Four Purusharthas    Dharma –  Conscientious Living

THE third Purushartha is called Dharma. Dharma is always mentioned first whenever the scriptures talk about the four purusharthas – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. This is because of its all-round and far reaching benefits to help bring about an ideal disposition which facilitates attainment of all other purusharthas. The word Dharma has wide implications, and no English word does full justice to it; yet, in the context of our discussion we can say that Dharma implies conscientious, orderly and holistic living. Man is a social being, he lives amongst his own kind, in group, and every person has to attain his or her purusharthas of Artha and Kama. This being the case it is necessary to frame some ground rules in the spirit of live and let live. That’s the spirit behind Dharma. It makes us sensitive to others, makes us care for others, it brings necessary magnanimity to look at others as part of one whole. It helps us to expand our family and brings about a holistic vision.

The moment we see the whole world as one great whole, we also become sensitive to a supreme intelligence, who has not only created this beautiful world and cosmos, but is also running the show. As no effect is possible without a cause, we infer the existence of a creator when we see this beautiful creation. If creation is so beautiful, how will the creator be. Dharma thus wakes us up to the existence of God. Dharma does not make us afraid of God, but rather shows that he is someone who deserves our greatest love and reverence. We are his creation, act as per his dictates, will live as long as he likes and will leave when he so wishes. We cannot influence his wishes but should know his ways and means and live accordingly, in a spirit of surrender and love.

Swami Atmananda

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