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Purpose of Life- Purusartha

Purusartha means “for the purpose of the Self- in yoga Purush means soul or Self and Artha means- for the purpose of. This is what you are here for. This is your essence. Now you only have to figure it out what should be your purpose of life and then you live for it. No one else can answer this question for you. It is your Life’s purpose. Take a moment and ask yourself, ‘Am I managing my life in a way to support my spiritual growth?’ and ‘What do I really, really want at the level of my Soul?’” In simple terms what is it that will make my life meaningful and purposeful.

The original Vedic texts only suggested the three goals of Dharma, Artha, and Kama. In the later Upanishadic era, when people began to seek higher consciousness, the fourth goal of Moksha was added. Although the first three are somewhat interwoven, it is felt that the “right action” of Dharma is a necessary requirement for Artha to be meaningful and the abundance of Artha will be needed to support Kama. The path to liberation or enlightenment of Moksha is supported by the harmonious interaction of Dharma, Artha, and Kama.


Dharma


Dharma means truth, the right way of living, and human behaviors considered necessary for the order of things in the world. So having decided the purpose of your life, decide now what actions or what duties you must perform in order to achieve your purpose. It means following your duties. Duties toward yourself, your family, neighbours, society and humanity at large.

On an individual level, you can think of Dharma as your true purpose in life or the ethical basis on which you live your life. It is also:

Being conscious in your actions, words, and thoughts.

Having compassion and sensitivity to the needs of others.

Being awake to the existence of the Divine within you.

Ultimately, Dharma leads you to remember who you really are.

Dharma also brings stability and order, a life that is lawful and harmonious, and the striving to do the right thing, to be virtuous, to be helpful to others, and to interact successfully with society.

The Bhagavad Gita also says, “Better your own Dharma though imperfect than the Dharma of another done perfectly.” This means that you need to find your own truth and even though you may make mistakes along the way, this is still preferable to trying to copy others.


Dharma is considered the first of the Purusharthas because without it, Artha and Kama can easily become self-destructive.


Artha


Artha is the security of having the material comfort you need to live in the world with ease. While some people think that to be spiritual means to be poor, Artha is not about rejecting the world, but being content with the things you own. And follow dharma - be righteous while earning wealth. Money should be earned following legal, moral and ethical means.

Artha is one of the basic human dignities—to have enough assets to live on and care for your family, without hoarding or being greedy. Earn artha and use it for the benefit of the society.


Vedanta says that you should:

Discover a way so money runs after you and not vice versa.

Do work that is compatible to your nature and capabilities.

Do work that serves society.

Do work you really love.

Trust in the infinite organizing power of the Universe.


Kama


The desire for pleasure is what drives human behavior. A life without pleasure and enjoyment is hollow and empty. Follow dharma in karma too.

Kama relates to this pleasure, which can be - art, music, beauty, love, intimacy, affection, fellowship, and kindness—it’s what brings a sense of delight to your life. The right kinds of pleasure lead you toward your Dharma and help you fulfill it with passion. Kama is good and necessary when it exists to support Dharma and becomes part of the richness of life. However, excessive Kama can lead to overindulgence, addiction, sloth, greed, and lust.


Moksha


When you live your Dharma, fully supported by Artha and Kama, Moksha or the final liberation follows. Moksha is our true nature—it’s who you really are. It includes:

Emancipation.

Liberation.

Freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth.

Freedom from ignorance.

Self-Realization and self-knowledge.

Consciousness of the Oneness of the Supreme Soul.

The removal of obstacles to an unrestricted life.

Access to our full human potential of creativity, compassion, and understanding.

Ultimate goal of our life is moksh - liberation. While living life we should also be making endeavour to this purusartha.


Practice Point


First sit in a comfortable position preferably in a secluded and silent place when you have no constrain of time. Now think what is it that accomplishing which you will feel life lived well. What is it that draws your soul towards it, that you long to do if given perfect freedom. Don’t decide at once. After few days repeat the exercise again and see whether your option is changing. Take note of it. Do it again and if you see every time the answer, the choice, the preference remains the same, think it is your purpose. Now plan all actions in your life keeping that purpose in view. If it is not possible immediately due to various other constraints, no issues, but remember your purpose and keep praying for its accomplishment. If your wishes are sincere and there is no conflict and contradiction with regard to your purpose, nature will see to it that it gets fulfilled. But mind it, it should be some noble thing worth living.

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