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Classical Hindu ThoughtAn Introduction$
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Arvind Sharma

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195658712

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195658712.001.0001

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(p.181) Chapter XX Āśrama
Classical Hindu Thought

Arvind Sharma

Oxford University Press

The standard view on the doctrine of āsramas may be identified with its presentation in the Manusmrti: As stated in Manu IV. 1 the first part of man's life is brahmacarya in which he learns at his teacher's house and, after he has finished his study, in the second part of his life he marries and becomes an house-holder, discharges his debts to his ancestors by begetting sons, and to the gods by performing yajñas (Manu v. 169). When he sees that his head has grey hair and that there are wrinkles on his body, he resorts to the forest i.e. becomes a vānaprastha (Manu VI. 1-2). After spending the third part of his life in the forest for some time, he spends the rest of his life as a samnyāsin (Manu VI. 33). However, this is not the only view encountered in Hindu thinking on the subject. Some other potentially significant views are noted.

Keywords:   Manusmrti, life, brahmacarya, yajñas, forest life, vānaprastha

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