close logo

Purushartha Based Institution Design Framework for Dharmika Srishti – (PIDF)


In the Bharatavarsha, the Chaturvidha Purushartha as the fundamental goals of life has been a civilizational constant in all these centuries. Sampradayas differ in their definitions & detail, in the enabling instruments for Purushartha or milestones in the journey of Purushartha. Sampradayas may have different perspectives on what is the experience in the Jeevanmukta state. However, a sense of Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha and their interrelationship has anchored the civilizational continuity – the Saatatya – through all change.

The philosophical foundation of the Purushartha is the Srishti-Sthiti-Laya (SSL) dynamic of the universe. The SSL-Purushartha framework offers us two civilizational differentiators a) Dharmika Srishti i.e., Creation according to Dharma – rather for Dharma b) A Framework to Design Institutions (IDF) that perform Dharmika Srishti. On the material plane, this is nothing but Sustainable material life. On the spiritual plane, this is not but a material life that does not destroy sacred experiences.

The Kula-Jati-Varna organization is merely one manifestation of this IDF.  A Civilization is marked by Institutions it shapes and their creative output which shape the future. SSL-Purushartha offers an IDF based on the first principles of Bharateeya Parampara for a Srishti (creation) based on Dharma. This paper refers to the Purushartha based Institution Design Framework (PIDF).

In the immediate, this has two applications. In the colonial era our institutions were either destroyed or severely damaged. In the post-independence era, our institutions have consciously moved away from Bharateeya Parampara. PIDF can help us both in establishing new institutions and reconfigure already existing modern Institutions for Dharmika Srishti.

This paper presents the architecture and elements of Purushartha based Institution Design Framework (PIDF).

Ontologies and Future Computation

Wholesome Philosophies contain Ontologies within them. A typical Ontology consists of two parts

  • a collection of fundamental concepts with interrelationships that together make a unique sense of the Universe
  • a framework drawn from that Ontology to lead a purposeful life

Such an Ontology enables a society to reduce ambiguity and go about with life in a consistent and fulfilling way.

While they present the world view of such philosophies, they prominently contain a perspective of Time – a sense of the past, present and future. From the standpoint of Time, such an Ontology consists of three crucial elements.

  1. A Conceptual Sense/Synthesis of Past, Present and Future
  2. A Timeless Central Core that holds itself at all times
  3. An ability (of the Central Core) to compute an Outer Shell when needed and change from within – something that changes with Time

A Sense of Past, Present and Future brings a deeper confidence, assurance and stability to a society. A perspective of only the Present can be destructive. It may result in a tendency to maximise the Present leading to excessive competition and thereby destruction of the society. On the other hand, a perspective that lacks a sense of Future will not know the dangerous directions it takes and could reach disastrous dead ends. Thriving societies could quickly come to a grinding halt. Quite a few communities have destroyed themselves without a good sense of Future. A Society with only a good sense of the past lacks sufficient confidence, gets overprotective without the ability to deal with the challenges of the present, leave alone future. A constant synthesis of the Past, Present and Future alone ensures a smooth flow of the Civilization offering crucial continuity along with change – the Saatatya. It also offers a deeper experience of Time and Change. It saves Ontologies from that innate ability to destroy themselves. 

A powerful Ontology holds itself at the core for a long time even as it keeps on fine-tuning, updating and morphing its outer shell. Only such an Ontology can build a thriving and fulfilling Civilization. This stability offers crucial Security for a society. Anything that continuously requires a change at all places cannot offer a fulfilling experience. The complexity it poses in dealing with frequent change could lead to strife, violence and even collapse. However, change cannot be wished away. Crises that emerge from time to time might require an update to the Central Core of an Ontology as well. However, if that is too frequent the Ontology collapses or morphs into something significantly different. A good sustainable Ontology leads itself into traditions, practices, customs, rituals, creative instruments, a healthy culture of consumption, aesthetics and so on.

No Ontology is perfect enough to create a set of traditions, practices, customs that need no change at all. A sense of Future means Creation. That requires creative instruments to create material and non-material. Every new material and non-material requires their own unique way of being dealt-with, used, deployed and disposed. This requires regular updates to traditions, practices, customs and new material/non-material. Hence, an Ontology has to have that ability to deal with its own creation. It needs that ability to make updates to traditions, practices, customs and social organisations. At times, it may have to go to its core and make a change to Ontology itself – quite a complex process. If an Ontology does not do this, it creates violence both within and outside.

This paper is concerned with the first point – Past, Present and Future. In particular, it is concerned about the computation of Future. It explains how Purushartha framework in Hinduism approaches this problem. To Individuals Purushartha offers a framework to go about with their lives in a fulfilling and sustainable manner in the sacred path of the Supreme. To Civilizations, Purushartha offers a framework for the design and organisation of Civilizational entities so that Individuals can pursue their paths of Purushartha destinations under the shelter of those Civilizational entities. More specifically, this paper offers a Purushartha based Institution Design Framework (PIDF) for Civilizational entities unique to Bharatavarsha. In the PIDF, Future is computed based on a specific synthesis of Past, Present and Future – that comes from the Chaturvidha Purushartha. Purushartha, otherwise a framework for an Individual in the Sanatana Dharma, is remodelled to draw essentials for an Institution and reorganises them as Institution Design Framework for Future Computation.

