Chapter 2: Hinduism
What People Want
Pleasure (Path of Desire)
o According to India, there is nothing wrong with pleasure, as it is one of
the four legitimate ends of life.
o Small immediate goals must be sacrificed for long-range gains and
impulses that would injure others must be curbed to avoid antagonisms
o Hedonism: the pursuit of pleasure.
o If pleasure is what you want, do not suppress the desire; seek it
o Everyone eventually comes to the discovery that pleasure is not all that
one wants because it is too trivial to satisfy ones total nature
(bottomless ocean of pleasure, one pleasure drags another after it).
o Pleasure is essentially private and the self is too small for perpetual
Worldly Success with Wealth, Fame and Power (Path of Desire)
o Successs satisfaction lasts longer because it is a social achievement as
it involves the lives of others.
o Limitations of Worldly Success:
Wealth, fame and power are exclusive, as they do not multiply
when shared, they cannot be distributed without diminishing
ones own portion.
The drive for success is impossible to satisfy, which leads to
greed, as people can never get enough of what they do not really
Worldly success is identical with hedonism, as it centers meaning
in the self, which proves to be too small for perpetual
enthusiasm: everyone wants more from life than wealth, fame
Successs achievements are temporary, as it goes away when we
pass and it can be taken away.
Community or Duty (Path of Renunciation)
o Renunciation: life holds more than one is now experiencing; an attempt
to make the best of personal defeat.
Hinduism draws distinction between chronological and
psychological age; two may have the same chronological age but
one person may have a psychological age of a nine year old
(wanting pleasure) while the other one is an adult.
True religion begins with the quest for meaning and value
beyond self-centeredness; it renounces the egos claims to
o Community is an obvious candidate for something greater than
ourselves; the person has transferred allegiance to it, giving its claims
priority over their own.
This produces the religion of duty after pleasure and success.
This transforms the will-to-get into the will-to-give and the will-to-
win into the will-to-serve.
Duty, like pleasure and success, also yields notable rewards, only
to leave the human spirit unfilled (one earns self-respect and
respect from others). What People Really Want
Being: everyone wants to be rather than not be because nobody wants to die.
Know: we are insatiably curious.
Joy: a feeling tone that is the opposite of frustration, futility and boredom.
People really want infinite being, infinite knowledge and infinite bliss.
Liberation or Moksha (Path of Renunciation): what people really want is the
release from the finitude that restricts us from the limitless being,
consciousness and bliss our hearts desire.
The circuit of what people want and think they want: pleasure, success,
responsible discharge of duty and liberation.
Atman: the hidden self.
Brahman: the Godhead.
A human self is not completely accounted for (unlimited or infinite) until all
three are noted: body, personality and Atman-Brahman.
We dont feel infinite because the Eternal is buried under the impenetrable
mass of distractions, false assumptions and self-regarding instincts that
comprise our surface selves.
The Beyond Within
Three Strictures or Restrictions on our Joy:
o Physical Pain: least troublesome of the three.
As pains intensity is partly due to the fear that accompanies it,
the conquest of fear can reduce pain concomitantly.
Pain can be accepted when it has a purpose.
In cases of useless pain, it may be possible to anesthetize it
o Psychological Pain: arises from the thwarting of specific desires.
Each thwarts an expectation of the individual ego; if the ego
were to have no expectations, there would be nothing to
Detachment from the finite self or attachment to the whole of
things can reduce psychological pain.
o Ignorance or Boredom with Life: Hindus claim this to be also removable.
People who could identify with being as a whole would be
Hinduism posits an extensive self that lives successive lives in
the way a single life lives successive moments.
We are fixated on our present life span; if we could mature
completely, we would see that lifespan in a larger setting is
Hinduism sees the minds hidden continents as stretching to
What the realization of our total being is like must be experienced; people who
have made the discovery are wiser, have more strength and joy and seem
Four Paths to the Goal
Yoke: to unite and to place under disciplined training.
Yoga: a method of training designed to lead to integration or union of the
human spirit with the God who lies concealed in its deepest recesses.
Four Basic Spiritual Personality Types:
o Reflectiveo Emotional
o Experimentally Inclined
For each of these personality types, Hinduism prescribes a distinct yoga that is
designed to capitalized on the types distinctive strength.
All four paths begin with moral preliminaries.
o People must be first cleansed of their gross impurities.
o The first step of every yoga involves the cultivation of habits as non-
injury, truthfulness, non-stealing, self-control; cleanliness, contentment,
self-discipline and a compelling desire to reach the goal.
The Way to God Through Knowledge
Jnana Yoga: intended for spiritual aspirants who have a strong reflective bend;
the path to oneness with the Godhead through knowledge (not factual
information but an intuitive discernment that transforms) the guiding image
was of an infinite sea of being underlying the waves of our finite selves.
Discrimination: the power to distinguish between the surface self that crowds
the foreground of attention and the larger self that is out of sight.
Cultivating this power proceeds through three stages:
o Learning: listening to sages, scriptures and treatises on the Summa
Theologica, the aspirant is introduced to the prospect that her essential
being is Being itself.
o Thinking: intensive reflection; the yogi must turn her awareness inward,
she must pierce the innumerable layers of her personality until she
reaches the anonymous, joyful unconcerned actress who stands
o Shifting Self-Identification to Abi