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Goals of Life - Decoded

  • By Swami Tejomayananda

Our ancient rishis enumerated four goals of life:

• धर्म (Dharma) – Duty
• अर्थ (Artha) – Material Wealth
• काम (Kama) – Desire
• मोक्ष (Moksha) – Liberation

The roles of these four pillars and their unique features have blurred over time.

When we do our duty there is an expectation of material wealth as reward.

However, the goal of Dharma or Duty is not wealth creation.

Duty leads to Moksha - Self-realisation and actualisation.

We focus on material gain, so that life can be more comfortable, more prosperous and more pleasurable. We perform duties in anticipation of enhanced comfort, for sense gratification leading to happiness. But that happiness does not sustain.

The Purpose of Wealth is not fulfilment of Desires, nor is Desire to satisfy the senses.

In a nutshell, Artha is for Dharma.

Desire is for sustenance of life. So why do we eat? - To sustain life, not just to please the tongue.

Why do we sustain life? – To realise the purpose of human life and to inquire into the Truth that liberates.

The aim of duty is to grow in devotion. Use material Wealth to perform duty better. Understanding the Four Goals bring discipline and makes us worthy. Wealth and happiness unfailingly follow. Then performance of duty comes naturally as it is very fulfilling.