The Four Hindu Stages of Life.

The Four Hindu Stages of Life.

The Four Hindu Stages of Life In the Hindu culture there are four stages, or ashramas, in life. This is, of course, in the “ideal” life of a Hindu man who is a member of the upper three classes must go through these four stages, after birth and before death, to complete the cycle of the current life and move on to the next level whether it is to be reincarnated or move on to something greater. The four stages are student, householder, hermit, and sannyasin. These four stages are for males to follow; females follow a similar path but mainly will act as a support to the male. The first stage, student, is really a student of religion and learning about one’s self. The male would follow the teachings of his father or of a teacher much like an apprentice does like their teacher. This involves teachings of day to day activities, ceremonies, studies of scripture, and broad teachings of the Hindu religion. This lasts for possibly up to the age of twenty-five. The second stage is householder. In the householder stage of life you would move on your own, out from the wing of your teacher/father and start your life as an independent contributor to society. This is where you would establish yourself in the community, get married, and start a family. The third stage is the hermit stage. During this stage of life a man is supposed to break away from the household and let his son take over where he left off and he will “retire to the forest.” This doesn’t literally mean to wander to woods, but to gain spiritual enlightenment and obtain the much sought after spiritual goals set forth by the Hindu religion. In the final stage of life, Sannyasin, the wandering hermit is supposed to break ties with all of his earthly belongings/friendships and prepare for death. In our western culture we follow a similar path during our cycle of life. The first stage, student, is almost identical in our culture. We learn from our parent…


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