Faith

Four goals

In his Tiruvachagam, Manickavachagar says that Lord Siva taught the four sons of Brahma the Vedas and the four Purusharthas. There are four Purusharthas — artha (wealth), kama (desire), dharma (righteousness) and moksha (liberation). These may be said to be the four goals of all mankind.

There are other references in Tamil literature to these goals, elaborated K.Sambandan, in a discourse. Avvaiyar, in fact, defines each of the four Purusharthas for us. She says that wealth is that which is earned without doing wrong. A bee gathers honey from flowers, but in the process, no harm comes to the flower. In fact, the very act of gathering honey is beneficial, because the bee helps in pollination. She defines Kama as the love that a man and woman have for each other, where their views are similar, where they are mutually supportive. Such a relationship is the ideal one. Dharma, according to Avvaiyar, is to give of one’s wealth to others. As for moksha, Avvaiyar says moksha comes from thinking of Him, and being oblivious to all else. Tholkappiyar says that we must first enjoy family life, and then distance ourselves from this worldly life, physically, by our departure to a forest and spiritually, by not thinking of anything but God.

In Tamil the word used to indicate one’s house or home is ‘veedu.’ It is the same word that is used for moksha too. A home is the place we come to for security; it is the place we retire to at the end of the day, when our day’s work is done. The home offers us protection from problems that confront us in the world outside. Moksha is the once and for all release from all worries. It is the everlasting security which we shall have, beyond worry, and so this is what we must seek.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 20, 2021 6:40:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/four-goals/article6272973.ece

Next Story