The Asrama System: The History and Hermeneutics of a by Patrick Olivelle

By Patrick Olivelle

The lesser identified and explored of the 2 pillars of Hinduism--=a'srama and var.na--=a'srama is the identify given to a approach of 4 precise and bonafide methods of major a spiritual lifestyles: as a celibate scholar, a married householder, a wooded area hermit, and an international renouncer. during this, the 1st full-length research of the =a'srama process, Olivelle uncovers its starting place and strains its next heritage. He examines intensive its courting to different institutional and doctrinal elements of the Brahmanical international and its place inside Brahmanical theology, and assesses its importance in the historical past of Indian faith. all through, he argues that the =a'srama procedure is basically a theological build and that the procedure and its background will be conscientiously special from the socio-religious associations comprehended via the procedure and from their respective histories.

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Then follows the verse account of the Buddha's question and Kassapa's reply: What knowledge have you gained, O inhabitant of Uruvela, that has induced you, who were renowned for your penances, to forsake your sacred fire? I ask 56. For a listing of these occurrences, see Critical Pali Dictionary, pp. 521 -22, and Pali Tipitakam Concordance, p. 295. 57. Vin 1,24—38; DNII, 339. The jaf/7a manner of wearing the hair—either matted or braided—is closely associated with Brahmins. 31—32 for even Brahmanical students.

Given the advances made by Indian grammarians, it is quite likely that these authors usually know the grammatically correct etymologies of the terms whose meanings they seek to elucidate through phonetic equivalences. 39. 58. 59). 168 where srama as "religious exertion or toil" is used proba- bly with reference to the asramas. Meaning and Method 17 dition, moreover, clearly considers the suffix to be the particle "a " rather than the priva40 live. The exact modification of meaning that the prefix "a " imparts to the term srama, however, is unclear.

59. See Vin 1,71; DNII, 339; MN 1,501. 60. See the Selasutta in SuN p. 102-12; MN II, 146. For a variant of the story see Vin 1,245. 61. See, for example, Jat II, 283-85; MN II, 154-55; DN II, 339. 22 Introduction you, Kassapa, this question: How is it that your fire sacrifice has become deserted? It is visible things and sounds, and also tastes, pleasures and woman that the sacrifices speak of; because I understood that whatever belongs to existence is filth, therefore I took no more delight in sacrifices and offerings.

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