An Introduction to Purushartha

This section presents an overview of the Chaturvidha Purushartha as is needed for this paper. In the Bharateeya Parampara, the Chaturvidha Purushartha is the fundamental driving framework of one’s life. With slight exaggeration, it can be said that it is the axiomatic fundamental of our Ontological universe. All traditional Indian texts have Purushartha as their underpinning, not often stated explicitly but assumed as an obvious reality. The Paper “Origins of Sustainability and Environmentalism in Vedic Philosophy [Author: Shivakumar GV]” presents a detailed account of the Chaturvidha Purushartha and its philosophical foundation. This brief account is a summary from that paper and excerpted from another paper of the same author.

Chaturvidha Purushartha consists of four elements.

  1. Kama – The Desire:
    1. Every man has desires
    2. Every man has a right to fulfil one’s desires.
  1. Artha – The Wealth for Security:
    1. Every man has security needs
    2. Every man has a right to create wealth to secure one’s life.
  1. DharmaThe Balance:
    1. Artha-Kama are served by worldly material resources.
    2. Worldly resources are limited. Hence, one’s Artha and Kama clash against another.
    3. Dharma resolves the Artha/Kama clash and creates balance.
    4. Man must pursue Dharma so that Artha and Kama are sustainable.
  1. MokshaThe Liberation:
    1. Dharma too requires something else to stand on. That which creates space for Dharma is the real fundamental of the universe – the eternal Truth.
    2. It is only the Sacred, the Supreme and its pursuit that creates a space for Dharma and sustains it. For an individual it is Moksha i.e., the path towards Moksha.
    3. Hence, every man has the right to pursue a Sacred Path for that alone creates a space for Dharma.
    4. This realisation of the fundamental truth is the most essential differing feature of Sanatana Dharma.

These four elements are referred to as Purushartha (Purusha + Artha) because only their pursuit brings security and meaning to one’s life. In the Bharateeya Parampara, it is both our right and duty to pursue this. In many ways, it operates at a level beyond a right and a duty. Hence, rights and duties are never explicitly called out as they are submerged within our pursuit of Purushartha.

At one level, there is an equal importance to all four elements of the Chaturvidha Purushartha. All of them must be pursued. At another level, Kama and Artha are subservient to Dharma in this framework. That in our pursuit of security (Artha) and desire (Kama) we may run amok and create significant conflict is part of the deep rooted wisdom of Bharateeya Parampara. Bharateeya Parampara explains this in both the external and internal dimensions.

  • The External Dimension:
    • Worldly resources are limited
  • The Internal Dimension:
    • Our pursuit of Artha and Kama are driven by our ArishadvargasKama (The Desire), Krodha (Anger), Lobha (Greed), Moha (Attachment), Mada (intoxication – of the mind), Matsarya (The Jealousy).

These six Arishadvargas are considered as our enemies – fundamentally arresting our progress in the path of Moksha. We must recognize two important points in these Arishadvargas.

  • Kama is both a Desire that must be pursued as part of the Chaturvidha Purushartha and one that must be dealt with as the Enemy as part of Arishadvarga. That is acknowledged by the Tatva of Dharma. Dharma is that which controls Artha and Kama (because of their susceptibility to the Arishadvarga) and directs them towards striving for Moksha.
  • Each of these Arishadvarga-s feed the other and hence their presentation as a collection.

The nature of one’s indulgence (or the abstinence) in the Chaturvidha Purushartha paints one’s journey in life. In other words, Purushartha, along with Arishadvarga, creates a complex plane/space in which our life becomes a multi-dimensional trajectory. It is determined by our indulgence in the elements of Chaturvidha Purushartha and Arishadvarga. There are many more parameters at play but for our illustration purposes these elements suffice.

Srishti-Sthiti-Laya as the Philosophical Foundation of Purushartha

This perspective of Purushartha is not incidental or accidental, though. Neither is it a mere idea. The verifiable reality of Artha-Kama is subsumed into the not-so-easily verifiable Dharma-Moksha. The latter too are real and not merely ideas. They are drawn from a Metaphysics presented by the Vedas realised by the Rishis at a higher state of consciousness. This Metaphysics or the philosophical foundation consists of two bigger realities.

  • The collective Universe of Life and its Dynamic in which Life moves in Time
  • Fundamental Forces of Nature that govern the Universe of Life and the Dynamic
  • Bharateeya Parampara’s ‘Desired trajectory’ for the collective Universe of life (within this Dynamic, based on these fundamental forces).

This Philosophical foundation is succinctly represented by the principle of Srishti-Sthiti-Laya. It is described in detail in all Vedic texts including the Puranas, Bhagavata Purana in particular. Different Sampradas have different versions and details. It can be minimally described as given below.

  1. Bharateeya Parampara desires that the Universe is always in the state of Sthiti.
  2. Sthiti is defined as that State of the Universe where it is
    1. Dynamic i.e., seeking a new State
    2. Yet in Stable Equilibrium
  3. The Dynamic in Sthiti is referred to as Srishti.
  4. Universe always being in Sthiti means
    1. All change in the Universe is through Srishti
    2. All Srishti is subservient to Sthiti and is successful only when it achieves Sthiti in each of its changes.
    3. This Dynamic always operates in a Cycle. Everything that is an outcome of Sristhi will have a natural end – i.e., Laya.
  5. However, Srishti is never perfect. It errs in the path of keeping the Universe in Sthiti.
  6. Laya performs the task of Dissolution.
    1. Laya eliminates all whose time has ended.
    2. Laya results in Pralaya when errs beyond a point.
  7. The Universe is always in Sthiti when Srishti always conforms to Rta – the Universal Principles of Natural Order.

This worldview is beautifully translated into daily life by the Bharateeya Parampara through the Purushartha. It is drawn from Srishti-Sthiti-Laya in the following manner.

