ends of life, four

ends of life, four
   The four ends of life or purusharthas (goals of man) represent a traditional scheme that has been maintained in its current form for over 2,000 years. The four are artha (prosperity, worldly well-being), kama (pleasure, erotic satisfaction), DHARMA (right conduct, adherence to social law), and moksha (liberation from the rounds of birth and rebirth). They offer a balanced approach to the world. Though Indian tradition is known to focus upon transcendence and the search beyond the world, VEDIC tradition always emphasized family, prosperity, pleasure, and well-being as worthy goals, as long as they are not pursued or cultivated in the extreme.
   Further reading: Samiran Chandra Cakrabarti, The Value System as Reflected in the Vedas: The Concept of Purusarthas (Ujjain: Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Ved Vidya Pratish-than, 2000); Klaus Klostermaier, A Survey of Hinduism, 2d ed. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994); Rajendra Prasad et al., Studies on the Purusarthas (Bhu-baneswar: Utkal University, 1994); Ludwik Sternbach, Bibliography on Dharma and Artha in Ancient and Medieval India (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1973).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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