Dharma Artha Kama Moksha – The 4 Purusharthas

Millennia ago, Saints in ancient Eastern traditions articulated the blueprint for the fulfillment human birth, as it was revealed to them in the highest states of meditation and consciousness. The Supreme Self pervades and exists in all dimensions and all beings, sentient and insentient. And it is that Supreme Self which lives inside every person. Therefore every person is none other than the Supreme Self.

For an individual to realize their Supreme Self, they need to identify the reasons and objectives for which they came into being on this earth plane and ultimately fulfill those purposes. The ancient sages articulated the goals of humankind as PurusharthasPurusha means an individual or person, and Artha means objective, meaning, or pursuit. The four Purusharthas are:

  • Dharma: Righteousness, Duty
  • Artha: Wealth
  • Kama: Desire
  • Moksha: Liberation

The four Purusharthas are indeed the qualities and objectives of the Supreme Self and God. And since an individual is a reflection and manifestation of God, it is the rightful pursuit of a person to fulfill these four Purusharthas. In fact, it is both your individual and soul purpose.

An individual can realize him or herself by balancing and fulfilling these four objectives. They are not independent or mutually exclusive of each other and should not be viewed in a stand-alone manner. They define and refine the other objectives and allow the other objectives to define and refine itself. The activity of fulfilling one objective should also support the fulfillment of the others. By maintaining a balance between the definition and realization of the four Purusharthas, a symbiotic evolution of the individual self takes place. Exclusive pursuit of one Purushartha creates an imbalance in a person’s life and prevents the person from reaching the ultimate destination of their life. Take Artha, for example. If an individual seeks only wealth but lacks in righteousness, and the fulfillment of their duty, an emptiness and lack of full spiritual evolution will take hold.

However, through a well-balanced pursuit of the four Purusharthas deep fulfillment is within your grasp. As a person progresses through the evolution of their soul, they find that some of the objectives eventually lose their place and importance to other objectives. For example, the desire to earn wealth may diminish and disappear, or a person may realize that there are no more material desires that they need to pursue, and hence more room is created for the pursuit of the ultimate objective, Moksha, which is liberation or self-realization.


A person is born on this earth to fulfill certain duties. The soul houses itself into the physical body which is most suited for performing these duties. The work that a person needs to do, which may be tied to their body, family, or commitments, among others, can be the Dharma of the person. Dharma is a difficult word to translate into English, but can roughly be explained as the rightful duty of a person. This is the true calling of a person, what they are born to do. Examples of a person’s Dharma may be their professional or familial roles such as a doctor, teacher, writer, warrior, priest, parent, etc. Sometimes a person’s Dharma is decided by their birth, but this is not necessarily determinative. A person’s Dharma can be a combination of things, and as a person progresses through life, different stages of life may call for different Dharmas or rightful purposes.

For example, a professional may need to transition to the role of parent and then later back professional. Tuning into the inner guide allows a person to identify their Dharma, their true calling. You can do this by finding and aligning your life purpose and soul purpose.


Artha is the pursuit of material wealth, which may bring material comfort to a person. People sometimes believe that the path of spiritual growth and pursuit of material wealth are mutually exclusive, or even that a spiritual seeker needs to be in poverty. But that is not true. If we look at the Universe, it is a reflection of abundance. Nature is abundant in everything. Poverty is nothing but a state of consciousness. If abundance is a quality of the Divine, how is the pursuit of abundance in contrast with the pursuit of the Divine? If one is in poverty, in a state of continually worrying about how to support and feed, how can one pursue spirituality? When one can move beyond daily worries, they can focus their attention on the goal of union with the Divine. However, it is essential to remain unattached to the possession or attainment of wealth. It can be either transcended or sought with detachment, and with awareness. When done in this state of mind, the pursuit of wealth is not different from the pursuit of the Divine, because one sees abundance, or wealth as a form of the Divine. And in this state of detachment, one recognizes when one has attained their financial objectives. When that happens, the desire to pursue wealth automatically dies away, paving the way for Moksha.


Kama is fulfilling one’s desires. Desires may come in various forms — to be wealthy, powerful, sexual needs, for recognition, etc. The Kama Purushartha advocates that one’s desires need to be fulfilled in their lifetime, albeit in a state of awareness and without harming anyone in the process. For a person to evolve spiritually and to reach the ultimate destination, the barrier of their desires needs to be crossed. This can be done either by fulfilling the desires or by sublimating or transcending them. Suppression of desires altogether is not recommended because it is like a fully coiled spring that is held down by force. These suppressed desires can erupt, sometimes unpredictably, causing detrimental consequences. As one becomes aware of their desires and goes about fulfilling them in awareness and without judgment, one soon reaches the stage of being able to sublimate and eventually transcend them. The Divine, the Universe, lends a big hand in the process.


Moksha means liberation, the realization of the Self, and is the ultimate destination of this human birth. It is the stage of inner realization that the individual self is the same as the Supreme Self. Moksha is the experience of the cosmos within one’s self. It is the experience of the flow and fusion of the Shiva and Shakti energies in one’s self. The experience of union, Oneness or Ekatvam with one’s Higher Self is Moksha.

As all the rivers eventually lead to the sea, there are many spiritual paths leading to the same destination. Some paths are shorter than others, and some are more arduous than others. The path can be difficult to navigate, and the it may not always be visible. One path, the Pratyangira Sadhana is a direct road to Moksha, guided by the Divine Mother Pratyangira Herself.

The mission of Ekatvam is to help people realize their True Selves. For each to become one with their Supreme Self, to achieve Moksha, in this lifetime. Often, people make the mistake of renouncing everything in the pursuit of Moksha. At different stages of one’s spiritual evolution, this may turn out to be the wrong path and is not suited for everyone. The path for each person to reach the ultimate destination is unique, and it is only the individual self that can identify and see the path with the help of the Divine guidance. At Ekatvam, we are honored to assist your soul in this pursuit and invite you to contact us.

About the authors

Swami Shanmuga and Amma Adi Sakthi are a Yogi and Yogini couple. They are Adiyargal (ardent devotees and servants) of the Divine Mother Sri Maha Pratyangira Devi. They manifest and personify the pristine energies of Pratyangira Devi and are in Ekatvam, in Oneness with Her. At the current time, Amma and Swami are in Mangala Tapasya in the Himalayas, to usher auspiciousness and Satya Loka energies in the world and serving the Divine by serving humanity. Read More...