  1. Moksha of an individual corresponds to Sthiti of the Universe.
    1. In other words, when one achieves Moksha one increases the Sthiti quotient of the Universe i.e., one moves the Universe closer to the absolute Sthiti. Sthiti Quotient represents the extent to which the Universe is close to the absolute perfect possible Sthiti. When everybody is in Moksha the universe could be considered as in absolute Sthiti.
    2. While everybody being in the Sthiti is an extraordinary ideal, the extent to which one is in the path of Moksha also results in a proportionate closeness of the Universe of Life to the absolute Sthiti.
    3. Thus, the Sthiti-Quotient of the Universe also represents the extent to which people are on the path of Moksha.
  2. Dharma is the collective of all actions of all human beings, according to the Natural Order (Rta) that keep the Universe in Sthiti, thus increasing the Sthiti-Quotient.
  3. Artha and Kama represent Sristhi. All Srishti on earth are a consequence of the human Artha, Kama.
    1. Our Artha, Kama performances are never perfect and have the ability to move the Universe away from Sthiti/Rta. Thus, Srishti errs.
    2. However, the extent to which our Artha, Kama is not conformant with the Rta through Dharma determines the extent to which Srishti errs.

Thus, the Bharateeya Parampara

  • offers a framework of life for an individual
  • based on a desired trajectory for the larger Universe of life
  • which in turn is based on first principles of nature

Thus, the Parampara seeks an integrity of trajectory of the individual (Chaturvidha Purushartha) and trajectory of the universe (Srishti-Sthiti-Laya) with the universal principles of cosmos (Rta) that are unchanging.

The power of this Srishti-Sthiti-Laya-Purushartha-Rta integrity (henceforth referred to as SSL-Purushartha) further results in the following being unique in Hindu Civilization.

  • A perspective (& Trajectory) of Time
  • A perspective of what is Change
  • A resultant Past-Present-Future relationship

Our ancients leveraged the above to design a community based life. Every Community was organized to present the most perfect environment for its members to pursue Purushartha. Hence, Bharateeya Communities could be called as Institutions that were SSL-Purushartha aligned.

This paper uses the Purushartha aligned nature of a Community to discuss the following in subsequent sections.

  • A Perspective of Institution: What is the nature of a Purushartha/SSL aligned Institution?
  • A Perspective of the dynamics of an Institution in Time in terms of Problems and Solutions
  • A Perspective of Problem: What is a Problem that requires a Solution?
  • A Perspective of Solution: What is an acceptable Solution to a given Problem?

Institution and Institutional Elements for Purushartha

A Civilization is represented by Institutions. Beyond the individual, Family is the first Institution and thereafter the communities. While these entities were common to most ancient societies, the nature of these Institutions differed based on the philosophies on which the civilizations anchored themselves.  In the modern context, the State itself is an Institution-Collective consisting of many Institutions. Every Institution anchors a specific dimension of the foundational philosophy of a Civilization, drawing its elements from the Ontology of the Civilization.

In the dimension of time, an Institution is characterised by

  • The Present it serves
  • The Future it creates
  • The Past it leverages

The Present is served by offering some services, creating some substance that solves some problems. The Future is served by solving some other problems and creating substance that anchors the services, problems and substances of the future. Thus solving problems is an essential core of an Institution. This further means that an Institutional Framework must be able to

  • Define what is a Problem
  • Devise ways to frame such problems
  • Define acceptable solutions to such problems
  • Devise ways to realise solutions to problems
  • Design Frameworks to decide how to go about choosing a particular solution for a given situation from among possible solutions

The concern of this paper is to present such an Institutional Framework aligned with Srishti-Sthiti-Laya dynamic and the Purushartha framework (PIDF) which can then become a bedrock of all Modern Institutions – thus enabling a Civilizational realignment of our institutions.

Elaborating Purushartha Framework for Institutional elements

The objective of outlining an Institutional Design framework aligned with Purushartha is best served by reversing the approach – elaborate the Purushartha framework itself so that it generates certain Institutional elements. This section presents such elements drawn from the Purushartha framework that serve the cause of Institution Design.

To achieve this objective, we paraphrase and re-summarize the Purushartha framework – Purushartha has two critical trajectories/dynamics within.

  • Striving for Moksha i.e., A Sacred Path – is essential for us to create and Sustain Dharma spaces
  • Striving for Dharma so that it draws a boundary for Artha and Kama thus creating a Sustainable Life

[Note: The two seem like opposing forces which cancel each other. However, they are more comparable with the centrifugal and centripetal forces. The Centripetal draws the entity towards the centre. The Centrifugal is the tangential force that moves it on the circumference. However, the entity of life moves in a 3-dimensional space with the centripetal force of (Dharma) and centrifugal force of Artha-Kama operating with the centre being the Supreme Divinity. This visualisation shall be used in a later section.]

Nevertheless, the critical aspect of this framing is – Sustainability becomes the anchor element in the Purushartha narrative. This Sustainability then becomes the central concern of Purushartha based Institution Design. It has a special characteristic. It is the Sustainability of Life of all of the Past, Present and Future for all at all times is the concern of the Chaturvidha Purushartha. Thus, Sustainability transforms Purushartha from a philosophical framework for the individual to the Civilizational/Institutional framework for a Universe – which could be an Institution or a State or a Community.

Thus, our objective now is to draw a boundary for Artha and Kama (in order to strive for Dharma) and realise Sustainability on the material plane. Towards this we could pose the following questions that could help us draw Institutional Elements for Sustainability.

  1. Is it necessary to make a distinction between Artha & Kama?
  2. Yes so, how do we distinguish between Artha and Kama?
  3. What does it mean to draw a boundary for Artha & Kama?
  4. If that is clear, what instruments do we have to achieve the same?

