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Yamini Narayanan

The fundamental sustainability tension may be said to lie in reconciling want and greed. This places the human self or the human soul as a moral battleground where desire and duty constantly attempt to triumph over each other. However, desire must be understood and integrated as part of a fully self-conscious human self in order to enable a consistent and unwavering performance of duty. In this article, I propose the Hindu notion of the purusharthas, or the fourfold path to self-actualization, as one illustrative example of a green telos. The purusharthas prescribe a path comprising of material and sensuous experience, in obedience to dharma or duty, such that moksha or a state of complete self-awareness may be achieved. I suggest that the stage of dharma is thus where the most profitable connections between Hinduism and sustainable development might be made.