Children are incurable romantics. Brimful of romance and tragedy, we whirl through childhood hopelessly in love with our parents. In our epic imagination, we love and are loved with a passion so natural and innocent we may never know its like as adults.
(Roger Gould (20th century), U.S. psychotherapist and author. Transformations, sec. 1, ch. 1 (1978).)
THE CLASSICAL INDIAN THOUGHT
As many think, Vedic scriptures are not all about God and God alone. The Vedic philosophy recognizes a healthy and vibrant human society, where humans even while realizing their worldly needs make a gradual progress from mundane life to spiritual life towards a final realization of Spiritual Attainment or Moksha or Nirvana. The reason is simple…the human body is made up of the five elements, viz. earth, water, fire, air and space. The five elements are nothing but the manifestations of Maya or Prakrithi or Mother Supreme, which is a combination of the three Gunas or attributes, viz. Satwa, Rajas and Thamas. Because of Maya all humans have these 3 traits and struggle within the worldly walls with all kinds of desires, woes, pains and false happiness. Unless humans break this shell of Maya they cannot attain Moksha. Moksha is nothing but reaching the soul to its source; the Supreme Soul, whom we call by different names, Parama Ataman, Para Brahma, Holy Ghost etc. That is attainment or salvation…that is the goal of human life.
Then how to break these worldly chains and attain Moksha? Is it necessary to leave the worldly life, live like a hermit and embrace asceticism? No! Our Shastras prescribe four walks of life called Purushardhas, to humans to achieve Spiritual Attainment, even without giving up worldly life, viz. Dharma, Ardha, Kama and Moksha. Artha (worldly gains) and Kama (fulfillment of desires) are meant to satisfy the social, psychological, physical and physiological needs of human body. Dharma defines the precincts of human behavior and character. In fact Dharma occupies a place of great primacy in all Hindu scriptures and epics. Dharma encompasses a whole lot of social duties and societal behavioral norms, like morality, lawfulness, etiquette, kindness, love and spirituality. Hence human pursuance of both Ardha and Kama should be qualified by Dharma. A man is expected to live on lines of Dharma and fulfill his worldly needs of prosperity and desires. Fulfilling the desires doesn't mean yielding to desires. H.H. Sri Sri Sri Audi Shankaracharya in His Bhaja Govindam suggests us to live like a drop of water on a lotus leaf-touching the leaf and at the same with some amount of detachment. This kind of life satisfies the Maya or the Mother Supreme and she opens the gates to Moksha.
Lord Shri Krishna, the Parama Guru of the World, classifies the life in to 3 stages-firstly Karma: when man by Dharmic life gets a proclivity towards Bhakthi and when Bhakthi matures turns in to Jnana. Jnana itself is Moksha.