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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
(Redirected from Purushartha)

By Śankara Bharadwaj Khandavalli and By Himanshu Bhatt

Puruṣārtha is purpose/fulfillment of life. By fulfilling Puruṣartha, man gets fulfillment for life as well as sustains the society. There are four Puruṣārthas:

Dharma is righteousness. Artha is wealth and Kāma is fulfillment of desire. Dharma should be the basis for Artha and Kāma. Both Artha and Kāma stand for how a righteous man should contribute to his society and mankind in general.

Self-realization (Moksha) is the aim and end of the soul[1] - Kalpasutra

The Puruṣārthas were also pursuits within non-traditional sects such as Buddhism and Jainism. The Jatakamala of Buddhism states that artha[2] is desirable only when allied with dharma for artha is the root of dharma and kāma is the dominant idea underlying household life.[3] Buddhism in the Mahāprajnaparamitopadesasastra[4] classified humans into four categories:[5] Kautilya the prime minister of Chandragupta Maurya, and himself a devout Jain, classified four pursuits of human life; Kāma, Artha, Dharma, and Mokṣa.[6]

  1. Those who seek love[7]
  2. Those who seek prosperity.[8]
  3. Those who see the eradication of karma (mokṣa).
  4. Those who seek knowledge.[9]


  1. “Swavimarshā purusharthā
  2. It refers to Prosperity here.
  3. P. 161 New Light on Early Buddhism By Balkrishna Govind Gokhale
  4. It is the Treatise on the Great Wisdom Perfection.
  5. P. 369-370 Buddhist Critical Spirituality: Prajñā and Śūnyatā By Shōhei Ichimura
  6. P. 369 Buddhist Critical Spirituality: Prajñā and Śūnyatā By Shōhei Ichimura
  7. It means kāma.
  8. Prosperity means artha.
  9. It means dharma.

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