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

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

by Alain Daniélou

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Virtue, Success, Pleasure, and Liberation: The Four Aims of Life in the Tradition of Ancient India by Alain Daniélou

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594777356
Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
Publication date: 08/01/1993
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
File size: 430 KB

About the Author

Alain Daniélou currently resides in Italy and is the author of more than thirty books about the philosophy, religion, history, and arts of India. Following a series of successful careers as a dancer, musician, and composer (Cocteau, Diaghilev, and Stravinsky were among his friends), he eventually settled in India where he spent fifteen years in the study of Sanskrit, philosophy, and music. Daniélou speaks and writes Hindi fluently and is an accomplished player of the vina. After numerous university appointments in India, he returned in 1963 to Europe, where he established an international institute for the reevaluation of the religious music of the Orient. Daniélou's other Inner Traditions titles include The Complete Kama Sutra, Gods of Love and Ecstasy, The Myths and Gods of India, While the Gods Play, and Yoga: Mastering the Secrets of Matter and the Universe.
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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