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 Hindu Ethics and Codes of Duties - 4 Objects of Life Previous - 4 Pathways Back to Home Next - The five Yajnas

Without moral purity, man cannot enter and progress in spiritual path. Great Rishis have laid down the 4 main goals of life. They are called the 4 ‘Purushaarthas’ –

1. Dharma - Right conduct
2. Artha - Wealth
3. Kaama - Desire
4. Moksha - Liberation

While acquiring wealth (Artha) and fulfilling one’s needs and desires (Kaama) one’s action must be in keeping with the principles of Dharma. One must always remember that the higher purpose of life is to attain Moksha or liberation.

Money and Mansion are not wealth. Character is wealth. Dharma protects those who practise it.

They also laid down duties for the 4 stages of life -

1. Brahmacharyaashrama: The student stage
2. Grihasthaashrama: The householder’s stage
3. Vaanaprasthaashrama: Retirement from worldly life and going to the forest.
4. Sannyaasaashrama: Total renunciation.

The Caste System was a cooperative division of labor for the common good of the society.

The 4 Castes -

1. Brahmins - were the spiritual guardians of the society e.g. priests.
2. Kshatriyas - physical guardians of the society e.g. kings, Noblemen and Princes.
3. Vaishyas - looking after commercial needs of the people e.g. Farmers, Merchants and Traders.
4. Shudras - The main work force, the muscle power e.g. Cleaners, Sweepers.

The work that was done by each class was important. No work was high or low. Untouchability was practiced by selfish men. All are equal in the eyes of God. Untouchability is a stigma on the religion of the Hindus.

Every duty in every stage of life must be governed by the important virtues of Satya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsaa.

There are four F’s that you will have to fix before your attention.

  1. Follow the Master,
  2. Face the Devil,
  3. Fight to the End and
  4. Finish at the goal.

Follow the Master means, observe Dharma.

Face the Devil means; overcome the temptations that beset you when you try to earn artha (wealth or the wherewithal to live in comfort).

Fight to the End means, struggle ceaselessly; wage war against the six enemies that are led by kaama (lust).

And, finally, finish at the Goal means; do not stop until the goal of Moksha (Liberation from ignorance and delusion) is reached.

The F’s are fundamental for the pursuit of the four Purushaarthas---dharma, Artha, Kaama and Moksha.

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