OM SRI SADGURAVE NAMAHA
OM SRI PARAMATMANE NAMAHA
By M.G. Prasad, 1 Osborne Terrace, Maplewood, NJ 07040
Basics of Hinduism: Sanatana Dharma
Four Objectives of Life: Purushartha
NOTE: The order of these objectives are important and are not to
be interchanged if leading a life consistent with Sanatana Dharma.
Dharma -- laws of life, nature, and universe that derive from the
purpose and values underlying actions in life. Dharma helps in discrimination
and in choice of actions. Dharma should accompany Artha and Kama.
Artha -- wealth, posession, and power
Kama -- desire, ambition
Moksha -- state of desirelessness and tranquility
Four Stages in Life: Ashrama
NOTE: Hindu philosophers believed that these were the natural
phases of an individual's life
Brahmacharya -- Younger years in student life when discipline and
learning are the most important. These years become the foundation for a
Grihastha -- Years during the married life when the rightful desires and
wealth by proper means has to be achieved and enjoyed.
Vanaprastha -- Senior years of life when contemplation and philosophical
thoughts are emphasized
Sanyasa -- Final years of life when contentment and detachment becomes
Three Modes of Life: Bhava
Physical (Bhoutika) -- Word used to describe feelings and
reactions arising from the body
Mental (Bhavuka) -- Word used to describe feelings and emotions
derived from the mind
Spiritual (Adhyatmika) -- Word used to describe sublime and pure
thoughts and values that derive from causal nature of reality
Three Mental Traits: Guna
Satva -- Noble and sublime thoughts and actions
Rajas -- Dynamic activities and intention to change things around with
sometimes ambiguous goals of mind
Tamas -- Passivity and lack of focus to follow through. Indicates mental
Six Obstacles to Personal and Spiritual Development
NOTE: Kama when it appears first in order as above becomes an
obstacle but when it appears as third among the four fold objectives, it
becomes an integral,part of life
Kama -- Unethical and unrightful desire.
Krodha -- Anger and loss of temper usually results from unfulfilled
Lobha -- Greed resulting from unnecessary and unconstrained increase in
Moha -- False attachment resulting in delusion of mind.
Mada -- Arrogance resulting from self-centered pride.
Matsarya -- Jealousy and envy about others' achievements.
Three Characteristics of Individual Purity: Shuddhi
Body -- Purity includes personal hygiene and environment
Speech -- Purity includes sincerity, honesty, and heartfelt feelings in
speech and action
Mind -- Purity includes clean thoughts. This is difficult to achieve but
is possible through practice and support from the other 2 characteristics of
purity -- speech and body.
Three Components of Cosmos: Tatvas
Jeeva -- An individual soul and it is also referred to chit, a conscious
Jagat -- Material universe and five elements of nature as space, air,
fire, water and earth.
Ishwara -- Cosmic Soul or One God principle known as Brahman or
Three Paths of Realization: Yoga
NOTE: All the three Yogas (Karma, Bhakthi and Jnana)should co-exist in a person
because lack of any one yoga negatively affects the others. Given a
personality, one yoga will dominate but it has to be supported by the other two
yogas for success. The Bhagavadgita is one of the main reference for the
integrated view of these yogas
Karma Yoga emphasizes work and action. Action without selfish interest
is an important aspect of this yoga.
Bhakthi Yoga emphasizes the devotion and prayer. The sincerity and
awareness of one's limitations is part of Bhakthi Yoga.
Jnana Yoga emphasizes the knowledge and power of reasoning and
Eight Limbs of Yoga: Ashtanga Yoga
NOTE: Ashastanga yoga which forms the scientific basis of Hindu spirituality is
described in eight steps to achieve the spiritual union (yoga) of the
individual soul with cosmic soul. This is also termed as Raja Yoga and one of
the main references are Maharishi Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. The order mentioned
in Ashtanga Yoga is important and a Guru who is a Yogi, is necessary for this
Yoga as genuine guidance is required in this scientific and practical approach.
Yama deals with with physical and mental discipline and related
Niyama deals with physical and mental discipline and related practices.
Asana deals with practice of postures for the body.
Pranayama deals with control and regulation of Prana.
Pratyahara deals with the development of restraint of the senses from
Dharana deals with development of ability of mind to focus and contain
Dhyana is the meditation of the objective energy contained which leads
one to Samadhi.
Samadhi which refers to the state of balance and superconsciousness
Five Sheaths of Brahman: Koshas
NOTE: All these five sheaths reflect the creative, sustaining and dissolving
aspects of Brahman. The zealous search of a seeker (Shisya) with the guidance
of a Guru (Preceptor) leads the seeker to the various sheaths in an ascending
order as indicated here.
Three Components of Self-Realization
NOTE: Thus, one can see that through the Grace and guidance of the Sadguru,
sincere effort in studies of Shastras and purity of mind, earnest effort in
practice should result in understanding and realization of self. This is the
goal of any seeker based on Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma
Sadguru refers to the spiritual mentor (Preceptor, Acharya) who
genuinely guides the seeker in the intricate and difficult path of
Shastra refers to the authentic scriptures and literatures which are
essentially experiences and observations of great seers in the past. Shastra
and literature refers to Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis, Ramayana Mahabharatha and
Bhagavadgita etc. These form the foundation of Hinduism (Sanathana Dharma)
Anubhava refers to the experiences of the seeker obtained after truthful
and honest effort in the path as per the advice of the Sadguru which will be
reference to the Shastras.
EKAM SAT VIPRAHABAHUDHA VADANTI
The realized and wise ones describe One Truth or same Reality in many ways.
AA NO BHADRAHAKRATAVO YANTU VISVATAHA
Let noble thoughts come to us from everyside.
NOTE: These notes on some of the basics of Hinduism are only an indication of
the depth and magnitude of the literature available for further studies in
Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma.