In one of his speech, Pandit VijayShankar Mehta says:

Ramayana teaches us जीने की कला (art of living)

Bhagavad Gita teaches us कर्म करने की कला (art of doing)

Bhagavatam teaches us मरने की कला (art of dying)

Mahabharata teaches us रहने की कला (art of existence/survival)

Similarly, we have several scriptures for Dharama such as Dharma-sutras and Dharma-sastras. Even most of the scriptures talk about Dharma.

Similarly we have scriptures for Moksha such as Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. Many other scriptures also talk about Moksha.

But do we have scriptures which talk about Artha and Kama?

Well, so first name will come out as Kamasutra of Vātsyāyana for Kama but it is not considered as scripture in many posts of this forum such as in q1, q2, q3 and even in many more such questions. But there must be some scripture on Kama too as it is also one of the four Purusarthas ('object of human pursuit' or 'purpose of human being'). Even in a religious debate between Adi Shankaracharya and Bharati (wife of scholar Madana Mishra), the questions on Kama were asked as described here.

And for Artha, the name Arthashastra of Kauṭilya might come in mind. But it's new literature, don't we have any ancinet text on Artha?

In Mahabharata it is written that it focuses on Artha and Kama:

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It contains much useful instruction on Artha and Kama (profit and pleasure). This sacred history maketh the heart desire for salvation. Learned persons by reciting this Veda of Krishna-Dwaipayana to those that are liberal, truthful and believing, earn much wealth. -chapter 62 of Adi Parva: Adivansavatarana Parva of Mahabharata

So what are the main shlokas in Mahabharata which focuses on Artha and Kama?

  • 1
    kAm & artha is natural inclination of any being so no need to teach. Jan 13, 2018 at 13:42
  • Dharma Shastras, Itihasa, Puranas etc. are there to show us what we don't know. They are not there to tell us to eat or bathe. Because we don't HAVE to eat or bathe. If you feel hungry you will eat, if you feel dirty you will bathe. There is no punishment for not eating, and there is no punishment for not bathing. But there is punishment for eating before bathing. ('snathva bhunjeetha'). So that those who WANT to eat will do so under rules and regulations of dharma. If you decide you're never going to eat again, then you are also free to never take bath again.
    – mar
    Jan 13, 2018 at 18:20
  • Thiruvalluvar's Thirukkural has entire chapters devoted to the 3 - dharma, artha, kama. The belief is that if you follow these 3 according to rules, the 4th (moksha) will follow on its own.
    – mar
    Jan 13, 2018 at 23:55
  • 1
    List of some useful verses from scriptures on Artha
    – Pandya
    Sep 30, 2018 at 12:50


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