Four Stages of a Male Life • 1. Celibate Student stage • (first period of life when a Hindu male gains knowledge for caste duties) • Lasts about 12-15 years unless going to university • 2. Householder stage • (second period of life when a Hindu male marries and raises a family) • Householder supports other stages • Marries around 23 years of age—usually arranged marriage within one’s varna and jati • 3. Forest-dweller stage • (third period of life when a Hindu man retires) • Can enter this stage after children have left home, retires from job, family, social life • May retreat to forest to live a more spiritual life • Today, this stage is practiced only by a few • 4. Renunciant stage • (fourth period when a Hindu male becomes a sannyasin (renouncer) (optional) • Renounces the world and his previous life completely • Concentrates on achieving moksha before death • Sparse diet, intense study and meditation w/ a yogi • Shudras, Dalits, Women (almost never follow these stages) • Women’s role is to support the last three stages
Four Goals (Aims) of Life Dharma - fulfilling one's purpose Artha - prosperity Kama – desire, sexuality, enjoyment Moksha - enlightenment
Four Goals (Aims) of Life cont. • Goals parallel the stages of life in Hinduism • Dharma —comprehensive term that guides the other aims or goals • Means following the dharma that guides your particular caste duties both socially and ritually • Hindus may look to epic stories for guidance • Take nonviolence vows • Employ rituals in everyday life • Artha — material success and prosperity • Hindus provide material security and share in life’s bounty w/family • Helps to explain economic drive and success of many Hindus today • Kama — aesthetic pleasures of mind and body • Restricted to householder stage • Hindus…enjoy life’s sensual pleasures • Moksha — release from life, moksha (continual cycle of rebirth/redeaths)—final goal • For Hindus, a proper time for everything • Both the stages and the aims—attempt to balance life of worldly person w/ life of a renouncer
Hindu Women Marriage— Motherhood (most impt. role even today) • Self-esteem is related to her husband • Marry at a young age • Considered a failure if she is childless, esp. w/o son Abortion (Legal) • Sex selective abortions favoring males (by ultrasound, outlawed in 1994) • Impt. to have a male heir b/c no pension system in India • Resulted in population imbalance in India today, problematic Divorce • Divorce—difficult, Remarriage is uncommon • Woman is looked down upon • Suicide rates for women are high (even though suttee has been outlawed) • Suttee ( widow burning--ancient practice of wife’s death by immolation on funeral pyre of her deceased husband) Violence • Violence against women in India is on the increase • 2012 gang rape of a female physiotherapy student galvanized the country’s collective consciousness on this issue • BBC production on the incident • “India’s Daughter”
Hindu Rituals (Topics) • Puja • Images • Worshipping in the Temple and in the Home • Pilgrimages • Festivals and Holidays • Funerals • Yoga
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