[Advaita-l] chaturvidha purushartha

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Aug 17 00:34:02 CDT 2007

On Thu, 16 Aug 2007, chandramouli gunnala wrote:

> Dear Atmaswaroopa, OmNamo Narayanaya,
> Chaturvidah Purusharthas known as Dharma, Artha, Kama,
> Moksha.
> How a person should go about to accomplish these
> Purusharthas? Is there any priority or sequence or
> time and space in Vedantic approach?

Dharma, Artha, and Kama go together.  From the Vedantic point of view 
Moksha trumps the rest.

> Many a time, Artha and Kama are looked down as
> conflicting  to the Dharma or Moksha. Is it really so?

It need not be.  The  Kama sutra is notorious as a "book about sex" but 
that is one of the subjects covered in it.  Actually it prescribes a whole 
lifestyle which includes pleasure-seeking but is based on a temperate and 
moral outlook.

The Arthashastra of Kautilya is known for often cynical advice about the 
acquisition of power but its advice is meant to guide a ruler to govern 
justly and wisely.

> Yet, majority are entangled in these two purusharthas.
> Why?

Shortsightedness.  The problem with artha and kama is not that they are 
not enjoyable goals but that as usually practiced they are finite and what 
is finits is inevitably destroyed.

> The ultimate goal of a seeker being Moksha, should he
> delink himself from Artha and Kama?

The wise proponent of kama should pursue moksha because Brahman is the 
ultimate bliss.  (See anandamimamsa of taittiriyopanishad.)

The wise proponent of artha should pursue moksha because Brahman is all 
the material that exists and more.

Shankaracharya says that one can take sannyasa to pursue moksha from any 
ashrama or even none (see for example Shukadevaji who didn't even have 
upanayana) however in the Smarta tradition it is usual to go through 
brahmacharya and grhastha ashramas first.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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