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PURUṣāRTHA ( /pʊrʊʃɑːrθ/ , Sanskrit पुरुषार्थ) literally means an "object of human pursuit". It is a key concept in Hinduism, and refers to the four proper goals or aims of a human life. The four puruṣārthas are Dharma
Dharma
(righteousness, moral values), Artha
Artha
(prosperity, economic values), Kama
Kama
(pleasure, love, psychological values) and Moksha (liberation, spiritual values).

All four Purusarthas are important, but in cases of conflict, Dharma is considered more important than Artha
Artha
or Kama
Kama
in Hindu
Hindu
philosophy. Moksha
Moksha
is considered the ultimate ideal of human life.

Historical Indian scholars recognized and debated the inherent tension between active pursuit of wealth ( Artha
Artha
purusartha) and pleasure (Kama), and renunciation of all wealth and pleasure for the sake of spiritual liberation (Moksha). They proposed "action with renunciation" or "craving-free, dharma-driven action", also called Nishkam Karma
Karma
as a possible solution to the tension.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 Discussion

* 2.1 Relative importance between four goals of life * 2.2 Tension between four goals of life * 2.3 Origins of purusartha theory

* 3 Purusartha focused literature * 4 Ashrama and Purusartha * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Further reading * 8 External links

ETYMOLOGY

Puruṣartha (पुरुषार्थ) is a composite Sanskrit word from Purusha (पुरुष) and Artha
Artha
(अर्थ). Purusha mean "human being", "soul" as well as "universal principle and soul of the universe". Artha
Artha
in one context means "purpose", "object of desire" and "meaning". Together, Purusartha literally means "purpose of human being" or "object of human pursuit".

Alf Hiltebeitel translates Purusartha as "Goals of Man". Prasad clarifies that "Man" includes both man and woman in ancient and medieval Indian texts. Olivelle translates it as the "aims of human life".

Purusartha is also referred to as Caturvarga.

DISCUSSION

Main articles: Dharma
Dharma
, Artha
Artha
, Kama
Kama
, and Moksha
Moksha

Purusartha is a key concept in Hinduism, which holds that every human being has four proper goals that are necessary and sufficient for a fulfilling and happy life,

* Dharma
Dharma
– signifies behaviors that are considered to be in accord with rta , the order that makes life and universe possible, and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and right way of living. Hindu
Hindu
dharma includes the religious duties, moral rights and duties of each individual, as well as behaviors that enable social order, right conduct, and those that are virtuous. Dharma, according to Van Buitenen, is that which all existing beings must accept and respect to sustain harmony and order in the world. It is, states Van Buitenen, the pursuit and execution of one's nature and true calling, thus playing one's role in cosmic concert. * Artha
Artha
– signifies the "means of life", activities and resources that enables one to be in a state one wants to be in. Artha incorporates wealth, career, activity to make a living, financial security and economic prosperity. The proper pursuit of artha is considered an important aim of human life in Hinduism. * Kama
Kama
– signifies desire, wish, passion, emotions, pleasure of the senses, the aesthetic enjoyment of life, affection, or love, with or without sexual connotations. Gavin Flood explains kāma as "love" without violating dharma (moral responsibility), artha (material prosperity) and one's journey towards moksha (spiritual liberation). * Moksha
Moksha
– signifies emancipation, liberation or release. In some schools of Hinduism, moksha connotes freedom from saṃsāra , the cycle of death and rebirth, in other schools moksha connotes freedom, self-knowledge, self-realization and liberation in this life.

RELATIVE IMPORTANCE BETWEEN FOUR GOALS OF LIFE

Ancient Indian literature emphasizes that dharma is foremost. If dharma is ignored, artha and kama - profit and pleasure respectively - lead to social chaos. The Gautama Dharmashastra, Apastamba Dharmasutra and Yājñavalkya Smṛti , as examples, all suggest that dharma comes first and is more important than artha and kama.

