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Four Goals of Life

27 July 2008 YogiVishwaVedanta

< Types of Karma
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In Vedic tradition, it is taught that we are born to fulfill achieve the following four goals, aims, desires or purpose in our life. These are called Purushartha, these are the reasons we are born for.

1.  Dharma (Righteous duty) – The true meaning of Dharma is - that which upholds or supports the laws of the universe. It also means purpose, mission or righteous duty. One person can have many Dharma, e.g. Dharama to Self, Family and Society. In Rig Veda, it is stated that “Dharayati iti dharmah”, means something which can be uphold is Dharma. Two people following same belief , may have different Dharma under same circumstances. For example, if there are two brothers of almost same age, one is strong and can carry 50 pounds does not mean that other brother must carry 50 pounds if not strong.In reality, in our daily life we get through contradictions of our own dharma and when we could not decide what is right or wrong for self and the family, or our family expects different than what we can truly deliver to them, this creates unhappiness right there. It is impossible to make everyone happy but one should perform his duty accordingly to consciousness.

 2.  Artha (Money or Means) –It is one of duties of a person in householder stage of life, in which a person must accumulate as much wealth as possible without being greedy, to help and support his or her family, to achieve widespread fame (if can), to elevate social standing. Some people become a money making machine and try to visualize their success based on money only. The reason is very simple because they can easily count the numbers and see how rich they are on the paper. At this point some of us don’t even remember about basic duty to self like staying healthy. In later part, they spend the same money trying to gain back the same health which they lost to make the same money. Is this really a success? I believe we all need to check our self, as how far we need to go and how much is too much.
 3. Kama (Pleasure) – Nature has built this desire in each of us. Everyone is has desire to have pleasure. This pleasure can be of different form, through, money, car, house, sex, relationship etc. If not fulfilled anguish, anger, jealousy, frustration and many negative tendencies arises. You can see in any relationship there is certain level of expectation is always desired and it can be clearly visible or even invisible.  If they do not get fulfilled, same beloved one slowly becomes the devil. Each person has different level of physical, sexual and emotional needs, each enjoy the same pleasure in slightly different ways. This is how creator made us.

 4. Moksha (Spiritual pursuit, Liberation) – This is the highest goal one should always look for. But some people have misunderstanding that one should be thinking about this only when you become old or senior citizen. One should opt a spiritual path from the beginning like planting the seed at early age, so that slowly over the time when you keep pouring water seed grows into a plant and then tree finally starts giving fruits.

It is important to understand that the finding our own Dharma is most critical and important task. Because #1 drivers rest the three. Depending on our Dharma the other three will be conditioned. Each of us at any point in time desiring and acting to fulfill above goals with a different mix of four desires. Sometime time desire for pleasure is more dominant than desire of Moksha, sometime desire to make money becomes more dominant than other. But it all depends on what we decide to choose as our Purpose – the Dharma. Our Dharma is the guiding force behind everything. When we align with our true Dharma, a deep level of satisfaction arises from within, if we are not aligned with our true Dharma, no matter how much money, pleasure we may have there will be always a feeling of dissatisfaction. So it is very important to find out what is our true Dharma.

 So in any given situation how to determine what is our Dharma? In Mahabharat, Krishna says that there are five basic pillar which sustain Dharma, these pillar needs to be stable to follow your Dharma

    1.  Mind – Patience calms & stabilizes the mind
    2. Intellect – Right knowledge calms & stabilizes the intellect
    3. Heart – Love and compassion calms & stabilizes the heart
    4. Body – Devotion & Surrender calms & stabilizes the bodily impulse
    5. Soul – Justice calms & stabilizes the Soul

    So the more you are stable on the above pillars, you will be able to follow your Dharma with more stability and calmness.   

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