8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Traditional Hindu life is rooted in the Cosmos itself,
This review is from: Virtue, Success, Pleasure, and Liberation: The Four Aims of Life in the Tradition of Ancient India (Paperback)
It embarrasses me to admit that before I encountered the works of Alain Danielou I had no real conception of the nature of traditional Indian culture. I like to think that I had I certain instinctual understanding of the Upanishads but I no real grounding in the underlying roots of the mother of civilizations. Then again, how could I? I was thoroughly indoctrinated in the egalitarian prejudices of modern Western thought. As the book points out, the modern Europeanized society of New Delhi is not truly Hindu- they are a society apart composed of pariahs with a deep seated hostility towards traditional institutions. Of course these traditional institutions have endured for millennia and will long outlast the current aberration in governance.
The purpose of this book is to reveal the interpenetrating underlying nature of the structure of traditional society. The interrelation of the four aims life, the four stages of biological maturation, the four castes, the four historical ages, the four human types, and so many other fundamental quaternaries are all spelled out. Traditional society is based upon these principles for they represent the metaphysical basis of greater reality- they represent the will of the Creator. Nothing lasting can oppose the will of god. Nothing can be further from the anthropological relativism of the West.
How unnatural and disruptive does Western "civilization" appear when compared with a civilization carefully built upon spiritual physics and the Creators will.
This book also has one of the best explanations of the purpose of life that I have encountered. All beings exist to act as witnesses to the cosmos and thereby to give it a degree of reality. The reality of a particular universe resides solely in the limits given it by the perception of conscious individuals. Our deliberately limited perceptions are what give all things the illusion of substance. Yet, our consciousness is not separate from the Universal Consciousness. The final goal of life is to come to Know this truth.
To sum up, traditional Hindu life is based on a study of the rules that are natural to man and take account the different aspects of his physical, psychic, transmigrant, and physical nature, as well as his collective functions, role, destiny, and purpose in the cosmic order.