Within a vast spectrum of spiritual practices, Hinduism accommodates both material and spiritual needs. However, as material benefits space temporary, many traditions consider eternal moksha the can be fried goal.

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Hindu texts information four sequential aims – dharma, artha, kama, and moksha. Dharma recommends righteous and also regulated living, so the one is able one to get wealth, artha. Through prosperity one have the right to then gain kama, sensual pleasure. Once one realises the futility of short-term gratification, one at some point seeks moksha (liberation). Some traditions, particularly of the bhakti school, accept moksha, but point out the selfishness in even desiring liberation. They point out a 5th goal referred to as prema (love the God) or nitya-lila (eternal loving service).

Spiritual emancipation is therefore considered the main goal that life, and other objectives are essential stepping stones towards it. Hinduism hence recommends a balanced life v an ultimate spiritual goal. Liberation usually involves union with God, conceived of in various methods by different traditions. Words for this process is yoga, native which we deserve to derive the English word yoke, definition to join.

Key PointsHindu scriptures say over there are 4 goals in civilised religious life:dharma – righteousnessartha – economic developmentkama – sensual enjoymentmoksha – liberation, the can be fried goal.Moksha is accomplished through union through God (yoga).Scriptural Passages

“All power of dharma is supposed for can be fried liberation (moksha). It have to not be performed for material gain. Furthermore, one who is involved in the can be fried occupational organization (dharma) must not use material gain (artha) merely for feeling gratification (karma).”

Bhagavat Purana 1.2.9

Related Values/IssuesPersonal fulfilmentGoal settingPlanning ours livesPersonal ReflectionHow necessary is that for united state to have goals in life? What room the results of having clear goals?What space the results of having lofty long-term aims but no short-term objectives?Related Practices


Following the system of four ashrams, where product desires room met in a regulated way through the 4 stages the life with emphasis on renunciation towards the finish of life. Only the second ashram, initiated in ~ the wedding ceremony, enables for intimate contact in between men and women.

Different Paths

There space various species of yoga, likewise called various margs, (paths). There are three main ones: karma-yoga, the yoga of selfless action; jnana-yoga, the yoga of spirituality knowledge; and bhakti-yoga, the yoga of loving devotion. Some include a fourth path dubbed raja-yoga or astanga-yoga, the eight-step path, which includes physical exercises and also culminates in meditation ~ above God in ~ the heart (for more information ~ above these 4 paths, see 4 Main Paths).

There are various opinions regarding the merits that each. Part say the all space equally valid, prefer parallel paths. Others favour a particular procedure claiming the the assorted yogas space successive steps on the exact same path. Virtually all Hindus agree that whichever process one chooses it should be followed according come scriptural injunction quite than whimsically.

Useful Analogy 1

Paths up a hill – the paths are many but the optimal is one.

This analogy is favoured by the advaita schoolsAll routes are taken into consideration equal and chosen according to an individual inclination

Useful Analogy 2

The yoga ladder – the complete path of yoga is a ladder with gradual steps


This metaphor is used by the personalistic bhakti colleges which claim that love that God is the ultimate goal.The bottom that the ladder is the beginning of spiritual life (selfless actions with karma-yoga).The height of the ladder represents loving union v God (bhakti).At a specific stage (on one step) one may be known by the name (e.g. hatha-yogi) but if she progresses she will certainly ultimately concerned the topmost platform. Anyone who is making progress have to not be criticised even if practicing on a relatively low level.

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Common Misunderstandings

Bhakti is for those who are much less intelligent and also predominantly ~ above the emotionally levelActually, countless bhakti schools place great emphasis on knowledge yet do organize that over there is no wisdom (realised knowledge) without surrender come God.

Key PointsThere are 4 main paths/steps to achieve yoga (union v God)karma-yoga – selfless actionjnana-yoga – spirituality knowledgeraja (astanga) yoga – meditationbhakti-yoga – (devotional service)