Indian Wanderers

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The Fourth Stage of Life

The fourth stage is the sannyâsa, or the stage of the wandering ascetic, the sannyâsin (or sâdhu). If a man desires, he may continue on to this stage, but his wife will need to return home; traditionally she cannot stay alone as a forest dweller or wander the highways as an ascetic. The sannyâsin has renounced the world completely, is regarded as dead by his family (the funeral is held), and is finally beyond all dharma and caste. When a sannyâsin enters a Hindu temple, he is not a worshiper but one of the objects of worship. Not even the gods are sannyâsins (they are householders), and so this is where in Hinduism, as in Jainism and Buddhism, it is possible for human beings to be spiritually superior to the gods. It has long been a matter of dispute in Hinduism whether one need really fulfill the requirements of the Laws of Manu (gray hair, etc.) to renounce the world. The Mahâbhârata says that Brahmins may go directly to Renunciation, but it also says that the three debts must be paid -- and the debt to the ancestors could only be paid with husbands and wives living together either as householders or, if renunciates, as forest dwellers (indeed, the Pân.d.avas are all born in that way). There are definitely no such requirements in Jainism or Buddhism. The Buddha left his family right after his wife had a baby, which would put him in the middle of his dharma as a householder. Buddhism and Jainism thus developed monastic institutions, with monks and nuns, but these did not really develop as such in Hinduism: While wandering ascetics are rather like mendicant monks, we lack monasteries and nuns, and the ascetics are, traditionally, supposed to have already lived something like a normal, lay life.

more on The Caste System and the Stages of Life in Hinduism here http://www.friesian.com/caste.htm

Image shot with D200 & Nikkor AF 80-200mm f/2.8D ED N
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Joined
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Panos,
Quite educational. I am Hindu Brahmin but never dealt adequately with the philosophical aspects of the ancient religion. Once I marry off my daughters, I will take Sanyasa at a good birding location at Florida with some of my Nikon gears in a sidebag.:redface:

Apologize if I dilute the seriousness of the topic but could not resist it.


Great moving image. I am visiting Calcutta, India around first week of June. Hope to post some images after that.
 
Joined
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I'm too, too materialistic to follow that philoshophy...
I have done some thinking on it and modified strategy.
In my American existence, the third stage Banprastha (Life in Forest) will be living in a CONDO near Merritt Island or Sanibel, Florida. I will skip the fourth stage for next birth. :biggrin:
 
Joined
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Toronto Canada
This is a wonderful image, Panos, and the story behind it enhances it. Very rich colours and the connection between the two men adds to the image.
As we discussed, without the overhead tram wires, this image would have taken on a whole different feel.

I'm enjoying your journey through India! :smile:
 
Joined
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For some poor folks with little investment in robes and appearance change, this is a great livelihood. (off-course there is a good percentage of genuine ones who would live a ascetic life in Holy shrines or forests)

...Common people are generous with them. They great free ride in public Railway network. They are not usually ticked or arrested for ticket-less rides because providing free lodging and food in the Jail is more hassle. There are some who would not prefer to go out of the jail. Remember that there is hardly any social security or un-emplyment insurance in developing countries :rolleyes:
 
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9
I have done some thinking on it and modified strategy.
In my American existence, the third stage Banprastha (Life in Forest) will be living in a CONDO near Merritt Island or Sanibel, Florida. I will skip the fourth stage for next birth. :biggrin:
Sam, I don't think we have the guts for that :wink:
 
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