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In common usage, the word Purusha means a man.

By Devakinanda Pasupuleti, MD

Ashtottaram 31



पुरुषार्थभूम्यै नमः

(Purusha: Human; Ardha: Pursuit, wealth, chief aim, principal goal)

Purusha means the one who sleeps in the city of nine gates of the body. In common usage, the word means a man. In the Upanishads, the word has often been used to indicate the jīva (the Self) as also the Paramātman (the Supreme Soul or God).

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Purushārthās are the ends to be striven for by human beings. Recognizing the basic needs and cravings of a human being, the ancient sages of Hinduism have given a four-fold ideal to be striven for, by everyone. They are dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kāma (desires of the flesh), and moksha (liberation from transmigratory existence:- saṃsāra). Notice that the artha and kāma are in the middle and dharma in front of them. The ṛishis have placed them in this order to emphasize that we can have artha and kāma but they should be earned and enjoyed in the right way. Moksha is placed at the end because after enjoying artha and kāma in a dhārmic way, one should think of liberation from saṃsāra and work towards attaining that goal.

Ordinary enjoyments of the world are centered on artha and kāma. However, in this world of cut-throat competition, unless some higher norms and standards are set up, the big fish will eat up the smaller ones and jungle-law will prevail. It is these rules that are indicated by the omnibus term dharma. Every person is free to pursue the path of artha and kāma, comfort and pleasure, but always within the perimeters of dharma.

Ashtottaram 31

Purushārthās are the ends to be striven for by human beings.

Purushārthās are the ends to be striven for by human beings.

However, life teaches everyone, at least the more cultured and refined ones, that neither artha nor kāma can ever be satiated, and that there must be a much higher goal to be sought after. This is moksha or total liberation from the trans-migratory cycle of birth and death (saṃsāra), and, once reinstated in one’s original state, the state of eternal bliss. This can be attained through spiritual evolution under the guidance of expert spiritual masters.

Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: क्यों असंभव है कैलाश पर्वत की चोटी तक पहुँचना?

Sometimes, the first three (dharma, artha, and kāma) are grouped as one unit called trivarga and the last (moksha) as apavarga, means- that which is beyond the three.

ALSO READ: Hindu Temple In Pakistan Vandalized By Mob Attacks

The only land that taught us and the rest of the world that ‘the final goal and pursuit of human beings is moksha’ is our bhūmi,‘ Purushārdha Bhūmi’.

(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored, and hence promotes some commercial links.)


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