Dr. Svoboda elucidates the four aims of life, explaining how path, wealth, desire, and freedom from delusion apply to stages of development.
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The Four Purusarthas
Dr. Svoboda illuminates the wisdom behind the four Purusarthas, the four main aims of human life: Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. Dharma means the path followed through life; what you were put on earth to do. Artha means wealth, money, and material objects that we use in pursuit of our Dharma. Kama means any kind of legitimate, non-harmful desire. Moksha translates as liberation, and means to become free of something, such as delusion, or even rebirth.
“If you’re following your path through life properly, if you have aligned yourself with the material world in the right way in order to follow that path properly, if you’re fulfilling the desires that are legitimate and that you strongly hold and want to fulfill, then the likelihood is you will not be too much deluded.” – Dr. Robert Svoboda
For an illuminating dharma talk on the journey from delusion to wisdom, tune into Ep. 57 of the BHNN Guest Podcast
The Stages of Life (13:14)
Each one of these four aims is focused on at a different stage of life. The goal of Dharma focuses on the adolescent part of life, called Brahmacharya. The stage in life to focus on Artha, material wealth, is during Grihastha, the fully-grown householder period. The Vanaprashta stage deals with Kama, starts at midlife, and focuses on a transition away from possessions and worldly involvement. The later stage of life, dealing with Moksha, is called Sanyasa, and focuses on preparation for passing on.
“Each one of these four stages of life generally focuses on one of these Purusharthas, one of these goals in life, but it’s important to remember that at every stage of life we have Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.” – Dr. Robert Svoboda
Learn to live with what is, as Dr. Robert Svoboda and Paula Crossfield explore the serendipitous journey of life on Ep. 1 of Living With Reality
Applying The Four Purusharthas (24:08)
You can use the four Purusharthas to analyze any particular phase or project in your life. Ask yourself, “How does this relate to my personal Dharma, my path? Is it appropriate for my Artha, my material wealth? Will this truly satisfy my desire, Kama, in a non-harmful way? How will this relate to Moksha, and free me from delusion?” The Purusharthas can be used to help pull us backwards out of delusion and more towards the goal of higher good. Your success in these realms is intensely predicated on one thing: health.
“If you want to really be able to seriously achieve Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha, then the thing that you should focus on most sincerely and most assiduously is your health. If you are not healthy then it will be difficult for you to follow your path through life, accumulate the material objects you require, and free yourself from desires.” – Dr. Robert Svoboda