Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pankaj Jain, Rita Sherma, Madhu Khanna

Asceticism (Hinduism)

  • Ramdas LambEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_90-1



Asceticism refers to a lifestyle and/or a set of practices in which restrictions and limits are placed on the sensually pleasurable and comfortable experiences that most people consider integral to a happy life. The practices involve restrictions on a single or on multiple forms of pleasurable experiences along with the things that generate them. Ascetic practices may be undertaken for short periods, such as a day to a month, or longer term, including for the remainder of one’s life. Short-term ascetic practices can be found in indigenous cultures all over the world, usually done by shaman as part of rituals performed to communicate with the spirit world or overcome demonic forces and influences or by commoners as a form of penance for angering a deity, as a form of supplication in order to have one’s desires fulfilled, for ritual purification, etc. ([5], p. 441). Short-term forms of asceticism are traditionally...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ReligionUniversity of Hawai’i at ManoaHonoluluUSA