In order to better understand how these two principals are reconciled in smriti texts, the four duties of Hinduism and the four ashramas will be explored.
The four purusharthas, or objectives, of Hinduism are: dharma (righteousness); artha (wealth); kama (desire); and moksha (salvation). Dharma can be seen as all that a person does that is in harmony with his or her inner spirituality and the outer environment. It is at the root of the other three purusharthas. Artha means wealth. According to Hinduism, there is no conflict between accumulating wealth and leading a spiritual life. What is central is if dharma is maintained. The arthashastras discuss the proper handling of money to be able to lead a proper spiritual life that coincides with the guidelines of dharma. The same is true with kama, or desire. Celibacy is not necessarily a precursor to spiritual awareness. What is important is dharma. For example, the Bhagvad Gita teaches that householders are completely at liberty to express sexual desires. However, students and ascetics are to practice celibacy (Hinduwebsite). Moksha, attained through complete detachment, is the absence of illusion. How moksha is attained depends upon one's particular path. ...Show more