It is well known that Dharma ,Artha, Kama and Moksha are the four Purursharthas .

Is a yogi who is Self Realized/striving towards it,able /interested /obligated to, fulfill all 4?

If so,how?If not,what are its consequences?

Does the completion,or the noncompletion of all 4,hinder the yogi in Self Realization?


2 Answers 2


Sorry for being blunt but I just realised that this question depicts the loss of gyaan among the masses which is catalysed by absence gurus/saints. The way society had criminalised of hindu society.

First of all one should realise the difference between moksha and Self-realisation.

One have to go in order, many times, many ways to be able to see self-realisation. It can very rarely be achieved by aiming for "it" directly !! but aspiring for it may help.

First one have to define his/her dharma then do appropriate artha for it and fulfil of his/her kaamnas for that path then when we achieve it we get glimpses of moksha then from a pool of those glimpses we start to see beyond then probably the techniques of pratayaharas can be implemented to achieve various stages of self-realisations.

For e.g.:- One has to define his/her dharma. This is the place where one should focus his/her energies first. The more diverse the better. What is one's dharma, as a student, son, husband,wife, brother, sister, goldsmith, scientist, etc.

Then comes the artha (means) by which you enhance or complete your dharma be it notes, respect or gratitude, earn money, get good contacts, develop exceptional skill etc

After living some life we develop some kaamnayiens, icchas we fulfil those then you would fulfil those like getting a promotion, getting fame, acquiring some post, etc.

Then after completion of kaamnas you get a sense of inner peace this is moksha. Here in these moments people, mostly saansaarik (materialistic) people, get glimpse of divinity. Rise of vivek,etc And go for soonya, nir vikalp samadhi, nirvana according to their karmas and saadhanas also known as purusharthas.

By defining our dharma we pave the path. Our path.

These are the four purusharthas, and how they give phalas (fruits). In each part of life we choose different purusharthas for ourselves. I hope I may be able to clear some fog. I hope people bring different perspectives on this.

  • Namaste welcome to HSE. While on the site, you can go through the help centre as well as Guidelines for new users answering. The rules insist on deriving the answer based on scriptures or great acharyas. Hope you have a good time on the site :)
    – Adiyarkku
    Aug 1, 2021 at 3:17
  • @Vipul Sharma You have given a general outline of the Purusharthas,but I still don’t understand how things change when we talk about a yogi.
    – Amethyst
    Aug 1, 2021 at 12:06
  • There are many types of yoga, so different types of yogi's. Their dharma and karma should vary accordingly. Shankhya, Gyaan, Bhakti, Raj, Hath, Patanjali, Buddhism (new gyaan marg). Or you could define/customise your own path. Set a target, get going. Read the basics of gyaan yoga, etc. Aug 1, 2021 at 13:09
  • Develop vivek, many arthas (means), education of smiriti (ramayan, mahabharat), stuti (vedas, upanishads), pratyahara techniques are incredible. Then some kaamna to do good will arise. And so on, cycles of purusharthas, one For gyaan yoga, one for bhakti etc. Aug 1, 2021 at 13:19

No, an Yogi only strives for moksha. The three purusharthas, Kama, Artha and Dharma are needed to operate in the world. The yogi tries to attain moksha and this necessarily means not operating in the world. The reason for not operating in the world is that the Atman is completely different from the world. One cannot both operate in the world and also seek the Atman. One has to choose between these 2 options.

As a matter of fact, Caitanya (consciousness) or the Atman is neither Maya nor the Vital Breadth. Just as the relation between light and darkness cannot be deemed possible, so is the relation between Prapanca (the visual illusory world of diversity) and the Supreme Soul.

Kurma Purana II.2.10-11

Just as the shade and the sunlight are mutually distinct and different in this world, in the same manner, the world and the purusa are intrinsically and factually different.

Kurma Purana II.2.11b-12a

Here is what Gita says about the requirement for Samnyasa.

Abandonment of all desire-prompted actions is Samnyasa (renunciation) according to the wise. Men of discernment speak of the abandonment of the fruits of all actions as Tyaga (relinquishment).

Gita 18.2

In the light of the above the meaning of the statement that an Yogi cannot operate in the world is that he has to abandon desire for artha and kama and all the fruits of his action.

The next question is why he has to abandon all desire for artha and kama when the universe is projected by Brahman. The answer is that living in the universe with desire is a very dangerous thing to do. There are of course pleasant things in this world but there are also unpleasant things like the current pandemic. The only way to ensure permanent peace is to give up all desire for the world and attain moksha. This is an either or situation.

Ocean of Life – Need for Moksha

"That Ocean, so terrible has sorrow for its waters. Anxiety and grief constitute its deep lakes. Disease and Death are its gigantic alligators. The great fears that strike the heart at every step are its huge snakes. The deeds inspired by Tamas are its tortoises. Those inspired by Rajas are its fishes. Wisdom constitutes the raft for crossing it. The affections entertained for objects of the senses are its mire. Decrepitude constitutes its region of grief and trouble. Knowledge..is its island. Acts constitute its great depth. Truth is its shores. Pious observances constitute the verdant weeds floating on its bosom. Envy constitutes its rapid and mighty current. The diverse sentiments of the heart constitute its mines. The diverse kinds of gratification are its valuable gems. Grief and fever are its winds. Misery and thirst are its mighty eddies. Painful and fatal diseases are its huge elephants. The assemblages of bones are its flight of steps and phlegm is its froth. Gifts are its pearl-banks. The lakes of blood are its corals. Loud laughter constitutes its roars. Diverse sciences are its impassibility. Tears are its brine. Renunciation of company constitutes the high refuge (of those that seek to cross it). Children and spouses are its unnumbered leeches. Friends and kinsmen are the cities and towns on its shores. Abstention from injury and Truth are its boundary line. Death is its storm-wave. The knowledge of Vedanta is its island (capable of affording refuge to those that are tossed upon its waters). Acts of compassion towards all creatures constitute its life-buoys, and Emancipation is the priceless commodity offered to those voyaging on the waters in search of merchandise. "

Mahabharata Santi Parva Section CCCIII

  • You have made a point,but Shankaracharya says(in the Dakshinamoorthy Stotram) that the Supreme Purusha/Parabrahm is That which is Creation and all it’s (8) elements(earth,air,water,fire...),and also says that He has manifested on His own images.So if these (8) elements and what follows from it make up the “world”,what are we referring to when we say ‘a Yogi can’t operate in the world?’
    – Amethyst
    Jul 29, 2021 at 12:19
  • The description from the Mahabharath is quite the one.Anyhow,I still am in doubt.Say the owner of a business is by nature selfless and donates to the poor.Whatever the size of his business,it has an impact on people(in terms of products and employment).So even if the owner is not personally interested to acquire wealth,the nature of the business and those who are dependent on it,makes it the owner’s duty,to keep it running properly;acquire wealth.
    – Amethyst
    Jul 30, 2021 at 7:25
  • ..acquire wealth.My point is that other than desire,duty is also another obligating force.What about actions done ,just solely because it is the doer’s duty?
    – Amethyst
    Jul 30, 2021 at 7:27
  • The owner who runs his business in order to help others will certainly gain merit. If he wants to obtain moksha then he will have to do nishkama karma, i.e., he cannot hanker for the fruits of his work. This means that the business man must do business without any attachment to it. So he will not be affected even if his business does badly. Can any normal businessman really do business and not be affected when his business loses money? Jul 30, 2021 at 11:39
  • Experienced businessmen may be able,but that’s an exception,and I get your point🙂
    – Amethyst
    Jul 30, 2021 at 16:15

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