"A wise man takes the essence of the knowledge of all places just as a bumblebee collects honey everywhere and of every flower", (Srimad Bhagavatam 4.18.2)
Today exists six schools of orthodox hindu-philosophy and three heterodox schools.
These scriptures contain a limited and therefore often unilateral knowledge, also conditioned by the oral translation and the consciousness and secrecy of the traditionist and the specific scools. Therefore are the Upanishads not generally accepted in India.
* Brahma (creator of forms - with the 4 faces; earth)
* Vishnu (penetrating and building, sustaining and destroying; divine electric and magnetic forces and poles; air(Chit) and Water(Ananda)
* Maheshvara(the pure untouched One, Shiva as the dissolving destroyer - fire, and the 5th divine etheric tattwa: Bhairava).
But the Trimurti do not pass the treshold of the 'big emptyness oder mahashunya' ( Avyakta ) beyond the pure Ishvara-Tattwa. Their basis is the Shabda (OM) of Ishvara, whose origin is akasha, and who is the essence of creation.
In Vaishnavism Vishnu's emanation Krishna is falsely upheld as 'Param Brahman' and Shiva is mostly held down.
Vedanta('end of the Vedas') or Uttara Mīmāṃsā is one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy. Vedanta reflects ideas from the speculations and philosophies within the Upanishads.
In the aftervedic time, master Sri Adi Shankara introduced the Sanatana Dharma and the Advaita-Vedanta system.
The Shankara-Order teaches the steps of the Ashtanga-yoga which contains the first 16 steps of the 'Universal Doctrine' or 'Universal Path':
"Ashtanga yoga -- Yama, niyam, aasan, praanayaam, pratyaahaar, dhaarnaa, dhyaan, samaadhi. Those are the eight limbs of the yoga. A guru takes a student one after another through this. For that the guru takes NOTHING of its student. He does it out of kindness and out of the feeling to do something good for his student." - Shree Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati (The Illustrated Weekly of India, September 13, 1987) .
The contents of the steps of Asthanga-Yoga are the standard in most hinduistic systems.
But also modern Vedanta contains errors. An example is the view of the term Maya which in reality means the formativ element-principle: Shankara speaks about the 5 shells of Maya which disguise the Purusha.
Maya is a dark and little conscious etheric substance, which manifests, perpetuates and governs the phenomenal Universe, which is created under the influence of the Atman on Maya(Anthakarana).
Nowadays Maya is mostly seen as a factor which causes delusion (in contrary to Kashmir-Shaivaism) and sometimes even mistakenly looked at as the creator of the Pranava-Nada of the buddhic plane out of itself.
Kriya-Yoga-Guru Sri Yuktesvar Giri said that entire knowledge of India is symbolically coded in the MAHABHARATA epic, on which the Bhagavad-Gita relies too.
The Indian epic Mahabharata is one of the largest and most important creations of the world literature. In some editions, it comprises up to 100,000 verses. Besides the actual action numerous small episodes are incidentally described. To them counts also the story of Savitri and Satyavan.
A statement: "Savitri was strong willed to reget her spouse, and she followed Yama into regions, that actually no mortal can enter. In the end she succeeded that to involve Yama into a conversation. Yama was impressed of the imperturbable tenacity, with which Savitri fought for life of its spouse, and he Satyavans soulin the end again free for a further life on earth.
The latter is in this context a description of the step 13 of the 22 steps.
The shorter versions of the Mahabharata (like the version of Biren Roy) show the path of the 22 steps clearer:
The Kauravas and the Pandavas grow up together. After step 6 their pathes seceded. Step 18 of the 22 steps corresponds with the battle of Kuruskshetra , on which also the Bhagavad Gita leans but in a different context.
The Mahabharata ends with step 20 (master).
The next important epos is the Ramyana which contains 6 books and a 7th later appended book.
The allegoric interpretation is :
* Book 1 - Bala-Kanda - includes step 6 of the path........
* Book 5 - Sundara-Kanda - contains step 14 of the Universal path.
* Book 6 - Yuddha-Kanda - completes the step 17
* Book 7 - Uttara-Kanda - completes with step 20 - Rama returns into heaven
All puranas have allegoric backgrounds.
An example is the the scene of the Gods and demons fighting for the milk ocean(Samudra manthan), which is a parable of the step 10 of the Universal Doctrine. The Tarotcard 10 shows similar gods and demons.
Modern hinduism has often lost the esoteric understanding of the original doctrines. This can be seen at the millions of pilgrims, who proceed to pilgrimage to the Ganga, although this 'bath' which is expected to clean of karmic sins, is in reality the Nada or the Pranava(similar to the 'balneum mariae' of the spiritual alchemists). A hinduistic beleife is for example that someone who bathes during full moon in May is liberated from rebirth - in reality is the inner 'full moon' meant, which the searcher must first selfrealize, together with the inner spiritual sun of the shabda.
Shaivism sees Shiva as the highest lord (Sadashiva and Paramshiva of kashmir shaivism are still higher forms).
After the Kurma-Purana the Trimurti - Shiva cut off the 5th head of the creator god Brahma because Brahma had called himself arrogantly as the supreme God. So Bhairava was created. Above him is Sadashiva with his four faces.
Some gurus as the deceased Babaji from Histanapur said, that we live in a time period of Shiva.
Shiva, Parvati and Ganesha (the divine child) are the holy family (end of step 14).
It is said that Shiva's force is received on the hair tips of the Swamis head. Shiva himself lives in the golden hall in the center of the universe.
The Krama - group of Kashmir-Shaivism teaches the last 5 steps of the Ashtanga-Yoga (the first 3 are a condition for scholarship). It has the most detailed view of the planes of creation.
== Shaktism ==
Shaktism honours the Devi as highest Chit-Shakti.
In hinduism, the human development is accompanied by the 10(24) Avatars. These avatars are also symbols for the steps 7 to 20 of the path.
Buddha Gautama attained the enlightenment individually. He taught the students to use their mind instead of just to beleive. That was 2500 years ago somewhat quite new.
As last avatar the Kalki-Avatar is expected to come and to restore the Dharma, not to confound with an outer Islamic fundamentalist empire on the basis of the human egocentric consciousness.
Modern India has nowadays lost much of its spirituality. Only a minority really understands the old traditional texts in its depth, and often the Gurus abuse their position.