The Kama Sutra seems to state that early in life, it is best to focus on artha and kama, and that only later in life should we truly seek dharma. Is this interpretation correct? Is it useless to seek dharma early in life?

If so, when do we know that it is time to release artha and kama and seek dharma? Is it a certain age?

  • 5
    It's the other way round. Stick to dharma all your life and any artha (money) and kama (desire) should be based on dharma. See this answer and also this. Nov 16, 2016 at 20:45
  • The notion of dharma is central to Hinduism. That's why Hinduism is often called "Hindu dharma". And from dharma everything else is coming forth, namely artha, kama and moksha, among which moksha (liberation) is often considered to be the final goal every Hindu should aim to. Btw, dharma is often simply translated as "religiosity". The Kama Sutra is not much of authority to the Hindus because it's more like a profane text, and it's not much of a spiritual authority. Nov 17, 2016 at 7:07

1 Answer 1


I think you meant in what stage of life should one shift focus to Moksha from Artha,Kama etc?

And that is possibly what was meant in the book you are referring to.My answer is based on this assumption.

In the Sadaachaaraa Varnana(Descriptions of righteous living) chapter of the Brahma Purana,Maharshi Veda Vyasa precisely answers the question you raised:

The Munis requested the Maharshi(Vyasa) to outline the rudiments of ‘Sadaachaara’ or the fundamentals of Ideal Values of Virtuous Life viz. or the Worthy Principles of Moral Conduct / Good Behavior.

Vyasa said:

Grihastena Sadaakaarya maachaara pari-rakshanam,

Nahyaachaara viheenasya bhadramatra paratravaa,

Yagna daana tapaaseeha Purushasya na bhuyatey,

Bhavanti yah sadaachaaram samullanghya pravartatey/


Grihastaas or family-persons ought to observe and protect Sadaachaara Pravartana as those without it would neither have ‘Iham’ / the contentment of current life or ‘Param’of post-life; to those who neglect the principles of Sadaachaara are not eligible to the fruits of Yagna- Daana-Tapa

He continues:

Grihastaas are expected to follow the basic principles of Dharma-Artha and Kaama during the first three quarters of one’s life and in the last quarter of life to activities pertaining to Moksha. Also, half of one’s expected span of life is to be spent with the deeds oriented to Nitya-Naimittika Karmas or daily and occasional tasks of virtue; the persons concerned might perform such deeds as to involve Bharana-Poshana or sustenance and ful-fillment of family needs. But the last quarter of life should be exclusively spent on activitees aiming at the collection of ‘Mula Dhana’ of fruits meant for the aftermath of life . In other words, ‘Dharmaacharana’or practice of Virtue has to be an under-current in the Samsaara Sagara in all the phases of life, especially in the last quarter of life. Care must be taken that each of the ‘Purusharthas’should not be contradictory to each other. In other words, Dharma should propel such Artha that should not inhibit Dharma; Kaama should not defeat the aspect of Dharma and Artha and likewise Moksha has to be a logical conclusion of the preceding Purusharthas:

So, assuming one lives for 100 years,he/she should exclusively yearn for Moksha and act towards achieving it from the 75th year onward.

Please also go through all the other important aspects which are highlighted in the passage above.

  • I cannot act towards moksha, because I am 16? That does not make sense to me. If I was not meant to strive for moksha now, I would not have thought of searching what are the hindu scriptures. If I had not searched that, I would not have found this website itself, nor would I have known about my 3 favourite Upanishads, nor would I have turned theist from atheist. It is thus, incomprehensible why I would spend such years without yearning for moksha. I would still perform karma yoga. bhakti and gyaan yoga.
    – user17858
    May 4, 2019 at 18:24
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    Before thinking about one's own moksha we have certain duties to fulfill .. we can't be selfish all the time .. we exist because of our parents, because of our ancestors .. the gods sustain our lives ..so we have duties towards them ..one who strives for moksha without fulfilling primary duties sinks downwards .. it is not necessary that u'll have to attracted towards moksha if u are attracted towards this website or scriptures ..even to lead a righteous life we need the help of our scriptures @ShashwatAsthana
    – Rickross
    May 5, 2019 at 5:55
  • Thank you for telling me this. I will perform all my duty, but my goal will still be but my goal while performing all this would be moksha. Hence my parents, ancestors and Gods would get happiness just like they have given to me. Thus, I will perform karma yoga in the form of duties.
    – user17858
    May 5, 2019 at 6:49

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