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By Patrick Olivelle

The lesser recognized 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 top a spiritual lifestyles: as a celibate scholar, a married householder, a wooded area hermit, and a global renouncer. during this, the 1st full-length learn of the =a'srama process, Olivelle uncovers its beginning and lines its next heritage. He examines extensive its dating to different institutional and doctrinal facets of the Brahmanical international and its place inside of Brahmanical theology, and assesses its importance in the historical past of Indian faith. all through, he argues that the =a'srama method is basically a theological build and that the approach and its background will be rigorously individual from the socio-religious associations comprehended by way of the procedure and from their respective histories.

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