Kamasutra states the relative value of three goals as follows: artha is more important and should precede kama, while dharma is more important and should precede both kama and artha. Kautiliya's Arthashastra , however, argues that artha is the foundation for the other two. Without prosperity and security in society or at individual level, both moral life and sensuality become difficult. Poverty breeds vice and hate, while prosperity breeds virtues and love, suggested Kautiliya. Kautilya adds that all three are mutually connected, and one should not cease enjoying life, nor virtuous behavior, nor pursuit of wealth creation. Excessive pursuit of any one aspect of life with complete rejection of other two, harms all three including the one excessively pursued. The sastras , states Kane, observe that the relative precedence of artha, kama and dharma are naturally different with age.

Moksha
Moksha
is considered in Hinduism
Hinduism
as the parama-puruṣārtha or ultimate goal of human life.

TENSION BETWEEN FOUR GOALS OF LIFE

Indian scholars recognized and have debated the inherent tension between renunciation and Moksha
Moksha
on one hand, and the active pursuit of Kama
Kama
and Artha
Artha
on the other. This has led to the concepts of Pravrtti (प्रवृत्ति, Pravritti) and Nivrtti (निवृत्ति, Nivritti), with former meaning "giving or devoting one's self to" external action, while the latter means "withdrawing and restraining one's self from" external action in order to focus on one's own liberation. Artha
Artha
and Kama
Kama
are Pravrtti, while Moksha
Moksha
is Nivrtti. Both are considered important in Hinduism. Manusmriti, for example, describes it as,

Activity, according to orthodox tradition, is of two kinds: pravrtti and nivrtti, The first kind of activity leads to progress (abhyudaya), and the second, to perfection (nihsreyasa). — Manusmriti, 12.88

Indian scholars offered a creative resolution to the tension between "action"-filled life and "renunciation"-driven life, by suggesting the best of both worlds can be achieved by dedicating oneself to "action with renunciation", that is when "action is without attachment or craving for results". Action must be engaged in because it is Dharma, that is, it is good, virtuous, right, a duty and a moral activity, and not because of one's craving for the results or material rewards without any consideration for Dharma. This idea of "craving-free, dharma-driven action" has been called Nishkam Karma
Karma
in Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
. Other Indian texts state the same answer to tension between "pursue wealth and love" versus "renounce everything" Purusarthas, but using different words. Isa Upanishad, for example, states "act and enjoy with renunciation, do not covet".

ORIGINS OF PURUSARTHA THEORY

The concept of moksha developed only in the Upanishads , while the early Vedas
Vedas
treating the goals of human life commonly refer to kāma, artha and dharma as the "trivarga" or "three categories" of possible human pursuits. The Dharmaśāstras and the epics Ramayana
Ramayana
and Mahabharata
Mahabharata
are the first known sources that comprehensively present the notion that integrated living entails the pursuit of four goals or ends. Prasad (2008) states that the division between the trivarga and mokṣa is intended to highlight the context between the social (trivarga) and personal (mokṣa) spheres.

The Sannyasa
Sannyasa
is entirely focussed on the pursuit of Moksha
Moksha
without violating Dharma. Baudhayana Dharmasūtra, completed by about 7th century BC, states the following behavioral vows for a person in Sannyasa,

These are the vows a Sannyasi must keep –

Abstention from injuring living beings, truthfulness, abstention from appropriating the property of others, abstention from sex, liberality (kindness, gentleness) are the major vows. There are five minor vows: abstention from anger, obedience towards the guru, avoidance of rashness, cleanliness, and purity in eating. He should beg (for food) without annoying others, any food he gets he must compassionately share a portion with other living beings, sprinkling the remainder with water he should eat it as if it were a medicine. — Baudhāyana , Dharmasūtra, II.10.18.1–10

Baudhāyana also makes repeated references to the Sannyasa
Sannyasa
(ascetic) stage and its behavioral focus, such as in verses II.13.7 and 11.18.13. This reference, Olivelle states, is found in many early to mid 1st millennium BC texts, and is clearly from gnomic poetry about an established ascetic tradition by the time Baudhayana Dharmasutra and other texts were written. Katha Upanishad, in hymns 2.1–2.2 contrasts the human feeling of pleasant (preyas, प्रेयस्) with that of bliss (sreyas, श्रेयस्), praising the latter. The hymns of Rig Veda in Book 10 Chapter 136, mention Muni (मुनि, monks, mendicants, holy man), with characteristics that mirror those found in later concepts of renunication-practising, Moksha-motivated ascetics (Sannyasins and Sannyasinis). These Muni are said to be Kesins (केशिन्, long haired) wearing Mala clothes (मल, dirty, soil-colored, yellow, orange, saffron) and engaged in the affairs of Mananat (mind, meditation).

केश्यग्निं केशी विषं केशी बिभर्ति रोदसी । केशी विश्वं स्वर्दृशे केशीदं ज्योतिरुच्यते ॥१॥ '''मुनयो''' वातरशनाः पिशङ्गा वसते मला । वातस्यानु ध्राजिं यन्ति यद्देवासो अविक्षत ॥२॥ He with the long loose locks (of hair) supports Agni, and moisture, heaven, and earth; He is all sky to look upon: he with long hair is called this light. The Munis, girdled with the wind, wear garments of soil hue; They, following the wind's swift course go where the Gods have gone before. — Rig Veda, Hymn 10.CXXXVI.1–2

Scharfe states, "there are abundant references both to the trivarga and caturvarga in Hindu
Hindu
literature throughout the ages".

PURUSARTHA FOCUSED LITERATURE

Each of these four canonical puruṣārthas was subjected to a process of study and extensive literary development in Indian history. This produced numerous treatises, with a diversity of views, in each category. Some purusartha-focused literature include,

* On Dharma

These texts discuss dharma from various religious, social, duties, morals and personal ethics perspective. Each of six major schools of Hinduism
Hinduism
has its own literature on dharma. Examples include Dharma-sutras (particularly by Gautama , Apastamba , Baudhayana and Vāsiṣṭha
Vāsiṣṭha
) and Dharma-sastras (particularly Manusmṛti
Manusmṛti
, Yājñavalkya Smṛti , Nāradasmṛti and Viṣṇusmṛti
Viṣṇusmṛti
). At personal dharma level, this includes many chapters of Yogasutras .

* On Artha

Artha-related texts discuss artha from individual, social and as a compendium of economic policies, politics and laws. For example, the Arthashastra of Kauṭilya , the Kamandakiya Nitisara, Brihaspati Sutra, and Sukra Niti. Olivelle states that most Artha-related treatises from ancient India have been lost.

* On Kama

These discuss arts, emotions, love, erotics, relationships and other sciences in the pursuit of pleasure. The Kamasutra of Vātsyāyana is most well known. Others texts include Ratirahasya , Jayamangala, Smaradipika, Ratimanjari, Ratiratnapradipika, Ananga Ranga among others.

* On Moksha

These develop and debate the nature and process of liberation, freedom and spiritual release. Major treatises on the pursuit of moksa include the Upanishads , Vivekachudamani , Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
, and the sastras on Yoga
Yoga
.

The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Epics devote major sections on purusarthas, in particular debating dharma.

ASHRAMA AND PURUSARTHA

The four puruṣārthas are often discussed in the context of four ashramas or stages of life ( Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya
- student, Grihastha - householder, Vanaprastha - retirement and Sannyasa
Sannyasa
- renunciation). Scholars have attempted to connect the four stages to the four puruṣārthas, however Olivelle dismisses this, as neither ancient nor medieval texts of India state that any of the first three ashramas must devote itself predominantly to one specific goal of life.

