Understanding Hinduism Part-2

by queenbee

This article discusses the ways by which a person can attain moksha or liberation according to Hinduism.

There are different ways in Hinduism by which you can attain moksha or liberation. Hindus believe in multiple ways by which one can know god. In Hinduism it doesn't matter whatever way one chooses. So according to Hinduism everyone, with the atheists and believers included has a chance to attain liberation.
There are mainly four different paths which one can take to realize the eternal truth. The first path is jnana yoga or the way of knowledge, the second path is bhakti yoga or the way of serving god with complete devotion. It is the most commonly followed way for self-realization.
The third path is karma yoga or the way of works. And the fourth and final path is raja yoga or the way of contemplation and meditation. Read on to know more about each path.

Jnana Yoga Or The Way Of Knowledge

           This is by far the most difficult among the four paths. By way of knowledge that does not mean that attaining knowledge is the way to attain liberation. By jnana yoga a person understands oneself completely, that is knowing themselves beyond name and form through pure understanding of the nature of doer.

                           Imagine a glass container. The air inside the glass container is us and the air outside the glass container is the god. We consider ourselves to be separate from god. Following jnana yoga is like breaking the glass and merging the air inside and outside the glass container. By jnana yoga you can experience your unity with god by breaking the glass of ignorance around you.


Bhakti Yoga Or The Path Of Devotion

          What yoga or path to be followed is decided based on the nature of an individual. Bhakti yoga suits to people who are of an emotional nature. By following bhakti yoga, one sees god as the embodiment of love. He surrenders himself to god by prayer, ritual and worship, channelling all his emotions into unconditional love or devotion.

                    This path is the most commonly used and known way to attain liberation. We chant or sing praising god in bhakti yoga. In bhakti yoga, one must surrender completely themselves to god with no other motivation than to please the supreme being.

Karma Yoga Or The Way Of Action

             Karma yoga is for those who are of an outgoing nature. Karma yoga purifies your heart by teaching you to work selflessly, without the thought of profit or reward. Through karma yoga we are able to detach ourselves from the fruits of our actions and offer it completely to god. According to Bhagavad-gita,"Karma Yoga is the selfless devotion of all inner as well as the outer activities as a Sacrifice to the Lord of all works, offered to the eternal as Master of all the soul's energies and austerities."

Principles Of Karma Yoga

The key components that determine any action to qualify as karma yoga is as follows:

Right Attitude

Having the right attitude while doing a work is mandatory. What you do is only secondary. We should act selflessly without seeking anything as a form of worship to god.

Right Motive

The motive behind doing a work must be pure. It must not be tarnished with the desire to achieve something.

Do Not Run Away From Your Duties

As an individual, you have many duties. Karma yoga advices us to not ignore our duties.

Do Your Best

Whatever you are doing, you do it with complete devotion. Give the best of yourself in everything you do. Do not hold back for the fear of failure or criticism.

Stop Anticipating The Results

Whatever work you do, you are not the actual doer, the god is. We are merely his instruments. We should act without anticipating on the result whether it is good or bad and focus our attention to doing the work.

Serve Others

 Serve others like how you want to be served yourself. Learn to see every person as yourself. Practice humility in your actions.


Raja Yoga Or The Way Of Meditation

            Raja yoga helps us to control our thoughts by turning our mental and physical energy into spiritual energy. Raja yoga is also called as ashtanga yoga referring to the eight limbs leading to the absolute control of mind. The most important way it is attained is by the way of meditation. There are other ways too.

Ashtanga Or The Eight Limbs Of Raja Yoga

1. Yamas:

              It aims at destroying the lower nature. It is subdivided into five categories. They are:

  1. Ahimsa or non-violence
  2. Satyam or truthfulness
  3. Brahmacharya or celibacy
  4. Asteya or non-stealing
  5. Aparigraha or non-covetousness
2. Niyamas:

         It is also divided into five and includes:

  1. Saucha or purity
  2. Santhosha or contentment
  3. Tapas or austerity
  4. Swadhyaya or study of sacred texts
  5. Ishwara pranidhana or constantly living with an awareness of the divine presence.
3. Asanas Or Postures
4. Pranayama Or Control Of Breath

        Asanas and pranayama together form a sub-division of raja yoga known as hatha-yoga.

5. Pratyahara Or The Withdrawal Of The Senses
6. Dharana Or Concentration
7. Dhyana Or Meditation
8. Samadhi Or The Super Conscious State






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Updated: 10/01/2014, queenbee
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