Human beings are unique when compared to all other living beings. The features common to human beings and animals are are Ahara – Eating, for survival Nidra – Sleep Bhayam – Fear and inherent sense of insecurity Maithunam – Love for perpetuation of one’s own species The two main differences are, speech and superior intellect, which is a unique faculty of a human being. Hence a human being is capable of seeing his life very clearly, fixes specific goals and works for their fulfillment. Our culture specifies these human goals. Artha is the Sanskrit word for goal and hence these goals are called Purushartha or the goals which are sought after by human beings. There are four types: Artha: This means wealth or security. In fact this can be aptly called, freedom from insecurity! We also strive for freedom from pain and threats, broadly speaking. Man wants to acquire various things that he does not possess ( yoga) and wants to protect what he possesses (kshema). So yoga and kshema are the two fundamental requirements which are reflections in various actions we perform. Kama: This means pleasure or entertainment. Once the security is taken care of, we look for pleasure, entertainment or recreation. When the physical requirements are satisfied, there arises the requirement of the mind. Punyam or Dhama: This is the invisible favour factor. Hinduism believes in rebirth. We invest for the post-retirement life because we want financial security in our old age. The same way, we want to think of our well being in the next birth (janma) also. (We are not considering here the non-believer, who may not bother about the next birth). Dharma or Punya is what is meant for the wellbeing in the next birth. Punya is the invisible (adhr(u)shta) result gained by the noble activities performed in this birth. According to Hinduism, the physical body only dies and the soul within, never dies. But the path the soul takes for the next janma is decided upon by the past actions which are known as “karmas”. So the results of the actions of former body do not die with the body. They are attached to the soul and they decide what kind of body the soul takes in the next life. So it is clear that only the Papam and Punyam, acquired during this janma, follow one’s soul to determine the next janma. Life is a pursuit of happiness at the three levels of the body, mind and intellect which are respectively called artha, kama and dharma. We generally pursue only the first three goals. But they do have some limitations. Pain: Acquisition of anything involves a corresponding loss. If we build a costly beautiful house, it does involve a corresponding loss of money! After we build, maintenance involves more money. More loss of money is also painful. So the first limitation is that the pleasure we derive is always mixed with pain. Dissatisfaction: We are never contented with what we have. The urge to acquire more is forever there. Dependence: For security and enjoyment, we depend on external factors. Also we depend on Punyam for happiness in the next janma. The above three goals, put together are called Preyas. So, there are limitations in Preyas. Realising that, the wise people look for the fourth goal called Moksha. Moksha: This word is often misinterpreted and understood wrongly. Moksha means freedom from dependence on all external factors. One should discover happiness in oneself and not depend on security, pleasure or punyam. Moksha is discovering security and happiness within oneself. We no more depend on people or situations. Their arrival is fine and equally fine is their departure. This inner freedom called Moksha should be the highest human goal. This goal is called Sreyas. When we pursue Preyas, we are undergoing permanent struggle. But in Moksha or Sreyas, all the struggles end and I discover joy and security in myself. So it is up to the individual to choose Preyas or Sreyas as one’s goal. Love & regards, Chithra.