Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha: Four main goals/objectives of Hinduism

Dharma, prime goal for an ideal Hindu which means ‘duty’, ‘virtue’, ‘morality’, even ‘religion’ and it refers to the power which upholds the universe and society. As per Hinduism, Dharma was revealed in the Vedas, although a more common word in Vedas for ‘universal law’ or ‘righteousness’ is ‘Rita’. Dharma is the power that maintains society, it makes the grass-grow, the sun-shine, and makes us moral people or rather gives humans the opportunity to act virtuously.



The second meaning of life according to Hinduism is Artha, which refers to the pursuit of wealth and prosperity in one’s life. Importantly, one must stay within the bounds of dharma while pursuing wealth and prosperity, one must not step outside moral and ethical grounds in order to aspire wealth. In short, we should follow the ‘Dharma’ while pushing the ‘Artha’.

‘Kama’ is the third goal of Hinduism, Kama involves ‘desire’, ‘longing’, ‘love’, ‘wishes’, ‘pleasure’, and ‘joy’. Kama should be acknowledged and fulfilled in a balanced way so that the person can move towards freedom from desire, rather than getting caught up in the cycle of eternal desires, overindulgence and greed. When Kama follows Dharma, this maintains stability.

‘Moksha’ is the final objective after attaining Dharma, Artha and Kama. Moksha means liberation and emancipation from the cycle of Death and Rebirth. It is to be believed that the soul passes through a cycle of successive lives (samsara) and its next incarnation is always dependent on how the previous life was lived (karma). It is achieved by overcoming ignorance and desires. It is a paradox in the sense that overcoming desires also includes overcoming the desire for moksha itself. It can be achieved both in this life and after death.