The line between Artha and Kama will remain blurred. Bharateeya Parampara has largely left it at a conceptual level without drawing a strict line between the two so that individuals and communities draw that line with a larger clarity of Dharma and Moksha. But the Parampara resolved the second question through the following first principles.

  • Artha & Kama ought not to do anything that destroys the ability of the individuals and communities to strive for Moksha.
  • Whatever restrains Artha & Kama from destroying the ability of individuals/communities to strive for Moksha is Dharma.
  • Individuals cannot strive for Dharma by themselves. Neither can the boundary line for Artha-Kama be drawn easily for a mere individual.
  • Communities alone can strive for Dharma in a sustainable manner. Hence, life ought to be organised as Communities. It is easier to draw Artha-Kama boundaries for a Community.

Leveraging Purushartha Community Design for Institution Design

Based on these first principles, Bharateeya Parampara presented the following Community Design that realised the drawing of that boundary for Artha-Kama of individuals so that it does not cross Dharma. We leverage the Community Design to draw a generic set of instruments for modern Institution Design.

  • Every Community was organised around a specific aspect of the universal dynamic i.e., Srishti. This is to ensure that the Artha-Kama dimensions around Srishti are managed completely by one community which is dedicated to it. Srishti then is the ‘Creation’ of a minimum and coherent set of material/non-material.
  • How does a Community manage its Srishti? Through a unique set of 5-Fold Experiences – Performative, Consumption, Aesthetic, Ritual and Sacred Experiences.
    • Performance/Performative Experiences results in Srishti
    • Consumption results in the use of Srishti (Self or Others) in turn resulting in Performance
    • Aesthetic, Ritual, Sacred Experiences temper Consumption and Performance and pave the way to pursue the path of the Sacred Truth.
  • The 5-Fold Experiences are the instruments of a Community through which it strives for the Chaturvidha Purushartha balance while managing its Srishti dimension.

Collectively, this is explained in detail in two previous papers

The critical element of the Community that we leverage for Institution Design

  • It is the Performances and Consumption that result in Srishti and thereby Artha-Kama.
  • The Aesthetic, Ritual and Sacred Experiences of the Community were designed to manage the Performances and Consumption Culture did not cross a boundary. Thus they were the Dharma dimension resulting in Sthiti/Moksha, thus drawing a boundary for Artha-Kama.

Hence, any well-shaped Aesthetic, Ritual and Sacred Experiences result in drawing a boundary for Artha-Kama within a context and hence Dharma. The design detail of this relationship between the 5-Fold experiences, within a Community, is as follows.

  • Every Performance of a Community had a specific Aesthetic and Ritualistic dimension that aligned it with the Sacred.
  • All consumption of a Community had an Aesthetic and Ritual of its own that not only aligned with the Sacred but also limited its consumption
  • Communities evolved their own exclusive Sacred experiences that could further them on the path of Moksha

In summary, the Tradition resolved Artha-Kama boundary problem within a Community by

  • Having an exclusive Sacred Space/Experiences/Instruments for the Community
  • Enveloping all Artha/Kama (Performances and Consumption) with Moksha (Sacred) through an Aesthetic and Ritual (Dharma) within the Community
  • Having the Sacred an integral part of all Performances and Consumption driving Artha/Kama within the Community

Thus the Bharateeya Parampara achieved an integration between Artha-Kama (Iha) and Dharma-Moksha (Para). The former is not only enveloped by the latter, but also the latter become an integral part of everything that collectively is the former. Thus, Iha and Para become inseparable.

We leverage this design to draw Purushartha Elements for Institution Design. In this, the most crucial element is the design of Performative Experiences enveloped with Aesthetics, Rituals and Sacred Dimensions. Modern Institutions are heavy in specific distinguishing Performative Experiences which result in its own Institutional Products. Modern Secular world with absolute towards the Sacred has crafted Performative Experiences that overruns material and exhausts the individual. However, designing them with desired dimensions is not easy either without the Institutions considering them a burden. This is an evolving space for Dharmic innovation – challenging but an absolute necessity.

Reimagining 5-Fold Experiences and Purushartha Framework for Institutions

The table given below is a transformed version of the interrelationship between the 5-Fold Experiences serving the Purushartha explained in the previous section. This transformation is a further elaboration that depicts the way they strive for Purushartha balance in the context of a Community function.

Any new Institution that seeks to strive for Purushartha can draw the 5-Fold Experience-set from this template. This is an ideal-template from which Institutions could draw their deviances and simplified versions.

This representation transforms itself into the following principles

  • The Aesthetic and the Ritual (Dharma) are the harmonizers of every Performance, Material and Consumption (Artha/Kama) towards the Sacred (Moksha)
  • The harmonising process can be described as
    • Every Performance, Material and Consumption is sought to inherently possess Sacred properties
    • Every Performance, Material and Consumption is sought to be used in Sacred Experiences
  • Purushartha of every Individual, Community covers all these Experiences in the right composition and balance.
  • Every Vastu (Material) in this Universe uniquely plays a role as part of each of these Experiences.
  • A Sustainable life is a natural consequence of the elevation of Performative Experiences through indulgence in Aesthetic, Ritualistic and Renunciatory/Sacred Experiences which reduces and reshapes our Consummatory Experiences.

Thus, for an Institution, elevation of Performative Experiences through Aesthetics, Rituals and Sacred dimensions is extremely critical as Institutions are defined by its Performances that result in its Creation.

