Monday, 19 September 2011

Four Purusharthas

If you are new to Hinduism, you might have a question in your mind that how to live an ideal life as a Hindu. Is it always necessary to denounce the normal life and become an ascetic to acquire salvation? What are the aims of a Hindu’s life?

According to Vedas, there are four aims of a Hindu’s life

1. Dharma.
2. Artha.
3. Kama.
4. Moksha.

We will discuss all these four aims in detail in this article.

1. Dharma:

Dharma literally means religion or law but here it actually means righteousness i.e. duty towards the society, duty towards the family, duty towards the humanity. So, one has to observe Dharma while living in society by respecting the laws of society and doing the right things.
2. Artha:
Artha means wealth or the things related to earning money. This does not at all mean that Hinduism advocates acquisition of health only but Hinduism understands the importance of money in a person’s life. To live life happily as a common person, you need money but this money should be acquired by honest methods only. If there is a clash between Dharma and Artha, Dharma should be given more priority than Artha.

3. Kama:

Kama means pleasure, especially “sexual pleasure.” The word Kama here also means the pleasure we derive from cultural pursuits, sports, and other creative activities which help us enjoy the life.
People know Hinduism for spirituality but Hinduism is also a very practical religion. Hinduism honestly appreciates that sexual pleasure is one of the highest and purest pleasures that God had given to human. Sex is, no doubt, an important part of a human’s life and we should accept it wholeheartedly. It is the basic instinct through which procreate ourselves and preserve the human race.

4. Moksha

The Moksha means salvation i.e. liberation of the soul from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Hinduism believes in reincarnation. What we are today is the result of our past life Karma and what we would be in the next life would be the result of what we do in the present life. Our soul thus gets trapped in the cycle of birth and rebirth. Therefore, Moksha is necessary to liberate the soul from this cycle. Moksha is the ultimate aim of a Hindu’s life.

Hinduism not only tells the aims of life but also tells how to achieve them. A Hindu’s life is therefore divided in four stages or Asramas to achieve these aims.

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