Puruṣārtha: The 4 Life Goals Of Hinduism…

Puruṣārtha: The 4 Life Goals Of Hinduism

Puruṣārtha

Every major religion has a purpose or intent for its followers, and Hinduism is no different.

Born from a desire to change ourselves (and perhaps the world, one person at a time), these goals, known as Puruṣārtha, help the practitioner guide their life with wisdom.

These are important concepts to know if we really want to understand Hinduism!




Dharma

It’s somewhat difficult to grasp an exact definition of what dharma means in Hinduism, because there are so many uses of the word in stories and scriptures.

But mostly it’s equated with principles such as duty, honor, justice, good works, character, and virtue. In many stories of Hinduism, when a person is in trouble, they turn to dharma to find their way out of a difficult situation.

This is a central part of Hinduism, and shows up just about everywhere!




Artha

Artha means goal, purpose, or “means of life”.

Artha is a very important part of Hinduism, because it helps define the direction a person will take in their lifetime. It’s tied to concepts of income and security.

Without artha, many people are aimless and feel incomplete.

 


Kāma

Kama means longing or desire in Hinduism.

But this isn’t just a simplistic longing or desire; it’s actually the right kind of desire.

This is a principle where the person must understand what desires he/she has and how they interrelate to their interests and goals.

Often times, we’re influenced by desires in a negative way…they may lead us to the wrong environments and social circles. Think of it as anything that distracts us from our artha in life.

SEE ALSO: Kama: The True Origin Of Creation


Moksa

In Hindu traditions, moksa means self-realization or enlightenment and is the ultimate goal of life.

It could be said that the other 3 are simply stepping stones to this state of heightened awareness and perception.

Vivekachudamani, a popular text on Moksha, defines it as the following:

Beyond caste, creed, family or lineage,
That which is without name and form, beyond merit and demerit,
That which is beyond space, time and sense-objects,
You are that, God himself; Meditate this within yourself.

-Vivekachudamani, 8th Century AD

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Matt Caron

Matt is the content manager of the Sivana blog, an enthusiastic Yoga teacher, and life voyager. He strives to inspire conscious living and conscious dialogue- not only for others but for himself. He's the founder of TheYogaBlog.com. You can find him on Facebook.

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