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Arya Samaj Florida March 23, 2014 The Four Ashrams Brahmacharya Grahasta Vanaprastha Sannyaasa By Pt. Chan Singh.

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Presentation on theme: "Arya Samaj Florida March 23, 2014 The Four Ashrams Brahmacharya Grahasta Vanaprastha Sannyaasa By Pt. Chan Singh."— Presentation transcript:

1 Arya Samaj Florida March 23, 2014 The Four Ashrams Brahmacharya Grahasta Vanaprastha Sannyaasa By Pt. Chan Singh

2 The Four Ashrams According to Vedic philosophy, the human life span is divided into four stages known as ‘ashrams’. The word ashram means shelter implying that the person takes shelter successively in each of the four stages during his life’s journey. These ashrams are Brahmacharya, Grahasta, Vanaprastha and Sannyaasa. The Vedas define a specific purpose for each ashram and offer specific instructions to be followed in each ashram. The overall movement from ashram to ashram facilitates the merging of the jivatma (individual soul) with the paramatma (universal soul or God), which is the purpose of life.

3 Brahmacharya Ashram The first ashram, Brahmacharya, is the student phase of life when the individual is supposed to immerse himself or herself in learning the craft or trade in preparation for later life. Children leave their homes and live with the Guru at the Ashram/Gurukul where they are prepared to enter the next ashram.

4 Brahmacharya Ashram Before leaving home, the child performs the Yajyo-paveetam (Janeau) ceremony. Om yajyo-paveetam paramam pavitram prajaa-pater yat sahajam purastaat aayushyam agryam prati-muncha shubhram yajyo-paveetam balam astu tejah 0 Student! This divine cord is supremely pure and has been existing with God since the beginning. This cord inspires a new life-style, and motivates you to go forward. Wear this beautiful cord, and cultivate emotional strength and luster in your personality.

5 Brahmacharya Ashram Om yajyo-paveetam asi yajyasya twaa yajyo-paveeteno'pa-nahyaami You are now inducted into a new life-style of sacrifice and study. With this chord, I bind you to a life of sacrificial discipline. Although there may be a few Gurukuls existing today, the educational system has changed. Today students have many gurus, and they generally do not live in Gurukuls. Some college students do live in dorms, which is similar to the living quarters of the Gurukul.

6 Brahmacharya Ashram Children at the Gurukul

7 Brahmacharya Today children attend modern classes. Brahmacharya Ashram

8 Grahasta Ashram Grahasta (meaning householder) ashram is the stage of family life. It begins with marriage and proceeds to raising a family. It involves earning a living through the skills acquired during Brahmacharya ashram. It encourages the enjoyment of a material life. The householders have the responsibility of bringing up their children in the same way that their parents brought them up. The householder needs to perform his religious duties as well.

9 Grahasta Ashram Na loka-vrittam varttate vritti-hetoh kathan-chana ajihmaam ashat_haam shuddhaam jeeved braahmana jeevikaam (Manu 4:11 ) The householder must never, for the sake of earning a living, follow the immoral ways of the world. Let him live the life of a man of Vedic Wisdom - straightforward, honest and pure. Satya-dharmaa'rya vritteshu shauche chai'vaa'ramet sadaa shishyaan'shcha shishyaad dharmena vaag baahoo'dara sanyatah (Manu 4:175 ) Let the householder always delight in truthfulness, in (obedience to) Dharmic Law, in conduct worthy of an Arya, and in purity. Let him instruct his children according to Dharma. Let him keep his speech, arms and stomach under control.

10 Grahasta Ashram Pari-tyajed artha-kaamau yau syaataam dharma varjitau dharmam chaapi a-sukho'darkam loka vikrushtam eva cha {Manu 4:176) Let the householder avoid the acquisition of wealth and the gratification of desires if they are opposed to Dharma. Let him also avoid anything that supposedly conforms to Dharma but causes pain or is offensive to humanity.

11 Marriage – early stage of Grahasta Ashram Grahasta Ashram

12 Marriage – early stage of Grahasta Ashram Grahasta Ashram

13 Om sam chen nayaatho aasvinaa, kaamina sam cha aksathah, Sam vaam bhagaaso. Agmata sam chitaani samu vrataa. 0 bride and groom, God has united the two of you to make a loving pair. May you be united in your thoughts and desires. May you be united in your actions, and may you together achieve glory. Grahasta Ashram

14 The Grahasti provides housing for the family.

15 Grahasta Ashram Care for children from conception to college

16 Grahasta Ashram One of the responsibilities of the grahasti is to take care of the child until he/she graduates from college; however, in Vedic society, the responsibility continues until the child gets married and becomes a Grahasti like the parents.

