Virtue, Success, Pleasure, and Liberation

The Four Aims of Life in the Tradition of Ancient India
By (author) Alain Daniélou

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Virtue, Success, Pleasure, and Liberation
The Four Aims of Life in the Tradition of Ancient India
By (author) Alain Daniélou

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Pages : 192

Book Size : 6 x 9

ISBN-13 : 9780892812189

Imprint : Inner Traditions

On Sale Date : August 01, 1993

Format : Paperback Book

Exploring the fundamental concepts of the caste system, Alain Danielou addresses issues of race, individual rights, sexual mores, marital practices, and spiritual attainments. In this light, the author explains how Hindu society has served as a model for the realization of human potential, and exposes the inherent flaws and hypocrisies of our modern egalitarian governments.
Description

About Virtue, Success, Pleasure, and Liberation

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.
Table of Contents

Table of content


Note from the Publisher

Introduction by Robert Lawlor



Part One


1.    The Historical Background
History and Legend
The Birth of a Civilization
Sanskrit

2.    The Bases of Social Order
The Cycles
The Origin of the Ages, the Races, and the Castes
Elements of Social Order
The Castes
Occupation, Heredity, Environment
The Four Tyrannies
Race and Racism
Duties and Privileges
Caste and Marriage
Caste and Diet
Caste and Conquest
The Outcastes
Protection of Less Advanced Races


Part Two

3.    The Nature of the World
The Nature of the World
Creation and Perception
Matter, the Stars, and Life

4.    The Four Aims of Life
The Four "Aims of Life" (Purusharthas)
Action (Karma)

5.    The First Aim of Life
Dharma: Duty, Virtue - Self-realization on the Moral Plane
Ethics
Moral Purity, Ritual Purity, and Untouchability
The Three Debts of Man
The Role of Women
Population Control

6.    The Second Aim of Life
Artha: Material Goods, Wealth, Success, Power - Self-realization on the Social Level
Material Goods
The Acquisition and Use of Wealth

7.    The Third Aim of Life
Kama: Pleasure, Sexuality, Enjoyment - Self-realization on the Sensual Level
Pleasure
Pleasure and the Other Aims of Life
Pleasure and Liberation
Pleasure, the Individual, and Society
The Forms of Erotic Realization
Erotic Arts and Techniques

8.    The Fourth Aim of Life
Moksha: Liberation - Self-realization on the Spiritual Plane
Liberation
Degrees of Divine Union
Transcendent Reality
Qualifications
The Paths of Liberation
Samadhi

9.    The Four Stages of Life
The First Stage of Life: The Quest for Knowledge (Brahmacharya)
The Second Stage of Life: Family Life (Grihastha)
The Third Stage of Life: Retreat into the Forest (Vana Prastha)
The Fourth Stage of Life: Renunciation (Sannyasa)

10.    Conclusions
Hindu Society in the Modern World


Appendix 1 - The Thirty-Two Sciences

Appendix 2 - The Sixty-Four Arts

Sources

Index

Author Bio
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.
Reviews

Reviews

Book Praise

Book Praise

"This book is important not only for those wanting to understand India and Hinduism as traditional Indians see them, but also for what different assumptions and values reveal by comparison about our own Western culture . . . Highly recommended."

Library Journal



"Offer[s] us an abundance of excellent advice about how to understand life and to live well."

Collin Cleary, Tyr, August 2002



"This is one of those books you should give your child when they come of age so that they may understand the natural rhythm of life, their duties, how to find their place, and along with it happiness and freedom in a seemingly chaotic world." The Institute of Hermetic Studies, Dec 2007
Back Cover

Back Cover Copy

HINDU PHILOSOPHY

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.

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.

White Spirit Animals