|Hindu stages of Life|
Traditional Hindu Texts distinguish several stages in the social and spiritual lives of human beings, and rituals have formed to mark the progress of development, from conception to death. Life-cycle sacraments (samskaras) begin for a child with ceremonies for such events as naming, first feeding and learning the alphabets. These and other samsharas provide forms of education and a process of socialization as young men and women mature and take on more responsibilities within the family and the community. Intended to make a person fit for the next stage of life, each rite involves a degree of reconciliation with certain gods and atonement for sins.
|A young perform Upanayana Puja|
|Naga sanyasi in Varanasi|
The ashrama of concentrated study and celibacy is followed by the householder stage of life, which is initiated by the marriage samskara. During marriage, a husband and wife are considered partners in dharma: together they share ritual and social responsibilities that are centered on bearing and raising children and maintaining the family’s welfare. The householder ashrama is critical to sustaining the three other ashramas (the student, the hermit and the ascetic), all of whom depend on the householder for hospitality and alms.
|Hindu temple in Nagarkot village Nepal|
|Pillars of Hinduism - Vedas|
A Hindu marriage is a complicated affair. The marriage known as vivaha, while joining two families in a social alliance, also celebrates the union of a man and woman as they enter the householder stage of life. This is one of the most important of all samskaras and involves elaborate rituals.
|A typical Hindu Bengali wedding|
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