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Hinduism: Four Stages Life - Research Paper Example

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Hinduism: Four Stages Life

Walter Hazen clearly observes that “Hindus believe that life is concerned with a series of duties” (Hazen, 2003, p.8). Therefore, Hinduism offers four stages of life based on karma which enhances self realization or ‘Moksha.’ These duties or karma always require every Hindu to be honest, virtuous and good worker in his or her life time. As per the principles or practices in Hinduism, life is believed to encompass four different stages. These four stages known as ‘ashrams’ and the followers of Hinduism strictly believe that every human being should ideally pass through these four stages. The first Ashram is called ‘Bramacharya’ which is the prime stage in every person’s life, especially from birth to youth. The second ‘ashrama’ or stage is known as ‘Grihasta’ or the status of a householder. ‘Vanaprastha’ or the forest retirement stage is the third one and in this stage a man ends his life as a house holder. He refuses all physical, sexual, and material pleasures. At this juncture he retires from social and professional life and he leaves his home (Das, 2012). The final stage is ‘Sannyasa’ which offers the role of a forest dweller and this fourth stage changes a man to a devotee of God. At this point, he is free from all kinds of material burden like home, relations, responsibilities and material pleasures. The primary stage Brahmacharya is generally considered as the period of formal education in which students earn both spiritual and practical education from a guru. This is the period which requires desirable qualities and manners. At this time, a student is known as ‘brahmachari’ who prepares for future profession and for the prosperity of his family. The second stage is ‘Grihasta’ which promotes the qualities of a householder. In this stage, a man begins to lead married life. Here his responsibility is vested on looking after his family. The third stage ‘Vanaprastha’ is the most crucial stage in a man’s life. Here, a man finds the real purpose of his life and he should spend most of his time in praying and fasting. The above mentioned stages in human life provide ethical qualities for people through practicing variety of rituals. In his first stage, a Hindu should keep respect and devotion towards his guru. In addition, this period emphasises learning, practical knowledge, skills and habits. Mantras, religious doctrines meditations provide better physical as well spiritual health. The life of a ‘Sannyasi’ requires maximum attention for meditation and religious activities. In this stage, one should control his feelings and follow heavenly values in his life. The caste system in Hindu religion paved the way for social polarizations based on duties and that promotes controversies in Indian society. Historians have stated that four specific castes (or jatis) are described in the Dharmasastras and are based on four groups of social occupations: Priests (brahmins), Warriors/Rulers (ksatriyas), Artisans (vaisyas), and Servants (sudras) (Fieser, 2001). First three classes were enjoyed religious practices and worships. Lower class people in the fourth class faced severe segregation and refusal from social and religious life. Their life is comprised with menial jobs. Caste system in Hin ...Show more

Summary

Hinduism: Four Stages Life Introduction Hinduism has often been considered as a predominant and indigenous religion in Indian subcontinent that keeps its multifaceted characteristics through various principles. Hinduism is formed and developed through a group of principles or practices, known as ‘Sanatan Dharma’ which means the eternal religion or eternal law…
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