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The Four Goals of Life

------ © Dr. Satya Prakash Choudhary

To desire is not wrong. But it should be legitimate. Desire is at the root of all things . So too with the macrocosm as well as the microcosm. It is a desire to manifest itself that started the first vibration in the Unmanifest Consciousness. All manifestation and Cosmogenesis starts first from this first desire and vibration, which is perceived as the vibration of AUM . By a long process, the manifest universe of five elements arises from the unmanifest.

Hindu literature asserts that there are four legitimate goals of life. These four objects that human beings pursue are dharma, artha, kama and moksha.


It is the Way, the Natural law or that which is natural. It is the dharma of the Sun to shine. It is the dharma of the planets to revolve around the Sun. Dharma, when followed diligently, will carry one across the ocean of existence. To follow dharma, is to go with the cosmic flow. Though the role of religion is to indicate or show what dharma is, often it ends up in dogma and ritual. Dharma is much more than religion. It is beyond all dogmas and narrow ideas religion. Following dharma is doing what you ought to do.



It refers to the acquisition of wealth or resources that are valuable. Wealth is essential to allow us to function happily in life. When knowledge is used for supporting oneself, it can also be part of artha.



Translated as desire, it is the achievement of one's aspirations. All desires and ambitions are part of “ Kama ”. While at one level, lust too is part of it; Kama just represents one's innate urge to attain one's aspirations.


The goals of artha and kama can be pursued as long as they are legitimate (based on dharma). With dharma as the foundation, if one has attained the first three goals, eventually a time comes when one transcends them. The first three goals are a means to attain the ultimate goal of moksha or liberation. Once you have gone through a lot of the first three goals, you will realize that there is no permanent happiness in them, that this world is impermanent and that no finite and impermanent thing can give you everlasting happiness. Everlasting happiness is possible only if a thing is infinite and eternal.

That brings us to the One source of all – the Infinite and eternal Truth (call it Brahman, God or whatever you want to). Attaining moksha or liberation is just achieving union with the Cosmic consciousness or going Back to Cosmic Roots .

All four goals are important to a life well lived. In fact each of them facilitates the other, till finally we start desiring the ultimate aim of liberation. But most people do not pursue all the four goals equally because their own individual karmas direct them to prefer particular courses of action. This can be ascertained from the positions of the grahas in the signs and houses.

Aries is the first house of the zodiac. In an individual chart, the ascendant or lagna is the first house. Applying the same principles:



Placement of the 4 goals of life in the chart:


Dharma houses

If we uphold dharma, dharma will protect us (dharmo rakshati rakshitah). If a person has lead a dharmic life in the past, the effects are seen in the current incarnation. This could take the form of a good education in their childhood (represented by the 5 th and 9 th houses). Later on in life, it is seen in the birth of good children and happiness through them (again in the 5 th and 9 th houses). Finally, if the Dharma has been very strong, it gives sadhana (mantra in the 5 th and guru/spiritual teacher' in the 9 th ).



annot control this triangle much in this lifetime as it depends on previous good karma or merits of past life.


Artha houses

The houses associated with Artha (i.e 2 nd 6 th . and 10 th .) are also the houses associated with the profession of the person which then leads to the creation of resources that sustain us (remember these are the earth signs in the natural zodiac) . To ascertain an individual's profession (which is the means to wealth or artha), we have to analyse the artha triangle. i.e . houses 2, 6 and 10 . The second indicates finances and accumulation of wealth. The sixth indicates service, rivals, debts etc. Most businesses run on loans. The other person is seen on the 7 th . 12 th being loss or expenditure, the 6 th indicates loss to others (12 th to 7 th ). When we take a loan or get into debt, the other person loses, and we gain or get his money. As such our money is based on his expenditure. In the changing scenario, the 6 th house is no longer totally bad. But judging the exact effects needs more knowledge of astrology.


Kama houses


The Kama houses (3 rd . 7 th and 11 th ) deal with desire. The 3 rd indicates one's efforts, while the 7 th indicates all interactions with the OTHER PERSON, be it a spouse or business partner, or anyone with whom we enter into a contract. The 11 th indicates one's aspirations, goals and their fulfilment or otherwise. It also indicates attachments or ties of a lasting nature like a permanent friendship. The kama houses indicate the motivations of the person, showing one's efforts, aspirations, goals and interaction with others for the fulfilment of the same. The key word is desire.


Upachaya houses or Houses of Growth


A word on the Upachaya houses is not out of place here. The Upachaya houses are the houses of growth. They are 3,6,10,11. These are the areas where man has more freewill. These houses afford a chance for the so-called growth or progress materially. In fact malefics are preferred here. If you see any book of Jyotish, the results given for malefics in these houses are better than other houses. Malefics here seem to give more growth materially while actually taking the individual away from the path of realisation. All the Upachaya houses are either Artha (wealth) or Kama (desire) houses. Freewill is allowed more in these areas. Prarabdha rules more strongly in the other houses. 2 nd house which represents the family and the the 7 th which represents marriage, are largely determined by karmic debts (rna) and an individual has very less freewill in these areas. We have no choice in the family that we are born into.


Moksha houses


The Moksha houses are spiritual houses. These are secret houses. They are seldom understood properly. This is the part of the book of fate that is closed to normal human minds. Even the best astrologers understand very little of these houses. The 4 th and the 8 th houses represent psychic and occult powers /abilities, samadhi, nightmares. The 12 th house also signifies everything foreign-foreign countries, foreigners, etc being watery and also because it signifies the feet. Another important signification of the 12 th house is that ‘it is a secret house other than the 8 th . Spies, detectives, people involved in any kind of ‘secret work' could have a strong 12 th house connection. The 12 th house also signifies dissolution. Water stands for Cosmic dissolution. So material dissolution (loss and expenditure) or voluntary giving away (charity/philanthropy) or at its best the dissolution of the Individual into the Cosmic, in other words final liberation or moksha, are all indicated by this house. While the 4 th indicates interest and study into the occult, the 8 th takes us deeper into the secrets of the Cosmic Consciousness and the 12 th actually frees the individual under ideal conditions. In reality any of these trio, especially the 8 th and 12 th give experiences which are unusual, or spiritual. The exact nature of the experience, whether it is truly spiritual or belonging to a lower or higher level of illusion (maya), is decided based on the planets and other houses involved. To understand one's spiritual experiences, an analysis of 4, 8, 12 houses and signs becomes important. In fact any strong links between the houses of Dharma and Moksha bodes well for spiritual inclinations and progress.



About the author: A graduate of the New South Wales Institute of Psychiatry's ( Australia ), multidisciplinary clinical masters degree in mental health, Dr. Satya Prakash Choudhary has the unique advantage of a rare multi-disciplinary background and experience. He combines a unique blend of Mental Health/Behavioral sciences, Management and Ancient Wisdom backgrounds. His extensive studies (about 15 years of ongoing training/studies) in the medical model (both conventional and alternative), Counselling/Psychotherapy, Family & Organizational systems, Management and Spirituality, are complemented by practical experience gained through one-to-one interactions in both the clinical and corporate fields. Dr. Satya Prakash was past President of The Australian Council of Vedic Astrology (2001 to 2004) and also the editor of ‘The Vedic Light' . He runs the MindCare Clinic and Institute of Behavioural Sciences , at Hyderabad , India ( ). The author may be contacted at: