The Meaning of Life According to Hinduism

In class this past week, we discussed the meaning of life. In this post, I would like to discuss the meaning of life based on Hinduism. According to Hinduism, the meaning (purpose) of life is four-fold: to achieve Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. The first, dharma, means to act virtuously and righteously. That is, it means to act morally and ethically throughout one’s life. However, dharma also has a secondary aspect; since Hindus believe that they are born in debt to the Gods and other human beings, dharma calls for Hindus to repay this debt. The five different debts are as follows: debt to the Gods for their blessings, debt to parents and teachers, debt to guests, debt to other human beings, and debt to all other living beings. The second meaning of life according to Hinduism is Artha, which refers to the pursuit of wealth and prosperity in one’s life. Importantly, one must stay within the bounds of dharma while pursuing this wealth and prosperity (i.e. one must not step outside moral and ethical grounds in order to do so). The third purpose of a Hindu’s life is to seek Kama. In simple terms, Kama can be defined as obtaining enjoyment from life. The fourth and final meaning of life according to Hinduism is Moksha, enlightenment. By far the most difficult meaning of life to achieve, Moksha may take an individual just one lifetime to accomplish (rarely) or it may take several. However, it is considered the most important meaning of life and offers such rewards as liberation from reincarnation, self-realization, enlightenment, or unity with God.

Having described the meaning of life according to Hinduism, I now briefly offer my thoughts on this subject matter. I feel that religion provides its followers a set of goals to achieve in life, and in doing so, provides a meaning to each follower’s life. Without such guidance, one would likely conclude that life is ultimately meaningless. Therefore, for those individuals in the world who feel that there is no meaning to life, is belief in a religious faith is all that is needed to change their minds?

Source: http://www.religionfacts.com/hinduism/beliefs/purpose.htm#dharma

292 thoughts on “The Meaning of Life According to Hinduism

  1. Thanks for sharing this useful information. I also agree that Hindu Vedas and Shastras teach us the real meaning of life. Keep sharing this type of article…

  2. For all serious followers:

    To take the subject further let us understand why Dharma is so important for humanity. Firstly we have to appreciate and agree that there is a cosmic order ( rta ) in the universe. Humans as a part of this cosmic order or nature and potentially conscious beings have to accept a need or a sense of obligation for this wonderful life ( rna ). To set free of this debt is to follow Dharma anytime, anywhere and anyhow possible. Dharma or a result self inquiry leads one to be a part of the cosmic order.
    Faith no matter how strong is no real answer. As explained in the article by Srikant above faith is adharma or a wasted effort dividing humanity to only clash with one another.

  3. Though it’s a common topic of Hinduism, few new thoughts are included here. I think, it will be very useful to the devotees, researchers and students of Theology. Hope to get more posts in future.
    #stayhome #praytogod #stayblessed
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  8. I really resonated with everything I read on this article. I’ve always been very interested in learning about different religions or spiritual practices after I decided I wasn’t religious because the religion I grew up with wasn’t something I felt connected to. In fact, I have felt very disconnected from reality for most of my life. My journey has been very difficult trying to learn about myself. I tried learning about psychology in school. Then I tried learning about my heritage and culture, I tried learning about my dna and where my ancestors are from. I got into astrology and it was interesting but I haven’t found what I’m looking for. So now I’m hoping to find it in spiritual practices. It is really my last resort. I haven’t decided which religion to go for but Hinduism is definitely on the top of the list. I know it might sounds weird that I am choosing a religion instead of letting myself find it but I think it’s a big decision since I was at the point of not believing in any god. I now know that I’m wrong in that sense, God is real and is great. I just need a place to practice and I have so much to learn. If someone is willing to guide me into learning more about Hinduism I would greatly appreciate it.

    • To Hazel Kriss
      In Hinduism there is no faith or belief as in religions. An agnostic or an atheist just as much as a followers of a religion could also be a Hindu. This may sound strange but Dharma is all about exploring what it is to be human. Not only that but all creation is understood to be divine, the creator is forever present in all of creation at all times. Creation is evident all around us, we grow, our blood circulates, rain drops and evaporates, leaves fall and grow back and the planets go around the sun without help or hindrance. Life is an on-going process, death is not the end of life but a part of it while heaven or hell are not destinations. Sin, devils, prophets, prayers or judgment etc. are non issues.
      To be a Hindu one needs to be fully aware of where or what our mind, energy or emotion may lead us to. This is self management without a holy doctrine to adhere to but numerous discussions, debates and directives to follow and help us to do the right thing, as right as can be with the least harm to either nature or a person including oneself. Humans are such that we have the potential to either do good or do immeasurable harm in no time. The choice is entirely ours.

      • We human should be aware of our true self aware of him who knows what is right who is present in everyone and is same. He is in every living creature.
        But delusion or Maya take us away from him.
        That’s why Swamiji said percive every living beings as a god.
        Hari om.

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  22. MOKSHA
    I am a Hindu and 60yrs old woman
    I have yet to understand how paramatma WHY did he create the universe HEhas everything under his control
    Why test of life ?
    Why sufferring for 84,00,000
    janam
    Is HE not satisfied with his life?
    In gita it’s said while dying if you remember me you get moksha
    Or if you surrender to me
    I want to surrender
    Pls request Paratma to free me of this weight of soul which Iam not capable of carrying

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