Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Carvaka View of the Four Purusarthas

Out of the four Purusarthas, which are used by the ancient Hindu texts to define the ultimate objectives of life, the Carvakas (the school of empiricists and materialists) accept only two: Artha (prosperity, economic values) and Kama (pleasure, love, psychological values). The Carvakas reject Dharma (virtue and moral values) and Moksha (liberation, spiritual values). Dharma is rejected because it is based on the teachings of the scriptures whose authority, the Carvakas maintain, cannot be accepted by rational men. They reject Moksha because it entails release from the materialistic entanglements which, they claim, can be attained only on death and no one who loves life would want to end his life. According to the Carvakas, the purpose of life is attainment of the worldly pleasures. They preach that Artha (prosperity and economic values), and Kama (pleasure, love, psychological values) are the only ends that rational men would strive for.

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