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Chapter I: What Do I Want?

Question about Purusarthas (objects of human persuit)

Motivations , The Unexamined Logic of Your Own Experience,
I Want Security, Pleasure and Virtue, Does Happiness Exist?
Is It in Objects?, Definition of an Object, I Am Not an Object,
Am I Separate from Objects?, Definition of Real,
The Objects Are Me, But I Am Not an Object,
Definition of Non-Duality, Life Is a Zero-Sum Game,
The Fourth Pursuit.

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Question about Purusarthas (objects of human persuit)

Postby marek » Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:07 am

I am a bit new in the world of Vedanta, but I find it very appealing and the logic of it resonates with me.

I have a question about the purusharthas (like Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha) in Vedanta and I am a bit stuck.

How is one supposed to see these? I understand that they are all objects, but I feel that these objects of pursuit are "built in" into the human form. At least without the Artha we could not function in this world. For example air, water, shelter and food are mandatory objects to live. While the other 3 I see more like luxuries of life, but they can be fulfilling to the live of a human being.

My question is: Is it the intention to accept these (objects) and find a natural balance between them. Or.. is my view on the purusarthas altogether wrong?

Also.. how does the object of pursuit: Moksha, fit into all this? How can I be free if Moksha is on the list?
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Re: Question about Purusarthas (objects of human persuit)

Postby Vinay » Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:47 am

Hi marek,

Here's my understanding of this topic..

Let me first explain the meaning of these Sanskrit terms so that we're on the same page.

Purushartha is a combination of 2 words, "Purusha" meaning "human" & "artha" in this context meaning "goal". So Purushartha means "goals of human life".

1) Artha is the pursuit of security, i.e. more money, a better house, power, fame etc.

2) Kama is the pursuit of pleasure i.e. food, travel, sex, music etc.

3) Dharma in this context means Punyam or merit, also called "good karma" in modern parlance. Do-gooders fall in this category.

I understand that they are all objects, but I feel that these objects of pursuit are "built in" into the human form. At least without the Artha we could not function in this world. For example air, water, shelter and food are mandatory objects to live.


Yes, the pursuit of these objects is "built into" humans. There's no problem in seeking Dharma-Artha-Kama. The problem happens when we seek completeness in these objects.

Insecure people chase money, a better house, more power, to feel complete. Others chase pleasure or Dharma. All of us need a bare minimum of Dharma-Artha-Kama, but we should not becomes slaves to our desires. That is what Vedanta tells us. These objects can never give us freedom from incompleteness.

So pursue Dharma-Artha-Kama with this knowledge about the limitation of objects. They can never make you "permanently" happy.

The reason Vedanta addresses this topic is to show us the futility of chasing objects for the sake of completeness or security.

how does the object of pursuit: Moksha, fit into all this? How can I be free if Moksha is on the list?


I wouldn't term Moksha an object. Moksha is the search for "you", your real nature.

Moksha is translated as liberation or freedom. The people who come to Vedanta are not seeking more security, pleasure or Punyam from objects. They are looking for freedom from all "binding" desires, freedom from the sense of insecurity.

Moksha is inner freedom, freedom from attachment to Dharma-Artha-Kama. Only Moksha can give you completeness, or the sense of security.

Moksha is the primary goal of all humans. Even those chasing Dharma-Artha-Kama will eventually come around to pursuing Moksha when they realize that chasing external objects does not give them what they seek, and keeps them in Samsara Chakra (wheel of life).

I hope I was able to answer your questions.

Vinay
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Re: Question about Purusarthas (objects of human persuit)

Postby marek » Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:40 am

Hi Vinay,

Thank you for your answer. It is helping a lot.

Vinay wrote:Yes, the pursuit of these objects is "built into" humans. There's no problem in seeking Dharma-Artha-Kama. The problem happens when we seek completeness in these objects.

So it is actually best to treat all of those arthas as kind of game elements with which we can play, but eventually not to get attached to them and not to seek fulfillment in them.

Vinay wrote:I wouldn't term Moksha an object. Moksha is the search for "you", your real nature.... Moksha is the primary goal of all humans. Even those chasing Dharma-Artha-Kama will eventually come around to pursuing Moksha when they realize that chasing external objects does not give them what they seek, and keeps them in Samsara Chakra (wheel of life).

The reason that I have included Moksha and that it was somehow confusing to me, is because it is named as one on the four purusarthas http://www.vmission.org.in/vedanta/articles/4puru.htm

So actually it is the "last" step in our persuit? We find ourselfs, because we are always there and we can not loose ourselves, right?

