Explore the first of the Four Goals of Life and why knowing about these four goals is a necessity as a changemaker and leader.

What does it take to be a change maker that successfully inspires people to create positive change in their own lives and that of the people around them?

In my view, as a change maker, you want to empower people by leading them to actively participate in the creation of a shared vision and purpose.

The empowerment comes when they feel ownership of the projects you’re working on together, and when they take responsibility for their contribution and participation in creating positive change.

Empowerment is not about telling people how to think and what to do. It is about helping people to step into their own power, getting them to up level their thinking and behaviour and giving them the authority to do so.

In the same way you become a source of nourishment for the people you lead, you in turn would like to see them become a source of nourishment for the people around them.

The question is though, how do you become a source of nourishment?

What needs to be nourished?

This is where the 4 goals of life come in.

Because, ultimately I believe that real empowerment comes from realising the essence of who and what we are.

That’s when we tap into our true source of wisdom, confidence, healing and purpose.

The ancient sages and seers realised that we’re all born with 4 root desires that are baked into our system

They are known as the four purusharthas - loosely translated as the four goals of life.

The word purusharthas is made up of the Sanskrit terms purusha and artha. Purusha means soul and artha can be translated as ‘for the purpose of’. Hence the popular transliteration of purusharthas as ‘for the desire of the soul’.

These four goals, or desires, which people strive for are considered by the vedas to be inspired by your soul and are a foundation of a satisfying and fulfilled life.

Each purushartha has within it a seed intention of supporting us on the path towards enlightenment.

The purusharthas as the driving force behind our longing for enlightenment

In Vedic thought the essence of who and what we are is described as ‘satcitananda’.

Sat means existence or eternity and hints at the principle of something that is beyond time and space. Something that has no beginning and no end. It simply is. Cit means pure awareness. Ananda means fulness, or joy, or bliss.

In answering the question “Who am I?" the sages came to the realisation that we are eternal, that we are pure awareness, and that inherent in our nature is the experience of joy and fulness. The purpose of life therefore is to recognise that the Self, the innermost essence of who and what we are, is satcitananda.

When we examine the four desires of the soul, the four purusharthas, we may recognise that at their root is the memory of our true essence of satcitananda.

Dharma - virtuous acts

The sanskrit term Dharma is difficult to translate properly into English. We don’t have a word for it that would do the term justice. Words like purpose, law, path, or order are a good indication of its meaning.

Dharma has two related yet distinct meanings. The first is living according the laws of nature. The more we live according to the rules of the universe the more we thrive. It is very much about respecting nature and living in tune with it.

The second use of the word Dharma is about fulfilling one’s own Dharma by embodying who you are meant to be, your unique purpose, or in a way the most elevated expression of who you are.

It is the longing to achieve the highest state of well-being.  It is very much about thriving in life while fulfilling your unique purpose and destiny.

When we align ourselves with the rules of the universe and we fulfil our highest expression of who we are we create an ideal disposition which facilitates attainment of the other 3 goals of life.

So, Dharma is very much about living according to those principles that harmonise us with how things are meant to be and avoid creating obstacles that hinder our path towards enlightenment.

We have an inherent desire at the soul level to live according the natural laws of creation, attuned to the rhythms of nature and the people around us as we strive for self-realisation.

Dharmic life is very much about contribution to the greater good. It is about serving creation with the understanding that we are not separate from it.

Living a dharmic life ultimately is an expression of recognising who you really are and what your role is within the context of creation.

Dharma points towards sat and cit. Pure existence and pure awareness. When we live from a place of pure awareness and the understanding we are all made up of that same awareness we naturally will be inclined towards dharmic living as our decisions and choices come from a space of wholeness.