Asceticism and Eroticism

T. N. Madan

in The Hindu Householder

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780198069409
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080038 | DOI:
Asceticism and Eroticism

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This chapter develops further the notion of the tension of the two extremes of asceticism and eroticism which the life of the householder seeks to overcome. This is, of course, one of the fundamental moral dilemmas treated for very long in Hindu literary, philosophical, and mythological traditions. The renouncer and the enjoyer are both towering personalities; one proclaims self-control, and the other proclaims the power of enjoyment. The king is the ideal enjoyer. But, it is argued that the life of enjoyment, when apotheosized, leads to perdition, just as renunciation may turn out to be an empty gesture of self-mortification.

Keywords: householder; moral dilemmas; renouncer; renunciation; enjoyer; enjoyment; perdition

Chapter.  11207 words. 

Subjects: Sociology of Religion

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