I know I’m a day late. I was supposed to write this yesterday, but lol real life work prevented my creative side from emerging. So today I will talk about the second Aim of life.
So we started off with Dharma the first Aim which if you recall means duty, or responsibility. The second is Artha. Artha is prosperity. Artha can be defined as “wealth,” “prosperity,” or “success.” When we talk about artha, we are talking about material things — money, homes, cars, clothing, etc. Artha is everything you need to support you in your dharma. Simply put, artha is the stuff we need to be supported and at ease in this world and to carry out our purpose in life.
Artha would mean something different for all of us. In our culture, there are many different lifestyles, and therefore artha often takes on different meaning for different people. For a yogi, artha includes dedicated time and place to practice. Someone who is a salesperson might need a nice suit, professional haircuts, and a nice briefcase. A Chef will need the best knives, folders for recipes, cooking wares.
Money and material things are not bad, and in no way does yoga philosophy intend to send that message. We don’t need to sell everything and go live in an ashram. Artha is a necessary part of life. Without it, we would be miserable and under significant stress, which would be detrimental to our health and overall well being. You need artha to carry out your dharma. Without artha, you cannot take care of your family or other duties and obligations. What we want to avoid is greed, and that insatiable appetite for more. As a society dominated by material conquests and the urge to always gather more things. We have to figure out how to find balance between having what we need to support our dharma and our lifestyle, without becoming preoccupied with a hunger for more. We have to look inside ourselves. Remember we talked about self study and knowing who we are and live with honesty. Well here it is. Find out why you are hungering for material objects. Are you feeling something missing in your soul that you are trying to replace or make yourself feel better? Contentment with what we have is essential.
So to understand artha, it is necessary to first have an understanding of dharma. We have to figure out what our dharma is, then we can begin to look at our artha. Contemplate what you need to carry out your dharma. Think about your material possessions and ask yourself if you are content or you feel you need more. What purpose do your things serve in your life? Cars, apartments, towels, soap (yes soap) — these are all important items you need to carry out your dharma. If you have so many things that they cause you stress and drain you of energy and happiness, then those things are no longer serving you. As you begin this internal quest, you will learn what it is you truly value.
I have found while working through the yoga philosophy so much about myself already. I found that I bought things to make myself feel good, it was a quick pick me up to replace a feeling. I’m working on my dharma as we speak, and my artha has changed as well. I can easily tell when I’m wanting something just because or if I’m needing something to help me accomplish my dharma. I find myself being able to say no to just wanting something with no reason for it.
Let me know about your feelings on this, how you think you are doing with your artha.