About Human Beings
[Vinod Anand]

It is said that a human birth is not easy to achieve. And once you have this human body, you are no longer in the hands of nature. You now have the rare capacity, called free will, to initiate a further process of evolution. An animal, on the other hand, is fulfilled once it survives a few years and produces an offspring. A human being also has to become an adult physically. You need only survive by appeasing your hunger and thirst and avoiding fatal accidents and diseases. The process is a natural one, made possible by the survival instinct common to all living beings. Unlike physical maturity, emotional growth is in your own hands. Inner maturity is a process that you have to initiate because you are a human being enjoying a faculty of choice. Although each individual seeks something peculiar, these are four ends that everyone seeks. The universal ends most commonly sought after are security and pleasure — artha and kama. The remaining two purusharthas- dharma and moksha—can also be accomplished by a human being. That which gives you any kind of security emotional, economical or social — is called artha in Sanskrit. Artha may be in the form of cash or liquid assets, stocks, real estate, relationships, a home, a good name, a title recognition, influence, or power of any kind. And although each person seeks various forms of security at a given time, seeking security is common to all. Seeking pleasure is another purushartha, called kama in Sanskrit. It too, takes many forms. For instance, sensory pleasures may be anything from seafood or ice cream onwards. Examples of intellectual pleasures are those derived from playing certain games, solving puzzles or riddles, and studying certain bodies of 1rnowledg. Thus, we have a variety of pleasures. Anything that satisfies your senses, that pleases your mind, that touches your heart and evokes in you a certain appreciation, is kama. There is another form of pleasure derived from seeing the stars on a beautiful night, enjoying the sunrise, a flower, a playing child, or a beautiful painting, for example. Because this pleasure is neither sensory nor intellectual, I will call it aesthetic pleasure. Even though such pleasures go beyond one’s senses and intellect, they are still kama. There is a third purushartha, dharma that is neither artha nor kama. It is pleasure born of harmony, derived from friendship, sharing, helping another person and so on. For example, when you are able to relieve someone’s suffering, you experience a joy that is not kama. If you enjoy what you do, life is simple. If you do not enjoy what you do, then you have to do something to enjoy, which can be costly. On the other hand, any pleasure that comes out of one’s maturing process is a different type of joy. Not hurting someone, or doing the right thing at the right time, for instance, gives you joy if not immediately, later. As you grow in your understanding, your dharma also grows. Because of the importance we give to dharma, the order can now be reversed — dharma, artha and kama. Dharma accounts for your maturity. The more mature you are, the more dharmika you are. In order to be mature, an understanding of dharma and conformity to it become most important in one’s life. Without violating dharma, doing what is to be done; you pursue artha and kama, security and pleasure.

Author's Bio: 


Born in 1939, and holding Master’s Degree both in Mathematics (1959) and Economics (1961), and Doctorate Degree in Economics (1970), Dr. Vinod K.Anand has about forty five years of teaching, research, and project work experience in Economic Theory (both micro and macro), Quantitative Economics, Public Economics, New Political Economy, and Development Economics with a special focus on economic and social provisions revolving around poverty, inequality, and unemployment issues, and also on informal sector studies. His last assignment was at the National University of Lesotho (Southern Africa) from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that he was placed as Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of North-West in the Republic of South Africa, and University of Allahabad in India, Professor at the National University of Lesotho, Associate Professor at the University of Botswana, Gaborone in Botswana, and at Gezira University in Wad Medani, Sudan, Head, Department of Arts and Social Sciences, Yola in Nigeria, Principal Lecturer in Economics at Maiduguri University in Nigeria, and as Lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria. Professor Anand has by now published more than 80 research papers in standard academic journals, authored 11 books, supervised a number of doctoral theses, was examiner for more than twenty Ph.D. theses, and has wide consultancy experience both in India and abroad, essentially in the African continent. This includes holding the position of Primary Researcher, Principal Consultant etc. in a number of Research Projects sponsored and funded by Universities, Governments, and International Bodies like, USAID, IDRC, and AERC. His publications include a variety of themes revolving around Economic Theory, New Political Economy, Quantitative Economics, Development Economics, and Informal Sector Studies. His consultancy assignments in India, Nigeria, Sudan, Botswana, and the Republic of South Africa include Non-Directory Enterprises in Allahabad, India, Small Scale Enterprises in the Northern States of Nigeria, The Absolute Poverty Line in Sudan, The Small Scale Enterprises in Wad Medani, Sudan, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in Botswana, The Place of Non-Formal Micro-Enterprises in Botswana, Resettlement of a Squatter Community in the Vryburg District of North West Province in the Republic of South Africa, Trade and Investment Development Programme for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises: Support for NTSIKA in the Republic of South Africa, and Development of the Manufacturing Sector in the Republic of South Africa’s North West Province: An Approach Based on Firm Level Surveys. Professor Anand has also extensively participated in a number of conferences, offered many seminars, participated in a number of workshops, and delivered a variety of Refresher Lectures at different venues both in India and abroad. Dr. Anand was placed at the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla in the State Himachal Pradesh, India as a Fellow from 2001 to 2003, and had completed a theoretical and qualitative research project/monograph on the Employment Profile of Micro Enterprises in the State of Himachal Pradseh, India.