Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Four Purusharthas ( Legitimate aspirations )

The four Purusharthas or ( legitimate ) aspirations of human beings are described as Dharma , Artha ,Kama , and Moksha .
Dharma ( or sacred Law , nobility , virtue , right living, duty conciousness etc) , is a desirable state to aspire to .

Artha ( or wealth ) indicates that it is reasonable to aspire to wealth provided it is done in a ethical manner , and provided one is not obsessed with it . Wealth is to be used as a means to Dharma or principled living , which leads to the final goal which is moksha . A proportion of ones earning therefore is to be used for charitable purposes .

Kama ( or pleasures of the senses ) indicates that Hinduism is practical , and does not expect everyone to become a renunciate . Hence aspiring to pleasure is acceptable, as long as reasonable boundaries exist , and provided one is not solely obsessed with the pursuit of pleasure , one continues to make spiritual progress .

Moksha ( or liberation ,or freedom from rebirth ) is the final goal , that must not be lost sight of . Dharma and artha are among the tools to reach moksha .

One sloka or sanskrit verse says

" from learning we become humble and wise , from humility and wisdom we reach respectable status in society , from position and status we gain wealth and influence , from wealth and influence we are empowered to act nobly as per the dharma , and through the right path of Dharma , we attain peace and happiness . "