The Purusharthas: The four forces that guide us
April 30, 2022
On our way to yoga, consciousness and growth it is very possible that we have asked ourselves the great question of why I am here and what I am here for. In fact, these are two big questions that Deepak Chopra encourages us to ask ourselves every morning when we wake up.
We all have different types of dreams, desires, goals and visions. In Hinduism, all these concerns rest on four main forces that guide us throughout life and protect our clarity and contentment.
The four goals of human existence according to the Vedic texts are the so-called Purushartas: Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Knowing what the four purushartas are in oneself is important to bring out the potentialities of each one and thus live fully and happily.
practice meditation every day it opens the doors to these answers, since when the waters calm down is when they are revealed to us.
Dharma answers the question Because I am here?
A Hindu moral tells the story of a king who asked his assistant to go on a long journey to get a very important document for the continuation of the kingdom. The young man began his journey and along the way he met millions of people and lived millions of adventures. He returned to the palace after two years, and with great emotion he explained all his adventures to the king, who after listening asked him where the document was. The young assistant had completely forgotten the main reason for his entire trip.
This story reflects very well what Dharma means. For many lived experiences, if we do not respond to that purpose the road will be empty no matter how full it seems.
The meaning of Dharma is the meaning of our life on the planet, how we serve the world around us. Understanding and practicing the dharma is an act of awareness and self-discovery. It is about polishing our qualities in order to offer them to the world.
Artha answers the question What I need?
To recognize our Artha is to know what we value most on a mundane level. Although Artha is different for each one, it is having the material comfort that you consider necessary to live in the world fully and happily. It is living skillfully in the material world that exists for your benefit.
Artha supports and is at the service of our true Dharma.
Answers What do I want?
It is about all the things that give us pleasure and happiness in our life. It can be sensuality, art, music, beauty, affection... it is everything that brings joy and happiness to the spirit. Kama is good and necessary when it exists to feed Dharma.
To practice dharma correctly, you can ask yourself, Are my pleasures aligned with my purpose?
In the Upanishads we can read: just as your desires are your will, and your will is your duty, just as your act is your destiny, you are what your deep desire is.
The most real pleasure occurs when one is well connected to the here and now, that is, the true Kama is itself a state of consciousness in the present moment.
mokshaWhen you live according to your Dharma, supported by Artha and Kama, then Moksha can take place.
Moksha is your true nature and so it responds to Who I am? Dharma, Artha and Kama open the way to practice Moksha.
Moksha is liberation from suffering and worldly attachments. It is to remain in a state of openness towards the depths of love and essential wisdom.
Liberation comes when you realize the connection between all things and the universal principle of nature.
Each of the four Purusharthas is equally important and they all form the pillars to lead a full life.
Working with the four Purusharthas, either through the yoga, meditation or other self-discovery techniques, allows you to create a balanced, fulfilling and purposeful life on a deep inner level.