The Path

jñāna-yoga

Jñāna literally means “knowledge, wisdom, understanding, or cognition,” and refers to existential knowledge. The Greeks called this revealing power epiginosko (ἐπιγινώσκω). The word yoga means “union.” Thus, jñāna-yoga is a path that aims to realize the essential...

Karma Yoga

In karma-yoga–or the art of selfless action–we learn to act in harmony with dharma, or the role we have been assigned in life, without expecting any results. The fact that every human being, regardless of age, sex, race, or nation, is doomed to act, makes this path...

Raja-yoga

Rāja-yoga is the path that studies and analyzes the mind. The Yoga-sūtras of Patañjali begin by defining yoga in the following manner: yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ “Yoga is the cessation of mental activity.” (Yoga-sūtras 1.2) This yogic path teaches us to transcend the...

Bhakti-yoga

Bhakti yoga is the yoga of love. Devotees aspire to a love different from the love in romance novels: it is not sentimental love that begins with sweet promises and ends in bitter disappointments, nor is it emotional love that arises from physiological processes and...

Kundalini-yoga

Kundalini-yoga is a yogic path that stimulates the conscious awakening of kuṇḍalinī-śakti, or “coiled energy.” This energy is the transcendental consciousness; it is the creative power of God, and therefore, the creative potential in the human being. Kundalini yoga...

Tantra-yoga

Tantra-yoga is a yogic methodology that combines a variety of techniques, such as mūdras, mantras, prāṇāyama, and dīkṣā in order to realize the very essence of the universe through delving into our own body. The practice of most of these techniques is aimed at...

Vedanta

Vedanta is one of humanity’s oldest paths of liberation. It is a pluralistic and universal path, suitable for every human being without any discrimination. Vedanta cannot be categorized as a philosophy, school of thought, or belief system as it goes beyond our...

Religion

Prabhuji's Hinduism invites us to open our eyes and contemplate all human beings as members of one family. It calls us to clear our vision in order to recognize the same truth in the essence of all religion. It suggests us to free ourselves from superstitions in order...

Guru Dakshina

Guru-dakṣiṇā is a very ancient fundamental tradition of the Sanātana-dharma religion. It is the disciple’s attempt to retribute the guru in some way for the time and energy he or she invests in the teaching process. The dakṣiṇā expresses the disciple’s deep...

Guru-seva – service to the Guru

Service, or “seva,” to the guru is one of the core principles of Hinduism. Prabhuji Mission, being a traditional Hindu church, practices the millennia-old tradition of guru-seva, or “service to the master.” Throughout the Śrutis, Smṛtis, and Purāṇas, the disciple’s...

Hinduism

Hinduism, whose original name is Sanātana-dharma, “the eternal dharma” or “the eternal religion,” is the oldest living religion in the world. It constitutes a fusion and synthesis of various revelations both Vaidika and Tāntrika. It is not the result or product of the human mind. It does not have one founder, but it is the revelation of the ancient Vedic seer-sages that evolved with the teachings of different ṛṣis and avatāras over the generations.

Today, Hinduism is a global religion with adherents from practically every corner of the planet numbering 1140 million. It is a religion that does not restrict human freedom of thought or feeling. Neither does it limit freedom of faith or worship, nor does it force anyone to accept a particular dogma. It is a liberal and highly universal religion. Its attitude is inclusive, respecting all other religions.

Hinduism is a complex religion encompassing many movements and schools. It is an umbrella under which a wide variety of denominations are sheltered. Despite lacking a central religious establishment or a single authoritative structure, all the different schools and lines within Hinduism share basic fundamentals. One such pillar is a pluralistic attitude toward all religious paths. In its invocations, Hinduism does not show sectarian concern, but prays for universal well-being:

oṁ sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ
sarve santu nirāmayāḥ
sarve bhadrāṇi paśyantu
mā kaścidduḥ khabhāgbhaveta
oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

“May all become happy. May none fall ill. May all see auspiciousness everywhere. May none ever feel sorrow. Oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ.”

Its pluralistic attitude has contributed to the religious and spiritual freedom that we can observe within Hinduism, with its different traditions, deities, masters, and forms of worship. For Hinduism, it is a major mistake to consider one’s way as the only true and correct path to access the Truth, as this Vedic hymn states:

ekaṁ sad vīprā bahudhā́ vadanty

“Truth is one, the wise call it by many names.”

So much so that Hinduism accepts the existence of many different paths to approach the same single reality. Within the scope of the sanātana-dharma religion, we find six different classical views, or śad-darśanas or śat-śāstras. Each of these views possesses a different perspective about Truth and scripture in Hinduism.

The term darśana comes from the Sanskrit dṛś, “seeing or vision” and corresponds to different perspectives of the same reality. The darśanas are divided into three pairs of aphoristic compositions that explain the Vedic revelation with a method of rationalistic approach. These are: Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika, Sāmkhya and Yoga, and Mīmāṁsā and Vedānta. Each set of sūtras has its Bhāṣya, Vṛtti, Vārttika, Vyākhyāna or Ṭīkā and Ṭippaṇī.

Nyāya: Its founder was Gautama Ṛṣi, who devised the fundamental principles of the Hindu logical system. This system is considered a prerequisite for all philosophical inquiry. Its postulate is that the universe is a projection of divine selfhood through its illusory power, or māyā. To attain divinity, it is necessary to prepare for enlightenment through knowledge and reasoning.

Vaiśeṣika: It refers to the science of atomism and is a supplement to the Nyāya. The Vaiśeṣika-sūtras were composed by Kaṇāda Ṛṣi. The term vaiśeṣika means “differentiation.” It aspires to bliss through knowledge of that which transcends matter.

Sāmkhya: Sāmkhya means “enumeration.” This system founded by Kapila Muni resembles the Vaiśeṣika because it observes the elements of the universe and attempts to classify them. Its essence is dvaita, or “dualistic,” since it accepts two primordial natures that give rise to the universal manifestation: Puruṣa, or “spiritual,” and prakṛti, or “material.”

Yoga: It is complementary to the Sāmkhya. It was Patañjali Maharṣi who systematized yoga in his Yoga-sūtras. It is about the consciousness of union or fusion with the Whole. It proposes a purifying methodology in order to recognize this union, which includes various techniques of introspection and concentration.

The Purva Mīmāṁsā: The sage Jaimini, a disciple of Vyāsa, composed the sūtras of the Mīmāṁsā system based on the ritualistic section of the Vedas. This line investigates action and seeks bliss through the proper performance of dharma. It emphasizes the study of the Vedas, the saṁhitās, and the brāhmaṇas.

The Uttara Mīmāṁsā or Vedanta: The sage Bādarāyaṇa or Vyāsa composed the Vedānta-sūtra or Brahma-sūtra which expounds the Upanishadic teachings. This system includes dvaita, viśiṣṭādvaita, and advaita. Vedanta means the culmination or conclusion of the Vedas. It emphasizes the study of the upanishadic literature, or the final portion of the Vedas. It offers descriptions about the nature of the universe, the soul, and the transcendental reality, as well as the relationship between them.

ye yathā māṁ prapadyante
tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
mama vartmānuvartante
manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ

“It whatever way men approach me, even so do I reward them; my path do men tread in all ways, O son of Pṛthā.” (Bhagavad Gita, 4.11)