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,
Saadhanaas mean pathways to liberation. The main paths
- Karma Yoga: Path of Action
- Bhakti Maarga: Path of Devotion
- Jnaana Maarga: Path of Knowledge.
- Dhyaana Maarga: Path of Meditation
- 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.
- Bhakti Yoga: We can choose any form or name of God according
to our liking and worship him. There are 9 pathways in Bhakti:
- Shravanam: Listening to the leelas of the Lord e.g. Pareekshit.
- Keertanam: Singing the glories of the Lord like Sage Naarada.
- Vishnu Smaranam: Always remembering the Lord like Prahlaada.
- Paadasevanam: Massaging the feet of the Lord like Goddess Lakshmi
- being ever attached to the feet of the Lord.
- Archanam: Constantly worshipping the Lord like Bharata did to the
paadukaas of Shri Raama.
- Vandanam: Offering our humble salutations to the Lord as Akroora.
- Dasyam: Constantly serving the Lord as Hanuman did.
- Sakhyam: Establishing companionship with the Lord as Arjuna who
befriended Lord Krishna.
- Aatmanivedanam: Surrendering oneself completely to the Lord like
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.
- Jnaana Yoga: Scriptures declare that ‘Tat Twam Asi’ ‘Thou
Art That’. There are 4 Mahaavaakyas proclaiming this supreme truth.
- Prajnaanam Brahma: The supreme consciousness is Brahma.
- Tat Twam Asi: You are that (God)
- Ayam Aatmaa Brahma: The soul within me is God
- 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:
- Shravanam: Listening to the Mahaavaakyas.
- Mananam: Reflecting on the meaning of what is listened.
- Nididhyaasana: Investigating with one pointed mind to experience
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:
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
Hinduism is a synthetic religion that tolerates and
respects others and their views. It is a religion seeking universal
To sum up, the main principles of Hinduism are-
- God is present in everyone as the Aatmaa. The same Aatmaa therefore
links all beings with God (Brahman). God is present in everything
- Happiness and Misery are our own creation and it is based on our
Karma or action that we do.
- Man is reborn again and again until he finally attains Moksha.
- God descends to the earth time and again to restore Dharma and
guide mankind on the righteous path.
- All pathways lead to God. God realization is the goal of human
life. Religion (Dharma) helps us to achieve this Goal.