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Living the Four Ashrams of Life

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    From: http://www.swamij.com/four-ashrams.htm LIVING THE FOUR ASHRAMS OF LIFE Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati PLANNING LIFE IN FOUR STAGES: In the ancient Indian
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 17, 2005
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      From:
      http://www.swamij.com/four-ashrams.htm

      LIVING THE FOUR ASHRAMS OF LIFE
      Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

      PLANNING LIFE IN FOUR STAGES: In the ancient Indian tradition, one
      planned the years of life in four ashrams or stages. A life of 84+
      years was sought, with each of the four stages being 21 years. Some
      have revised these into four stages of 25 years, seeking a life of
      100+ years. The purpose for this life planning is to attain the
      direct experience of Self-realization or enlightenment here, in this
      world, in this very life. While our lifestyles may have changed since
      then, the basic idea of these four stages is as sound today as it was
      then.

      BRAHMACHARYA/STUDENT (0-25): The celibate student time of youth is
      for learning the foundation of lifestyle. The focus is on healthy,
      positive training and discipline, learning about spiritual,
      community, and family life.

      GRAHASTA/HOUSEHOLDER (25-50): The householder phase of life is when
      one lives with spouse and children, fulfilling worldly interests and
      duties. It is a time of giving, living, learning, and loving in
      family and community. Religious or spiritual practices are done in
      the context of worldly life and service to others.

      VANAPRASTHA/HERMITAGE (50-75): This is a time for shifting focus more
      towards more inner spiritual practices of meditation, contemplation,
      and prayer. Relationships with grown children and community are more
      in the role of a matured mentor. Lifestyle is more simplified, and
      the couple may retreat to a quieter place for deeper practices.

      SANYASA/RENUNCIATE (75-100+): The elder person now retreats from
      active involvement in all worldly goals, seeking only spiritual goals
      in this final phase. No longer having political, professional, or
      social engagements, there is a further shift towards being an elder
      teacher of spiritual knowledge.

      THIS APPLIES TO ALL OF US: While we are a diverse world of cultures,
      religions, philosophies, and attitudes, this simple framework of life
      planning has great value for all of us. Regardless of how we may have
      lived the stages of life that are already behind us, being aware of,
      and committed to the current and later stages of life can bring great
      comfort and clarity as we progress on the path of Self-realization.

      http://www.swamij.com
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