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Bare bone basics: The Five P’s

Though there are theological and philosophical variations within Hinduism, you could fundamentally break down modern day Hinduism into five main points. Though the points themselves are not exhaustive virtually all other Hindu principles strongly rely on these points for inspiration.

1. Paramātmā – Belief in One supreme spirit.

This is the belief in One supreme spirit who is the foundational cause of creation, sustenance and destruction.  For some Hindu’s this supreme being is referred to as personal deity e.g. Visnu and for some this entity is referred to as impersonal with no name, no form, the upanishads* refer to this spirit as Brahman.

2. Prārthanā – Belief in prayer

Though prarthana is faithfully translated as prayer, here it refers to the belief in the Vedic scriptures which declare the science of God and life and the instructions of how one may realise the supreme spirit through prayers, yajna and various other forms of worship

3. Puruārtha – That which should be sought for…

Hinduism appreciates the fact that though all beings are fundamentally spiritual there certain responsibilities which are placed upon them be it spiritual, social as well as in one’s own family. Thus realising this the ancient seers established a four-fold system how one can accomplish ones own duties without compromising on their spiritual endeavour.

1. Dharma – The accomplistment of ones own bounden duties

The first is Dharma, here the individual is educated in his natural and bounden duties, thus ensuring the aspirant is well equiped to carry out these duties diligently in the future. Here the science of religion, God, family values, social and economic progress are outlined.

2. Artha – Acquisition of wealth

The second is the Wealth, the tradition appreciates that one must ensure that one is financially sound to provide for themselves as well as for others. However using the education of Dharma the individual is aware of ethical and moral implications of how to acquire wealth thus ensuring his is not acting in away way of causing a detrimental affect on their spirituality.

3. Kāma – Fulfillment of desires

The third is fulfilment of desires, Hinduism recognises that all individuals irrespective of background have the fundamental right to wish for the betterment for themselves, family and society. Thus the idea of having desires which do not impeded on sinful activity are admired and encouraged.

4. Moka – Attainment of liberation

The fourth is the concept of liberation, the ancient seers though encouraged all the purusharthas, they had laid much stress on liberation, as this is where man attains the final beatitude of releasing oneself from the clutches of Samsara, the cycle of birth and death.

If close note is taken you could see that both wealth and desire are contained within the middle of Dharma and Liberation. Thus telling us ‘do your duty diligently, acquire wealth and produce progeny faithfully without your actions affecting your liberation’

4. Punarjanma – Belief in reincarnation and Law of Karma

Punarjanma translated as ‘another birth’, establishes the Vedic idea of reincarnation governed by the laws of Karma. Here the idea is very simple with the universal principle of ‘Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you[1]’. This idea though fundamentally originating as a Vedic concept is accepted by various other eastern religions such Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism to name a few.

Prāi-dayā – Compassion and respect for all living entities

Finally Hinduism accepts that all living beings are enshrined with a soul which is eternal and depending on a theological belief system is connected with the supreme spirit in some capacity. Thus holding this position and the law of Karma the Hindu accepts all beings are mutual travellers in this journey of Samsara and hence one should not hurt, kill any being but rather show love and compassion to all beings.


[1] Bible, Mathew 7.12

The copyright of the article Bare bone basics: The Five P’s is owned by the Jigyasa Team. Permission to republish in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


About Makwana

A student of Sanatan Vedic Dharma


One thought on “Bare bone basics: The Five P’s

  1. Thank you for sharing the five Ps 🙂

    Posted by Bhagwat | June 20, 2012, 5:05 pm

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