The “Purusharthas” are the four fundamental desires, goals or aims of human life according to Hindu philosophy.
- Dharma: One’s purpose. Referring to a life path that an individual must follow which is righteous and moral. Finding purpose in fulfilling one’s ethical duties & responsibilities.
- Artha: Means and tools to support your Dharma. It is the pursuit of gaining material wealth, prosperity, and economic security.
- Kama: Pertains to desires, passions, and the pursuit of pleasure, including both physical and emotional enjoyment. Art, music, ascetic beauty as well as sensual and sexual enjoyment.
- Moksha: Signifies liberation or spiritual emancipation, the ultimate goal of breaking the cycle of birth and death (samsara) and attaining oneness with the Divine. Attaining Self-Actualisation or Realisation of the true Self.
The etymology of the word Purusartha is:
Purusha: In Sanskrit, refers to the cosmic spirit or the Supreme Being. The word is derived from the root “puru,” which means “to fill” or “to pervade.” Purusha represents the eternal, unchanging, and all-pervading aspect of existence or pure consciousness.
Artha: In Sanskrit, means “meaning,” “purpose,” “wealth,” or “prosperity.” The term is derived from the root “?th,” which conveys the idea of “aim” or “end.” It is the pursuit of material wealth, economic well-being, and the fulfilment of worldly desires.
When these two terms are combined, “Purushartha” becomes the compound word that encompasses the four fundamental aims or goals of human life, namely Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. It signifies the balanced pursuit of purpose, prosperity, pleasure, and spiritual liberation, allowing individuals to live a purposeful, meaningful and fulfilling life.
The concept of Purushartha is integral to Hindu philosophy and provides a framework for guiding individuals on their life’s journey towards Self-Realisation. The Purusharthas are mentioned in various ancient Hindu scriptures, particularly in texts related to ethics, philosophy, and religious teachings. Some of the important texts that discuss the Purusharthas include Vedas, Mah?bh?rata, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Arthashastra, Manusmriti, Puranas. These texts and others collectively provide guidance on leading a purposeful and meaningful life by balancing and fulfilling the different aspects of the Purusharthas.
If a Yogi successfully attains all the Purusharthas in their lifetime, the results are considered highly auspicious and transformative. Some of the potential results of attaining all the Purusharthas are said to have;
- Find Inner Fulfilment
- Greater Material and Emotional Well-Being
- To experience a Balanced and Harmonious Life
- To gain Spiritual Growth and Wisdom
- To attain Inner Peace and Equanimity
- To reach Transcendence of Suffering
- To be of Service to Humanity
- And to find Unity with Pure Consciousness
It’s important to note that the attainment of all the Purusharthas at the same time is a lofty and rare accomplishment. The pursuit of these goals is a continuous and evolving process throughout the Yogi’s life. Many spiritual seekers prioritise the pursuit of Moksha over other Purusharthas, considering it as the ultimate purpose of life. However, living in harmony with all the Purusharthas can create a fulfilling and meaningful life, where material success, emotional contentment, and spiritual growth complement and support one another.
Ultimately, the results of attaining all the Purusharthas lead the Yogi towards a state of profound wisdom, inner peace, and spiritual liberation.
Enjoy this series fulfilling your Hearts Desires!