Chapter

Puruṣārthas

Arvind Sharma

in Modern Hindu Thought

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780195676389
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081974 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195676389.003.0021
Puruṣārthas

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Modern Hinduism has constellated the doctrine of the purusārthas in ways unknown to classical Hinduism. Given the Hindu-Buddhist encounter in classical India, the fact that several different religious systems may try to define what is meant by dharma as a purusārtha is not unprecedented. Where modern Hinduism faced uncharted waters becomes clear when we ask the question: What are the goals to be achieved by society (samājārtha) as distinguished from the purusārthas? Another significant question is: What happens to the goal of dharma if events take the course as predicted by Hendrik Kraemer? Artha and kāma are fully acknowledged as goals of human endeavour, a fact that strongly negates the concept of Hinduism as a life-denying religion. Dharma has been suggested as the pre-eminent category among the four purusārthas. This is because artha and kāma must be pursued subject to dharma while moksa can sometimes be subsumed under dharma.

Keywords: purusārthas; Hinduism; dharma; samājārtha; society; artha; kāma; moksa

Chapter.  975 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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