In my last post I mentioned that Hinduism promotes four aims in life: artha, kama, and moksha, and dharma. Artha and kama taken together correspond to the “Good Life.” Moksha is the experience of the Divine, the second type of happiness and the final goal of all Hindu followers.
The key to attaining both types of happiness (the Good Life as well as the Divine Life) is the practice of dharma. It can be translated as a virtue meant to cultivate positive feelings towards others while overcoming any animosity.
In the pursuit of the Good Life (artha and kama), the practice of dharma purifies the mind, calms the senses, and brings clarity to the intellect. The clarity that comes to the intellect is essential for making the decisions that are in our best interests. One who is practicing dharma gets the greatest benefit out of every situation that comes to him or her. As such, one is blessed with wealth, achievement, and intellectual and artistic pleasures.
But how does one achieve moksha: the Divine Life of Hinduism? The answer is that from one’s own experiences of the Good Life comes the insight of the inherent inadequacy of even the greatest of wealth, successes, and pleasures. It is through dharma that those who have attained the Good Life realize that such a life is not enough.
This is how dharma leads from the Good Life to the fourth aim of life, moksha. “Moksha is freedom, liberation from all bondage and suffering. We eventually find, after seeking everywhere else, that happiness lies in the nature of the reality that lies hidden in the depths of the heart.”
Some final thoughts about Hinduism in my next post.