The ancient civilization of India is so vast and deep that it’s impossible to put it into a nutshell. From birth to death how should an individual lead his life and what are the duties one has to fulfill have been laid down very clearly. The system exhibits a great balance of a man’s life in the social conditions.
According to Veda’s a man has to follow 4 “Ashrama Dharma’s”. 1) Brahmacharyam 2) Gruhastashramam 3) Vanaprasthashramam 4) Sanyasashramam. Let’s look into details of each of them.
1)Brahmacharyam: Most of us think that brahmacharya indicates to celibacy but it’s not right, Brahmacharya means following “Brahma” which means knowing about Brahma in accordance with vedas. Gaining knowledge and Brahma Gyan by following strict celibacy rules is the condition here. brahmacharya is not restricted to males alone even females have to follow it quotes the shastras.
Niyama’s to follow in brahmacharyam
a) Waking before sunrise. Study at dawn as the human brain is very active at dawn.
b) Gambling, fighting, abusing and lying is not advised.
c) Physical relation with women is prohibited.
d) “Satvikaharam” simple food must be taken. Honey and Non-veg should not be taken. Sweet and fermented foods are forbidden.
e) Always sleep alone.
Goal Gaining knowledge should be the ultimate goal for and individual in childhood, rest all dharmas should be direct in attaining that knowledge.
2)Gruhasthashramam: After completing the vidyabhyasam following brahmacharyam, following shastras marry a suitable girl and enter into gruhastrashramam. This event has to happen in adult age only (No Child marriage). Gruhastashrama has a great responsibility to carry as the other ashrama’s and on a whole society is based on it.
Niyama’s to follow in gruhastrashramam
a) Without being selfish about just his family one should take care and help relatives, friends, guests and poor according to their ability.
b) Earning livelihood by doing ethically correct work.
c) Avoid sexual passion and have an intent to reproduce good child during intercourse.
d) Perform Yagna’s and give alms to poor. Take care of animals.
Goal: In adult life extending the family lineage, doing good to society, rightfully earning a livelihood are duties of an individual.
3)Vanaprastashramam After completing gruhastashrama duties of earning and extending blood line through children, one should accept vanaprasthashrama with an intention to attain salvation. vanaprasthashrama is accepted at a mature age. once this ashrama is accepted one should sacrifice other earthly pleasures and live a simple life. Living alone away from family, wife has to be left with sons to be taken care or should take her permission to live alone, and in case wife wants to come along he has to take her with him.
Niyama’s to follow in vanaprasthashramam
a) Dressing up beautifully must not be given much importance, earthly pleasures must be sacrificed.
b) Delicious food must be given up and food just enough to survive must be taken. Food which aggravates Satva and Rajjo guna must be given up.
c) Should not indulge in sexual activities.
d) Give up anger and always work for the development of society.
e) Always think and try to attain salvation.
Goal: In mature age, contributing to society development and attaining salvation.
4)Sanyashramam: One should live alone in sanyashramam. One should not accept sanyashramam without completing other 3 ashramas.
Niyama’s to follow in sanyashramam
a) One should live alone, one should realize living alone can only lead to salvation.
Goal: With and intention to attain salvation one should lead the life.
Concepts have been explained according to present time and conditions, there are many other rules which are to be followed by would not be feasible to follow given the conditions we live in today, so they have not been mentioned.
No following these 4 ashrama dharma’s properly have lead to many problems in society, students are gaining knowledge which is not rich in values, problems in marriage life of people and unwanted events are happening. human relations have become so weak and an individual is so weak mentally and psychologically that they cannot face any problem bravely.
Without following these dharmas which have been designed with great care and experience, humans are in a race to gain power, wealth, false fame and falling into a trap which is leaving an unrest in life.