By Swami Harshananda
Apavarga literally means ‘beyond classification’.
The sages were good psychologists. With a keen and incisive intellect, they discovered the basic urge of all human beings to get pleasure and happiness in life. They were also wise enough to perceive that this urge had to be contained by a higher motivating power, so that the greatest good in the greatest number could be achieved. This, they called ‘dharma’ (righteousness) while naming the other as ‘artha and kāma.’ Kama is desire in general and artha is the means of satisfying it.
The three together have been classified as ‘trivarga,’ whereas mokṣa (liberation from transmigration, beatitude) which is beyond the pale of this, gets the appellation ‘apavarga’ (varga = class, apa = beyond).
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore