One of the Purusharthas (Object of human pursuit) mentions about Artha (Wealth). The Purusharthas were called Trivarga (Three Categories) with Dharma (Righteousness), Artha (Aim) and Kama (Desire) in the Vedic period. It is important to note that the Vedic sense of Artha was not wealth but aim. However in the Upanishad era the Purusharthas got upgraded to Chaturvarga (Four Categories) with the addition of Moksha (Liberation) and it was in this period the meaning of Artha too advanced from “Aim” to “Wealth”.
Mimamsa school of thought which emphasizes more on rituals looks at Artha as not just Purushartha (Pursuit) but as Dhayitvatha (Responsibility). This Dhayitva is the social responsibility which we lack now. In the present world Artha is to make wealth from any means irrespective of how it might reflect on the society. We keep in mind that one of the Purusharthas is Artha and we need to earn money but we fail to comprehend that in the approach we have to include Dharma (Righteousness) also. Hence Jaimini, the founder of Mimamsa Dharshana said, “Human Pursuit and Human Aim are not separate. The Phala (Fruit) of the Karma (Action) is inherent in the Artha (Aim) itself.”
This story which many of us know will help understand better. It was quite common in ancient times for the King and his minister to disguise themselves as common citizens and take a tour around the kingdom. The intention was to find out how the administrative decisions were accepted by the public.
In one such spree the King and his minister happened to see an old man drawing water from a well. King and the minister observed from a distance the old man was making the trip to the well many times. He was weak and tired but continued to fetch water from the well. The King and his minister wanted to know what this old man was doing with the water he drew from the well. They found out that the old man was watering the mango saplings.
The King spoke to the old man, “The seedlings have just sprouted and become saplings. You are fetching water from the far away well for them. You are already very old; do you really believe that you will live to relish the fruits from them?”
The old man smiled at the King and said, “I am not just old but wise too. I know by the time these saplings grow and yield mangoes I would probably not be alive. Fortunately I did experience the taste of mangoes, if you can look at those big trees there with mangoes they were the trees planted by my grandfather. I have planted these saplings so that my grandchildren will enjoy the fruits from them. I work for Posterity also not for Prosperity alone.”
The old man knew that his prosperity is when he does something for the posterity. Posterity and Prosperity are the interleaved aim in Artha. The old man knows that the nature which is yielding all the vegetation is the loan he has indebted from the younger generation. It is his social responsibility to return it back to them after enjoying the dividends from it.
The real prosperity is when our posterity is not left out high and dry..... What say???