Holiness in Hinduism

By Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti on 29-12-2011

The Path to
Holiness – 8

In understanding pathways
to holiness in Hinduism, it is important to look at various sadhana s (spiritual or ascetic
practices).  Depending on the teachings
of Madhavacharya (dwaita, i. e.,
dualism: God – Brahman – and devotee
or human are not the same) and Ramanujacharya (vishishtadwaita, i. e., qualified non-dualism: God and human are
the same but also different), and Sankaracharya (advaita, i. e, God and human are the same – aham brahmasmi: I am God) there are different sects, cults, rites,
rituals, and ascetic practices. I am going to focus on advaita as it is the most important of the three traditions.  Sadhana
Chathushtayam –  four aspects of
ascetic  practices for God realization –
that may be considered to be the core of the advidic (non-dual) vedantic
teaching tradition (pramanam),  that is well-explained in Viveka Choodamani supposed to be written
by Sri Sankaracharya, and that is to be practiced by  sadhak
s(seekers after truth or desirers of moksha
or liberation).  These four aspects are:
1. Nityaanitya Vivekam  (the discriminative knowledge between what is
time-bound/temporal/unreal and  
eternal/permanent/real, 2. Ihaamuthraphalabhogaviragam
(a kind of dis-passion/detachment that does not desire anything in this world
or in the other world), 3. Shamadishadka
sampatthi (six resources beginning with the control of the mind), 4. Mumukshatwam (the desire for
liberation). According to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa there are four types of
people: (1) Nityabaddhan (ever-tied
or imprisoned: the one who is immersed in the allurements and pleasures of this
world without knowing that this world is an illusion or unreal or does not
last), (2) Baddha mumukshu (tied
striver of liberation: the one who knows that this world is unreal and strives
incessantly for liberation), (3) Baddha
muktan (freed from ties: liberated from bondage/illusion through sadhana), and (4) Nitya muktan (the one
who has never been in the grip of bondage). In all this sadhana (ascetic practice), vivekam
(discriminative knowledge) and vairagyam
(absolute detachment) are the most important elements. Vevekam will make a
person realize that only God is real and the world is unreal (brhmasatyam jagatmidhya). Vairagyam is a
mental state marked by absence of yearning in all fleeting objects of pleasure.
It is not running away from the world as the world is always going to be with
you wherever you go. Artham (wealth)
and kamam (anything pleasure-related)
will vanish. Only dharmam (righteous thinking and behavior) can help. This
realization will lead to detachment (vairagyam)
from the seductions of this world. Absolute and unconditional surrender to God
alone matters.

About The Author

Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti

Dr. John K Thekkedam (Swami Snehananda Jyoti) spent most of his life as a clinical psychologist in USA. He began his public life as a Jesuit priest. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he left the society and founded 'East West Awakening'.