Aarthi Back to Home Aarthi
 The Hindu Saadhanaas - 4 Pathways Previous - 5 D's Back to Home Next - 4 Objects of Life

A tree has the trunk and the trunk branches, far and wide into boughs with leaves and flowers. Karma Yaga is the trunk for the tree of Life; the branches, leaves and the fragrant flowers symbolize the Bhakthi Yoga; and the ripe fruit and sweetness therein that is the Jnana Yoga, the Wisdom.

Saadhanaas mean pathways to liberation. The main paths are:

  1. Karma Yoga: Path of Action
  2. Bhakti Maarga: Path of Devotion
  3. Jnaana Maarga: Path of Knowledge.
  4. Dhyaana Maarga: Path of Meditation
  1. Karma Yoga: Surrendering ourselves whole heartedly to the Lord and doing everything as an act of worship to the God, without expecting the fruits of action is Karma Yoga. This kind of action is called Nishkaama Karma. Such a devotee is always protected by the Lord and is freed from the cycle of birth and death.
  2. Bhakti Yoga: We can choose any form or name of God according to our liking and worship him. There are 9 pathways in Bhakti:
    1. Shravanam: Listening to the leelas of the Lord e.g. Pareekshit.
    2. Keertanam: Singing the glories of the Lord like Sage Naarada.
    3. Vishnu Smaranam: Always remembering the Lord like Prahlaada.
    4. Paadasevanam: Massaging the feet of the Lord like Goddess Lakshmi - being ever attached to the feet of the Lord.
    5. Archanam: Constantly worshipping the Lord like Bharata did to the paadukaas of Shri Raama.
    6. Vandanam: Offering our humble salutations to the Lord as Akroora.
    7. Dasyam: Constantly serving the Lord as Hanuman did.
    8. Sakhyam: Establishing companionship with the Lord as Arjuna who befriended Lord Krishna.
    9. Aatmanivedanam: Surrendering oneself completely to the Lord like Raadhaa Devi.

    Further, there are 5 attitudes of Bhakti - Shanta, Vaatsalya, Daasya, Sakhya and Maadhurya depending on the types of Bhaava or attachment one has to the Lord.

  3. Jnaana Yoga: Scriptures declare that ‘Tat Twam Asi’ ‘Thou Art That’. There are 4 Mahaavaakyas proclaiming this supreme truth.

  1. Prajnaanam Brahma: The supreme consciousness is Brahma.
  2. Tat Twam Asi: You are that (God)
  3. Ayam Aatmaa Brahma: The soul within me is God
  4. Aham Brahmaasmi: ‘I am God’.

The first two Mahaavaakyas are proclamation of the Guru (who has already realized his identity with God), to the disciple by way of instruction - aadesha. The third one is for the disciple to think and ponder over (Abhyaasa) and the fourth one is the disciple’s exclamation after experiencing the godhead. This is called Anubhava Vaakya. Jnaana Maarga stresses path of Meditation to realize the truth that we are God.

Sage Yaajnavalkya instructs his wife Maitreyi that one can realize the truth of these Mahaavaakyas by:

  1. Shravanam: Listening to the Mahaavaakyas.
  2. Mananam: Reflecting on the meaning of what is listened.
  3. Nididhyaasana: Investigating with one pointed mind to experience the truth.

Before we take up quest for truth, our hearts should be purified and there is a four fold preparatory discipline called saadhanachatushtaya for all those who want to realize the supreme God.

The four disciplines are:

  1. Viveka
  2. Vairaagya
  3. Shatsampat
  4. Mumukshutva.

The aim of all saadhanaa is to train the whole being of man-physically, mentally, emotionally, morally and spiritually for the realization of God who is the essence and base of all religions.

Sanaatana Dharma lays emphasis on Sarvaatma-Bhava/Ekaatmya. One must work not only for oneself but also for the well being of the whole society LOKA SAMASTAAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU is the Hindu prayer. Another prayer-Sarve vai Sukhinas Santu, Sarve Santu Niraamayaah, Sarve bhadraani Pashyantu, Maa kaschit Dukhamaapnuyat; suggest the same idea.

Hinduism is a synthetic religion that tolerates and respects others and their views. It is a religion seeking universal Good.

To sum up, the main principles of Hinduism are-

  1. God is present in everyone as the Aatmaa. The same Aatmaa therefore links all beings with God (Brahman). God is present in everything and everywhere.
  2. Happiness and Misery are our own creation and it is based on our Karma or action that we do.
  3. Man is reborn again and again until he finally attains Moksha.
  4. God descends to the earth time and again to restore Dharma and guide mankind on the righteous path.
  5. All pathways lead to God. God realization is the goal of human life. Religion (Dharma) helps us to achieve this Goal.
Back to Top