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

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Inner Traditions / Bear & Co, Aug 1, 1993 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 182 pages
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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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VIRTUE SUCCESS PLEASURE & LIBE

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Danielou, an Orientalist and musicologist who lived in India for more than 20 years and is a leading Hindu scholar as well, provides a sympathetic presentation of the way Hindu society coped with ... Read full review

Contents

THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
9
THE BIRTH OF A CIVILIZATION
14
SANSKRIT
16
THE BASES OF SOCIAL ORDER
19
THE ORIGIN OF THE AGES THE RACES AND THE CASTES
22
ELEMENTS OF SOCIAL ORDER
28
THE CASTES
32
OCCUPATION HEREDITY ENVIRONMENT
37
POPULATION CONTROL
96
THE SECOND AIM OF LIFE ARTHA MATERIAL GOODS WEALTH SUCCESS POWER Selfrealization on the Social Level
99
THE ACQUISITION AND USE OF WEALTH
104
THE THIRD AIM OF LIFE KAMA PLEASURE SEXUALITY ENJOYMENT Selfrealization on the Sensual Level
109
PLEASURE AND THE OTHER AIMS OF LIFE
112
PLEASURE AND LIBERATION
113
PLEASURE THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY
116
THE FORMS OF EROTIC REALIZATION
119

THE FOUR TYRANNIES
41
RACE AND RACISM
43
DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES
44
CASTE AND MARRIAGE
45
CASTE AND DIET
48
CASTE AND CONQUEST
49
THE OUTCASTES
50
PROTECTION OF LESS ADVANCED RACES
52
Part Two
55
THE NATURE OF THE WORLD
57
CREATION AND PERCEPTION
59
MATTER THE STARS AND LIFE
63
THE FOUR AIMS OF LIFE
67
ACTION KARMA
70
THE FIRST AIM OF LIFE DHARMA DUTY VIRTUE Selfrealization on the Moral Plane
74
MORAL PURITY RITUAL PURITY AND UNTOUCHABILITY
84
THE THREE DEBTS OF MAN
88
THE ROLE OF WOMEN
90
EROTIC ARTS AND TECHNIQUES
121
THE FOURTH AIM OF LIFE MOKSHA LIBERATION Selfrealization on the Spiritual Plane
127
DEGREES OF DIVINE UNION
129
TRANSCENDENT REALITY
131
QUALIFICATIONS
134
THE PATHS OF LIBERATION
135
SAMADHI
137
THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE
139
THE QUEST FOR KNOWLEDGE BRAHMACHARYA
140
FAMILY LIFE GRIHASTHA
145
RETREAT INTO THE FOREST VANAPRASTHA
150
CONCLUSIONS HINDU SOCIETY IN THE MODERN WORLD
153
THE THIRTYTWO SCIENCES
160
THE SIXTYFOUR ARTS
172
SOURCES
176
INDEX
177
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About the author (1993)

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.

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