Principal Doctrines
The Four Ends of Human Life — four efforts which man must make in order to fulfill his individual existence: (i) artha (wealth), (ii) kama (love), (iii) dharma (duty), and (iv) moksha (liberation).
The four successive stages of life. The Vedas divide our lives into four different stages — they are brahmacarya (being a student), grihasta (being a householder), vanaprastha (forest dweller) and sannyasa (stage of renunciation).
varnashrama dharma
Social duty. Varna dharma defines the individual's obligations and responsibilities within the nation, society, community, class, occupational subgroup and family.
Yama and Niyama
Code of Conduct — the yamas and niyamas have been preserved through the centuries as the foundation, the first and second stage, of the eight-staged practice of yoga. Yet, they are fundamental to all beings, expected aims of everyone in society, and assumed to be fully intact for anyone seeking life's highest aim in the pursuit called yoga.
Kinds of Dharma
Illustrates the different aspects of dharma] in the day-to-day practice of morality and ethics, such as the svadharma (dharma of an individual), parivarika-dharma (family-dharma), samaja-dharma (society-dharma), rashtra-dharma (national dharma), manava-dharma (the dharma of mankind), yuga dharma (dharma applicable for an era), apad dharma (exceptional/abnormal situational dharma) and rita (universal dharma).
The 36 Tattvas
The Ancient Scriptures of India analyze the Process of Universal Emanation into thirty-six main stages or phases.
The five sheaths of consciousness that encase the overall human system. They are annamaya kosha (the physical tissues or the cellular structure), the pranamaya kosha (the ‘energy sheath’), the manomaya kosha (mental sheath), vijnanamaya kosha (the sheath of higher intellect), and the anandamaya kosha (the body of ‘Cosmic Consciousness’).
Patterned or conditioned behaviors; subconscious tendencies; worldly life. A series of Sacraments, Sacrifices and Rituals that serve as rites of passage and mark the various stages of the Human life and to signify entry to a particular Ashrama. Some traditions mention ten rites of passage, or up to sixteen — or occasionally even more — only four are currently popular, namely: 1. jatakarma (birth ceremonies plus others in childhood), 2. upanayana (initiation — the sacred-thread ceremony), 3. vivaha (marriage), 4. antyeshti (funeral and rites for the dead).
artha panchaka
There are the five categories of spiritual knowledge which one needs to study, reflect upon, realize and practice in order to progress spiritually. These are para-svarupam (The nature of the Godhead), sva-svarupam (The nature of the Self), purushartha svarupam (The nature of life’s goal), upaya svarupam (The means to attain that goal), and virodhi svarupam (The obstacles on the spiritual path).
Four Inner Sheaths of the Mind — internal organ of perception that form parts of the mind. The Mind constitute the antahkarana, which is fourfold – namely, manas, buddhi, ahankara, and chitta.
the Six Passions of the Mind — the negative characteristics which prevent man from realizing the Reality that is his True Being such as kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada or ahankara and matsarya.
The six virtues, which bring about mental control and discipline.
The “five hindrances” to spiritual growth: avidya (ignorance), asmita (egoism), abhinivesha (clinging to life), raga (cravings), dwesha (aversions); also considered the “five roots” of all problems of human existence; the motivating factors which drive humans to act in such ways as to produce and perpetuate Karma.
The acharya initiates a person, irrespective of caste, creed or sex, as his sishya. It is a commitment from the disciple that he or she will live as per the wishes of the acharya. Thus the person gets the link to the parampara.
Intense desire for liberation. Stands for a burning desire to realize the Self within, which is the Self within us all.
The Three Gunas
Every individual exhibits three gunas in varying proportions. The three gunas or phases of matter are: sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna.
sadhana saptaka
The seventh-fold practice or qualities of mind and body we should practice to further us in our path of yoga.
adhyatma prasara
The Evolution of Life and Consciousness towards its Goal. It is a process that takes place over many lifetimes, not just one.
atma anubhavam
Self-Realization which is the result of the practice of abstract meditation on the Brahman (Formless Absolute).
bhagavat anubhavam
God-Realization which is the development of knowledge of, experience of, surrender to, and consequent service to the Supreme Being.
State of enlightenment of super-consciousness. The union of the individual consciousness with cosmic consciousness.
Law of Karma
The doctrine of karma is actually the law of harmony and equilibrium. It adjusts wisely, intelligently and equitably each effect to its cause. But, it is also the law of opportunity, which allows an individual to change his past for a better future.
Unity of Existence
Hindu sages have declared that the cosmic energy is a manifestation of the Brahman (Universal Spirit). The entire universe is a play between Brahman, or the cosmic consciousness, and the cosmic energy. Brahman has become all things and beings of the world. Thus we are all interconnected in subtle ways.
Death and Lokas
When a person dies, his gross sukshma sharira (physical body) is left behind and the soul with the subtle body (consisting of the mind, intellect, sense organs, motor organs and vital energies) goes to a different plane of existence. Such a plane of existence is called loka in Sanskrit.
Religious Discipline
Hindus believe that wisdom is not an exclusive possession of any particular race or religion. Hindu Dharma allows an individual to select a religious discipline in accordance with one's own religious yearning and spiritual competence. Hindu Dharma recommends the guidance of a guru (spiritually awakened master) for attaining perfection in life.
Harmony of Religions
Hindu sages declare that there is no one religion that teaches an exclusive road to salvation. All genuine spiritual paths are valid and all great religions are like the branches of a tree — the tree of religion. This doctrine lays foundation for the Hindu ideal of universal harmony.
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