Artha is a part of the 4 Purusharthas, or the human pursuits given in Hinduism or Sanatan Dharma. It literally means wealth, prosperity and financial security to live a life of ease in this world. It is having the means and material facilities to live comfortably. Artha is connected to the three other aspects and goals of human life: Dharma (virtuous, moral life), Kama (pleasure, sensuality, emotional fulfilment) and Moksha (liberation, self-actualization).
Artha is not an impediment to spiritual progress but in fact it supports it, if acquired and utilised rightfully, based on the principle of Dharma (rightful conduct). When Artha is acquired through Dharma, it serves its true purpose. Artha provides for a dignified life by having assets which help care for one’s family and dependents. In Hinduism, Artha is not about rejecting the world, but being content with the things one owns. It is not an end in itself, but a means to grow further in life and provide for one’s dependents. Artha is an important part of living a fulfilled life which includes having the means such as knowledge, skills, friends and good health required to obtain it.
Artha is the “means of life” or activities and resources that enables one to be in a state one wants to be in.
However, in our present day consumerism based society, it is easy to be overwhelmed and be consumed by the pursuit of material gain. This is where living consciously comes in, and asking the question as to what is truly important for us in life? How much effort and attention is required for what pursuit? How much money or wealth is required for me and my dependents, without being greedy or living in excess. Hoarding more than what is required is a detriment for the evolution for a person aiming for spiritual growth. In our pursuit of worldly success, we must be aware of our moral (Dharmik) responsibility.
Dharma is the nature, Artha is the means. Kāma is the desire and moksha is the release
from the desire. – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar