From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Śankara Bharadwaj Khandavalli and By Himanshu Bhatt

Sometimes transliterated as: Purusartha, PuruSArtha, Purushaartha

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.

The Puruṣārthas were also pursuits within non-traditional sects such as Buddhism and Jainism. The Jatakamala of Buddhism states that artha[1] is desirable only when allied with dharma for artha is the root of dharma and kāma is the dominant idea underlying household life.[2] Buddhism in the Mahāprajnaparamitopadesasastra[3] classified humans into four categories:[4] Kautilya the prime minister of Chandragupta Maurya, and himself a devout Jain, classified four pursuits of human life; Kāma, Artha, Dharma, and Mokṣa.[5]

  1. Those who seek love[6]
  2. Those who seek prosperity.[7]
  3. Those who see the eradication of karma (mokṣa).
  4. Those who seek knowledge.[8]


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