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Vayovriddha In Hinduism

Vayovriddha in Hinduism is a respectful term for one advanced in age. The word vriddha in Sanskrit has many connotations and stands for increased, augmented, grown up, full grown, old, aged, advanced in years, advanced or grown up, great, large, accumulated, heaped, wise and learned. When compounded with some other word and used at the end, it means advance or grown up, as in vayo vriddha ‘advanced in age’, dharma-vriddha ‘advanced in dharma’, jnana vriddha ‘advanced in knowledge’, etc.

Some of the above-mentioned connotations are actually concerned with the advancement of age. And old man gets experienced with age and becomes wise. There is, however, a saying ‘jnana-vriddhesuna vayah samikshyate (age is of no consideration before knowledge). Age and experience were and still are regarded as qualities of life. So a grown up person is regarded as qualities of life. So a grown up person is regarded as worthy and venerable.

The general character and demeanor of a person improves with age, so an old person is normally believed to be reliable. Uttararamacharita of Bhavabhuti (V.35) says, ‘vriddhaste na vicaraniyacaritah’ (they are not to be doubted because of their advanced age).

Age was respected and an aged person was not to be touched with a foot. Even an aged shudra deserved to be saluted by the younger people of higher castes. In the Gupta period, the village elders called mahatma, mahattara or mahattaka were appointed to take a leading part in managing the affairs of the village. The elders were given due respect in Hindu society, and the tradition continues still. It is in keeping with this tradition that elder citizens are called Senior Citizens and given certain concessions in transport and public utility services.