Ashrama, aka: Āśrama, Aśrama; 11 Definition(s)


Ashrama means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit terms Āśrama and Aśrama can be transliterated into English as Asrama or Ashrama, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

[Ashrama in Vaishnavism glossaries]

Āśrama (आश्रम).—The spiritual orders-brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa are called āśramas. If one executes his prescribed duty in both the social and spiritual order, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is satisfied. If one neglects his duties, however, he becomes a transgressor and a candidate for a hellish condition.

(Source): Prabhupada Books: Sri Caitanya Caritamrta
Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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[Ashrama in Purana glossaries]

Āśrama (आश्रम).—Asramites (Inmates of an Āśrama) have to pass through four stages. The four stages of Brahmacarya, Gārhasthya, Vānaprastha and Sannyāsa are known as the four Āśramas. Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Part III, Chapter 9 describes each of the Āśramas as follows: Brahmacarya. "After Upanayana a boy should maintain a Brahmacārī’s vrata, engage himself in the study of the Vedas, suppress his indriyas (the five senses) and live in the house of the preceptor. Living there with proper observance of śauca, customs and vratas he should serve and attend on the Guru. The study of Vedas should be with proper observance of Vratas and steady attention. A Brahmacārī should worship with concentration, the Sun and Agni at the time of the two sandhyās (dawn and dusk) and after that he should do obeisance to the Guru. When the Guru stands, he should also be standing. When the guru walks, he should walk behind him and when he sits, he should sit in a lower position. The Śiṣya (disciple-pupil) should not do anything against the guru. When the guru himself asks, the Śiṣya should sit in front of him and recite Vedas without attending to anything else. After that, with his permission he may eat food which has been got by begging. The Śiṣya may take his bath in the water only after the Ācārya (guru) has taken his bath in it. Everyday the Camata, darbha, water and flowers which the guru needs, must be brought and supplied (by the Śiṣya). (See full article at Story of Āśrama from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

(Source): Puranic Encyclopaedia

Āśrama (आश्रम).—(āśramadharma)—four, brahmacarya, gṛhasta, vānaprastha and bhikṣuka; duties:—brahmacarya study by service to guru and begging food; gṛhasta the source and strength of all āśramas; those celibate do penance, sacrifice, give birth to sons, perform śrāddha, learn the Vedas and give gifts of food; dārāgni, guests, sacrifice and śrāddha; become devapitṛs; vānaprastha bathe in morning and evening and on ceremonials; eating of fruits and roots, non-theft, purity, sympathy and non-injury—ten kinds of dharma; bhikṣu: daṇḍi, mekhali, and lying in ground floor.1 A reference to the fifth āśrama;2 will be lost at the end of Kaliyuga when anarchy prevails.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VII. 12. 1-31; 13. 1-10; 14. to the end; Matsya-purāṇa 141. 61-2; 248. 16; Vāyu-purāṇa 8. 177-88; 23. 82; 33. 27; 56. 68; 61. 167; Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 8. 20; ch. 9 (whole).
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 16. 15; III. 15. 37-8.
  • 3) Matsya-purāṇa 47. 257.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

[Ashrama in Dharmashastra glossaries]

Āśrama (आश्रम) refers to secluded areas the gurukulas (teacher’s house) were located, forming part of the ancient Indian education system, which aimed at both the inner and the outer dimension of a person. The secluded, often forested areas, where gurukulas were generally located were known as āśramas. These āśramas bore the name of the guru. Ancient texts mention many such āśramas where pupils gathered and lived with the teacher.

(Source): Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Education: Systems & Practices
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Arthashastra (politics and welfare)

[Ashrama in Arthashastra glossaries]

Āśrama (आश्रम) refers to “stage of life”.—In the Hindu way of life, every individual is expected to perform his or her duty appropriate to his or her caste (varṇa) and stage of life (āśrama). This division of one’s life into the four āśramas and their respective dharmas, was designed, in principle at least, to provide fulfilment to the person in his social, moral and spiritual aspects, and so to lead to harmony and balance in the society.

