[Advaita-l] Pratyavaaya paapam

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 29 11:23:21 CDT 2008

Dear Shri Ramanathanji,
The four Ashramas are restricted not to the Brahmanas alone. It was applicable to the Dvijas with some differences. The Brahmacharya or the educational period of Brahmana starts at 7 years of age though Adi Sankara had it in 5 years, as an exception. The Kshariyas and the Vaishyas have the starting of Brahmaccharya at a slightly higher age though they too learnt the Vedas. They were generally not Vedic teachers though they learnt the Vedas. Their Brahmacharya period started late, as apart from the learning the Vedas they had  respective training in their occupation also and that was given better at somewhat higher age. The Shudras did not have the initiation into the ways of the Dvijas and the Ashramas as such but they could also, by the grace of guru if they are privileged to be accepted by a guru, could have initiation applicable to the Dvijas.
The Karmas were different at different Ashramas. At the Vanaprashtha stage one delegates the householder's resposibilitirs to one's children and devotes time to spiritual studies but the fire rituals are not given up. At the Sannyasa stage the fire is internalised and the fire riruals are avoided. The Sannyashi is not supposed to stay at one house or place for long and as such they have to give up normal householder's life and the Karmas, ie duties and  responsibilities too. That is why it is not wrong to say that the Sannyashis could give up Karma in that sense, though Adi sankaracharya was a life-long Karmayogi. He did establish the different mathas and wrote the bhashyas.
Sunil K. Bhattacharjya
For an outsiders it was decided as to how they were accepted in the society


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