The Four Stages of Human Life

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The Ashram’s develop self-fulfillment, spiritual culture and completion to one-self in the Hindu religion. In ancient Hinduism, the human life is divided into four stages; the Brahmacarya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, and Sanyasa. Each stage is known as an ashrama and is a part of the Ashram system. Ashram, meaning “a place of spiritual shelter”# can be viewed as a religious journey in which each Hindu must go through to gain spirituality. Typically, the males were the ones who went through the four stages of ashram. In order to fully experience a stage of ashram, one must achieve self-realization. “The individual must go through severe training and disciplines to develop a spirit of self-detachment in the four stages of life- or the four Ashramas. # The Ashram system was instilled in Vedic society in order to guide the life of man to reach fulfillment. It was the Dharma, meaning the righteous duty, of one to reach this fulfillment in life.

Hindus follow many sacred texts of literature, one of them being the Vedas which originated in ancient India and is known as the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. The Vedas were followed during the Vedic age of Hinduism which was centered in the Indian subcontinent. In the Vedas, it is estimated that the average life-span of an individual is around a hundred years .The ashram system divides these hundred years into four stages with each stage consisting twenty-five years. The four stages are focused around celibacy, family life, forestation, and renunciation. # The system focused on showing man the “paths of ethics, self-restraint, intelligence, pragmatism, love compassion and discipline”,

and to keep him from “greed, cruelty, sloth, and pride.” #

The first stage known as Brahmacharya, is the ...

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