Dharma & Purushartha

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DHARMA Dharma has been variously translated as duty, faith, righteousness, sacred law, justice, ethics, morality and so on. According to one school of Hinduism, dharma is an obligatory duty as prescribed by the Vedas to be performed by an individual in accordance with the rules prescribed for the caste to which he or she belongs.

Apad-Dharma :

Apad-Dharma A course of action which is not usually proper, but permissible in times of distress and calamity. If someone from the enemy camp has come to our shelter and is asking for our help – we need to do the duty f a householder and forgive the soldier and give him shelter. This is our ‘Apad Dharma’.

Adharma :

Adharma According to Prince Yudhishtir, there is a very thin lines separating Dharma from Adharma. This is decided by the influence of a particular region and time. This is dynamic concept. For instance, in a forest a cow goes running from one direction and behind him comes the cow slaughter, he asks the persons if he has seen the cow and in which direction did she go? The person if he speaks the truth (Satya) the cow will be slaughtered and will lose her misdirects the slaughter and saves the life of the cow. Hence the line of demarcation between the two is very thin. If Dharma is destroyed, it destroys us. If Dharma is protected it protects us. Therefore do not destroy dharma, lest dharma may destroy us.

Swadharma :

Swadharma Lord Krishna emphasizes that doing Swadharma – one’s duty is based on one’s swabhava and aptitude. The duty one has to do, by one’s virtue of birth in a particular family, place in society should be carried out for the general welfare of the society and worship of DIVINE. It is preferable to follow one’s own dharma which one may try to follow well. It is preferable to die while carrying out one’s own dharma or following a different dharma is perilous. Let us take an example: According to Indian Philosophy, the duty of a son is to make his parents proud by his success in a field. Let us assume the son is not interested in studies but in sports – cricket. He pursues this passion with all his heart and becomes a world class cricketer, like Sachin Tendulkar. In this case, if the parents forced the son to be a Doctor or Engineer and not pursue a career of his choice and Swabhava that would be Adharma. Hence, Swadharma gives the individual freedom to choose his career and important decisions as per his Swabhava.


DHARMIC LEADERSHIP: This combines ethical decisions making and ethical behavior and it occurs in both an individual and organizational contact. It emphasizes perfection of self, through planned self-development as a whole human being – doing his ‘Dharma Sadhana’. A Dharmic leader is someone who tells the people the difference between right and wrong. He makes ethical decisions at critical times, walks his talk and sets an example of conduct for the common man. Such a leader must effectively manage and control his senses and accordingly mold his personality. In Dharmic leadership, one places satisfaction and good of maximum number of people as one of the important goals. This also is based on virtues like love and caring and a genuine desire to uplift the quality of life for all. In such leadership style, not only the leader but also the followers have lot of Satvik Guna and everyone wishes to contribute meaningfully in the progress of organization or society. As Mr. Narayan Murthy, Charman, Infosys Ltd. Said, “We have ten thousands hearts working for Infosys but one heart beat.” Such is the synergy at workplace.


VARNASHRAM DHARMA: It laid down the right conduct in the different stages of life. During the making of Indian Civilization and culture in the ancient past, it was conceived as a code of functioning I logical sequence. There was a common code of conduct for all and there was another set of rules appropriate to each social class and at each stage of life. The individuals had to confirm to the pattern and style.

The Four Social Classes In Ancient India :

The Four Social Classes In Ancient India Bramhins Kshatriya Vaishya Sudra

Bramhins: :

Bramhins: This social class was engaged in imparting and accumulating knowledge and skills in different walks of life. The ultimate aim of this class was to know ‘Bramhan’ to the ultimate spiritual truth. This class of people was running “GURUKUL” to impart education and all their daily necessities were supplied by the other social classes.


