Basic Concepts

Alongside the diversities of belief, philosophical orientation and practice which the Hindu tradition as a whole contains, it also shares a number of basic concepts. Atman, the eternal principle which animates all life and brings consciousness. 

  • Moksha, the liberation which is the ultimate goal of all beings 
  • Dharma, which can mean either "religion", "law", "duty" or "righteousness", depending on the context 
  • Karma, which is that all actions have consequences that shape one's destiny 
  • Maya, which is life in ignorance of the Sanatana Dharma (the eternal truth) 

 

The Four Aims and Pathways 

Hinduism sees human life in terms of four purusharthas or aims. These are: 

  • Dharma, which is concerned with religious life 
  • Artha, which is concerned with economic development 
  • Kama, which is an appropriate gratification of the senses 
  • Moksha, which is liberation from the cycle of birth and death 

 

Hinduism also traditionally teaches that the spiritual life has four main pathways: 

  • Karma yoga, which is the way of action 
  • Jnana yoga, which is the way of knowledge 
  • Raja yoga, which is the way of self-control 
  • Bhakti yoga, which is the way of devotion