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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. They accept Artha (prosperity, economic values) and Kama (pleasure, love, psychological values), and reject Dharma (virtue and moral values) and Moksha (liberation, spiritual values). They reject Dharma because it’s based on the teachings of the scriptures whose authority, they maintain, cannot be accepted by rational men, and 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 devote himself to ending his own life. The Carvakas maintain that the purpose of life is attainment of the worldly pleasures, and they preach that Artha (prosperity and economic values), and Kama (pleasure, love, psychological values) are the only ends that rational men would strive for. The Carvaka position is similar to that of the Epicureans of Ancient Greece.

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