This month we are back on track focusing on the Four Aims of Human Life ­— The Purusharthas.

In March and April we discussed the first two Aims: Dharma and Artha. Dharma, briefly explained, is all that is undertaken by an individual ­in harmony with the moral and ethical principles (Yamas & Niyamas).

Artha refers to wealth and security. Wealth, because the human needs to uphold his dharma and take care of the needs of his family and community. (For more information on these two Aims, please refer to our March and April newsletters)

And so, we arrive at Kama. Kama is pleasure, joy, fun! Having acquired some money and some security, the next step for everyone is to use this money for comforts, enjoyments and fulfillment of duties, desires & responsibilities. However, there is a caveat. Acquisition of objects simply for the sake of satisfying a desire is not part of Kama. The idea is to enjoy the blissful feeling that accompanies the acquisition of the object. The moment that an object begins giving the opposite experience, this is the time to let go of the object.

Kama is often referred to as love, and sometimes given much attention as sexual pleasure.

It is very easy to see that in this day and age, Artha and Kama are the stand-outs! There is no harm in these Purusharthas as they are needed for the ultimate fulfillment of our lives. However, the pursuit of money and pleasure should not become the only aims of our lives.

The ancient teachings of yoga ask us to strive to keep pursuit of money and pleasure in line with commitment to family, community and self - all the while observing the ethical and moral principles of yamas and niyamas.

by Maureen Rae, RN, E-RYT