Four Aims of Human Existence

In Hindu philosophy, we talk about the four main aims or objectives of human existence, known as Purusharthas that point the way for the human being. These are: Dharma (righteousness, to do one’s duty); Artha (wealth); Karma (desire), and Moksha (salvation or liberation).

We are busy with the first three every day. We are doing our duties and working (dharma) every day in the form of karma, in order to accumulate wealth (Artha). Karma is the gratification or pushing ahead related to desires. But we never give any importance to the fourth step, to salvation. It is always missing.

When I came into this Kriya Yoga path, I did not want to work. I wanted to spend all my time practising Kriya. But my Guruji said the reason this example was given by his grandfather, Bare Baba, was so that Householder yogis could also practise. He asked me, if you are not doing this, how will you make an example for the people? If you are not earning, how will you look after your family?

So this part is important. If you are missing any one of these four aspects of human existence, it is hard to get salvation.

In recent blogs I have been sharing some of my experiences as a mother and Kriyaban for the benefit of others who can also relate to the challenges which present themselves when you have a baby or a young family.

Then there are the challenges of being a working mum in general. I finished the final draft of the manuscript of my book literally a fortnight before our second child was born, and then had ten weeks maternity leave before I had to return to part-time teaching. Such modern-day obstacles are in a league of their own, and give the mind a field-day when it comes to excuses. Not sitting down to Kriya because of laziness is certainly one thing (more about that next week); but not sitting because your responsibilities as a mother sometimes take precedence is quite another. However, at times the line between them can get rather blurred; especially when you are not getting enough sleep at night.

But even when my record of regular practice was compromised, I never allowed myself to contemplate the idea of “giving up Kriya”. This was a good job, because as time passes it does get easier. I’m infinitely grateful when my husband pitches in with the housework or cooking, because his support makes a big difference to my practice.

It may be an uphill struggle and feel like the time you can give to your practice is insufficient, but that is no reason to stop, or even worse, not start in the first place. We just have to keep going. Slowly and steadily, we too can win this race. Remember that Guruji says it is not a competition, and there is no need to hurry. To wallow in a pool of guilt is a waste of time. If you cannot practise for an unavoidable reason, or even have to stop for some time, just accept it and be happy to start again as soon as you are able to.