Four Purusharthas

The Goals of Human Life

By Dr. Nutan Pakhare

The Vedas talk about the four purusharthas that are foundational goals of life, so that we may navigate our lives on these lines and live to achieve our highest potential as human life.

Purushartha means the ultimate purpose of the human life.

  1. Dharma: Righteousness, Duty
  2. Artha: Wealth
  3. Kama: Desire
  4. Moksha: Liberation

All these goals are interrelated. If you follow your dharma rightly then you will earn the abundance of Artha, i.e. wealth. Which ultimately needs to fulfill your Kama i.e. various desires.

Lastly, the path to Moksha i.e. is nothing but it is the result of pleasing interaction of Dharma, Artha, and Kama.

Remember an exclusive quest of first three goals may distract you and you may stuck in one of them for e.g. excessive indulgence in earning money or sexual activities or accumulating material things cannot take you towards your ultimate aim of life. This stops the person from reaching the ultimate destination of their life

  1. Dharma– This is first important purpose of life which forms a basis to the essence of life. Dharma, simply put, is the truthful duty of a person, based on ethical principles of life. On a deeper level, the soul chooses the physical body to perform certain actions that are imperative for the growth and evolution of the soul, so that it can be liberated and be free from the shackles of future birth and suffering.

3 tips to follow Dharma in daily life –

  • Being in constant awareness about your thoughts, words, and action
  • Being compassionate and kind towards others
  • Being connected with the divinity within

If you follow those tips you will be benefitted with

  • Stability
  • Sensitivity
  • Harmonious feeling with the surroundings
  • Peacefulness and contentment within self

Vedic scriptures or the essence of a Guru or an enlightened teacher will help us to navigate and understand our dharma.

It gives you an opportunity to reflect and share, and fulfil your desire in a rightful way. You will be able to discern your own actions as right or wrong and its consequence.

If your actions are correct, automatically you will be supported by your surroundings, you will feel peace through loads of blessings.

  1. Artha– Artha provides the foundation for Dharma and Kama.

Artha refers to wealth for which you need to pursue some activities to fulfil requirements of daily life and take care for your family, without hoarding or being greedy. Artha includes knowledge, friendship, love, career, skills, good health, and prosperity. Without prosperity and security in society or at the individual level, both moral life and pleasures may be imbalanced. So earning wealth by keeping those things in mind leads to take you ahead towards your next goal.


  1. Kama – Kama refers to various desires & sexual pleasures of an individual. Desires can be anything like earning money, getting married, and buying new car or having sex, aiming fame, etc. This is delicate goals and need to have self – control towards over or under indulgence to prevent future obstacles. It is important to be focused and fulfil step by step your desire ethically.
  1. Moksha – Moksha refers to liberation.

As all the rivers eventually lead to the sea, similarly there are many spiritual paths like gyan yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga, etc. leading to the same destination of realizing the super consciousness.