This paper was presented at
Psychology: The Indian Contribution
National Conference on
Indian Psychology, Yoga and Consciousness
organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research
at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education
Pondicherry, India, 10-13 December 2004

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Vanaprastha: An experiment, a way of life

Rajalakshmi.N.P. & Devi Balakrishnan — PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore.

In the present day world of growing population and technology there are a group of individuals who are trying to find their places in the society all over again. They are the aged or senior citizens. This study is an overview on vanaprastha which began as a unique experiment in community living by senior citizens. The study aims at finding potential areas of research in such communities for social scientists in the Indian context. The population of the study consisted of individuals living in this community complex, males as well as females, all above the age of fifty. The community and their residents were observed and a few of them were interviewed. The study brought out many potential areas of research such as the physical, physiological and psychological characteristics of the aged, their social functioning, their religious and spiritual interests and pursuits, and paranormal phenomenon. Further, comparative studies can be conducted to understand the benefits and limitations of living in such communities. The present study presents a plethora of opportunities for research in the area of old age, life situations of the aged, and effects of spiritual practices.

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