Dharma, righteous living, is a principle in all the schools of Hindu philosophies, and it is never to be violated. To fear God, is not taught, but the fear of violating the dharma is what is stressed greatly in the schools of Hinduism.
In Vedanta, to attain the state beyond birth and death, where there is no back sliding, is freedom or liberation. This can only be done through dispassion, that is, not associating with our false personality, with the body, the mind. Death is in our face each and everyday, yet, we go on in our ignorance. Simply put, in Hinduism salvation means, liberation of the soul from all sufferings. To live the true spiritual life, is what one does in ones struggle to attain freedom. Freedom is attainable here and now, in this life, not only after ones dies. One who attains freedom in life is called a Jivan Mukta. So, what’s stopping us? What takes us so long? Ignorance, our true nature is Divine. Maya is like the cloud covering this truth. All evil sufferings, all duality occurs because we are ignorant to our own true nature. Only through the attainment of knowledge do we begin to remove this cloud. In Vedanta, all schools believe that true knowledge is the souls innate nature. Think of it, therefore, perhaps we could understand that the true spiritual life is ones struggle to attain this true knowledge and manifest it, you see.
The whole criteria, the true test of ones path of the spiritual life, is direct experience itself, and this true knowledge, that I’m speaking of. Intuitive knowledge may come around through Divine grace, or through ones own self efforts, or both. Without one or the other, direct experience or realization of ones own true nature, one will not attain freedom.
True knowledge is the bomb dropped in the center of the false self, and all of its false attachments, such as relationships and aversion. True knowledge moves away from the body and the mind, to the true self. Spiritual life is a shifting in the center of consciousness, from the complexities of personality that are comprised of the body, and the mind, the senses, the ego to the soul. This is done through devotion, and constant practice without wavering. There are no secrets here, to this process, it’s clear cut, it’s simple, but it’s not so easily done.
In reality we are not as complex as we would like to believe, or as we would like to have others believe of us. We are very, very simple, that is, once we bust through these complexities that I’ve mentioned to you, it’s then that we’re able to see the reality.