Showing posts with label Brahmacharin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brahmacharin. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Is A Brahmacharin?

Brahmacharin means "Brahman seeker." 

Depending on the context, this word may have many different meanings. 

A brahmacharin is a person in a time of religious study in the dharma literature, which provides instructions on religious responsibilities. 

  • This is the first of a twice-born man's four ashramas (“stages of life”), that is, a man born into one of three Indian social groups: brahmin, kshatriya, or vaishya. 
  • These young males are eligible for the "second birth," a teenage religious initiation. 

According to the ideal, the brahmacharin should reside in his guru's home following his initiation and decoration with the holy thread—the most apparent evidence of a twice-born man—and study the Veda, the oldest Hindu religious book, in addition to doing other religious actions. 

Because brahmacharins are focused on acquiring religious knowledge, this is intended to be a highly austere period of life characterized by enforced celibacy, hard labor, service to the instructor, careful observance of all religious rituals, and abstention from pleasures like beds, cosmetics, and body adornment. 

The student will marry and join the second ashrama, that of the householder, after this time of study is over. 

  • The dharma literature describes an idealistic system, and it is impossible to know if it was ever properly maintained. 
  • Although many modern brahmin boys still experience the "second birth," other aspects of the tradition, such as the austere lifestyle and focus on Vedic studies, are generally disregarded in modern times. 

In an ascetic setting, some of the term's original meaning survives. 

Brahmacharin is also the name of two ascetic organizations, as well as a novice or younger monk whose job is to serve and learn from the older monks. 

  • The renowned Swaminarayan sect is one of these organizations, with members drawn exclusively from the brahmin caste. 
  • The other is the Brahmachari Sanyasis, which is made up of Shiva devotees (bhakta) who are separate from the Dashanami Sanyasis. 
  • The Brahmachari Sanyasis maintain an ashram atop Mount Girnar, and the Brahmachari Naga (fighting) Sanyasis have a recognized position among the other Naga tribes during the Kumbha Mela bathing (snana) event. 

G. S. Ghurye, Indian Sadhus, 1964, is a good source of knowledge.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

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