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By Shankara Bharadwaj Khandavalli and Himanshu Bhatt

Sometimes transliterated as: Purusartha, PuruSArtha, Purushaartha

Purushartha is purpose/fulfillment of life. By fulfilling Purushartha, man gets fulfillment for life as well as sustains the society.

There are four Purusharthas:

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

The Purusharthas were also pursuits within non-traditional sects such as Buddhism and Jainism. The Jatakamala of Buddhism states that artha (prosperity) is desirable only when allied with dharma for artha is the root of dharma, and kama is the dominant idea underlying household life.[1] Buddhism in the Mahaprajnaparamitopadesasastra (Treatise on the Great Wisdom Perfection) classified humans into four categories; 1) Those who seek love (kama), 2) those who seek prosperity (artha), those who see the eradication of karma (moksha), 4) and those who seek knowledge (dharma.)[2] Kautilya the prime minister of Chandragupta Maurya, and himself a devout Jain, classified four pursuits of human life; Kama, Artha, Dharma, and Moksha.[3]


  1. P. 161 New Light on Early Buddhism By Balkrishna Govind Gokhale
  2. P. 369-370 Buddhist Critical Spirituality: Prajñā and Śūnyatā By Shōhei Ichimura
  3. P. 369 Buddhist Critical Spirituality: Prajñā and Śūnyatā By Shōhei Ichimura