[Advaita-l] Musings on the Fundamentals of Hinduism - 8

Anbu sivam2 anbesivam2 at gmail.com
Mon Sep 14 15:58:00 CDT 2009



In this Musing we are going to talk on the objectives of life. After all
everybody asks the question: “Why am I here?” Seldom people act aimlessly.
Everybody would say that he did anything for some reason or the other and
very rarely would you find someone saying he doesn’t know why he did such
and such thing. Reasoning is part of man’s nature. All reasoning would be
seen to ultimately satisfy desires. What is the objective of the desires?
All living beings desire *happiness*. In order to be happy each one has his
own pursuit. These pursuits fall into four broad objectives called
Purushaarthas. The *four Purushaarthas *are *Dharma, Artha, **Kama** and
Moksha*. Let’s try to understand each one of them.

By *Dharma* we mean orderliness as opposed to chaos. It is the rule of
humane law. A society with a rule of law where everyone understands his role
and plays it fully without let or hindrance is a Dhaarmic society. An
individual who understands and plays his role fully and effectively is a
Dhaarmic person. A king who rules a Dharmic Society and has Dharmic subjects
as citizens is a true king. Rama was a true king. A person seeks to know his
role and wish to play it effectively is said to be ‘swadharmic’ and this is
a great objective of one’s life. A person who interferes in other’s affairs
or forcibly takes over others’ work is considered ‘paradharmic’ and he is
asuric in nature. For example, Ravana usurped the roles played by Gods and
made them to serve his own ends instead of the common ends that the Gods
were serving.

Gathering wealth as an object of life is called ‘*Artha*’. Such pursuit of
wealth must be lawful and dhaarmic. A person dispossessing others is an
adharmic person and is considered to have asuric nature. Mohmad Gazni
invaded India 17 times and amassed a huge wealth. This asura made a huge
mountain of his stolen wealth in Gazni and died looking at this mountain of
wealth! Such was his passion for stolen wealth. The Englishmen looted India
for centuries and divided India into two inimical nations when they left the
country. This is an asuric act.

*Kama* is the pursuit of pleasure derived from enjoyment all good things in
life including sexual pleasures. It can also be said that Kama is seeking
the fulfillment of one’s desires. Stealing another man’s wife is an adharmic
fulfillment of Kama and therefore is an asuric act. Ravana stole Rama’s wife
and Dharma caught him in the form of Rama and he was killed.

These three purusharthas – Dharma, Artha and Kaama - though important they
are ephemeral in nature as they are exhausted in time.

The fourth Purushartha known as *Moksha* is considered the most important
one because it is permanent in nature and is therefore called *Parama
Purushartha*. Moksha is the liberation from the clutches of nature, of
escape from the cycle of birth and death. Chandogyopanishad says that a
person attaining Moksha ‘na cha punar aavartate, na cha punar aavartate’ –
He does not return to Samsaara.

Sri Gurubyo Namaha

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