The Four Goals and Paths of Traditional Hinduism

Category: Hinduism, Love, Yoga
Last Updated: 02 Apr 2023
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There are four goals in the traditional Hinduism. These four goals cover life viewed as good and life seen as bad. Three of these goals appeal to the positive things in life, such as, Dharma or righteousness, Artha or achievement, and Kama or gratification. The fourth goal which is the Moksha or liberation is aimed at the negative things. The three affirmation goals can all be sought at the same time or one at a time, as each may be appropriate at certain periods in one’s life. Hinduism prescribes four paths towards the Divine destiny.

These paths may lead to a good life, oneness with the divine, liberation from life, or the fulfillment of any or all of the four goals. The paths are called Yoga. Yoga is a set of disciplines that must be carried out by followers who wished to take these paths. Yoga is like a yoke or a load around the neck or shoulders which is heavy but necessary to reach the destiny or the realization of goals. The different paths or yoga are, Inana or the way towards the ultimate knowledge, Bhakti or the path to loving or devotion to God, Karma or the way to undo the reaction to deeds in life, and the Raja or the royal path to meditation.

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The Inana, Bhakti and Karma are contained in Bhagavad-Gita while Raja is in Yoga Sutra. Both the Bhagavad-Gita and the Yoga Sutra are spiritual teachings that help explain the divine world. The Bhakti Yoga is the path to the immaculate devotion to and absolute loving of God. In Sanskrit it means the overpowering, generous and joyful love for God. The follower is focused on God by expressions of love and actions of worship. The devotion is strong and faithful like a lover to the beloved, a parent to his child.

The Bhakti-Rasamrita-Sindhu of Rupa Gosvami enumerates the nine forms of the path, which are: chant, praise, reflection, service, prayers, preaching, relationship, and surrender. Keeping them all or even one is enough for a devotee to experience the love of God. The objective of this love and devotion is to get close to God. Depending on their attitudes, Bhakti is taken differently by its followers. For some, it is the initial step leading to Inana. On the contrary, others believe it to be higher than Inana.

Others think all of them are equal. Bhagavad Gita is considered the pillar as well as the foundation of Hindu Bhakti theism particularly in Vaishnavism. It has a long list of religious and philosophical affiliations but is partial to Krishna devotees. According to Krishna love, pure intention and utmost devotion is the most powerful driving force in the spiritual life of a devotee. Most Bhakti movements worship only one God, Vishnu or Shiva. They came after the three Vedanta systems were put in place.

These Bhakti movements reinvigorated Hinduism because they filled in the emotional and philosophical void of India. The intensity of expression of Bharatanatyam had the most influence in the great changes in Hindu prayers and rituals since the time of Adi Shankaracharya. There had been other noted contributions of Bhakti movements in Indian history. Their schools of Philosophy have changed the beliefs of people. Bhakti taught the people to channel their emotions to the direction of God in the process of self-actualization.

The Hindus from the orthodox Brahaminical systems denounced the caste system. Bhakti’s call for tolerance and love were not listened to by those deeply-rooted in the caste structure of society. Bhakti was responsible for the mass production of devotional materials in literature, art, music and dance that has enriched the culture not only of India but also of the entire world. This gave spiritual renewal by giving up insignificant rituals and social demarcation, to India References SanatanSociety. org (2008). Bhakti Yoga. Retrieved June 14, 2008 from

http://www. sanatansociety. org/yoga_and_meditation/bhakti_yoga. htm ISKCON Educational Services (2004). The Heart of Hinduism. Introduction to the Four Main Parts. Retrived June 14, 2008 from http://hinduism. iskcon. com/practice/index. htm Hinduism: Living the Religious Life. Retrieved June 14, 2008 from http://uwacadweb. uwyo. edu/Religionet/er/hinduism/HRLIFE. HTM The Yoga Centre Glasgow (2007). Bhakti Yoga. Yogi Nirmalendu. Kundalini Shakti Page. Retrieved June 14, 2008 from http://www. yoginirmalendu. com/Types_Of_Yoga/Bhakti_Yoga/Bhakti_Yoga. html

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The Four Goals and Paths of Traditional Hinduism. (2016, Aug 02). Retrieved from

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