The Puruṣārthas: An Axiological Exploration of Hinduism

Journal of Religious Ethics 27 (2):223 - 256 (1999)
Three doctrines have often been identified in the context of Hindu civilization as its distinctive markers: the doctrine of the varṇas (or the doctrine of the four classes), the doctrine of āśramas (or the doctrine of the four stages of life), and the doctrine of the puruṣārthas (or the doctrine of the four goals of life). The study of the last of these has been comparatively neglected and the doctrine has even been dubbed a myth (Krishna 1996, 189-205). The purpose of this article is twofold: to establish the cogency of the doctrine of the puruṣārthas in the face of such criticism and to indicate the directions in which the doctrine could be developed further
Keywords virtue  wealth  varnas  Asramas  value theory  Purusa¯rthas  pleasure  self‐realization  Hindu ethics
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