The Essence of Dharma-23.
Spoken on February 11th, 1973)
This is the concept of dharma, of the duty of man in the universe, the nature of which is thus explained. Dharma has sometimes been regarded as one of the four purusharthas: dharma, artha, kama, moksha. This is the sum and substance of Hinduism. The essence of the religion of India is summed up in a phrase: dharma, artha, kama, moksha. If you are asked by anyone what is Hinduism, simply say, “Dharma, artha, kama, moksha.”
This is Hinduism: a blend of these four concepts of duty. Hinduism is always a blend. It is never a one-sided affair. It has no name. ‘Hinduism’ is not the name of this religion. It is the name that is foisted upon it by Westerners, not knowing what it is. We have no name for our religion. It is not founded by any person. It is universal, capable of absorbing everything into itself like a menstruum. It is sanatana dharma, eternal dharma. It is eternal religion forever applicable to all persons of all creeds and sexes.
Now, dharma, artha, kama, moksha, the concept of the fourfold duty of man, is also very interesting. Dharma is duty, dharma is religion, dharma is justice, dharma is law. Dharma cannot be translated. Artha is material value. Anything that is materially significant for life is called artha. It does not mean merely gold and silver or coins and currency notes.
Any kind of material significance or value in life is called artha, while dharma is the law that regulates the acquisitions and operations of this material value and all other values. Kama is the fulfilment of the vital value, the emotional value, and the personal value of the human being. Moksha, I have already explained. I will not say anything further about it because if I do, you will go into ecstasies and go crazy. Let us not say anything further about it.
To be continued ..