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Spirituality has a wide range of aspects that speak about the purpose of human life and the responsibility we have in playing our part as human beings. In the current era, it sure is evident that religion has seen a slight deviation as far as its association with spirituality is concerned.
The reasons for such developments are many. While it was once seen that religion gave purpose to life and a sense of mission to human beings who embraced religion, times have seen a dramatic turnaround. In this article, we discuss the most basic question we all need to ask ourselves - what is the purpose of life as human beings?
In an age when people can no longer depend on religion to further spiritual needs, the direct route to spirituality is the only way out if we wish to escape this horrendous cycle of events we've all been consumed and engulfed in. So what does spirituality tell us exactly? What is the sense of mission we are referring to?
Well, as human beings, like many religions once said, the sole purpose of our life is to become happy. Happiness in this sense doesn't merely relate to temporary events that turn out to be the way we expect.
Is Happiness The Purpose Of Life?
Happiness here is a state of life that is undefeated by any happenings or instances we are ought to encounter as human beings. Like Buddhism says, absolute happiness is nothing but the state of enlightenment - a state where we are fully aware of why we are born, why we die and why we go through situations in life. Well, happiness can be achieved in various forms and what we must keep in mind is that we do not violate the rules of existence while making efforts to achieve this happiness.
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The Four Purposes Of Life
Based on Hindu Vedas, the purpose of life as humans is to achieve the four goals of life. These four goals are Dharma, Artha, Kaam and Moksha. Most people strive to achieve only Artha and Kaam, others strive for the first three and yet others opt for only the first or the second also. However, there are some who strive and some even achieve all the four. Let us now understand what these four types of goals are in detail.
Dharma is a subjective term. The meaning of Dharma can be different for different people and different sections of the society. For instance, the act of a lion eating other animals is sometimes defined as Dharma for a lion. However, not to confuse with right and wrong, all the meanings of the term Dharma can collectively be understood as righteousness.
Righteousness has been described further as clearing off the debts that Hindus believe they are born with. It is said that Hindus are born with debts towards Gods, which is paid by offering them prayers; debts of parents followed by debts of teachers, to be cleared by being obedient and following the ideals they give us; debts to fellow humans and other living beings, paid by offering them goodwill, support and respect.
Artha here refers to materialistic goals of the humans. Our professional goals and monetary success fall for goals of Artha. This includes materialistic happiness as well. Since money is necessary for survival, we should strive to achieve career goals through honest means. While striving towards the fulfilment of these, one should not deviate from the path of Dharma.
It refers to the feelings and emotions and other related desires. It includes love, lust, passion, etc. To put it simply, it refers to the enjoyment of life. While Artha requires hard work and attainment of wealth, this wealth can be used to enjoy music, dance, arts and other such pleasures, which are part of Kama.
Moksha, referring to salvation, is the ultimate goal of every individual. While human life is full of emotions of all types including those of happiness as well as sorrow, this is the only way one can be liberated from the clutches of emotions. It is detachment from the materialistic world which can lead one to Moksha.
Salvation is a state when one is freed from the cycle of birth and death. Various ways, such as spiritual practices have also been prescribed which lead one to salvation.