Explain clearly how the four Puruṣārthas together provide a framework for a Hindu's actions and moral decisions.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In many ways, the four Puruṣārthas help to provide guidance as to how one lives in different stages of one's life.  All four are intermingling.  The sacred texts do not indicate that there is a moment when one is "accomplished" and then put to the side.  Rather, they exist interdependent of one another and independent of one another.  They work in a frame of reference to guide followers of the Hindu religion in ways through which life's purpose and one's moral decisions can be revealed.  For example, in the Puruṣārtha of dharma, one learns about the importance of adhering and upholding the sense of righteousness that guides what one does and how they live.  One can almost see this as something that a young person would use and need in order to form the value system that will provide a framework for their actions and the decisions they take on a moral or ethical level.  The Artha Puruṣārtha encourages the need to develop a vocation and provide for one's family, applying to the middle aged individual who recognizes the sacredness of honoring responsibility and obligations to others.  Along these lines the Puruṣārtha of Kama is reflective of the love through which families are developed.  The final Puruṣārtha of Moksha is one in which there is liberation and freedom from the binds of consciousness, a stage in which one has matured enough to understand how to connect themselves with the Atman, or spiritual soul that underlies all being in the cosmos.  Through these Puruṣārthas, one understands purpose and function, designing the meaningful framework for how actions are undertaken and decisions are made.