In Hinduism, four main objects of human pursuit are Dharma, Artha, Kama and Mokasha. These are the four main goals of human life. Pursuing all the four objectives rationally gives peaceful and stable existence to an individual and society as a whole. Chasing one of them at the cost of ignoring the rest of them creates imbalance in life.
Dharma is the first and fundamental objective to be pursued. However, the definition of dharma varies according to place, time and situation. In simple words dharma can be defined as code of conduct or ethical behavior. Dharma is not to be confused with religion or spirituality. Dharma can be defined as duties and responsibilities of an individual towards himself, his family, his country and humanity. Dharma can be interpreted as a form of self expression, also. Each of us is born with a unique set of talents and capabilities. Acknowledging these gifts and cultivating them is the most fulfilling objective of life. Rooted in one’s dharma, we can easily pursue the rest of the objectives in life.
Artha can be interpreted as attaining material wealth through meaningful activities that offer fulfillment in life. The ultimate goal of attaining wealth is to experience happiness and well being. If earning livelihood creates a lot of stress and anxiety, we must think about the reasons behind it. Shouldn’t it be the expression of your creativity? Shouldn’t it be a pleasurable experience? If not, how can we make it interesting?
Kama is the pursuit of heartfelt desires. It encompasses a wide range of emotions including longings, cravings, yearnings, aspirations and ambitions. Pursuing one’s desires require a sense of discernment. We need to use our intellect while choosing right kind of ambitions and discarding harmful yearnings. Proper understanding of dharma helps in making right choices. Desires that are not in conflict with one’s dharma or true nature are divine. Pursuing such desires can lead us to moksha.
Moksha is the ultimate liberation. If all the above objectives are followed properly and whole heartedly, moksha can be attained naturally.