The four āśramas are:

  1. brahmacarya, stage of studentship;
  2. gṛhastha, stage of the householder;
  3. vanaprastha, life in the forest;
  4. saṃnyāsa, renunciation.
(Source): Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Indian Ethics: Individual and Social
Arthashastra book cover
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Arthashastra (अर्थशास्त्र, arthaśāstra) literature concerns itself with the teachings (shastra) of economic prosperity (artha) statecraft, politics and military tactics. The term arthashastra refers to both the name of these scientific teachings, as well as the name of a Sanskrit work included in such literature. This book was written (3rd century BCE) by by Kautilya, who flourished in the 4th century BCE.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Ashrama in Hinduism glossaries]

The four āśramas (आश्रम) are the modes of life of a celibate student, a married householder, a forest hermit, and a world renouncer. Brāhmaṇical theology considers these āśramas as constitutive and interrelated parts of an organic whole made up of the rules (dharmas) that govern human conduct; this organic whole is often simply referred to as dharma.

(Source): A Handful of Leaves: The Āśrama System

The term Āśrama (आश्रम) has two related meanings. The first is that of a residence, often located in forests, where holy people live and perform religious austerities (→ tapas). This is by far its most common meaning; it is so used in Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Jain literary sources, as well as in nonreligious texts such as drama, poetry, and fables.

The second meaning of the term is that of a religiousor holy way of life. The latter is, in all likelihood, a technical usage, as it occurs exclusively in Brāhmaṇical literature and mainly within thecontext of the āśrama system.

(Source): Texas Liberal Arts: Āśrama and Saṃnyāsa

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[Ashrama in Jainism glossaries]

Āśrama (आश्रम).—Amongst the Digambaras Cāmuṇḍarāya has taken over the Hindu concept of the four āśramas, which, following Jinasena, he terms brahmacārin, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and bhikṣu.

(Source): Jaina Yoga
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[Ashrama in Marathi glossaries]

āśrama (आश्रम).—m (S) A religious order. There are four kinds, referable to the four ages of life; viz. brahma- carya, gārhasthya, vānaprasthya, sannyāsa. 2 A hermitage, an abode of saints and sages. 3 An order among Gosavis.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

āśrama (आश्रम).—m A religious order. A hermitage.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Relevant definitions

Search found 233 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Varṇāśramā (वर्णाश्रमा).—the (four) castes and stages of life; वर्णाश्रमाणां गुरवे स वर्णी विचक...
Badarikāśrama is the name of a locality  mentioned in the “Plate of Lalitaśūradeva” (...
Nārāyaṇāśrama (नारायणाश्रम).—A holy place. (Vana Parva, Chapter 29, Verse 6)
Gṛhāśrama (गृहाश्रम).—the order of a householder, the second stage in the religious life of a B...
Āśramadharma (आश्रमधर्म).—1) the special duties of each order or life. 2) the duties of one lea...
Vasiṣṭhāśrama (वसिष्ठाश्रम) is the name of a sacred spot mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—Vasiṣ...
Mahāśrama (महाश्रम).—A holy place. Mahābhārata, Vana Parva, Chapter 84, says that a person who ...
Vīrāśrama (वीराश्रम).—A holy hermitage. It is mentioned in Mahābhārata, Vana Parva, Chapter 84,...
Kumbhakarṇāśrama (कुम्भकर्णाश्रम).—A holy place. He who visits this place will enjoy the respec...
Tandulikāśrama (तन्दुलिकाश्रम).—A sacred place of ancient Bhārata. He who visits this place wou...
Cayavanāśrama (चयवनाश्रम) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. III.87.10) and represent...
Āśramavāsin (आश्रमवासिन्).—m. an ascetic, hermit.Āśramavāsin is a Sanskrit compound consisting ...
Janāśrama (जनाश्रम).—an asylum for people, an inn, caravansary. Derivable forms: janāśramaḥ (जन...
Kāmāśrama (कामाश्रम).—the hermitage of the god of love; Rām.1. Derivable forms: kāmāśramaḥ (काम...
Kṣemāśrama (क्षेमाश्रम).—the order of a householder (gārhasthya); वेत्ति ज्ञानविसर्गं च निग्रहा...

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