Last Updated: November 30, 2018

Definition - What does Purushartha mean?

Purushartha is a Sanskrit word that can be translated as the "object of human pursuit” or “goals of man.” The term is derived from the Sanskrit, purusha, meaning "person," and artha, meaning "purpose."

This is an important term in Hinduism and relates to the four ideal aims a person should have. The four purusharthas are considered to be the following: dharma (moral duty), artha (economic prosperity), kama (love or pleasure) and moksha (spiritual liberation).

Yogapedia explains Purushartha

While all four of these aims are classed as being important, moksha is considered to be the ultimate goal for any human. After this, dharma takes priority over the others.

These four goals can be seen in the context of the four stages of life brahmacharya (student), grihasta (householder), vanaprastha (forest dweller), and samnyasin (renouncer).

Purushartha may also sometimes be referred to as caturvarga.

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