give away and to open. Philosophically, moksha means “release from worldly existence or transmigration; final or eternal emancipation.” But moksha is not a state of extinction of the conscious being. Nor is it mere unconsciousness. Rather it is perfect freedom, an indescribable state of nondifferentiation, a proximity to, or a oneness with, the Divine.
Moksha marks an end to the earthly sojourn, but it may also be understood as a beginning, not unlike graduation from university. Apavarga and kai valya are other apt terms for this ineffable condition of perfect detachment, freedom and oneness."
--from "What Is Hinduism?" Chapter 3: god, soul and the world, page 38.
I've heard a lot of varied debates about Hinduism, and I'd like to stay that for me, this quote has some significance. In my world religions class a few years ago, my professor mistakenly told me about how the liberation of the soul takes place at the expense of the individual, that identity is lost. This quote, I believe, proves it is not entirely true. Yes, there is a nondifferentiation, a closeness to the Divine that eradicates physical individuality, but the soul continues. The soul opens and expands. I always wanted to interpret this idea not as the death of individuality, but as the expansion of the personal consciousness, the soul as it would be if it could know all other souls.
Any ideas to contribute, anyone? I'm open to including other religions in this discussion.