The Second Aim: Artha

Still Life with Turkey Pie by Pieter Claesz

The second Purushartha or aim of human existence as described in the Vedic texts is Artha, which means “wealth,” “means” or “goal” in Sanskrit. Artha is kept in check by Dharma. The Purursharthas are not to be considered in a stand-alone fashion. Together they keep life in balance so we can ultimately reach Moksha or liberation.

Artha is concerned with the resources needed to achieve and ideal state for life, which includes spiritual practice. Financial and material means for comfort and basic necessities are not a selfish pursuit. Artha ensures enough food, shelter and material possessions to live a dignified and meaningful life. Poverty leads to ruin; excessive pursuit of wealth leads to greed and social disorder. Although Nature herself is abundant, moderation and non-attachment are essential.

According to Vedic Astrology three houses, or areas of experience, correspond to Artha. They are the second house of value and self-esteem, the sixth house of service and disease, and the tenth house of impact or career. Understanding the influences on these houses in a birth chart can help an individual navigate proper means for earning a living. Artha houses show karmas that surround economic prosperity and material security for oneself and for those he/she feels responsible. The goal is to thrive as a free person undertaking sadhana or spiritual practice.
Next time we will look at Kama, the third aim.