PHILOSOPHY > Tibetan Budhhism

Hinduism


Within Patañjali'sashtanga yoga practice there are eight limbs leading to moksha. These are ethical discipline (yamas), rules (niyamas), physical postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), withdrawal from the senses (pratyahara), one-pointedness of mind (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and finally samadhi, which is often described as the union of the Self (atman) with the omnipresent (Brahman), and is the ultimate aim of all Hindu yogis. Meditation in Hinduism is not confined to any school or sect and has expanded beyond Hinduism to the West.

The influential modern proponent of Hinduism who first introduced Eastern philosophy to the West in the late 19th century, Swami Vivekananda, describes meditation as follows:


Meditation has been laid stress upon by all religions. The meditative state of mind is declared by the Yogis to be the highest state in which the mind exists. When the mind is studying the external object, it gets identified with it, loses itself. To use the simile of the old Indian philosopher: the soul of man is like a piece of crystal, but it takes the colour of whatever is near it. Whatever the soul touches ... it has to take its colour. That is the difficulty. That constitutes the bondage.

Traditionally the life of a Hindu is divided into four Āshramas

The first part of one's life, Brahmacharya, the stage as a student, is spent in celibate, controlled, sober and pure contemplation under the guidance of a Guru, building up the mind for spiritual knowledge. Grihastha is the householder's stage, in which one marries and satisfies kāma and artha in one's married and professional life respectively. The moral obligations of a Hindu householder include supporting one's parents, children, guests and holy figures. Vānaprastha, the retirement stage, is gradual detachment from the material world. This may involve giving over duties to one's children, spending more time in religious practices and embarking on holy pilgrimages. Finally, in Sannyāsa, the stage of asceticism, one renounces all worldly attachments to secludedly find the Divine through detachment from worldly life and peacefully shed the body for Moksha


Ashrams have been a powerful symbol throughout Hindu history and theology. Most Hindu kings, until the Middle Ages, are known to have had a sage who would advise the royal family in spiritual matters, or in times of crisis, who was called the rajguru, which literally translates to royal teacher. A world-weary emperor going to this guru's ashram, and finding solace and tranquility, is a recurring motif in many folktales and legends of ancient India.

Sometimes, the goal of a pilgrimage to the ashram was not tranquility, but instruction in some art, especially warfare. In the Hindu epic Ramayana, the protagonist princes of ancient Ayodhya, Rama and Lakshmana, go to the Rishi Vishvamitra's ashram to protect his Yajnas from being defiled by emissary-demons of Ravana. After they prove their mettle, the princes receive martial instruction from the sage, especially in the use of Divine weapons, called Divyastras In the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna, in his youth, goes to the ashram of Sage Sandipani, to gain knowledge of both intellectual and spiritual matters.


Ashram Devotional

Traditionally, an ashram is a spiritual hermitage. Additionally, today the term ashram often denotes a locus of Indian cultural activity such as yoga, music study or religious instruction, the moral equivalent of a studio or dojo.

Bhagavad-Gita

The Bhagavad Gita often referred to as simply the Gita, is a 700-verse scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. This scripture contains a conversation between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide Lord Krishna on a variety of theological and philosophical issues.