Purushartha The Four Aims of LIfe

Purusharthas means with the purpose for which a person strives for. It implies our goals or purpose of life. It is exceptionally significant that our goals or purpose of life should be very very clear.

Indian religious acts/ deeds (Purushartha entrepreneurship / action) of human being are based on four aims of life. “Purushartha”   (पुरुषार्थ) ‘Purusha’ means a person or human being, and ‘Artha’ means meaning, purpose or pursuit.



Hinduism expressed Purusharthas- Four Aims of Life as:

  1. Dharma (Sense of Duty / Spirituality) The science of morality and obligations (Individual, societal, national)    
  2. Artha (Wealth), The science of earning and creating Legacy in terms of wealth and power (individual, societal and national   
  3. Kama(Earthly pleasure) The science of fulfilling all the wishes (principally of folks  
  4. Moksha (Liberation / Salvation from earthly bondages) The sciences of attaining Liberation /Salvation.

Each of these is a part of life. While it may be true that ultimately the goal of life has only to do with final liberation (moksha), the others are virtually essential steps along the way. Recognizing this is one way of holding the suggestion to live “in” the world, while not being “of” the world.

Dharma (Duty)

Aims in Life Moksha Mukti Salvation

Dharma is a process of alignment, one can move on bit by bit, prudently, and having clear mind with natural flow of Truth, God, Divine, or anything one can choose that naturally intuited in reality. The word “Dharma” is from dhri, meaning to hold together, to sustain.

Dharma is “duty” to perform or functioning of Sat-asat-viveka-buddhi (logical aptitude to differentiate truth from untruth) while performing the personal acts. Dharma is accepting to prioritize the need for fulfillment of one role over other in given specific-time and situation.

Dharma too refers to a natural swadharma (basic nature) of an entity (living or non-living). Based on its swadharma, the responses and choices towards self and other entities are modelled.

Dharma is prioritizing the duties and performing them, efficiently in righteous way.

Artha (Prosperity)

Purushartha The Four Aims of LIfe-ArthaIs the medium to provide the means of thrust, hunger, and safety needs that are inherent for a physical living body. Artha recognizes the physical and or materialistic needs, which is not different to spiritual life. Everyone in this world work with some desire of benefit and wale fare with comfort. The eventual aim of every human being is to achieve the highest happiness. An ideal thinking of ordinary man could, if he should have money he can get Happiness. Or even all materialistic things are achieved with money. Everything we do is centralized around the money only. Arth in no way stays within; it is always exterior. While the happiness stays inside. The outside things cannot bring happiness, if that does, that could be for a moment.

Kama (Pleasure)

Is the deeds, acts that done with intension of the fulfillment of desires in the world. Without deep, latent Purusharth The Four Aims of LIfedesires (Samskar) there could not be living form of objectives. “Kama” is different from “karma.” “Karma” means “action” and could be represented by the playing out our deep impressions of attraction and hate.

Karma is the making desire more interesting that could goes rapidly upward because of existing conditions.

Desires must be recognized and logically rewarded with mindfulness to get freedom from them and not adding them to a continuous cycle of fulfilling and escalating. Kama also linked with situations, persons or substance. Kama is definitely better than Arth, by spending Arth we can get this. But chance of losing the direction is very high if not guided properly on time. It is a double edge sword.

4) Moksha (Freedom)

Is the final liberation from all of the deep dynamic impressions that recurrently participate in the mind and the world as well, by the virtue of which, we force to come and go from the bodily form.MOKSHA

Moksa is the straight experience of the Absolute Truth or Reality, along with the total setting to the side of all false identities of whom we think who we are. Self-realization, the direct knowledge of our pure consciousness, Purusha, or Atman is one stage. That experience, plus the total, permanent experience beyond the normal or physical level of the conditionings is moksha.

When Arth and Kama are not associated with the Dharma then they create the illusion of pleasure. We must recognize and put into practice the Arth and Kama in such a way that momentary pleasure which later leads to sorrow, should not happen.

We usually focus on the Arth and Kama aspects of purushartha and forget about Moksha and Dharma or leave it on future. If we leave Arth and Kama to the nature and concentrate all the energies on achieving Moksha using Dharma than everything else falls into peace automatically.