The fourth stage of Sannyasa
Sannyasa
is different, and the overwhelming consensus in ancient and medieval Indian texts is that anyone accepting Sannyasa
Sannyasa
must entirely devote to Moksha
Moksha
aided by Dharma, with a complete renunciation of Artha
Artha
and Kama.

With the known exception of Kamasutra , most texts make no recommendation on the relative preference on Artha
Artha
or Kama, that an individual must emphasize in what stage of life. The Kamasutra states,

The life span of a man is one hundred years. Dividing that time, he should attend to three aims of life in such a way that they support, rather than hinder each other. In his youth he should attend to profitable aims (artha) such as learning, in his prime to pleasure (kama), and in his old age to dharma and moksha. — Kamasutra 1.2.1–1.2.4, Translated by Patrick Olivelle

This text does not mention the ashramas however.

SEE ALSO

The four proper goals of a human being in Indian traditions:

* Dharma
Dharma
* Artha
Artha
* Kama
Kama
* Moksha
Moksha

Other elements of ethical theories in Indian traditions:

* Ashrama (stage) * Yamas
Yamas
* Niyama
Niyama
* Karma
Karma

Other theories on human needs:

* Maslow\'s hierarchy of needs * Need theory * Metamotivation

REFERENCES

* ^ A B puruS Artha
Artha
Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Koeln University, Germany * ^ (Flood 1996 , p. 17), (Olivelle 1993 , pp. 216–219); Cf. also (Apte 1965 , p. 626); (Hopkins 1971 , p. 78) * ^ M Hiriyanna (2000), Philosophy of Values, in Indian Philosophy: Theory of value (Editor: Roy Perrett), Routledge, ISBN 978-0-8153-3612-9 , pages 1–10 * ^ A B C Gavin Flood (1996), The meaning and context of the Purusarthas, in Julius Lipner (Editor) - The Fruits of Our Desiring, ISBN 978-1-896209-30-2 , pp 16–21

* ^ A B See:

* Patrick Olivelle, Dharmasutras - The Law Codes of Ancient India, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-283882-2 , Note 24.23 at pp 364; * Gautama Dharmashastra at 1.9.46–47, Patrick Olivelle, Dharmasutras - The Law Codes of Ancient India, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-283882-2 , paragraph overlapping pp 92–93; * Yajnavalkya
Yajnavalkya
Smrti at 1.115, Translation by Rai Vidyarnava (1918), The Sacred Books of Hindus Volume XXI, Verse CXV and commentary at pp 232; * Apastamba Dharmasutra 2.20.18–23; Patrick Olivelle, Dharmasutras - The Law Codes of Ancient India, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-283882-2 , Miscellaneous Rules 18–23 at pp 64

* ^ Alban Widgery (1930), The Principles of Hindu
Hindu
Ethics, International Journal of Ethics, 40(2): 239–240 * ^ A B C D GH Rao (1926), The Basis of Hindu
Hindu
Ethics, International Journal of Ethics, 37(1): 19–35 * ^ A B Gerard Delanty (2012), Routledge Handbook of Cosmopolitanism Studies, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-60081-1 , page 465 * ^ puruSa Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Koeln University, Germany * ^ artha Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Koeln University, Germany * ^ A B R Prasad (2008), A Conceptual-analytic Study of Classical Indian Philosophy of Morals, ISBN 978-81-8069-544-5 , page 125 * ^ A B C (Hiltebeitel 2002 , p. 17) * ^ (Olivelle 1993 , p. 216) * ^ Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby (2004), The Hindu
Hindu
World, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-21527-7 , page 4, Quote: "There are four categories or life-ideals (caturvarga or purusartha) that usually are said to provide the framework for classical Hindu
Hindu
society".

