Purusharthas

The Purusharthas are the psycho moral bases of the Ashrama Theory. These are a kind of psychological training. They are concerned with the understanding, justification, management and conduct of affairs of the individual’s life in relation to the group in and through Ashramas. They are four Purusharthas that govern the human life, namely; Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.

Dharma:

  • It is the central concept of all social institutions.
  • Derived from Sanskrit word ‘dhri’ meaning ‘to hold together/ to preserve/ to support/ to bear/ to nourish.
  • Dharma is created for the well being of all and is created to keep all beings free from any harm.
  • The comprehensive view of Dharma holds “Dharma Rakshati Rakshita” which means he who follows Dharma is protected in turn by Dharma.
  • Dharma regulates the acquisitive and emotional drives the enjoyment of life consistent with man’s spiritual progress.
  • Dharma signifies the totality/ entirety of privileges and obligations in different stages of life.
  • Dharma exists more essentially for community and most of all for that universal self which is in each of us and all beings.

Artha:

  • Artha refers to satisfaction of acquisitive instinct in man, i.e., wealth and material being.
  • Artha according to Zimmer includes “the whole range of objects that can be possessed, enjoined and lost and that are in daily life.”
  • The pursuit of wealth is a legitimate human desire.
  • The acceptance of sex drives, emotional urges and economic drives as necessary and even desirable, never undermines the supreme goal of life.
  • Artha is to be understood as referring to all the means necessary for acquiring worldly prosperity, such as wealth or power.
  • Artha is desirable because man has to maintain the Dharma as a householder and therefore temporal interests were allowed for the smooth running of day to day life.

Kama:

  • Kama implies the desires in man for the enjoyment and satisfaction of the life of the senses, including the sex drive.
  • The desire may also mean the desire for early possession.
  • According to Prabhu, “Kama refers to the native impulses, instincts and desires of man, his natural and mental tendencies and finds it equivalent, we may say, in the use of English words- desires, needs, primary motives, urges and drives.
  • Kama is recognized as one of the aims of marriage along with “dharma” and “praja”.
  • Kama is given lowest importance among the valuable ends of marriage, because sex finds its meaning I procreation (praja).
  • Kapadia holds the view that ” Kama doesn’t mean only instinctive life, it means emotional and aesthetic life as well.”
  • The aesthetic life in man expresses itself in both creation and appreciation of all that is fine and sublime.
  • The healthy development of personality calls for the expression of the emotions.

Moksha:

  • Moksha is seen as the ultimate end of the life of Hindu or can be said as the liberation of soul.
  • According to K. M. Kapadia, ” Moksha means that the true nature of man is to unfold it and derive thereby the meaning of joy of it.”
  • The aim of man is the purification and perfection of ‘Atman’ by pious acts and devotion to God.
  • Moksha can be attained possibly by inquiry into the true nature of the ‘Atman’ and by founding the whole life of power and truth of the “Atman”.
  • The trivarga becomes the means for the attainment of that end.
  • The Hindu thinkers do not consider ‘artha’ and ‘kama’ as barriers in the way of man’s striving for realization of ‘moksha’.
  • They have recommended the fulfilment of such urges for the healthy development of man’s personality.
  • The goal of Moksha does not possess the narrow individual outlook for the Hindu nod it is to be pursued exclusively and directly by an individual unless and until he has duly satisfied all his social debts and obligations.