Four – in Christianity number 4 is symbolically linked to the Cross and employed to signify what is solid and that which could be touched and felt. The symbolic meaning of number Four deals with stability and invokes the grounded nature of all things. Consider the four seasons, four directions, four elements all these amazingly powerful essences wrapped up in the nice square package of Four. Fours represent solidity, calmness, and home. A recurrence of Four in your life may signify the need to get back to your roots, center yourself, or even “plant” yourself. Fours also indicate a need for persistence and endurance.

Four also has many symbolic significance and meaning in Hinduism. Various things mentioned in the Puranas having some association with four are given below

  1. The aim of life (purusharthas) is four – dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), Kama (desire), and moksha (salvation).
  2. Four varnas as told by Krishna – Brahmin, Kshatriya, vaisya, sudra.
  3. Brahma has four faces and four hands.
  4. Four directions – north, east, west and south.
  5. Four ways of influencing and motivating others – being generous, uttering kind words, giving appropriate teachings and being consistent with words and actions.
  6. Four sights that affected Siddhartha deeply and made him realize the sufferings of all beings that compelled him to begin the spiritual journey – an old man, a sick man, a dead man and an ascetic.
  7. Most vehicles have 4 wheels.
  8. Four basic functions in mathematics – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
  9. Four seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter.
  10. Four yuga – satyayuga, dwaparayuga, tredhayuga and Kaliyuga.
  11. Four vedas – rig, yajur, sama and atharva
  12. Four types of relationships – spiritual, sensual, sensical and exemplary.
  13. Excess of these four destroys a person – hunting (shopping), drinking, womanizing and gambling.
  14. Four distances – In the case of an elephant one must keep a distance of 1000 meter, a horse 100 meter, horned animals 10 meter, evil people, unlimited number of meters.
  15. Four Adhikarins – Manda (the very ordinary)) Madhyama (medium standard), Uttama (best) and Uttamottama (the very best)
  16. Four Anubandhas. (Factors) – In philosophy there are four factors called Visaya (subject matter), Prayojana (purpose), Sambandha (relationship between factors) and Adhikarin (the deserving or eligible person).
  17. Four Antahkaranas (Internal organs] – Manas (mind) , Buddhi (intellect), Cittam (heart )and Ahankara (ego). Imagination is the function of the mind, decision that of Buddhi, to retain knowledge gained in orderly form is the function of Cittam and self-respect that of Ahankara.
  18. Four Anvavayas – Satyam(truthfulness), Dama (Self control), Arjavam (straightforwardness) and Anrsamsyam (not to be cruel).
  19. Anvavedas – Yajna (sacrifical offerings) , Dana (alms-giving, gifts), Adhyayana (learning) and Tapas (penance) .
  20. Four Apatrikaranas (Not suited to the particular station or place in life) – Brahmins are forbidden from receiving bribes, engaging in trades, service of Sudras and uttering lies.
  21. Abhinayas (Acting) – Angikam (where gestures and bodily actions are used to convey ideas), Sattvika, Subjective feelings expressed by perpiration etc. Aharyam (extraneous) and Vacikam (by words of mouth)
  22. Abhyasavisayas – (Subjects for practice and training) – Vinaya (humility), Damana (control of mind), Indriyanigraha (controlling the sense-organs) and Bhutadaya (kindness)
  23. Amritas (Nectar) – Good wife, talk of children, present from King and honorable food.
  24. Alankaras(Ornaments) – For the stars, Moon; for women, husband; for earth, King and for all, education (learning) .
  25. Alankarasadhanas – According to rhetorics, Atisaya (excellence), Samya (simile), Vastavam (matter of fact, as it is) and Slesa (one word with two meanings).
  26. Avasthas (States, conditions) – A. Saisavam (childhood), Kaumaram ( boyhood), Yauvanam (youth) and Vardhakyam (old age). B. Jagrat(wakefulness), Svapnam (dream ), Susupti (sleep) and Turiyam (being one with the supreme soul).
  27. Astraprayogalaksyas (Objects of shooting arrows) – Sthiram, Calam, Calacalam, Dvayacalam.  When the archer and the object of his shooting remain motionless the object is called Sthiram. When the object is moving but the archer is not, the object is called Calam. When the case is just the opposite of the above it is Calacalam. When both are moving it is called Dvayacalam.
  28. Akhyayikagunas (Factors of the novel )-  Kathabandha (plot or theme), Patraprakatanam (exposition of characters), Rasapusti (sentiment) and Gadyariti (prose style) .
  29. Abharanas (Ornaments) – For man, shape or form; for form, quality or merit; for quality, knowledge or wisdom and for wisdom, patience or forbearance.
  30. Ayudhas ( Weapons) – Mukta, Amukta, Muktamukta and Yantramukta.
  31. Avaranas(Covering, Protection) – For earth the sea, for house the compound wall, for country the King, for women chastity.
  32. Aharadis (Food etc.) – Ahara ( food) , Nihara (Evacuation), Maithuna (sexual act), Nidra (sleep).
  33. Aharavastus(edibles) – Khadyam (eaten by munching with teeth and chewing), Peyam (that which is drunk), Lehyam (licked with the tongue )and Bhojyam (that which is not included in the above three).
  34. Rnas (Obligations, debts) – Debts due to Devas, Rsis, Pitrs and Men. One pays back one’s debts to Devas by performing yajnas. By Svadhyaya (selfstudy) and tapas one pays the debt due to Rsis; by procreation of children and libation offerings that due to Pitrs and by truthfulness, hospitality etc. that due to people are repaid.
  35. Rtviks –  Adhvaryu, Udgata, Hota and Brahma. The first of the four should be an erudite scholar in Yajurveda, the second in Samaveda, the third in Atharvaveda and the fourth in all the four Vedas.
  36. Kavis (Poets)- He who boasts about himself in secret is called Udatta; he who cries down others and indulges in self-praise is known as Uddhata; he who proclaims others’ merits is called Praudha and he who shows humility is called Vinita.
  37. Kukkutagunas  (Traits of the Cock) – To rise early in the morning, to struggle for existence, to share whatever is got with relations and to work and earn one’s own food these are the qualities of the Cock.
  38. Grahyas (Acceptables) – A. Nectar even from poison, good advice even from boys, good action even from enemies and noble and chaste brides even from low families are to be welcomed. B. Literacy (learning of alphabets) should be accepted from brahmins, food from mother, pan from wife and bangles from King.
  39. Caturangas  – Elephant, Horse, Chariot and Infantry.
  40. Asramas –  Brahmacharya (student life), Garhasthya (married life), Vanaprastha (anchorite, forest-life) and Sannyasa (Renunciation).
  41. Yugas –  Krta, Treta, Dvapara and Kali.
  42. Vargas –  Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksa.
  43. Upayas  (Expedients).- Sama, Dana, Bheda, Danda.
  44. Cikitsapddas (Four elements in the treatment of patients) – Vaidya (doctor), Rogin (patient), Ausadham (medicine) and Paricaraka (attendant).
  45. Jatis  (Castes’) – Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra.
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