Kshatriya: The Kshatriya are the warriors/nobles in society. They hold political power, control the army, and dominate all but the Brahman caste. They can be considered "polluted" when they have inappropriate contact with lower castes but unlike the Brahmans, they are not forbidden from eating meat. The word Kshatriya is derived from the Sanskrit word ksatra meaning power or government


Vaishya: The Vaishya caste is made up of the traders and merchants in Indian society. Although they are considered twice born and are generally wealthy due to the fact that they control commerce they are denied any social status within the caste system. Individuals are commonly referred to as banias , a distortion of the Sanskrit word vanik , meaning "trader"


Sudra: The Shudras make up the lowest caste and are expected to serve the three higher castes. This caste was created upon the arrival of the Aryans. The Aryans were already divided into three castes and believed that they were superior to the dark skinned natives. The Shudras became a subordinate caste and served the other higher castes as labourers and artisians. The rigidity of the caste system kept these people at the bottom where they had no rights or privliges. A Shudra could only marry within the caste and was not permitted to enter temples. Many Shudras were supportive of anti-Brahminical sects such as Buddhism and Jainiasm, later they also converted to Islam and Chritianity Shudra is a Sanskrit word meaning "person who needs mental or physical cleaning"

Set of Rules Laid Down For Different Stages Of Life :

Set of Rules Laid Down For Different Stages Of Life BRAMHACHARYASHRAM : These are the formative years of life which is from the age of 8 to 21 years when the male child goes to a ‘GURUKUL’ to learn and absorb skills and to be enlightened. The important rule of this stage is to live away from one’s parents to acquire knowledge and ways of the world. GRIHASTHASHRAM : After acquiring knowledge and skills to maintain his livelihood, the male enters into a ‘Holy Matrimony’ around the age of 35 years, begets children, becomes a householder, having civic responsibilities and remains a law abiding citizen.

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VAANPRASTHASHRAM : After marriage, children and taking care of his parents, elders in the house, the male member retires from active social life after he has completed all his responsibilities. He heads towards the forest for contemplation and engages in spiritual pursuit. SANYASASHRAM : This is the last stage of his life, were he would renounce everything and lives a life of a ascetic.




INTRODUCTION “Purusha” means human being and “artha” means object or objective. Purusharthas means objectives of man. According to Hindu way of life, a man should strive to achieve four chief objectives (Purusharthas) in his life. They are: Of the four, dharma and moksa are the one that man ought to seek; while artha and kama are the one that man is naturally inclined to seek

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DHARMA (RIGHTEOUSNESS) Dharma means that which upholds this entire creation. It is a Divine law that is inherent and invisible, but responsible for all existence. It exists in all planes, in all aspects and at all levels of creation. It is considered to be the first cardinal aim because it is at the root of everything and upholds everything.


(MATERIAL WEALTH) Artha means wealth . Hinduism recognizes the importance of material wealth for the overall happiness and well being of an individual. A person may have the intention to uphold the dharma, but if he has no money he would not be able to perform his duties and fulfill his dharma. Hinduism advocates simplicity and detachment, but does not glorify poverty.

3. Kama (desire):

3. Kama (desire) Kama in a broader sense means desire. Both Hinduism and Buddhism consider desire as the root cause of human suffering. According to the Bhagavadgita, desire leads delusion and bondage to the cycle of births and deaths. The way out of suffering is to become detached from the sense objects through such practices as yoga and meditation and perform desireless actions as sacrificial offerings to God with a sense of duty, accepting God as the doer and without hankering after the fruit of one's actions.

4. Moksha (salvation or liberation):

4. Moksha (salvation or liberation) The pursuit of dharma regulates the life of a human being and keeps him on the righteous path. The pursuit of artha and kama enrich his experience and impart to him valuable lesson. The pursuit of moksha or salvation liberates him and leads him to the world Brahman. The pursuit of teaching usually begins in the early age when one is initiated into religious studies.

Rebirth and Salvation:

Rebirth and Salvation Pattern of Life Hindus believe universe, everyone in it, part of continual pattern of birth, death, and rebirth After death atman reborn in process called reincarnation , or samsara New Life Nature of person’s new life shaped by karma —sum effect of deeds, actions Good karma, reincarnated to better station in life; bad karma, lower station in life Ultimate goal of human existence, moksha , escape from cycle of rebirth Dharma With moksha , atman leaves world, reunites fully with Brahman To achieve moksha is to fulfill one’s dharma —spiritual duties, obligations By fulfilling dharma, one creates good karma, breaks free from rebirth cycle


CONCLUSION Dharma is always held higher than Artha and Kama. In the attainment of moksha only dharma can help, provided it has been cultivated through artha and kama. Moral decay and disintegration will follow. However with all these things also he is not seen to be happy and contended. It can definitely help us to find “PEACE OF MIND” which is the birth right of every human being.



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