Four Goals, Purusharthas of Life: Amrutam

Why are you in a hurry?

It was only yesterday, that I was talking to a friend about the quest for meaning in our lives. Day in and day out, we do things. After all, more than anything it is difficult to do nothing and be calm.

We are always doing things, scrolling through our Facebook feed – consuming information which we will let go of the next day, creating unnecessary stimuli- for our already consumed minds.

Have you stopped for a second, and wondered what is that you really want in your life?

According to the great Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, there are four goals of human life known as Purusharthas. There has been excessive literature produced with regards to each of these four goals of life. Manusmriti, Yogasutras, Arthashastra of Kautilya and Ananga Ranga are amongst the few ancient texts which talk about the four Purusharthas.

These four Purusharthas are also discussed in context to four different stages of life, yes, kind of similar to the Shakespeare`s seven stages of life. The four stages of life are Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, and Sannyasa.

Let us learn more about these four goals of Human Life, to enable ourselves to secrete some meaning out of our lives:

#1 Dharma

The first goal or Purushartha is Dharma, which means “duty”.

Duty, Dharma- the first Purushartha, points towards our responsibility to perform our duties. To perform and act according to the duties which are associated with our individual and social identity.

It is the binary questions, which should enable us to take decisions- to know the right and wrong- as it simplifies the complexities of our questions, our confusion by associating your duties with your social identity.

#2 Artha

The second goal or Purushartha is Artha which means Prosperity.

Artha, the second Purushartha means our materialistic wealth, which is required to enable our to skill in pursuit of our Dharma.

Complicated, is it?

To simply describe the second Purushartha, it is the basic necessities which we need in order to fulfill our duties. Do you think? What we think, yes? This is very much similar to Maslow`s hierarchy of needs pyramid wherein we need to have certain necessities fulfilled in order to reach our self-actualization goals.

#3 Kama

The third goal or Purushartha is the Kama which means pleasure.

The Kama, pleasure can be anything in our lives which gets us delighted, it can be food, dance, art, music or poetry. It is what you derive that sense of aesthetic satisfaction from, it can be anything which is aligned with your interest and hobbies.

#4 Moksha

The fourth goal or Purushartha is Moksha which means freedom or liberation.

Moksha, freedom- liberation from and to, the freedom from and to can differ for each unique human being. However, Moksha is considered to be the ultimate goal of life.

Moksha, which also means Nirvana- an ultimate sort of freedom cycle of life and death.

These goals need be a static point in the timeline of our lives, they can be the nature of true being- our way of living life.

What do you think about these four goals- Purusharthas, mail us at or comment below.

We would love to know your thoughts.


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