The Great Indian Lifestyle

A 10,000 year old model of Purpose, Profit, Pleasure and Freedom
No! This Indian lifestyle is not about eating curry or doing yoga everyday nor is it about getting a regular Ayurvedic massage. In fact, this lifestyle is talked about as a sophisticated way of living a fulfilled life. It is quite a time-tested lifestyle and has been around for at least 10,000 years. Though it is ancient, it is said to be relevant for any era, applies to anybody, living anywhere - be it the USA, India, the UK, Australia or New Zealand. It is essentially a model for desire management. Want to know more about this great Indian lifestyle?

If you have desires it simply shows you are alive and kicking. If you desire to lead a purposeful life, if you wish to earn enough wealth that supports your life purpose, if you want to experience pleasures of life and if you wish to find lasting peace and happiness, then the great Indian lifestyle has much to offer.

In fact, if happiness is what we seek in life, India suggests a time-tested lifestyle that has helped many in achieving lasting happiness. This model continues from ancient times, when India left no stone unturned in the quest to achieving joy, completeness and balance in life. It also serves as a self-help-life-coach that helps with the objectives of human life.

But bhai!!!...this is the 21st century

This Indian lifestyle doesn't negate the human world of desires. So it doesn't matter even if its 10,000 years old. Using today's lingo, you can explain this lifestyle as a four quadrant model where each quadrant is a desire that man tries to fulfil in life. This applies universally to all people at all times because it recognizes all the urges of human personality. Creed, faith, religion, dogma, ethnicity or nationality doesn't affect this model.

One can also think about this as a psycho-spiritual mould for anybody who has a heartbeat and a thinking head. This lifestyle is very much in vogue as it’s intertwined in the Indian psyche. People of Indian origin do have a fair idea about this - at least in theory, if not in practice.

To quote the late Dr. L.P.Vidyarthi, one of India’s most renowned anthropologists, about this lifestyle.
"These form the basic elements of the Indian lifestyle which still continue to influence the ethos, world view and the life of an average Indian."

A model of Purpose, Profit, Pleasure and Freedom...

This Indian lifestyle is essentially a common sense model that acknowledges the fundamental four desires of humans. Anybody who wishes to know the goals of life can look within to understand his/her desires and readily agrees that we have mainly four desires i.e.

Purpose - living a purposeful life or the aim of being human
Profit - the desire to acquire wealth and security
Pleasure - the desire for sensual fulfilment and
Freedom - freedom from limitations that ensures ever lasting peace and happiness

To lead a purposeful life that ensures lasting peace is the ultimate motto of this lifestyle model. In fact in the past 200 years, we have seen an increasing number of scholars and philosophers from the West discovering this model as universal that acknowledges mankind's urges and what everybody strives for. It has the four goals of life without any confusion of spirituality and materialism.

What scholars and thinkers say about this...

Deepak Chopra, the mind-body guru and spiritual teacher confirms about the four aims of life:
"India is the only country that, in 10,000 years, hasn't invaded another country. Of course, it has invaded culturally. For centuries, it ruled South-East Asia, China, and Japan through its mind, culture, science, cosmology and philosophy. Until the 17th century, India was the richest country in the world. There was no confusion about spirituality and materialism going together, because our tradition says that the four goals of life are money, desire, duty and enlightenment."

This blueprint of the good-old Indian lifestyle is codified as 'purusharthas' (objectives of life) in the ancient sacred texts of India i.e. the Vedas, the dharma shastras, the Mahabharata. The same concept is regurgitated by modern day scholars and thinkers.

Rod Stryker from the USA who is a master yoga teacher has explained the four purposes of life as "Four desires" in his recent book titled "The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom", where he has expounded the same lifestyle in a simple language. Stryker writes:

"According to the Vedas, your soul has four distinct desires, which collectively are described as purusharthas, "for the purpose of the soul."  The four desires are the desire to fully become who you were meant to be. The first of these four desires is dharma. It is the longing to achieve your highest state of well-being -- in other words, to thrive and, in the process, to fulfil your unique purpose, your destiny. The second desire is artha, the desire for the means (like money, security, health) to help you fulfil your dharma. The third desire is kama, the longing for pleasure in any and all forms. The fourth is moksha, the desire to be free from the burdens of the world, even as you participate fully in it. Moksha is the longing to experience spirit, essence or God, to abide in lasting peace and to realize a state beyond the reach of the other three desires."

Living this lifestyle in daily life - Manage desire and outgrow them.

In fact everyone is already applying this model in daily life in one form or other. If we have desires it is bound to fall in one or more of the four categories. The awareness of this model is what is said to make the difference. There is a separate science in the wisdom traditions of India that talks in great detail about each of these four desires and how to fulfil them so that we get maximum benefit. One of India's greatest thinkers and philosophers Dr.S.Radhakrishnan, who was also the Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at the University of Oxford, held the view that

"If life is one, then there is one master science of life which recognizes the four supreme ends of dharma or righteousness, artha, or wealth, kama or artistic and cultural life, and moksha or spiritual freedom."

Finally 'Moksha' is emphasised as the ultimate end of life. According to Dr.Radhakrishnan "This (moksha or ultimate freedom) is what is said to give ultimate satisfaction and all other activities are directed to the realizations to this end". Swami Tejomayananda - a world renowned Vedanta teacher and the head of the Chinmaya Mission worldwide puts it succinctly that this lifestyle guides us in managing desires and outgrowing them. 

“The maxim of this model is to guide man to fulfil legitimate desires but legitimate means without getting enslaved by them, divinise them and thereafter learn to outgrow them to attain total fulfilment”.

Ram Lingam blogs his insights on India and India

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