* ^ See:

* A. Sharma (1982), The Puruṣārthas: a study in Hindu
Hindu
axiology, Michigan State University, ISBN 978-99936-24-31-8 , pp 9–12; See review by Frank Whaling in Numen, Vol. 31, 1 (Jul., 1984), pp. 140–142; * A. Sharma (1999), The Puruṣārthas: An Axiological Exploration of Hinduism, The Journal of Religious Ethics, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Summer, 1999), pp. 223–256; * Chris Bartley (2001), Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy, Editor: Oliver Learman, ISBN 0-415-17281-0 , Routledge, Article on Purushartha, pp 443

* ^ The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, Dharma, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions : "In Hinduism, dharma is a fundamental concept, referring to the order and custom which make life and a universe possible, and thus to the behaviours appropriate to the maintenance of that order." * ^ A B Dharma, The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed. (2013), Columbia University Press, Gale, ISBN 978-0-7876-5015-5 * ^ A B J. A. B. Van Buitenen, Dharma
Dharma
and Moksa, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 7, No. 1/2 (Apr. - Jul., 1957), pp 33–40 * ^ John Koller, Puruṣārtha as Human Aims, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 18, No. 4 (Oct., 1968), pp. 315–319 * ^ James Lochtefeld (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Rosen Publishing, New York, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1 , pp 55–56 * ^ Bruce Sullivan (1997), Historical Dictionary of Hinduism, ISBN 978-0-8108-3327-2 , pp 29–30 * ^ Macy, Joanna (1975). "The Dialectics of Desire". Numen. BRILL. 22 (2): 145–60. JSTOR
JSTOR
3269765 . * ^ Gavin Flood (1996), The meaning and context of the Purusarthas, in Julius Lipner (Editor) - The Fruits of Our Desiring, ISBN 978-1-896209-30-2 , pp 11–13 * ^ John Bowker, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-213965-8 , pp. 650

* ^ See:

* E. Deutsch, The self in Advaita Vedanta, in Roy Perrett (Editor), Indian philosophy: metaphysics, Volume 3, ISBN 0-8153-3608-X , Taylor and Francis, pp 343–360; * T. Chatterjee (2003), Knowledge and Freedom in Indian Philosophy, ISBN 978-0-7391-0692-1 , pp 89–102; Quote - "Moksa means freedom"; "Moksa is founded on atmajnana, which is the knowledge of the self."

* ^ See:

* Jorge Ferrer, Transpersonal knowledge, in Transpersonal Knowing: Exploring the Horizon of Consciousness (editors: Hart et al.), ISBN 978-0-7914-4615-7 , State University of New York Press, Chapter 10 * Andrew Fort and Patricia Mumme (1996), Living Liberation in Hindu Thought, ISBN 978-0-7914-2706-4 ;

* ^ The Hindu
Hindu
Kama
Kama
Shastra Society (1925), The Kama
Kama
Sutra of Vatsyayana, University of Toronto Archives, pp. 8

* ^ See:

* Kautilya Arthashastra at 1.7.3–7; For English translation - Rangarajan (1987), Penguin Classics, ISBN 978-0-14-044603-6 ; * Ashok S. Chousalkar (2004), Methodology of Kautilya's Arthashastra, The Indian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 65, No. 1, pp. 55–76

* ^ P.V. Kane (1941), History of Dharmasastra, Volume 2, Part 1, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, pp. 8–9 * ^ R. V. De Smet (1972), Early Trends in the Indian Understanding of Man, Philosophy East and West, 22(3): 259–268 * ^ Stephen N Hay and William Theodore De Bary (1988), Sources of Indian Tradition, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-81-208-0467-8 , page 211 * ^ P Bilimoria (1993), Indian Ethics, in A Companion to Ethics (Editor: Peter Singer), Wiley, ISBN 978-0-631-18785-1 , page 73 * ^ (Prasad 2008 , pp. 360–362) * ^ A B Max Muller
Max Muller
(Translator), Baudhayana Dharmasūtra Prasna II, Adhyaya 10, Kandika 18, The Sacred Books of the East , Vol. XIV, Oxford University Press, pages 279–281 * ^ (Olivelle 1993 , pp. 215–216) * ^ (Olivelle 1993 , p. 64, see footnote)

