Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Purusharthas - Goals of Human life

Purusharthas - Goals of Human life

Purusha --> human being
Artha     --> objective.

Purusharthas means objectives of man(human beings).

They are: 
1. dharma (righteousness, duty and moral order)
2. artha (Attaining material wealth & property), 
3. kama (wordly desire) and 
4. moksha (salvation/ liberation). 


Dharma refers to moral duties, obligations and conduct, namely, vidhis(do's) and nishedhs(dont's). Dharma is generally defined as ‘righteousness’ or ‘duty’, holiness & unity. Dharma as Vedic rituals leading to happiness and heaven; and saves one from degradation and suffering.

Sacrifices will not lead to heaven if the desire for heaven is the sole motive of such rituals. Sacrifices are effective only when conducted with a sense of duty.

As man is free to select his options, he needs to think and understand that any human activity, including inaction, has the potential to cause a chain of consequences. It is therefore important to choose an appropriate path. One has to therefore look within oneself, judge the situation and act in the best interests of the self and of the fellow beings. That which guides us along the right path and elevates us is, in reality, the Dharma. Truth is dharma, dharma is truth.

The message of the Bhagavad-Gita is to discover you true potential, to explore it with skill and diligence; and to live an authentic life. Its emphasis on commitment to work, ethics and detachment

Fundamentals of Dharma are 

·         Non-violence (Ahimsa)
·         Truth
·         Purity
·         Self-control

Anything that helps to unite all and develop pure divine love and universal brotherhood, is Dharma. Anything that creates discord, split and disharmony and foments hatred, is Adharma.

Self-realization is the highest Dharma.

Dharma has its root in morality. Non-violence, truth, non-stealing, cleanliness and control of the senses, are the duties common to all men.

Samanya or the general/universal dharma:

·         Contentment
·         forgiveness
·         self-restraint
·         non-stealing
·         purity 
·         control of senses
·         discrimination between right and wrong, as also between the real and the unreal, 
·         spiritual knowledge
·         truthfulness and
·         absence of anger 

Offering a portion of the daily meal to all creatures and giving a morsel of food to a cow are the characteristics of Dharma.

According to Patanjali Maharshi:

All the below comes under Dharma marga:
-          Ahimsa (non-violence)
-          Satya (truthfulness)
-          Brahmacharya (celibacy in thought, word and deed)
-          Asteya (non-stealing)
-          Aparigraha (non-covetousness)
-          Saucha  internal and external purity)
-          Santosha (contentment)
-          Tapas (austerity)
-          Svadhyaya (study of scriptures or recitation of Mantra)
-          Isvarpranidhana (consecration of the fruits of all works to the Lord).
-          To return good for evil is divine.

To Overcome lust by the practice of Brahmacharya and regular Japa (repetition of Mantra or Lord’s name) and meditation is also dharma

Hari Kirtana or loud chanting of the Divine Name and selfless service of humanity have been recommended as the principal forms of Sadhana (in the Kali Yuga)& as Dharma to be followed in kali yuga.

The best way to know what is dharma and adharma is to follow the religious scriptures such as the Bhagavad gita and the Upanishads or any other scripture that contains the words of God.

ARTHA (Material wealth)

Artha means wealth. The concept includes achieving widespread fame, garnering wealth and having an elevated social standing. A person may have the intention to uphold the dharma, but if he has no money he would not be able to perform his duties and fulfill his dharma. Hinduism therefore rightly places material wealth as the second most important objective in human life. Lord Vishnu is the best example for any householder who wants to lead a life of luxury and still be on the side of God(Dharma) doing his duties. Hinduism advocates

·         austerity,
·         simplicity and 
·         detachment, but 
·         does not glorify poverty.

Hinduism believes that both spiritualism and materialism are important for the salvation of human beings. As Swami Vivekananda rightly said religion is not for the empty stomachs. Poverty crushes the spirit of man and renders him an easy prey to wicked forces. Hence its next to Dharma.

KAMA (Desire; passion; lust)

The best way to deal with desires is to develop detachment and perform desire less actions without seeking the fruit of ones actions and making an offering of all the actions to God. This way our actions would not bind us to the cycle of births and deaths. 

Overcoming craving and ignorance leads to true happiness and Enlightenment.

Craving can be explained as the strong desires that people have for pleasing their senses and for experiencing life itself. Anything that stimulates our senses or our feelings can lead to craving. None of the pleasures we crave for ever give us lasting happiness or satisfaction. 



Moksha actually means absence of moha or delusion. Moksha is the end of all desire leading to freedom from the cycle of birth and death Delusion is caused by the inter play of the triple gunas. When a person overcomes these gunas, he attains liberation. The gunas can be overcome by detachment, self-control, surrender to god and offering ones actions to God.

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