These principles when explained purely from the Purushartha framework results in the following fundamental principles

  • Everything in life must serve some Artha
  • Everything in life must serve some Kama
  • Everything in life must be placed in accordance to Dharma
  • Everything in life must be part of seeking the Divine

Thus, the Purushartha framework, primarily for the individual, when turned top-down results in the following framework for the society. Structurally, this can be summarised as given in the picture below which serves as a Purushartha-Design framework for any Institution.

With this elaboration, we now have half the foundational framework/Institutional Instruments to define a Purushartha based Institution. It consists of

  • 5 Fold Experience Design Framework
  • Purushartha alignment for the 5 Fold Framework

The third dimension for the Institutional Framework comes from the Srishti-Sthiti-Laya narrative. 

Defining a Srishti-Sthiti-Laya aligned Institution

In the previous sections, a definite relationship between Srishti-Sthiti-Laya was established which can be summarized as

  • All Srishti must strive for Sthiti
  • Sthiti must create space for Srishti through Laya
  • Srishti when it goes awry finally leads to Pralaya

A Sthiti striving, Pralaya avoiding Srishti is the desired dynamic for the Universe based on First Principles of Nature. Purushartha, a framework of purpose of life for an individual, is designed in alignment with the Srishti-Sthiti-Laya framework. The Purushartha aids the individual to strive for the Universe to be in the Srishti-Sthiti-Laya framework.

What is true for the Universe is also true for an Institution based on the principle “yathA brahmANDE tathA pinDANDE (यथा ब्रह्माण्डे तथा पिंडांडे)”. Thus, Institutions must develop their own Srishti-Sthiti-Laya narrative. This means we need the following elements for an Institution.

  • A Universe-Space in which the Institutional-Life moves from one state to another in Time. This means
    • An imagination of a Universe-Space
    • A formal representation of such a Universe-Space
    • A formal representation of Navigation within that Universe-Space in Time
  • A way to characterise the state of the Universe and its stability (Sthiti or otherwise)
  • A way to represent ‘Srishti’ within that Universe that results in navigation within that Universe

The above requirement is served by the following elements that form an abstraction representation.

  1. An Institutional Universe is a collection of an infinite number of Nodes.
  2. Each Node represents the Institutional life in a specific point in Time – determined by a definite set of Contexts (Vartamaana), Space (Desha) and Time (Kaala).
  3. Each Node has an attribute that signifies its value within the SSL-Purushartha framework. We refer to it as ‘Sthiti-Quotient’.
    1. Some Nodes are perfect Nodes where everything in life is in balance, hence they are ‘Sthiti-Nodes’. They have the highest possible ‘Sthiti-Quotient’.
    2. Other Nodes are ‘Non-Sthiti-Nodes’. They have a lower Sthiti-Quotient and represent an imbalance state.
    3. Nodes that are highly imbalanced leading to disaster, with very low Sthiti-Quotient, are the ‘Laya-Nodes’.
    4. Along with the Sthiti-Quotient, the distance of a Non-Sthiti-Node from the nearest Sthiti-Node represents the extent to which the Non-Sthiti-Node is in imbalance.
  4. Further, an average Institutional Universe has the following characteristics. Life itself has this characteristic and the Institutional Universe ought to be a microcosm of that macrocosm.
    1. From most of the Non-Sthiti-Nodes, there are some Sthiti-Nodes, at least, nearby.
    2. Hence, however bad the Vartamana is, one has a chance to perform Srishti (use Artha/Kama) & move towards a near-by Sthiti-Node. This is a very fundamental realization in our parampara and an anchoring element for all dynamics, a distinguishing feature of Sanatana Dharma. As a consequence of this, we are never chasing any specific destination all the time. Rather we are in constant search of any destination that is high in Sthiti-Quotient which are in sufficient numbers in the complex network. This has a significant impact on our realising a Sustainable life which we shall see in subsequent sections.
    3. But, there are some Non-Sthiti-Nodes, from which a return to a Sthiti-Node is impossible either because of the distance or because of the context (Vartamana) of the node. Such nodes are ‘Laya-Nodes’. In such a case, the trajectory ends – which is Laya.
    4. When the trajectory of entire masses ends, that is Pralaya. These are disasters.

Through the same SSL Framework, we could imagine Srishti within this Universe as described below. Srishti being represented by Artha-Kama

  1. Our Artha, Kama actions collectively move the Universe of Life from one Node to another Node.
  2. Good Artha-Kama actions result in moving towards a Sthiti-Node or to a Non-Sthiti-Node but a higher Sthiti quotient.
  3. Conversely, bad Artha-Kama actions result in moving away from a Sthiti-Node or to Non-Sthiti-Node with a lower Sthiti quotient.

Thus, we now have a definition of what an Institution is in terms of Srishti-Sthiti-Laya.

Towards an Integrated SSL-Purushartha Universe for an Institution

In the previous sections, we have characterised what Purushartha means and Srishti-Sthiti-Laya means for an Institution. Rather, we have imagined what an Institution means on these planes. We now combine them to present an integrated SSL-Purushartha Universe which is required to develop Purushartha based Institution Design Framework (PIDF). This section characterises such a Universe for an Institution consisting of Sthiti-Nodes, Non-Sthiti-Nodes and Laya-Nodes.

We begin by answering the question: what is an ideal journey for an Institution in time. The Ideal journey also helps in characterising what is a non-ideal journey (& state) and hence a Problem that continuously needs solutions. The Ideal Journey is

  1. With every Artha-Kama action, the Institution should continue to be in a Sthiti-Node i.e., move from one Sthiti-Node to another Sthiti-Node all the time.
  2. Every Artha-Kama action should result in fulfilling itself with the desired Artha-Kama value.

