The ethical value system and the Goals of the Hindu


The Vedantic Paradigm


Brahmavidya and Yogasastra


It is the goal of every Hindu to attain Self Realization and Salvation (Moksha). Vedanta (literally the end of the Veda), the essence of the Sanatana Dharma is concerned essentially with 2 aspects of higher human knowledge





Yoga Sastra or the means to attain Brahmavidya


The foundations and origins of this Meta knowledge are lost in antiquity and are considered eternal and do not depend on any one prophet or Sage. A distinction is made by the Indic between Sruti; a revelation from the Lord, the Lord is the author and tramsmitted to us through the Rishis (from rsh to know) and Smrti that which is heard (from man).  Thus the Indic tradition is not a likhita Parampara (written tradition) but an oral one. Veda, Mantra and Sruti are thus termed Apaurusheya Pramaanam


They are the first record we humans have of the questions that were asked in antiquity, questions we continue to ask today. Questions like – Who am I, why am I here, what makes me unique as a species and as an individual, how was the Universe created and what is my place in it.


But as far as we are aware it was Vyaasa (Badarayana) who expounded on this knowledge in a tangible form to humans in the form of Brahma Sutras. Sutras are aphorisms characterized primarily their terseness and the depth of meaning associated with each aphorism. Brevity was essential, as the main means of transmittal of knowledge was oral and vast amounts of knowledge had to be memorized and had to be recited in a particular meter (Chandas) to assist in harmonizing the mind while engaged in the process of learning.


Thus all Indic tradition can be classified into the following

























Every individual exhibits three Gunas in varying proportions. Chapter 14 of the Bhagavad Gita deals with their function, and indicates the means for the individual to transcend them. The path that an individual needs to take is dependent on the relative proportion of these Gunas that reside in him



Individuals who are predominantly sattvik are attached to happiness and to knowledge




Raajasik individuals are filled with a desire and passion to undertake new projects and goad others into action. Many leaders exhibit a Raajasik temperament




Tamas is inertia born of ignorance. It enshrouds the discrimination of man and inclines him to indolence, sleep and renders him inert. By nature it is destructive



The cardinal Virtues according to Hinduism



Sattva, Suddhi

Self Control






Non Violence



There are many paths to Self realization, but many of these paths can be categorized into four main Yogas or means to attain the goal. They are


Karma Yoga

Work and Action, subject of Chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita



Bhakti Yoga

Yoga of Devotion, Chapter 12 of Bhagavad Gita



Jnana Yoga

Yoga of Knowledge, yoga of pure discrimination, Chapter 4 of Bhagavad Gita, summarized in Chapter 2



Raja Yoga

Yoga of meditation, summarized in Chapter 6 of Bhagavad Gita


For most individuals a balanced combination of all four Yogas is most appropriate, the proper balance depending on the individual’s vasanas or svabhava and the stage of his journey through life. There is no intent to convey that any particular Yoga is superior to the other.


For an introduction to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras see for instance “Practical Yoga , ancient and modern” by Earnest E Wood or Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda


Yoga is the control of ideas in the Mind. Yoga means the establishment of perfect harmony between the everyday self and its spiritual source.


Five Kinds of ideas or modifications (Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras)


Right Knowledge

Wrong Knowledge or indiscrimination

Fancy or verbal delusion




Special qualifications demanded of a student of Vedanta (Sadhana Chatusthaya) or the fourfold pre-requisites of philosophical discipline (Mandukya Upanishad). See also Viveka Chudamani by Adi Sankara





Discrimination (between the Real and the Unreal)




Vairagya – dispassion for all enjoyments here and in hereafter , uncolored ness


Self Control

Sama(tranquility of mind), Dama(restraint of senses), Uparathi(renunciation of desires), thithiksha(endurance), sraddha,(faith) samadhan (self control)

Uparathi – renunciation of superstition and dependence on the idea that his/her advance can be helped or impeded by others (Vivekachudamani)

Thithiksha – endurance – acceptance of the idea that he/she must endure what comes and  make the most of it without complaining (whining in modern parlance) - forbearance

Irrepressible hankering for the truth

Mumukshutwa a burning desire to realize the Self within, which is the Self within us all



Erfficacy of Chanting Shanti 3 times – The purpose is removal of 3 possible obstacles to the study of scriptures


Adhi-daivika – God sent like lightning , thunder etc.


Adhi-Bauthhika – phenomenon such as fire, floods, landslides etc.


Adhi-atmika or Adhyatmika – purely subjective, such as inertia, lack of faith, insincerity, and such arise from our own negative attitudes


The Eight Angas (limbs) of Yoga



Discipline, ahimsa (abstinence from doing injury), Satyam (truthfulness) ,Asteya(honesty), Brahmacharya(celibacy during the first 25 years, chastity), Apar Graha (non acquisitiveness,poverty)




Self restraint, shaucha (cleanliness, purity), santosh (contentment), Tapas (ascetism), Swadhyaya (study), ishwarpranidhana(devotion to God)




Sitting in the right place and with the correct bodily attitude




Regulation of breath



















Man’s karma can be divided into 3 parts


Prarabda karma

That part of a Man’s accumulated karma which has begun to bear fruit in the present life. It is entirely predetermined and cannot be avoided, e,g, sex, parentage, color of skin. Man is a creature of circumstance



Sanchita karma

Accumulated karma of previous lives of individual. As a result of past actions he acquires a certain character and certain tendencies. Unlike prarabda karma it can be totally destroyed and it is possible to uproot evil habits by persistence and plant good habits in their place



Agami karma

Is the Karma which is being created now. It’s fruits will come to us possibly in a future life. It is entirely in our own hands


Discussion of Cognate Ideas


Exercise of Free Will – see for instance the dialog between a disciple and His Holiness Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Swaminah, reproduced elsewhere in this section.


The four proximate Goals of life












Moksha or Purushartha



Sreyas and Preyas