Grihastha the noble householdermen
Grihashthashrama dharma is the man’s obligation to enter into family life and perform his duties. Grihastha means a householderman. Ashrama means a phase of life. Dharma means social duty. And we have to understand that institutions of Brahmacharins and Grihasthas, even though they preach and practice different and opposite ideals both the practices are held in high esteem by the ancient society.
A Brahmachari (a child) is contributed by Gruhasthas to the institution of Learning.
A Brahmachari by studying scriptures contributes to the society by way of preserving sacred scriptures for posterity. After learning scriptures a Brahmachari could shed his avatar as Brahmachari and join Gruhasta Ashrama. And after fulfilling his duties as Gruhastha he could get back to forests as Vanaprastha. After Vanaprastha he could opt to become a Sanyasi. (The following text is an extract from Chapter 20, Gruhasthashrama dharma in author’s BOOK: “A Tribute to the Ancient World of India”)
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No individual is forced to follow this norm or that. One could remain in the Gurukula or College even after learning some scriptures and become Acharya by mastering the scriptures. And the blessed would become Brahma Prajapati later. Some may become Sages.
And some may remain in Gruhasta ashrama after Brahmacharya and continue to live in his community as an elderly person (as Agna, Arya).
Individual freedom was never restricted and no persecution is reported in Indian History.
But we would learn from the subsequent chapters that those who do not follow social and family virtues and indulge in immoral activities and who forgets his social responsibility, who ridicules and harasses Brahma and who neglects Devi worship were punished.