Ayurveda & The Four Goals of Life ~ Part 2: Artha (Prosperity)


“Artha means “material object” and the concept relates to our pursuit of wealth and prosperity. While a certain level of prosperity is necessary for survival, the human ego is always at risk of overindulging. Attachment to wealth and to material objects generates the fear of losing them and causes the human mind to suffer. When desire for wealth rules one’s mind, integrity is quickly lost and actions become selfish. Karma is generated and suffering will ultimately occur. 

Basic prosperity is in and of itself a requirement for life and a legitimate goal for every person. Each person must have food, shelter, clothing, education and medical care in order to thrive in society. This basic aim of life goes to the very core of our existence. To be satisfied with one’s basic needs requires self-regulation and control over desire. In order to control or transcend material desire, a person must be connected to their higher nature. When a person is motivated by the lower aspects of her nature, the pursuit of prosperity leads to greed, excess and waste. Accumulation becomes the primary motivating force. There is the false understanding that greater accumulation will bring greater satisfaction and happiness.”

Excerpt from “Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine,” by Dr. Marc Halpern, Founder of the California College of Ayurveda