This represents an Institution that is constantly fulfilling its objectives, always being in the highest sacred quotient, possibly growing and at all times in a Sustainable state running no risk of destruction. However, this is way too ideal and we require an average Institutional Journey to be represented as well. The Madhyama-Marga Institutional Journeys could be characterised as

  1. One with maximum number of Sthiti-Nodes
  2. One where you are largely close to a Sthiti-Node, passing through a maximum number of Non-Sthiti-Nodes with high Sthiti-Quotient.
  3. One where Our Artha-Kama actions are not perfect and hence do not always help us move towards a Sthiti-Node only. We slip and we make up.


  1. We may seek to move towards a Sthiti-Node but you may move away from a Sthiti-Node.
  2. The objective is not to get back to exactly a ‘particular’ Sthiti-Node from which you drifted away. At each node, one seeks to move to the nearest Sthiti-Node. Since, there are many Sthiti-Nodes in this network, one is not frustrated to seek the same destination. (This is where Dharma never collapses into seeking a moving back to a glorious Past – imagined or otherwise. It is always moving towards the nearest good Dharmic state i.e., a Sthiti-Node).

The Universe described so far can be imagined by the diagram given above.

With this vision of an Institutional Universe, we now have a framework to talk about the Institutional Journeys and characterise Artha-Kama based transitions.

SSL-Purushartha Universe: Institution Design

To summarise the previous sections, SSL-Purushartha based Institution Design framework (PIDF) requires that an Institution develops the following.

  1. A Purushartha Narrative
  2. The 5-Fold Experience Design aligned with the Purushartha
  3. An SSL Narrative integrated with the Purushartha

This achieves the following.

With this 3-layered architecture, we may venture into the central concern of this paper i.e., the Purushartha based Institution Design Framework (PIDF).

The Purushartha Element of the Institution can be evolved by answering the following questions.

Thus, we see that there are some common elements from the above table for a Purushartha striving Institution or a Unit.

  1. A unique Sacred space within which the Institution operates with unique Sacred experiences. Deriving it from the Vedic Vision this transforms into
    1. A Devata
    2. An aligned Invocation Mantra
    3. An aligned Invocational Ritual-set
  2. A unique set of Institutional Performances using which the Institution creates those Products. In addition, these Institutional Performances also strive for the same Sacred experience.
  3. A unique set of Institutional Products created by those Performances it creates that also strive for that Sacred experience.
  4. These Institutional Performances and Institutional Products must strive for the Sacred Experiences of the Institution while serving the Artha/Kama purposes of the Institution – thus they become Dharmic.

In addition, the 5-Fold Experience-Design discussed earlier requires that Institutional Products must have the following that strives for that Sacred experience.

  1. An Aesthetic dimension
  2. A material use dimension
  3. A Ritual use dimension

Similarly, the 5 Fold Experience Design requires that the Institutional Performances in turn must also have the following that strives for that Sacred experience

  1. Creative Instruments that result in the Institutional Products
  2. Ritualistic Instruments for the Institution Creation
  3. Aesthetic Dimension for the Sacred Experience

It is necessary to mention that the Sacred dimensions of Institutional Products and Performances must align themselves with Sacred Spaces/Experiences of the Institution and the material being consumed towards the same. The key anchor is Institutional Performances. They result in Institutional Products. The nature of the Institutional Products depends on Institutional Performances. If they are crafted with the right Aesthetic and Sacred dimensions, Institutional Products are likely to be so. Further, that will result in the Sthiti of the (Institutional) Performers and the Institution are not disturbed i.e., Artha-Kama of the performers & the Institution does not increase beyond the line resulting in excessive consumption. The greatest modern Institutional Innovation would be to design Institutional Performances with the right aesthetic and sacred dimension at the same time with the ability to create Institutional Products to fulfill the Artha-Kama of the organisation.

Developing the SSL Universe Navigation

In a previous section, we saw that the SSL narrative consists of Sthiti-Nodes, Non-Sthiti-Nodes, Laya-Nodes, Pralaya-Nodes with Artha-Kama actions moving the Institution from one node to the other node. Every Artha-Kama action chosen moves the Institution from the current Node to a different Destination Node.

Since there are different destinations possible from a given node, any Institution Design framework must be able to resolve which Node to be chosen and correspondingly Artha-Kama actions must be chosen/altered/fine-tuned. SSL Philosophy primes Nodes with high Sthiti-Quotient. Greater the Sthiti-Quotient the better the life at that node. Naturally, from among the destination nodes available the one with the highest Sthiti-Quotient must be the preferred destination node at each step.

This means we need a computational function that takes as input all Artha-Kama actions and determines which of them results in the highest Sthiti-Quotient Node as destination. This also means that we need a computational function that takes a Node, an Artha-Kama action and determines the highest Sthiti-Quotient Node that can be reached through the same. Thus we need the following computational function.

Artha-Kama-Next = GetNextActions(Current_Node, Artha-Kama-Action-set)

This determines – From among many desires (Kama) and needs (Artha) it has which one does an Institution invoke at a given node – Artha-Kama-Next. The function also demonstrates that the Current_Node somewhat limits the Artha-Kama actions possible at that node and before the destination node itself determines which action must be invoked.

In addition, every Institution could have its own Ambition Nodes where it wants to go – as part of one’s Vision. One needs to find a way to compute a Path to such a destination through high Sthiti-Quotient Nodes. Although these are medium-term and long-term destination nodes (Ambition Nodes), the current choice of actions/desires will be impacted by the same.

This means we need another computational function

Next_Node = Institution_Strategy(Current_Node, Ambition_Node, Artha-Kama-Next)

The function Institution_Strategy takes care that the Next_Node chosen is the highest Sthiti-Quotient Node possible but in the direction of its Ambition Nodes.

