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The Four Aims of Life

By Angela Pennington

As students of Jyotish, we learn to examine and judge an astrological chart. Throughout this learning process, we meet and begin to understand the grahas, rashis, bhavas, their yogas and various interactions. Many students have commented, “ I keep studying, but I still don't feel like I understand what I am looking at”. Let’s face it, there are only so many ways to look at graha, we must find the breath and life of the chart, otherwise its just a diagram and glyphs.

In classic Hinduism, The Four Aims or “Purusharthas” represent four different goals to live a fruitful and happy life. They are considered to be the purpose of consciousness. Through the development of these ideals, one will live a happy and prosperous life. These goals are interwoven in the chart and represent the elements that create all things:

Dharma (virtue or righteousness): Each one of us is born with a purpose and it is our duty, our souls urging, to find and fulfill that purpose. Dharma is Fire and corresponds to bhavas 1-Aries, 5-Leo, 9-Saggitarius. These bhavas have initiative, creativity, ethics and are devotional. They are considered to be places of Lakshmi as they offer fortune, progress and luck.

Artha (success or wealth); Material well being and personal power are an essential part of living and must be pursued. Artha is Earth and corresponds to bhavas 2-Taurus, 6-Virgo, 10-Capricorn. What we value is outwardly manifested through our accumulated material resources, productivity and work.

Kama (pleasure or desire); Refers to enjoying aesthetic pleasures of all kinds including; enjoyment of music, dance, art, drama, literature and sex. Kama is Air and corresponds to bhavas 3-Gemini, 7-Libra, 11-Aquarius. Courageous, social, and curious. The interest is in learning and experiencing.

Moksha (release or liberation); Striving for release from life, finding the true nature of the cosmos and ones place in it. Moksha is Water and corresponds to bhavas 4-Cancer, 8-Scorpio, 12-Pisces. Emotional fulfillment, spiritual transformation through mysticism, occult study and altered states of consciousness.

Each one of the Aims support each other in the development of our individuality, connection to others and to the cosmos and spiritual worlds.

Each one of the Four Aims govern three bhavas, a natural trine. These bhavas mature at different times in life. The trine influences and builds upon itself through each stage of development, with the last bhava being the fullest expression of the goal.

Lets use the Artha houses as case in point. In childhood, the second bhava may represent a toy. The sixth bhava, learning to do chores. The tenth bhava may represent the child's new awareness of how he or she effects the people and things around them. Ultimately, the child is learning about their own security, what they have to give up in order to get what they want, and how to gain control. As this child begins to mature and grow into young adulthood, the nature of the bhavas mature. A toy becomes a savings account, a chore becomes a job and effecting others becomes influence. At a later stage, these qualities are developed even more and further ones own ambition to gain more material possessions, higher position and affluence. The quality of a matured bhava is greatly effected by the foundation layed in earlier cycles.

Each Aim is challenged and balanced by the Aim in an opposite position from itself. Dharma is challenged by Kama (Fire/Air) and Artha by Moksha (Earth/Water). If out of balance they will cause harm to each other. In harmony, they are creation and the building blocks to recognizing cycles within cycles.

An example; Dharma represents doing what we should do and the opposite, Kama, represents doing what we want to do. When these two are balanced they work together: a persons life has meaning, true purpose and as a result, one has courage to move forward in their endeavors.

If either of these aims are malefically influenced or unsupported in the chart, the indicaters point to issues and behaviours related to Dharma and Kama. These lessons will cycle over and over in similar ways at various stages of development, until one has liberated “Moksha” themselves from these challenges. Since all of the bhavas are linked, these lessons will effect the Artha and Moksha bhavas.

In chart examination, the Four Aims, or the motivation of a house, interact in three ways:
  1. A bhava influencing a graha; If a planet is in an Artha house the focal point is material possessions. The strength and favorableness of the graha and its maleficence or beneficence will impact the results.


  2. A bhava influencing another bhava: Trines and oppositions will support and challenge the bhava.


  3. A bhava acting on a rashi; The rashi will be effected by the motivation of the house; An earth constellation in a Dharma house will be effected by the element of fire and the qualities aligning with Dharma.
For the purposes of this article, I have not included Karma or the five Yogas, which are intrinsically involved in these houses. By understanding the Purusharthas, and their influences in a chart, we understand the natural impulses and desires of our client. As we add the layers of grahas, rashis and drishti, we begin to see through “the eyes” of Jyotish.

By Editor Angela Pennington

Angela Pennington Biography:

Angela PenningtonAngela Pennington is a full time student of Jyotish and lives in the Seattle area. She has completed the ACVA Level I course and is completing ACVA Level II towards her certification.

Throughout her career, Angela has owned three small business’s in import/export, computers, and metaphysics. She is a Tarot Reader and popular teacher in Goddess studies.

Angela was our first Student Editor, now editor, for the ACVA News and is a member of CVA ( Council Vedic Astrology )

Angela Pennington Contact Information:

Angela Pennington
editor@vedicastrology.org
(206) 412-7837


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