|But Hinduism does
not glorify self - conquest for its own sake. It is glorified for the sake of the ultimate
liberation of the spirit from the thralldom of the body and the mind.
it is made an end in itself, becomes mere asceticism. Some critics say that Hinduism
glorifies asceticism and that it wants its followers to suppress the flesh altogether.
Hinduism does nothing of the kind. It recognizes, on the other hand,
that the body is a dharma - sadhana or instrument of righteousness Accordingly, it only
seeks to regulate its appetites and cravings. The flesh is not suppressed, but only taught
its place. A man who pampers his body is not fit for the kingdom of the spirit. Hinduism
takes into account all the factors of human personality-body, mind, soul and spirit-and
prescribes, a graded discipline for all.
The so-called Asramas are stages in the progressive
emancipation of the spirit, and the formula of Dharma - artha - kama - moksha is symbolic
of the complete life in which the claims of the various factors of human personality are
reconciled and harmonized.