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Four Stages of Life - Essay Example

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Four Stages of Life

In order for Hindus to opt out of their ordinary life, one must engage in the laws of Manu. Hindus do not require teachings on how to be happy, secure, or win the admiration and respect of their associates and friends. However, they do require instructions on the best way to secure the same. In Hindu, deeper thinking is suggestive of the fact that these stages and the values they represent progress naturally. Therefore, man grows more towards their fundamental interests (Van Voorst 67). The movement towards increasingly satisfying and enduring values is institutionalized in the Ashramas, or the comprehension of the four stages of life. The first stage of human life in accordance with the laws of Manu is the studentship stage. For boy students, they are supposed to habituate with a guru or teacher to learn Sanskrit, ritual, the Vedas and others (Van Voorst 39). The guru in this case is a Brahmin. For the student, the dharma is inclusive of obedience, non-violence, celibacy, and respectfulness. God is the student’s teacher in this stage. When it comes to girls, this stage of student-hood is coincident with the householder stage; her husband takes up the role of her teacher. In this stage, the student’s norm is discipline, his forte is celibacy, and his duty is devotion to the guru, while his vocation is concentration in the studies. The student learns the renderings and nuances of Sastras, Upanishads, and Vedas. He does this through rote in order for him to realize in real life situations the significance of his studies when he is of age. Therefore, this stage is one of probation and training sans prejudice. The student is expected to add an honorific title before pronouncing the teacher’s name even when out of earshot (Van Voorst 40). The student’s initial lesson is Sandhya Vandanam in the evening, noon, and morning, breath control, Gayatri recitation, ablutions, sprinkling and sipping water, and water libations. The second stage of life as stipulated in the laws of Manu is the householder stage. In this stage, after bathing and performing the ritual for going back home, a twice born man is allowed to marry a woman from the same caste endowed with bodily marks of an auspicious nature (Van Voorst 40). Hindus take this stage more seriously as compared to Buddhism and Jainism; it is usually considered to be mandatory just as the first stage of student hood is. Here, the fundamental dharma of the specific individual is carried out whether as a warrior, priest, or otherwise, while for women the role is usually as a mother or wife. On top of the particular duties of the second stage, general duties are carried out with the aim of paying off debt. Marriage and bearing children is considered as discharging the debt to ancestors; sacrifices and household rituals are considered as discharging debt to the gods, and teaching one’s children, wife, and other students in the case of Brahmins is considered as discharging debt to the teacher (Van Voorst 41). These three debts can at times be associated with the three-trinity gods. These are Shiva for debt to the teachers, Brahma for debts to the ancestors, and Vishnu for debt to the gods. The third stage of human life written in the law of Manu is the forest dweller stage. This stage is optional and is entered ideally when a person gets graying hair, has grandchildren who can carry the family name onwards, and gets wrinkled skin. Wives and ...Show more

Summary

Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Four Stages of Life In relation to the Laws of Manu, Hinduism has four stages of life. These include; the student stage, the householder stage, the hermit stage or forest dweller stage, and the wandering ascetic stage. Each of the stages has a different Dharma and is representative of various periods, i.e…
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