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pray_hands.GIF (680 bytes) Prayer & Spirituality
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OM, AUM

Hinduism
Many Paths to One God

Stages of Life

Hindus identify four successive stages (ashramas) of life. They are:

1. A student (brahmachari) who leads a celibate life, and studies under the guidance of a guru to-learn parts of the Veda as well as secular and ritual knowledge;

2. A married householder who brings up a family and contributes to the general welfare of society;

3. A 'forest- dweller' - someone who, with the arrival Of grandchildren, may withdraw from family responsibilities in order to seek wisdom in the forests; and

4. A renouncer (sannyasin) who sheds all social ties and devotes himself exclusively to the pursuit of moksha by becoming a wandering ascetic.

A human being is a living sacrifice. The first twenty-four years of a human's life constitute the morning sacrifice. During these years a human should pray: 'With divine help, may my morning sacrifice sustain my powers of life until I offer my midday sacrifice.' 

The next forty-four years of a human's life constitute the midday sacrifice. During these years a human should pray: 'With divine help, may my midday sacrifice sustain my powers of life until I offer my evening sacrifice.

The last forty-eight years of a human's life constitute the evening sacrifice. During these years a human should pray: 'With divine help, may my evening sacrifice sustain my powers of life until I offer my death.' 

Those who lead good lives, and say these prayers, will live one hundred and sixteen years; and they will not suffer illness until death.

Chandogya Upanishad 3: 16. 1-7

[Hinduism Infocenter Home]

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