Mapping Institutional Problems to Artha-Kama Performances, Problems

Where do the Artha-Kama Actions come from? How is all this related to Problem Solving? Towards this, we formulate the notion of Institutional Problems. Institutional Problems are those that create the following in already identified areas

  • Artha-value
  • Kama-value
  • Dharma-value
  • Moksha-value

They are derived from the Institutional Products which serve the SSL-Purushartha of the larger society and the Universe. Thus, along with Institutional Products and Institutional Performances, Institutional Problems become another important element in the SSL-Purushartha Institutional Design.

These Problem statements are of two types

  • Problems whose solutions help in taking the Institution towards absolute Sthiti-Nodes and Ambition-Nodes. Fundamentally, problems that recognize that you are away from your Ideal.
  • Problems that are posed by the world outside and within, temporally, which are a hurdle in reaching Sthiti-Nodes and Ambition-Nodes – to which solutions are a necessity.

The above two are abstracted in terms of a value representing their ability to take the Institution where desired. These values are also not universal. At different nodes in the SSL network of the Institutions, these problems have different values. Thus, this results in ordering a set of Problems in terms of Purushartha and Srishti-Sthiti-Laya. This ordering of Problem Statements and fine-tuning that to specific Purushartha-values at each node of the SSL-Universe is an important innovation which the domain of Problem Solving & Modern Industry need. This helps in the Purushartha alignment and therefore sustainability alignment of Modern Industry.

Thus, the Institution Design framework must have

  • A way of articulating the ‘Problem set’ within the SSL-Purushartha Universe of the Institution. The Problem Set is determined by the Institutional-Products the Institution is focused on and the SSL-Universe of the larger world where the Institutional-Products are placed.
  • A way of prioritising Problems within the Problem set so that high priority ones are picked for resolution through the Artha-Kama actions
  • A precise way of defining what a desired solution is which in the SSL narrative
    • is the next SSL-Node of highest possible Sthiti-Quotient
    • in such a manner that we have a way to future Sthiti-Nodes and Ambition-Nodes through nodes of high Sthiti-Quotient Nodes

The table given below represents the kind of listing and ordering of Problem Statements required for an Institution.

Thus, for all the problems that an Institution seeks to solve, in order to achieve desired destinations, a table such as above is required so that the Institution makes a right choice of a Problem at each node to be resolved. This ensures that apart from fulfilling its Artha-Kama the Institution is always pursuing/fulfilling its Dharma-Moksha objectives thus being in the path of Sustainability.

In many ways, Civilizations not only differ in what is an ideal/acceptable solution to a given problem. Civilizations more prominently differ in identifying, characterising and prioritising problems. The SSL-Purushartha framework provides a way to address the problem dimension as well which will be described in the subsequent sections.

Institutional Leadership

With this framework, we now have a new definition for Leadership. A Leader is one

  • Who can develop the SSL-Purushartha Universe consisting all possible Sthiti-Noders, Non-Sthiti-Nodes, Laya-Nodes along with their Sthiti-Quotient
  • Navigate the Institution through High-Sthiti-Quotient-Nodes
  • Order Problem Statements associated with the Institutional Problems with Artha-Value, Kama-Value Dharma-Value, Moksha-Value

These are the real non-trivial endeavours. The challenge in the Visualization of SSL-Purushartha Universe is to be able to define a large network with multiple nodes and with navigational possibilities through a series of safe high Sthiti-Quotient Nodes. The challenge in order problem statements is to be able to understand what their real Dharma-Value and Moksha-Value are. Being able to define the Dharma-Value and Moksha-Value is a non-trivial proposition. We shall see how this challenge is taken up in a subsequent section.

Thus, we have introduced the components of Dharma and Sthiti into Problem Solving and Leadership at a conceptual level into the Problem Solving domain thereby pushing it towards Sustainability. This paper limits itself into identifying and composing the components of an Institution Design Framework. An application of this framework to a real world scenario and demonstration of its efficacy requires another full-fledged paper. Application involves elaboration of the above frameworks into many more associated table formations, indices, heuristics, approximations and guidelines to use those templates – all of which form a complete Schema. However, the Institutional Design Framework consisting of components, interrelationships and flow of information are complete in itself from an Architectural standpoint.

A Summary of the Purushartha based Institution Design Framework (PIDF)

This section organises all Institutional Elements of the PIDF into a table so that it serves as a summary view and an execution aid. Purushartha-aligned Institutions need to have the following elements.

An Essential Summary of the Institution Design Framework

The previous sections present, in a stepped manner, an evolution of the Purushartha based Institution Design Framework (PIDF) based on Purushartha and Srishti-Sthiti-Laya. This section provides an essential summary of the IDF – in terms of critical elements distinguishing it from Modern Institution design.

