Puruṣārtha-niścaya, the beginning of the beginning

fernglasWhat is puruṣārtha-niścaya? Of the two words, niścaya has a close English equivalent: certainty, conviction, unshakable clarity. So puruṣārtha-niścaya mean ‘doubt-free clarity and unshakable certainty’ about puruṣārtha. So what is this thing one has no doubt about?

Puruṣārtha is a compound made up of two words: puruṣa and artha. Puruṣa also has a close English equivalent: ‘person’, ‘human being’ (albeit with a lot behind it that reminds us of the true scale of what is indicated by the word – see footnote at the end).

Thus, so far, we have arrived at this meaning: ‘unshakable certainty about human artha’.

Artha is the last word that needs unpacking. Normally translated as ‘wealth’ or ‘meaning’, here it should be read as ‘aim or purpose’.

Puruṣārtha is the purpose of the human life. And puruṣārtha-niścaya is total clarity about what this purpose is – about what defines human life and drives human activity. Continue reading