Purusharthas: The Four Aims of Life

So let’s talk some more about Yoga philosophy, according to yoga philosophy, there are four aims of life, known as the “purusharthas.” The purusharthas come to us from the Mahabharata, which is the well known Indian poem that includes The Bhagavad Gita, and are intertwined into yogic philosophy deeply.

Purusha” means “soul.” The soul never leaves, it stays as energy into the universe, my opinion only by the way. “Artha” is interpretated as “the ability” or “for the purpose of.” Together, this would mean that purushartha translates into “for the purpose of the soul..” So the question is — does your daily routine support and reflect your purpose and your deep inner self? Let’s just talk about the first Aim of life today.

Dharma – Dharma essentially means duty, although it is a little more than duty. Your dharma has to do with being righteous, responsible, dutiful, and true to your purpose. It has to do with making sure you take care of your responsibilities and your duties on a daily basis. This can be hard sometimes. We get caught up in “jobs” that may not be our purpose, and as such we are not dutiful or responsible. Dharma also pertains to responsibilities and karma you are born into. Some people are born into family businesses and it is seen as part of their dharma that they continue the family business. If you have a special talent or gift you have been given since birth, it might be part of your dharma to utilize the gift you’ve been given.

Dharma includes not only the duties and responsibilities we inherently have, but also the karma and duties we take on through our choices. If you have chosen to have pets, it is part of your dharma to make sure that they are taken care of. If you are a parent, your dharma includes taking care of your child(ren). If getting married is your chosen dharma, then you have a duty to your spouse.

Dharma is a combination of your family obligations, the obligations which you are born into, your talents, and your choices, dharma can be ever-changing. Your dharma at 18 will likely be very different from your dharma at 40 or 65.

While dharma can be changing, what is constant is that to fulfill your dharma, you must do whatever you are obligated to do, and do it well, or to the best of your ability. It is totally possible, and common, that one may work a job to help support a family obligation, which is fulfilling dharma in itself. However, if you find yourself working at a job that you dread attending or that drains you of all your energy, you may not be aligned with your dharma.

So some things to think about. Are you living your Dharma? Do you know what your Dharma is? Has your Dharma changed over the years?

I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on this. I know my Dharma has changed multiple times, I also know looking back I may not have done my duty with righteousness and responsibility. As I’m moving forward I am applying these Aims to help guide me.

I hope to see some reply’s and comments. We will talk about the second Aim tomorrow.

Published by Namaste Medic

Seeker of joy and adventure!

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