Four timeless aspects of life management

On the topic of yoga in life management, some may believe it is only for monks or those leading an unconventional life. This is not true, despite some traditional schools of thought emphasizing monastic life as the path to the highest realization of the self.

To be useful to everyone, the fundamental question we must address is: What is the purpose of life and how do we manage it? This question has been a central theme in many discussions and philosophies throughout history, including ancient Indian wisdom.

The purpose of life, as explored in the ancient Indian philosophies, is thoughtfully delineated into four main aspects.

The first is dharma, a term familiar to many of you, signifying ethical or right conduct.

The second is artha—the material wealth and possessions necessary for sustaining and enjoying life.

The third is kama, representing enjoyment or pleasure—not just as unrestrained hedonism, but all life desires and their satisfaction.

The fourth and final one is moksha, derived from a root meaning liberation or freedom. This signifies the ultimate goal: liberation from all suffering in our lives.

In yogic philosophy, the attainment of moksha or freedom from suffering, is deemed the paramount objective. True freedom, in the yogic view, entails being liberated from all forms of distress, whether physical or psychological. This concept is encapsulated in the traditional word for peace, shanti, repeated thrice in chants to encompass peace from physical, mental, and spiritual afflictions.

Detailed explanations of these principles can be found in ancient texts, including the commentaries on the Yoga Sutra. While various terminologies are used across different philosophies, they essentially converge on the same principles.

Among these four, dharma holds an important position, guiding individuals towards sound actions, which is a platform for balanced living and spiritual progress.

By reflecting on the role and value of these four in our lives, we can make better choices for a fulfilling life journey!