I am not an Acharya or teacher, I simply want to share here one aspect more of the richness of Hinduism, and how though it has been faulted as otherworldly, it is not so. After diving in it one can realise that the splendour of the Sanatan Dharma comes also from its practical applicability in daily life. That is why it is called Dharma and not religion. It is not a set of dogmas to be believed, it is a complete lifestyle to be experienced by oneself, called Dharmic because it is the way of complying with the universal laws and to be faithful to our own nature.
The four purusharthas that Sanathan Dharma takes into account, roughly translated as the four goals in life, prove that matter and spirit are interwoven in the fabric of life. Because all is Ishwara!. So all in life is sacred as long as it moves in the dharmic waves. And all should be seen as to direct us towards the Divine. These are the four purusharthas:
ARTHA: richness earned by lawful means. Having material comfort is just desirable for sharing with the needy and as a means to tranquility of mind for devoting ourselves to increase our conciousness.
KAAMA: desires that should be fulfilled in lawful manner. If we are full of desires, they will involve us too much for focusing on spiritual advancement.
DHARMA: it pervades the other two objectives, as dharma has to be how we conduct our life, because Dharma is Ishwara´s language. So kaama and artha have to be grounded on Dharma, to be conductive to Moksha. Still, artha, kaama and even dharma sort of belong to the karma realm, which has to be transcended for Moksha.
MOKSHA or MUKTI: As Shri Ramakrishna said, only when all desires are fulfilled, in this life or in many, we will be ready to the detachment required for Moksha. Moksha or liberation from the cycle of deaths and rebirths in which we put ourselves life after life till we realise (experience) the divinity in us.
We all seek happiness, the greatest amount of happiness that we can get. We have experienced sukha and dukha (happiness and misery). To be realistic, both have to be accepted as the dual outcome of the life in this world. None of them are permanent, because they come from external events or circumstances in life that have an expiry date, like everything in life. Deep inside of us we are never satisfied with the transient happiness that events, circumstances, persons, living beings or objects give us. We want more lasting happiness. In fact we want eternal happiness. And eternal happiness can never come from events, circumstances, persons, living beings or objects, which by their own nature are transient. Realising this fact, can become the turning point for starting an spiritual quest, for the search of REAL and PERMANENT happiness, that necessarily has to be found in the unique and only REAL and PERMANENT existent source of Eternal Happiness: the Eternal, the Conciousness, Bhagavan, the Divine. Trascending the duality of opposites, happiness and misery, we will find the REAL and ETERNAL happiness. When we walk one step towards Him, be sure He will walk seven steps towards you, as the sages and saints have experienced and acknowledged for all of us.
Moksha is said to be attained. It is the final aim in Hinduism. the Hindu highest spiritual goal. It means the liberation from the cycle of births and deaths in which we unconciously go life after life till we realise (acknowledge + experience) the divinity that we ARE, by going beyond the pair of opposites that life in this world brings (cold/hot, happiness/sadness, etc). According to the sashtras, the means for overcoming the pair of opposites is detachment, which brings equanimity (impartiality) in front of both insult and praise, as the Buddha used to teach, so nicely emboding the Hindu teachings in Him. Detachment is not carelessness or not minding what happens to others. It is the most realistic and rooted worldview when one realises the impermanence of the things and happenings of this life. From detachment and true understanding of life, compassion for the whole sentient and non-sentient beings stems, because if we are overwhelmed by only one or two events of our petty lives, there is no space and energy for devoting to anything else.
SIMPLE TIPS TO DEVELOP DETACHMENT
1. By observation of the “outer world”: if we check our own life we see how living beings, objects and events which once were “essential” for us, simply disappeared, and astoundly life went on and sky didn´t fall on earth.
2. By observation of the “inner world”: observing our own mind. What we call “our mind” it is only a bunch of thoughts: memories, plans for future, worries, lists of “to do”… :-). But…are we “thought” by our thoughts or do we decide what we think about?. For most of us, it is our mind which brings thousands of unconnected varied thoughts that overtake us even without our own awareness of this fact. There is a simple exercise of meditation that may help for both aims: having more control on our own thoughts, and developing detachment: sitting in a comfortable posture with your spine straight, and your eyes closed, just OBSERVE the thoughts that like clouds in the sky, come and go. DO NOT CLING to them. BUT DO NOT REJECT them either. Just let them come and go. When you realise you have followed one of the thoughts, simply bring your mind back to the “observation mode”.
Moreover…this exercise brings an additional teaching…there is an “I” who observes, That “I” is not the mind, provided the mind is the OBJECT of observation…..who is that “I”? This exercise also helps in identifiying with the sakshi, the witness in you….who is that witness?. “Who am I?”, is the question that the 20th century saint Ramana Maharishi made us reflect about, based on the core of the Vedas. Vedantic questions that bring about the realisation of our Divine nature!.
In the Vedantic approach, Moksha is nothing to be “attained” in some uncertain future. Moksha is what we really are: right here and right now we are divine!. The liberation comes just when by unveiling our ignorance with the grace of Bhagavan, we realise what we are. Of course…..one thing is knowing the theory or having certain insights about this Truth…and another very different experiencing it, and living in that experience continuously, which would mean being enlightened.
Harih om. Mokṣa is only by knowledge, jñānād-eva, not by karma or by anything else. You are already non-separate from Īśvara and recognition of that fact is freedom, mokṣa. If that is not mokṣa, there is no mokṣa because if you are not limitless right now, there is no possibility of becoming limitless. All you have to understand is that there is only one thing and you are that one thing. It is already accomplished. To be free, you have only to shed your ignorance and know, jñānād-eva mokṣaḥ. To remove the ignorance, you require proper effort and perseverance. There is no difficulty in gaining knowledge other than becoming prepared. That preparedness is given by Bhagavān.
Source: From the book Bhagavad Gītā Home Study, 12-6, 12-7, Swami Dayananda Saraswatiji