The Laws of Manu describes a social order that goes far beyond the Rigveda. The varnas are
now hereditary, and their inequality in dignity is proclaimed with a new emphasis.
- Roles for Women
The Laws of Manu gave women a low status.
The notion of dharma.
“A husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife.”
Women are also denied of independence:
“In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is
dead, to her sons; a woman must never be independent.”
The dictates of the Laws of Manu were not necessarily followed in the Hindu society.
There were also exceptions when women were respected and honoured as poets, philosophers
It is also stated in the Laws of Manu that:
“Where women are honoured, there the gods are pleased; but where they are not honoured, no
sacred rite yields rewards.”
All these reflect the emphasis of the dharma of women as a faithful wife (pativrata).
The idea of karma had become widely accepted by the classical era
New texts known collectively as the Dharmasastra were created
The Dharmasastra assume that one’s birth location is the most telling indication of one’s
The doctrine of karma assumes that a natural causal mechanism conditions individual destiny RLG AO1
- The Four Stages of Life
- In Hinduism, the Four Stages of Life are four stages of increasing dignity (asramas).
- The Student Stage
- The Householder Stage
- The Stages of the Forest Dweller and the Sannyasi
The Four Aims of Life
1: artha (“worldly success”)
2: kama (“sensory pleasure”)
3: dharma (“duty”)
4: moksa (“liberation”)
Yoga = yoke, to join, to unite
Yoga training brings about conscious union of one’s own soul with the universal soul.
There are several systems of yoga, such as Hathayoga.
For most Hindus, yoga refers to an Eight-stage meditational discipline (attributed to the
ancient sage Patanjali):
Withdrawal from sense objects
Steadying of attention
Meditation on religious insights
Concentration on the mystical merging with the ultimate
The ultimate goal in yoga meditation is to reach an awareness that is perfectly at one with and
centered in the atman.
The yoga practitioner who reaches this state is said to put an end to all past karma and
Samskaras = Life-Cycle Rites RLG AO1
The Dharmasastra lists over forty life-cycle rituals
Examples of samskaras:
Early Childhood Rituals
Coming of Age Rituals
Householder (Marriage) Rituals
Puja = homage or worship
Hindu rituals mark special occasions, from birth, through childhood, to marriage and finally
Rituals cut across theological distinctions.
- Gestures of Respect
Namaskara or Namaste
“I place my hands at the centre of myself, the atman in my heart, to salute your same holy
Puja (worship or homage):
Built on the assumption that humanity and