Hinduism and Happiness

I am no expert on Hinduism, just as I am no expert on Buddhism. I am simply curious about other religions and philosophies about life. From what I have read, Hinduism, which has its roots in India, very much parallels the teachings of the West regarding the attainment of happiness.

Hinduism has about one billion followers, making it the third largest religion.  While is has many different traditions, there is an essential unity among Hindu followers.

Hinduism has four responses to the question: What do people want?  The question could also be put as: What is the meaning of life?  Hinduism answers the above question with the four aims of life: artha, kama, moksha, and dharma.

Artha and kama together correspond to the “Good Life.” Artha represents wealth, achievement, worldly success, fame and power. Kama includes intellectual and aesthetic pleasures such as reading, art, friendships, teaching, etc.  These two provide the means to achievement and pleasure – the “Good Life.”

Moksha refers to the mystical experience of the Divine.  It is the final goal of human life, and each person, according to Hinduism, has the potential to achieve it.  Moksha represents the second type of happiness, happiness that comes directly from God.

The key to attaining both types of happiness is dharma. According to Hinduism, the one universal duty of all people is the practice of dharma.  A meaningful translation of dharma is the practice of virtue: the cultivation of friendship and compassion for our fellow beings and overcoming animosity.

More about Hinduism and happiness in my next post.





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