17 Grahasta Ashram Parents work to provide for the family.

18 Grahasta Ashram Although there could be stressful periods during all the ashrams, the Grahasta Ashram could be the most stressful; however, it could also be very rewarding.

19 Vanaprastha Ashram Vanaprastha indicates the departure from material possessions. The person lives with the family, in society, but in a withdrawn manner. The man no longer takes part in the commercial activities and the woman leaves the running of the household to her daughter-in-law. People in this ashram play the role of mentors. The social activities become religious in nature. Celibacy is again advocated. The person is in this world but not of this world. The process of detachment from possessions, desires and relations begin in this stage. Om aa nayai'tam aa rabhaswa sukritaam lokam api gach-chhatu prajaanan teertwaa tamaansi bahudhaa mahaanti ajo naakam aa kramataam triteeyam (Ath 9:5:1) Bring your mind away from the responsibilities of married life and commence this new discipline of Vaanprasth. Knowing your true destination of Mukti, go to the ashram of other virtuous Vaanprasth souls. Crossing over in various ways the mighty forms of darkness, let your deathless soul ascend to the third stage of life –Vaanprasth, wherein there is no pain and stress.

20 Vanaprastha Ashram Om bhadram ich-chhanta rishayah swar vidas tapo deekshaam upa-nishedur agre tato raashtram balam ojash cha jaatam tad asmai devaa upa sam namantu (Ath 19:41:1) The earlier Rishis, desiring the state of blessedness, sat down and practiced austerity and consecration and ultimately discovered bliss. From this arduous discipline was born kingship over their self, strength and luster. For this reason, let Vaanprasthi souls bow to that man who has resolved to practice the austere discipline of Vaanprasth.

21 Vanaprastha Ashram The Senior Citizen (Vanprashta) retires and spends time with family.

22 Vanaprastha Ashram Grandparents enjoy quality time with grandchildren.

23 Vanaprastha Ashram Mother and daughter-in-law spending quality time together.

24 Vanaprastha Ashram Grandpa spends time with grandson

25 Sannyaasa Ashram The final stage is Sannyaasa or renunciation. The individual leaves society to spend the remaining part of his or her life in solitude, meditating and contemplating on God. This is a very severe step, and once upon a time was the norm. Hinduism propounds that religious and ethical values decline from age to age and hence it is not surprising that today this stage of life finds few takers. Om yatra brahma vido yaanti deekshayaa tapasaa saha vaayur maa tatra nayatu vaayur praanaan dadhaatu me That Realm of Bliss where-in the knowers of the Veda enter with the consecration and arduous discipline of Sannyaas - to that Realm may Vaayu lead me, bestowing unto me the ability to breathe in a regulated manner.

26 Sannyaasa Ashram Om yatra brahma vido yaanti deekshayaa tapasaa saha sooryo maa tatra nayatu chakshus sooryo dadhaatu me sooryaaya swaahaa That Realm of Bliss where-in the knowers of the Veda enter with the consecration and arduous discipline of Sannyaas - to that Realm may Soorya lead me, bestowing unto me the ability to perceive reality.

27 Sannyaasa Ashram Om yatra brahma vido yaanti deekshayaa tapasaa saha chandro maa tatra nayatu manash chandro dadhaatu me chandraaya swaahaa That Realm of Bliss where-in the knowers of the Veda enter with the consecration and arduous discipline of Sannyaas - to that Realm may Chandra lead me, bestowing unto me the ability to think logically. In Vedic philosophy, there exists a universal soul known as 'paramatma', which is another way of describing God. Each living being also has a soul known as 'jivatma'. The objective of existence is to try to merge the jivatma with the paramatma. This is known as moksha or salvation. The four ashrams prepare a person to undertake the process in a controlled but directed manner.

28 Sannyaasa Ashram The Sannyasi joins religious discourses.

29 Sannyaasa Ashram The Sannyaasi joins religious discourses.

30 Sannyaasa Ashram The Sannyaasi goes on Pilgrimages.

31 Sannyaasa Ashram Meditation

32 Sannyaasa Ashram Meditation

33 Sannyaasa Ashram Become a Swami

34 Conclusion Many of us do not participate in all the Ashrams. The majority of us remain in the Grahasta ashram until we depart the human body. However, there are some noble souls who go from the Bhramacharya stage directly to Sannyaas. Swamiji Dayanand Saraswati is such a noble soul. Sources: Various sources, including “Arya Sanskaar Pradeep” by the illustrious Dr. Satesh Prakash, were referred to in preparing this Pravachan.


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