Varnashramadharma, Varṇāśramadharma: 10 definitions

Introduction

Introduction:

Varnashramadharma means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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 term Varṇāśramadharma can be transliterated into English as Varnasramadharma or Varnashramadharma, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

[«previous next»] — Varnashramadharma in Vaishnavism glossary
Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhagavad-gita (4th edition)

Varṇāśramadharma (वर्णाश्रमधर्म) refers to “the Vedic social system, which arranges society into four occupational divisions based on a person’s qualities and four stages of spiritual development (See prescribed duty)”. (cf. Glossary page from Śrīmad-Bhagavad-Gītā).

Source: Pure Bhakti: Brhad Bhagavatamrtam

Varṇāśramadharma (वर्णाश्रमधर्म) refers to:—The Vedic social system, which organizes society into four occupational divisions and four stages of spiritual development. (cf. Glossary page from Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta).

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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Varnashramadharma in Purana glossary
Source: archive.org: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Varṇāśramadharma (वर्णाश्रमधर्म) refers to the “norms of peoples of different castes and stages in life”, as explained in the Śivapurāṇa 2.2.23. Accordingly as Brahmā narrated to Nārada:—“[...] on hearing the enquiry of Satī Śiva was delighted and He narrated them with pleasure in their entirety for raising the worldly creatures. The sacred lore bearing on the subject, the glory and greatness of the illustrious lord, Śiva explained Himself with Yantras, with their five adjuncts. He told her legendary stories, the greatness of the votaries, the norms of peoples of different castes and stages in life (varṇāśramadharma) and the duties of kings, O great sage”.

Source: Shodhganga: The saurapurana - a critical study

Varṇāśramadharma (वर्णाश्रमधर्म) refers to the “duties of the castes and stages of life”, as explained in the 10th century Saurapurāṇa: one of the various Upapurāṇas depicting Śaivism.—Accordingly, smṛti materials like the duties of the castes and stages of life Varṇāśramadharma, the duties of the twice-born, the rules of performing Śrāddha and the duties of Vāha-Prastha and Yati are described in chapter seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and twenty respectfully. All these are described with special attention to the glorification of Śiva and his worship.

Purana book cover
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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)

[«previous next»] — Varnashramadharma in Dharmashastra glossary
Source: Shodhganga: The saurapurana - a critical study (dharma)

Varṇāśramadharma (वर्णाश्रमधर्म) is short for Varṇāśrama: the laws related to the “four castes and four orders”, according to the 10th century Saurapurāṇa: one of the various Upapurāṇas depicting Śaivism.—The performance of varṇāśramadharma is said to be elevating and productive of happiness both in this world and the next. And the violation of it leads to misery or suffering in hell. In the Saurapurāṇa (chapter 17) the sages ask the Sūta to narrate the varṇāśramadharma. Then the Sūta narrates it as it was told by the Sun-god to Manu.

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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Vedanta (school of philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Varnashramadharma in Vedanta glossary
Source: academia.edu: Religious Inclusivism in the Writings of an Early Modern Sanskrit Intellectual (vedanta)

Varṇāśramadharma (वर्णाश्रमधर्म) (Cf. Śaṅkara) refers to the “order of castes and stages of life”.—[...] Just like the knowledge of Brahman and the means (sādhana) of acquiring it, the ‘qualification’ or ‘eligibility’ (adhikāra) to the study of the Veda is a matter of Vedic revelation, not of human understanding. It is the Veda itself that ‘appoints’ (adhikṛ) whoever may be eligible for its instruction. Intelligence, capability, desire for knowledge, and other things, are not sufficient requirements to become a proper adhikārin; other conditions apply that typically presuppose the upanayana and other ceremonies reserved to twice-born males (Halbfass 1983: 92). For Śaṅkara, as for virtually every orthodox brahmin of this period, eligibility to Vedic teachings is intimately related to the order of castes and stages of life (varṇāśramadharma).

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Vedanta (वेदान्त, vedānta) refers to a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. There are a number of sub-schools of Vedanta, however all of them expound on the basic teaching of the ultimate reality (brahman) and liberation (moksha) of the individual soul (atman).

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

[«previous next»] — Varnashramadharma in Sanskrit glossary
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Aufrecht Catalogus Catalogorum

1) Varṇāśramadharma (वर्णाश्रमधर्म) as mentioned in Aufrecht’s Catalogus Catalogorum:—by Vaidyanātha Dīkṣita. Oppert. 866. 2255. 3849. 4187. Ii, 2212. 2670. 3469. 6035. 7735. 8773. 9202. 10092. 10178.

2) Varṇāśramadharma (वर्णाश्रमधर्म):—ibid.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Varṇāśramadharma (वर्णाश्रमधर्म):—[=varṇāśrama-dharma] [from varṇāśrama > varṇa > varṇ] m. the duties of caste and order, [Horace H. Wilson]

2) [v.s. ...] Name of [work] (also madīpa, m.)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Varṇāśramadharma (वर्णाश्रमधर्म):—[varṇā+śrama-dharma] < [varṇāśrama-dharma] (rmmaḥ) 1. m. Duties of that station.

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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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