Virtue, Success, Pleasure, and Liberation: The Four Aims of Life in the Tradition of Ancient India [NOOK Book]

Overview

What is the Nature of the social order that unquestionably produced one of the greatest and longest lasting civilizations known to humankind? Alain Dani?lou, distinguished Orientalist, musicologist, and linguist, reveals the foundations of India's culture and the four aims of human life as they are viewed in the traditional Hindu society: virtue on a moral plane; success on the material and social planes; pleasure on a sensual plane; and liberation on a spiritual plane. Coexistent with these aims are the four ...
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Virtue, Success, Pleasure, and Liberation: The Four Aims of Life in the Tradition of Ancient India

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Overview

What is the Nature of the social order that unquestionably produced one of the greatest and longest lasting civilizations known to humankind? Alain Daniélou, distinguished Orientalist, musicologist, and linguist, reveals the foundations of India's culture and the four aims of human life as they are viewed in the traditional Hindu society: virtue on a moral plane; success on the material and social planes; pleasure on a sensual plane; and liberation on a spiritual plane. Coexistent with these aims are the four stages of life: quest for knowledge, family life, retreat into the forest, and renunciation.

A four-fold division can be found in all traditional societies throughout the world, symbolically representing the progression of creative consciousness into physical reality. In India, this division is reflected in the caste system, a social order that differs profoundly from those accepted in the contemporary Western world. Exploring he fundamental concepts of the caste system, the author addresses issues of race, individual rights, sexual mores, martial practices, and spiritual attainments. In this light, he exposes the inherent flaws and hypocrisies of our modern egalitarian governments and shows how the shadow side of the ancient caste system persists, disguised and unacknowledged, beneath contemporary economic regimes. Daniélou explains how Hindu society has served as a model for the realization of human potential on many levels, addressing sociological and human problems that are both timeless and universal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594777356
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Publication date: 8/1/1993
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • File size: 453 KB

Meet the Author

Alain Daniélou (1907-1994) spent more than 15 years in the traditional society of India, using only the Sanskrit and Hindi languages and studying music and philosophy with eminent scholars. He was duly initiated into esoteric Shaivism, which gave him unusual access to texts transmitted through the oral tradition alone. He is the author of more than 30 books on the religion, history, and arts of India and the Mediterranean.
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Table of Contents


Note from the Publisher

Introduction by Robert Lawlor



Part One


1. The Historical Background
History and Legend
The Birth of a Civilization
Sanskrit

2. The Bases of Social Order
The Cycles
The Origin of the Ages, the Races, and the Castes
Elements of Social Order
The Castes
Occupation, Heredity, Environment
The Four Tyrannies
Race and Racism
Duties and Privileges
Caste and Marriage
Caste and Diet
Caste and Conquest
The Outcastes
Protection of Less Advanced Races


Part Two

3. The Nature of the World
The Nature of the World
Creation and Perception
Matter, the Stars, and Life

4. The Four Aims of Life
The Four "Aims of Life" (Purusharthas)
Action (Karma)

5. The First Aim of Life
Dharma: Duty, Virtue - Self-realization on the Moral Plane
Ethics
Moral Purity, Ritual Purity, and Untouchability
The Three Debts of Man
The Role of Women
Population Control

6. The Second Aim of Life
Artha: Material Goods, Wealth, Success, Power - Self-realization on the Social Level
Material Goods
The Acquisition and Use of Wealth

7. The Third Aim of Life
Kama: Pleasure, Sexuality, Enjoyment - Self-realization on the Sensual Level
Pleasure
Pleasure and the Other Aims of Life
Pleasure and Liberation
Pleasure, the Individual, and Society
The Forms of Erotic Realization
Erotic Arts and Techniques

8. The Fourth Aim of Life
Moksha: Liberation - Self-realization on the Spiritual Plane
Liberation
Degrees of Divine Union
Transcendent Reality
Qualifications
The Paths of Liberation
Samadhi

9. The Four Stages of Life
The First Stage of Life: The Quest for Knowledge (Brahmacharya)
The Second Stage of Life: Family Life (Grihastha)
The Third Stage of Life: Retreat into the Forest (Vana Prastha)
The Fourth Stage of Life: Renunciation (Sannyasa)

10. Conclusions
Hindu Society in the Modern World


Appendix 1 - The Thirty-Two Sciences

Appendix 2 - The Sixty-Four Arts

Sources

Index

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