I am trying to get this as clear as possible, because I understand that this is the most important element (or the goal).

Thank you again for your answers.

Marek.
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Re: Question about Purusarthas (objects of human persuit)

Postby Mira » Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:32 pm

Nice post, Vinay.

I wanted to add that there is a nice explanation of Purushartha in the Tattva Bodha by Swami Paramarthananda which Vinay has linked to in another post. In fact, I enjoyed reading that whole Tattva Bodha manuscript. Marek, you might find it useful too.

Best, Mira.
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Re: Question about Purusarthas (objects of human persuit)

Postby Andrew » Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:21 pm

Mira wrote:Nice post, Vinay.



2nded!

Can't add anything to this except that Swami Dayananda's "Introduction to Vedanta" book is also very helpful in this regard.
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Re: Question about Purusarthas (objects of human persuit)

Postby Vinay » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:25 pm

So it is actually best to treat all of those arthas as kind of game elements with which we can play, but eventually not to get attached to them and not to seek fulfillment in them.


Yes, exactly!

The reason that I have included Moksha and that it was somehow confusing to me, is because it is named as one on the four purusarthas http://www.vmission.org.in/vedanta/articles/4puru.htm


Maybe I wasn't so clear in my first post. Yes, Moksha is the 4th Purushartha.

So actually it is the "last" step in our persuit? We find ourselfs, because we are always there and we can not loose ourselves, right?

I am trying to get this as clear as possible, because I understand that this is the most important element (or the goal).


Moksha is the ultimate purpose of human life. Animals can only pursue Artha & Kama. Because humans have free will, they can pursue Dharma & Moksha as well. However Moksha is superior to Dharma, because even Dharma keeps us in Samsara. Only Moksha gives us freedom from Samsara.

One of the qualifications for Vedanta is a "burning desire for Moksha". Moksha cannot be a part-time pursuit. You have to structure your whole lifestyle around the pursuit of Moksha, and the other goals (Dharma-Artha-Kama) become secondary goals in your life.

~

This is the link Mira is referring to:
http://introductiontovedanta.blogspot.i ... human.html

I agree with Andrew. "Introduction to Vedanta" is an excellent book to understand this topic.
http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Veda ... 8170942896

Vinay
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Re: Question about Purusarthas (objects of human persuit)

Postby marek » Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:56 am

Thank you all (Vinay, Mira, Andrew) for your input. The book and links you provided are very useful to me. I read the blog and also started reading Introduction to Vedanta by Swami Dyananada. It have a much better feel about the purusharthas. I also got the basic understanding of my dispassion that is happening now in my life and the desire for moksha.
I also found the Tattvabodha very useful. Actually I did not know of it's existance before and that it is actually a paraphrase of the whole Vendata teaching. I feel that there is lot to learn and discover for me, but I feel more and more happy that Vedanta somehow found a way into my life.
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Re: Question about Purusarthas (objects of human persuit)

Postby Anja » Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:26 pm

marek wrote:I am a bit new in the world of Vedanta, but I find it very appealing and the logic of it resonates with me.

I have a question about the purusharthas (like Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha) in Vedanta and I am a bit stuck.

How is one supposed to see these? I understand that they are all objects, but I feel that these objects of pursuit are "built in" into the human form. At least without the Artha we could not function in this world. For example air, water, shelter and food are mandatory objects to live. While the other 3 I see more like luxuries of life, but they can be fulfilling to the live of a human being.

My question is: Is it the intention to accept these (objects) and find a natural balance between them. Or.. is my view on the purusarthas altogether wrong?

Also.. how does the object of pursuit: Moksha, fit into all this? How can I be free if Moksha is on the list?



Mosha, in my opinion, is about doing and engaging in something you like to do 24/7 all the time, without even thinking about it. It's about YOU doing what you love to do only. If you reach that state, doing 24/7 all year long what you want to do, you are free. You freely express yourself in the way you are "supposed" to express yourself, by the means you choose to express yourself.

You don't need others to make you happy, because you are happy doing what you do, no matter what it is you do. Inside of your capacities you do what you like/love to do. That is what moksha is all about.

Edit:
It gets tricky when asuras also claim to be free to do 24/7 what they want to do, when what they do is harmfull for others. For example, a sado/masochistic person also claims to do what he or she is "supposed" to do and is enjoying it. But that isn't moksha. That is "do what you want, no matter what." And that isn't being free. It is a mere justification of doing something un-healthy to a sentient being, and calling that freedom from supression. That is NOT what mosksha is. It's mere bondage, pretending to be on top of any kind of rule.
Anja
 


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