The Asrama System: The History and Hermeneutics of a Religious Institution

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byPatrick Olivelle

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The lesser known and explored of the two pillars of Hinduism--asrama and varna--asrama is the name given to a system of four distinct and legitimate ways of leading a religious life: as a celibate student, a married householder, a forest hermit, and a world renouncer. In this, the firstfull-length study of the asrama system, Olivelle uncovers its origin and traces its subsequent history. He examines in depth its relationship to other institutional and doctrinal aspects of the Brahmanical world and its position within Brahmanical theology, and assesses its significance within thehistory of Indian religion. Throughout, he argues that the asrama system is primarily a theological construct and that the system and its history should be carefully distinguished from the socio-religious institutions comprehended by the system and from their respective histories.

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The lesser known and explored of the two pillars of Hinduism--asrama and varna--asrama is the name given to a system of four distinct and legitimate ways of leading a religious life: as a celibate student, a married householder, a forest hermit, and a world renouncer. In this, the firstfull-length study of the asrama system, Olivelle u...

Patrick Olivelle is at University of Texas, Austin.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.57 × 6.3 × 0.91 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019508327X

ISBN - 13:9780195083279

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"This book is of immense value not only to Indologists and historians of religion concerned with the interpretation of classical texts, but also to anthropologists and sociologists engaged in studies of contemporary Indian institutions."--The Journal of Asian Studies