* ^ A B GS Ghurye (1952), Ascetic Origins, Sociological Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 2, pages 162–184; For Sanskrit
Sanskrit
original: Rigveda
Rigveda
Wikisource; For English translation: Kesins Rig Veda, Hymn CXXXVI, Ralph Griffith (Translator) * ^ Hartmut Scharfe (2004), Artha, in The Hindu
Hindu
World (Editors: Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby), Routledge, ISBN 0-415-21527-7 , page 251 * ^ Kamandakiya Niti Sara MN Dutt (Translator) * ^ Brihaspati Sutra - Politics and Government Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Original with English translation by FW Thomas (1921) * ^ Sukra Niti Bk Sarkar (Translator); Chapter 1 verse 43 onwards - Rules of State and Duties of Rulers; Chapter 1 verse 424 onwards - Guidelines on infrastructure for economy; Chapter 1 verse 550 onwards - Guidelines on treasury management, law and military; Chapter 2 - Functions of state officials, etc * ^ Patrick Olivelle (2011), Language, Texts, and Society: Explorations in Ancient Indian Culture and Religion, Anthem Press, ISBN 978-0-85728-431-0 , page 174 * ^ Alan Soble (2005), Sex from Plato to Paglia, ISBN 978-0-313-33424-5 , page 493 * ^ J. L. Brockington (1998), The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Epics, Brill Academic, ISBN 978-90-04-10260-6 , page 2 and Introduction chapter * ^ Daniel H. H. Ingalls (1957), Dharma
Dharma
and Moksa, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 7, No. 1/2, pages 41–48 * ^ J Ganeri (2010), A Return to the Self: Indians and Greeks on Life as Art and Philosophical Therapy, Royal Institute of Philosophy supplement, 85(66), pages 119–135 * ^ A B C D Patrick Olivelle (1993), The Āśrama System: The History and Hermeneutics of a Religious Institution, Oxford University Press, OCLC
OCLC
466428084 , pages 216–219

CITED BOOKS:

* Apte, Vaman Shivram (1965). The Practical Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Dictionary. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 81-208-0567-4 . (fourth revised & enlarged edition). * Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43878-0 . * Hiltebeitel, Alf (2002). "Hinduism" in: Kitagawa, J. M. (Ed.) The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History and Culture. Routledge. ISBN 0-7007-1762-5 . * Hopkins, Thomas J. (1971). The Hindu
Hindu
Religious Tradition. Cambridge: Dickenson Publishing Company, Inc. * Olivelle, Patrick (1993). The Āśrama System: The History and Hermeneutics of a Religious Institution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508327-X . * Prasad, Rajendra (2008). A Conceptual-Analytical Study of Classical Indian Philosophy of Morals. Centre for Studies in Civilizations. ISBN 81-8069-544-1 .

FURTHER READING

* Gavin Flood (1997), "The Meaning and Context of the Puruṣārthas", In The Bhagavadgītā for Our Times (Editor: Julius J. Lipner), Oxford University Press, pages 11–27, ISBN 978-0-19-565039-6 * Arvind Sharma (1982), "The Puruṣārthas: A Study in Hindu Axiology", Asian Studies Center, Michigan State University, OCLC 234144281 * Karl Potter (1963), "Presuppositions of India's Philosophies", Prentice Hall, ISBN 978-81-208-0779-2

EXTERNAL LINKS

* Donald David (2004), Being Hindu
Hindu
or being human: A reappraisal of the puruṣārthas, International Journal of Hindu
Hindu
Studies, 8(1–3): 1–27, doi :10.1007/s11407-004-0001-3 * John Koller (1968), Puruṣārthas as Human Aims, Philosophy East and West, 18(4)

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