A Way of Life Indian culture Spirituality in India Traditions

The Purpose of Life

Table of Contents


In the rich traditions of Indian philosophy and culture, there exist four fundamental pursuits of life known as the “Purusharthas”, which are the keys to learn the purpose of life. These ancient principles serve as a guide to living a fulfilling and balanced life.


Purushartha (purush – can refer to a man or in this case human; artha – refers to meaning or goal or purpose in this context) is Sanskrit word that means “goals or purpose of human life”

Dharma: The path of Duty & Righteousness

Dharma is the first Purushartha, and it encompasses the concept of duty, righteousness, and moral values. It is the moral compass that guides individuals in making ethical decisions in all their affairs. Dharma simply means – Doing the Right Thing!

Examples of Dharma in everyday life include:

  1. Family Responsibilities: Fulfilling one’s roles and responsibilities within the family, such as caring for parents and elders, raising children and supporting one’s wider community.
  2. Work Ethic: Conducting oneself with honesty, and integrity in the workplace, adhering to professional ethics. These values are considered the primary assets to any profession along with professional excellence.
  3. Environmental Responsibility: Practicing ecologically friendly habits to fulfill our duty to protect nature – in this to be grateful to nature for the abundance it provides and preserve and protect resources, respectfully, for now and the future.
Artha: The Pursuit of Prosperity and Wealth

Artha represents the pursuit of material well-being, wealth, and economic prosperity. It emphasizes the importance of financial stability and security – since out of abundance comes generosity for the community as well. In a nutshell, artha is about Earning & Saving Money and helping others too.

Here are some examples of Artha:

  1. Career Advancement: Striving for success in one’s career to achieve financial stability and support a comfortable lifestyle.
  2. Investment and Savings: Managing finances wisely, saving for the future, and making prudent investments.
  3. Entrepreneurship: Starting a business or venture to create wealth and economic growth and generate employment for others.
Kama: The pursuit of Desire

Kama (can also simply mean to desire) celebrates the pursuit of pleasure, desires, and emotional fulfillment. It acknowledges the significance of enjoying life’s pleasures in moderation – and under the confines of Dharma. (Kama is not the same as Karma) – simply put, Kama is about enjoying life responsibly.

Everyday examples of Kama include:

  1. Hobbies and Leisure Activities: Engaging in hobbies and recreational activities that bring joy and relaxation.
  2. Romantic Relationships: Pursuing love and forming meaningful connections with others.
  3. Cultural Enjoyment: Appreciating art, music, literature, and other forms of cultural enrichment.
Moksha: Liberation from the cycle of Birth & Death

Moksha is the ultimate goal of spiritual and philosophical exploration. It represents the liberation of the soul from the cycle of birth and death – or Samsara. It’s all about finding inner peace.

While it may seem abstract, Moksha has practical aspects:

  1. Meditation and Self-Reflection: Seeking inner peace and self-realization through practices like meditation and self-reflection. Yoga is also a physical practice in (and part of) these pursuits.
  2. Philanthropy and Service: Helping others and contributing to the welfare of society and participating in activities for the betterment of the community and society as a whole.
  3. Yoga and Mindfulness: Embracing yoga and mindfulness techniques to attain mental and spiritual clarity.

Balancing the Pursuits of Life

The Four Purusharthas, Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha, provide a holistic framework for leading a well-rounded and meaningful life. By recognizing these principles and finding the right balance among them, individuals can navigate life’s complexities with wisdom and purpose, irrespective of their cultural background.

These timeless concepts not only offer guidance but also invite us to explore the profound depths, meaning and purpose of our existence while nurturing a brighter future for ourselves and those around us.

A Way of Life About... Indian culture Spirituality in India

Ancient and very simple, 10 guidelines for life

Here are some simple guidelines to live a peaceful and contented life – based on ancient wisdom from the different schools of philosophies from India, do note that these have been edited for this content and by no means an official list, but we hope they help give an overall understanding:

1) Embrace Dharma – Do your Duty

Discover your unique role and responsibilities in life, aligning your actions with righteousness and fulfilling your duties selflessly (Dharma).

2) Do Positive Actions

Engage in virtuous deeds, treating others with kindness, compassion, and respect. Understand that your actions have consequences and strive to create positive ripples in the river of Karma.

3) Detach yourself from the Results

Perform your duties without attachment to the outcomes, focusing on the sincerity and righteousness of your actions rather than personal gains. Surrender to the natural flow of events, trusting in the wisdom of the universe (Detachment from Results).

4) Be aware of the Illusions of the world

Realize the illusory nature of the material world and see through the enchanting veil of Maya. Understand that true fulfillment and lasting happiness lie beyond the transient aspects of existence.

5) Seek Liberation
from bondage of self and desires

Aspire for Moksha, the ultimate liberation from the cycle of rebirth and transmigration. Realize your true nature, transcending the illusions of Maya and attaining unity with the divine (Moksha).

6) Practice Awareness

Cultivate present-moment awareness, embracing each experience with gratitude and acceptance. Live with awareness, be mindful, paying attention to your thoughts, words, and actions, ensuring they align with your Dharma.

7) Nurture Inner Growth

Strive for personal growth and spiritual development. Continuously reflect on your beliefs, values, and actions, seeking to deepen your understanding and connection with the divine.

8) Find Balance

Lead a balanced life, attending to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Honor your own needs while also contributing to the welfare of others and society.

9) Choose Love and Compassion

Let love and compassion be your guiding principles. Extend kindness and understanding to yourself and others, recognizing the inherent divinity within all beings.

10) Cultivate Contentment

Embrace gratitude for the blessings in your life, finding contentment in the present moment. Let go of excessive desires and attachments, knowing that true fulfillment comes from within.

By integrating these principles into our life’s tapestry, we can embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery, harmony, acceptance, service and contentment.

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