Women collect waterfrom a well.A rural life involves much contact with the elements.
girl is cooking chapattis on an open fire. Many household chores are performed
whilst squatting on the floor.
are very much a part of a rural lifestyle.
The sadhu (wandering holy man) typifies a simple life and the ability to focus the mind on an inner, spiritual wealth. Simplicity creates a mood of service and dependence upon God rather than an exploitative ethos and reliance on our own schemes to harness and control nature. Householders are also recommended to keep their lives and minds as uncluttered as possible.
Hindu spirituality has been largely nurtured in a rural setting, and scripture
recommends a simple life, free from unnecessary complication. Varnashrama-dharma is closely associated with an agrarian culture, which fosters a mood of dependence
on God. According to theologians, the village demonstrates the influence of
goodness (sattva), the town is compelled by passion (rajas) and sinful places,
such as many modern cities, are bound by ignorance (tamas). The whole system
of varnashrama-dharma is designed to bring everyone, step by step, to the
level of goodness, more easily attained in a rural setting. Sustainability
and a peaceful, regulated lifestyle are principal characteristics of sattva-guna.
The early morning hours are also considered sattvic and in India people rise
early, between 4 and 6 am. Practically everyone bathes upon rising, making
use of a pond, river or hand-pump, or – if relatively well-off – a bathroom.
It is common in the morning to see Hindus outside their simple dwellings,
slowly cleaning their teeth with a twig from a tree, such as the antiseptic
neem. Life is relatively slow, with morning hours dedicated to some form of
worship. A light breakfast follows at around eight o'clock. Shops and stalls
open quite late, around ten. The main meal is lunch – for the digestion is
considered strongest when the sun is at its highest. People take a siesta
in the sultry afternoons, and shops and stalls either close, or the shopkeeper
takes a snooze. They often open late into the evening, when it is pleasantly
cool, and people again throng to the streets and the temples.
Life is very much in contact with nature and the elements. Water is drawn
straight from wells or rivers. Cooking is over open fires. Village homes have
an earth floor, coated with a mixture of earth and cow-dung, which has antiseptic
properties. Animals are very much a part of life. Dogs are not domesticated,
and live quite differently than in the West. Cows roam freely and are given
much leeway. Wild pigs, often part of the natural scenery are valued for their
function of waste disposal. Monkeys are notorious for their mischief and their
stealing (eye-glasses are now a favourite!). Camels, ponies, and buffalo are
used for pulling carts. In the south especially, elephants are used in temple
rituals.There are many stories about snakes, especially the cobra, which is
considered to have mystical powers. Today, there are still many physicians
who can cure a snake bite by chanting mantras rather than administering a serum.
Mysticism and spirituality are woven into the colourful fabric of everyday