Personal & Community Life

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Varnas

Hindu society is split into 5 Varnas. The varna you are born into is determined by the karma from your previous life.

Good karma will result in you being born into a higher varna and bad karma will lead to rebirth in a lower varna.

varna

Ashramas (Stages of Life)
 

Brahmacharyi - The student stage. Begins with upanayana (the sacred thread)

Duties include:

  • Gaining knowledge through study.
  • Showing respect to teachers & parents.
  • Learning the rules & rituals of Hinduism.

Samskaras in this stage

  • Vedarambha – start of formal education
  • Smavartana – graduation from studies
Grihasta - The householder stage.Begins with marriage

Duties include:

  • Giving to charity
  • Caring for your parents
  • Giving hospitality to guests
  • Providing a settled, well-run household.

Samskaras in this stage

  • Vivaha – marriage
  • Garbhahana - Conception
  • Jatakarma - birth
Vanaprastha - The retirement stage. Begins with the birth of a grandchild.

Duties include:

  • Detachment from worldly concerns & materialism
  • Devoting time to quietness & solitude
  • Studying the scriptures and meditating

Samskaras in this stage

  • Vanaprastha – retirement aged approx 60.
Sannyasin - The holy wo / man stage. Begins with the 15th samskara (Sanyasa) becoming a holy man

Duties include:

  • Renunciation of all worldly ties & possessions.
  • Devotion of your whole life to achieving Moksha.

Samskaras in this stage

  • Sanyasa – Becoming a holy man.
  • Antyeshti – Death rites
Diet

Most Hindus are vegetarian. This is caused by beliefs including:

  • The sacredness of the cow.
  • Respect for nature.
  • Belief in the reincarnation of the soul.