  1. Sustainability: PIDF anchors itself on ‘sustainability computation’ at all points. It posits Sustainability as the material dimension of Dharma – the essential civilizational dimension of Purushartha. Operationally, PIDF presents a way to reconfigure other aspects of Institutions so that sustainability becomes possible.
  1. Sacred Experience: Bharateeya Parampara recognizes Dharma as impossible without the Sacred (Moksha-Sthiti). PIDF recognizes and introduces Sacred experiences as the central element of an Institution – just as Moksha is for an individual. In this design, every Institutional indulgence (Performance, Product, Aesthetic, Ritual) serves the cause of the Sacred as they serve Artha-Kama (Srishti) purposes. Thus, PIDF seeks a Sustainability alignment at the level of every action rather than controlling/measuring the output.
  1. Ritual Experience: The greatest innovation of the Bharateeya Parampara is the Ritual. It is the instrument of alignment with the universal principles of the cosmic order. Rituals ensure an access to the Sacred world and help us gain a psychological distance from the material world. PIDF recognizes and proposes that there be Institutional Rituals. We need two kind of Rituals
    1. Cultural Rituals – which create an Institutional Culture that anchors the Sacred & Sustainability
    2. Performance Rituals – which ensure that every Performance that creates Institutional products are indulged with a sense of the Sacred, Aesthetics so that the creative process does not overrun itself – thereby naturally driving Sustainability. These are the Institutional Performances. Well designed Institutional Performances have the best impact on Purushartha & SSL alignment.
  1. Sacred Properties: The only way Sustainability is achieved is by having all material associated with naturally Sacred properties/experiences. This ensures respectful usage and consumption. PIDF recognizes insight from Bharateeya Parampara. It recommends that Institutional Products and Performances be associated with exclusive Sacred Properties. Institutional Rituals using any material must anchor around those Sacred properties. Thus any material is associated with a Sacred dimension at three levels – creation, use in ritual, consumption. Culturally, this has the impact of the material being used with care and in optimality. Alignment with the Sacred always aligns us with the natural rhythm of any material.

The above design elements seek to realise Sustainability by controlling the nature of Creative Elements from within. They are deterministic pathways that lead to Sustainable destinations. They create orthogonal journeys towards the sake in turn results in Sustainability as a byproduct. Sustainability is not explicitly computed but indirectly realized.

We also need ‘deterministic instruments’ which are provided by other elements in PIDF. The next 3 elements of PIDF present a universe organised for Sustainability computation at each step.

  1. The SSL-Purushartha-Universe or SSL-Universe: Modern World imagines Institutional Progress as a Linear Progressive Straight-line. That’s the most desired trajectory in the modern world for nearly everything. Exponential Progress represents high performance. Any other trajectory is explained against the linear progress as the baseline default desired trajectory. Sustainability has no role in this imagination. Naturally, Sustainability becomes an afterthought. PIDF recognizes this missing element and proposes a wholly different imagination where Sustainability not only finds a place but also occupies a central space in the overall function of an Institution. The SSL-Purushartha Universe of the PIDF presents this imagination.

SSL Purushartha Universe consists of Nodes & edges which together represent traversability of the real world through Artha-Kama actions. This representation relieves Institutions from being constrained by the imagination of linear progression. Each node represents the state of the Universe at a point in time. The edge represents a specific Artha/Kama action that takes it to another point in time and state. The stretching of a universe from a Line to a complex graph where there are different destinations that can be sought after provides space for an alternate imagination where Sustainability can be explored better.

  1. Sthiti-Quotient: The state of the universe, represented by a node, is qualified by the extent of it being in Sthiti – referred to as Sthiti-Quotient. Higher the Sthiti-Quotient greater the Universe being in balance according to Rta, greater the Sustainability. A Node with higher Sthiti-Quotient with potential to walk through a greater Artha-Kama path is desirable. A path with higher Artha-Kama value but very low Sthiti-Quotient Nodes is not desired. Thus, the Sthiti-Quotient forces the Institution to at once seek Artha-Kama and Dharma-Moksha values.

This paper is concerned with a framework and hence limits to positing the notion of Sthiti-Quotient. A computational framework for how to arrive at the Sthiti-Quotient in each node will be presented in a subsequent paper. In this paper, the Problem Ordering and Problem Mapping with Purushartha-Values partially presents an equivalent to the same. 

  1. Problem Ordering: The value proposition of Modern Industry/Modern World is enriching life with new material i.e., the material value which novelty brings to the table. The Modern world bothers less about the long term impact of any new material. Its approach is to create the new and manage its negative implications thereafter. Sustainability, on the other hand, requires that the long term impact be brought back into the Institutional Framework which creates the material and into the creating process. Ordering of Problems (to be solved) based on the Purushartha-Value brings that into the Framework.

Every Problem associated with creating material value ought to be associated with a Purushartha-value (Artha-Value, Kama-Value, Dharma-Value, Moksha-Value). It may be easy to associate an Artha-Value, Kama-Value with every Problem Statement. However, the Dharma-Value and Moksha-Value (Sacred-Value) are non-trivial. This paper assumes that such a value is possible to be associated with it. An elaborate way of computing Dharma-Value and Sacred-Value will be proposed in yet another paper. The focus of this paper is only to provide the larger Institutional Design Framework that together when composed result in the SSL-Purushartha alignment.

Our Civilization has to shift its intellectual investment from creating ‘new things’ to ‘determining which is the right problem statement to solve’. It is excess in the former that is resulting in Sustainability goals going awry. Our Civilization must incentivize indulgence in the computation of ‘the Right Problem Statement’ – which is the only way to control indulgence in ‘the Wrong Problem Statement’.

  1. Sthiti Computation Functions: Finally the PIDF conceptualises a Computational Function which at each step determines which of the Artha-Kama action associated with a Problem Statement should be chosen. This choice is in favour of the action that moves the Institution to the next most sustainable situation – node with the highest Sthiti-Quotient. This function accesses Problem Ordering based on Artha-Kama value associated with Artha-Kama actions. This paper only proposes a high level specification of these Computation Functions. This will be elaborated in a subsequent Paper.

Our Civilization must significantly invest in developing Sthiti Computation Functions for various situations. This requires reorganisation of national information across the board to make these functions possible and real.

Feature Image Credit:

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author. Indic Today is neither responsible nor liable for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in the article.