The Doctrine of Trivarga comprising of "DHARMA, ARTHA AND KAMA" is the sum and substance of the Bharatiya Philosophy of life, intended to strike a reasonable balance between the interests of the individual and the public interest which means the interests the of all other individuals who constitute the society or Nation concerned and includes all humanity. It declares the Supremacy of Dharma -over Artha (wealth) desire for securing material pleasure and Kama, (every type of desire incvJrlin8 the desire for securing wealth and every type of pleasure ). It is the invaluable and everlasting solution for all the problems of all human beings for all time to come, irrespective of their belonging or not belonging to any religion.
The propounders of Dharma did appreciate that the fulfillment of desires of human beings was essential but were of the opinion that unless the desires were regulated by law, they would bring about undesirable results. Therefore, all the propounders of Dharma were unanimous that for the existence of an orderly society and the peace and happiness of all, the desires (kama) for material enjoyment, and pleasures (Artha) should always conform to Dharma (Code of Right Conduct) and be never inconsistent with it.
Let the sastras be your authority in deciding what you should do and what you should desist from doing.
To achieve welfare and happiness some declare Dharma and Artha are good. Others declare that Artha and Kama are better. Still others declare that Dharma is the best. There are also persons who declare Artha alone secures happiness. But the correct view is that the aggregate of Dharma, Artha and Kama (Trivarga) secures welfare and happiness. However, the desire (kama) and material wealth (Artha) must be rejected if contrary to Dharma.
MANU II 224 & IV 176
In this single verse Manu Smriti has considered the merits of pure materialism (Artha and Kama) and of mere spiritualism (Dharma without Artha) and concluded that it is the combination of Dharma, Artha and Kama which secures welfare and happiness with an overriding principle that desire (kama) and material wealth (artha) should be rejected if they are inconsistent with Dharma and calls this doctrine TRIVARGA. There can be no better rule or philosophy than Trivarga, for the welfare of the individual and society. It strikes a harmonious balance between the interests of the individual and society.
The doctrine meant that Dharma must control the desire (kama) as well as the means of acquisition of wealth and deriving pleasure (Artha). Dharma therefore prescribed the rules of right conduct, observance of which was considered necessary for the welfare of the individual and society.
In laying down Dharma, as seen earlier, its propounders took an integrated view of life. Consequently, rules of right conduct covering almost every sphere of human activity such as religion, rules regulating personal conduct of an individual, as a student, as a teacher, as a house-holder, as a husband, as a wife, as a son, as a hermit, as an ascetic, including rules regulating taking of food and the like were prescribed. Dharma therefore laid down a code of conduct covering every aspect of human behaviour, the observance of which was considered a must for the peace and happiness of individuals and society.
The principles set out above are fundamental and have manifested themselves through various provisions meant to sustain the life of the individual and society. It is for this reason, all the works on Dharma declare with one voice that Dharma is that which sustains the world.
Every act or conduct which was in disobedience to rules of Dharma was called Adharma and was declared to be injurious to society and the individual.
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