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4 Objectives (Purusharthas) of Human Life - Decoded Using Vedic Astrology

Purusarthas
Purusarthas defines the code of life. In Vedic traditions, they are called the pillars, and when you follow them, they simplify your way of living. In the hustle of life, Purusarthas systematically guides us to achieve and realize our ultimate goals. Vedic in origin, Purusartha is a compound word made up of 'purusa' and 'artha'. Purusa, in general, means 'person' and 'artha' translates to 'human object'. Purusartha, then, is the exertion that the person does to attain his object of desire.
Purusarthas are the aims that define our conduct in life. In order to achieve our goals, we naturally engage in the means of obtaining them. The means through which we work to fulfill our goals becomes the Prayojana. Prayojana literally defines our journey of reaching our goals. We reach our motives using Prayojana as the tool.

The four Purusarthas are:

1 Dharma - Righteousness2 Artha - Material Prosperity3 Kama - Desires4 Moksha - Mukti/Emancipation
At varying stages, we engage in the exertion of fulfilling these four aims of life. Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha define the road map, our attitudes, and our viewpoints as we progress through the allotted time in our lives. Being born in the human form, we have certain duties to fulfill towards our family, society, and lastly, ourselves. These four provide us with the way of how we go about fulfilling our duties without complicating our own and other's lives.
Let us consider life to be a sequence or a ladder. The Purusarthas are the four rungs of the ladder, with Kama at the lowest and Moksha at the highest. When we talk about the four Purusarthas in relation to human life, the involvement of the horoscope becomes inevitable. The natal chart and the position of the houses and their qualities define the extent to which we will be able to fulfill these four goals of life.
1. Dharma - Dharma means righteousness and is placed right below Moksha. It is the key point around which the major discussion and the conflicts revolve. Dharma is the 'duty' that one is bound by and must discharge irrespective of the circumstances. Dharma is hard to comprehend and has much deeper connotations than we tend to take in our regular lives.
Arjuna is the Jeevatma and Krishna is the Parmatman. In the mighty battle of Kurukshetra, Arjuna questions his sanity about killing his own relatives. Mahabharata depicts Arjuna as the fighter clouded with ignorance who dropped his Gandiva and refused to fight. It is then that the Lord explains to him that he is a warrior and his Dharma is to fight; for if he fails to fulfill his duty as a warrior, he shall incur sin and lose his glory.
Astrologically, houses 1, 5, and 9 signify Dharma and are called the Dharma trikonas. These three factors, in relation to one another, determine your ability to carry out your responsibilities without becoming agitated or nervous. The 1st house marks the beginning and defines our strengths and weaknesses. The 5th house defines our mental intelligence or buddhi, which is essential to discriminate between right and wrong while we discharge our duties. The 9th house rules our values and inclinations, which govern the philosophical bent of our mind. Together, these three houses dictate our analytical skills and the ways in which we fulfill our responsibilities towards family, society, country, and lastly, our own selves.
2. Artha - We seek material prosperity in life, and Artha chiefly marks our economic development. Material prosperity is required to carry out our responsibilities to various sectors of society. We buy food, grains, and other basic commodities of life with money. If we are to achieve the last and ultimate goal of our lives, it's important to nurture our bodies.
However, the means through which we attain material prosperity play a crucial role. The means of obtaining material goods governs the quality of our lives. Attained through illegitimate means, Artha hails destruction. But when earned through sincere hard work and dedication, it brings us bliss. Donations and charitable deeds become truly beneficial when we attain Artha through pure means.
In the birth chart, houses 2, 6, and 10 govern Artha. The 2nd house is the house of possessions and determines your family's financial background and the extent of your affluence. The 6th house governs the sector of your employment, inheritance, and debts. The 10th house influences your profession as per the planetary placement. The 10th house is also the house of karma or the karma bhava. The three houses in coordination propel you towards doing your karma in the respective field of your employment.
3. Kama - Kama means desires. Desire has both dark and bright sides to it. On the darker side, kama represents lust and the uncontrollable passion for bodily attractions. But in terms of spirituality or Adhyatma, it signifies the longing for your Lord. It represents your inherent desire to be one with him, to dissolve in him. The reason why Kama is placed lowest in quality is that when it comes to daily life, we often skip its real meaning. Kama becomes the sensory engagement to derive pleasure for us, the worldly mortals.
Astrologically, houses 3, 7, and 11 govern the Purusartha of Kama. The 3rd house influences our power of creation. This plays an important role in the process of reproduction and is essential for the continuation of succeeding generations. In a horoscope, the 7th house is placed opposite the ascendant and is the house of the partner. It governs passions, sexual relationships, and satisfaction. The 11th house governs income and profits, both of which are required to enjoy kama. In connection with each other, all three houses bring about a subtle play of emotions. When you harness these emotions, they take you to the highest form of bhakti, but if you leave them on the loose, they ravage your caliber in material as well as spiritual life.
4. Moksha - Moksha is the final aim of your life. Moksha, or Mukti, is the liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Owing to the power of Avidya, or ignorance, we, the Jeevatma, are subject to various births, repeating the pain till liberation is achieved. We receive freedom from the bonds of slavery when we realise what real knowledge is. Real knowledge is the knowledge of the Self, where we come to terms with the dualities of the world. We learn through practical means that life is just a game, and it's not we who undergo the ordeal of pain and pleasure.
Houses 4, 8, and 12 signify Moksha in your birth chart. The 4th house determines your roots and peace. It signifies that you are the real source, the actual root of your peace, and nobody else can take that away from you unless you're willing. The 8th house represents the house of death. Death does not mean freedom. It simply means the soul's transaction from one body to another, from one form to another. This house thus marks your karma—the action and subsequent transformation. The 12th and the last house connote the end, the climax of your life. The strength of this house inspires you to detach from the mundane and focus on the divine. All these three houses determine your power and the degree of your self-realization.

Conclusion #

Though all four Purusarthas are salient in our journey, they are often in conflict with each other. On various occasions in our lives, these four pillars intersect to examine our firmness in the quest for the divine. We must, therefore, adopt the 'Lotus way' of thinking and living life. The Lotus grows in the mud but remains unstained. Rising from the muck, the flower rises up to reach out to the Sun. We must keep in mind that Moksha is our final goal, our destination, the only reason for our human form. When we learn to discharge our duties without attachment, these four Purusarthas, in true terms, become the four pillars of our lives.

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