Hinduism is a magnificent religion which was discovered around approx. 4000 years ago. If we talk about life, in Hinduism we are more concerned about the purpose of our birth as human beings. Further, this involves the concept of Four stages in human life, to achieve that purpose. So, today in this blog we will learn about the 4 different stages of life according to Hinduism.

Namaste!

It is believed that everything that exists has a purpose and achieving that is the ultimate goal. Life as a human being is the biggest creation of God. It is our primary duty to protect it and not just let it go to waste. 

Hinduism through various Hindu texts like Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta, Mahabharata, Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads explains the purpose of human life. Further, it divides the phases of life in 4 different time spans and stages. The four stages of life are Brahmacharya (student’s life), Gṛhastha (householder’s life), Vanaprastha (forest dweller), and Sanyasa (renunciate).

Why are 4 stages of life important?

The 4 stages, namely, Brahmacharya (student’s life), Gṛhastha (householder’s life), Vanaprastha (forest dweller), and Sanyasa (renunciate) are important to achieve the goal in life. Everything happens for a purpose and so is our birth. We have a goal to achieve, in the form of peace, happiness, wealth, harmony and moksha at last. All these things are necessary to lead a peaceful and reputed life.

If we follow the course of each stage (ashramas) properly then a disciplined life can be led. These stages actually teaches the proper way of living a life even without materialistic pleasures. Right after the birth samaskaras begin of the baby. We have already discussed the 16 samskaras.

4 stages of Hinduism

Also known as Asrama, the 4 stages are divided according to the age limit. As per the written texts, youth is the time to put in efforts for learning and earning wealth (arth). Next comes leisure time when the person can spend it in pleasure (kama). Third is the heading towards old age and finally the old age when one must focus on dharma and moksha.

a) Brahmacharya (Student Stage): This is the first stage in Hinduism. The age limit is approx between (5-24) when one has to follow Brahmacharya (complete celibacy).This stage begins in childhood when a person focuses on education, learning, and self-discipline. Learning involves various subjects, including scriptures, philosophy, and life skills. Celibacy is traditionally observed during this stage.In previous years children were sent to Gurukul where they were guided under a Guru. Today also students are sent to schools, colleges and other learning institutions in their Brahmacharya stage.

a) Grihastha (Householder Stage): Next is the Grihastha ashrama, the second stage in Hinduism. This begins from the age of 25 and roughly continues till 50 years of age. A person enters the householder stage, gets married and starts a family. As every stage has a major role to play, so is this stage. In this stage a person actually implements all the learnings of the first stage. This stage involves carrying out responsibilities and duties. It includes raising children, pursuing a career, and contributing to society. It is considered a duty of a householder to lead an ethical and righteous life. Charity and providing financial assistance to the weaker section of society is also the responsibility of Grihastha Ashrama.

c) Vanaprastha (Retired Stage): Third is the Vanaprastha ashrama (stage) in Hinduism. This begins after the age of 50 or at 55 and roughly continues till 75. Soon a person completes his responsibility and his children become independent, Vanaprastha stages begin. In this stage,one gradually shifts towards self-reflection, contemplation and person starts spiritual practices. The individual may choose to live in seclusion, often in forests or quiet places, to deepen their spiritual understanding.

d) Sannyasa (Renunciant Stage): Fourth is the Sannyasa ashrama (stage) in Hinduism. This stage begins at the age of 75 and continues till end of life. This is basically the end of life and entry into a new life or rebirth in their language. Individuals in this phase, who accept Sanyasa formally, are given a new name, gotra and wear new clothes of orange color. There is no such restriction related to the last stage of life. In this stage, people usually tend to get rid of all luxurious or materialistic pleasures. They formally renounce their renunciation from all sorts of worldly things. Their journey towards liberation (moksha) begins.

Conclusion

Hence, we come to an end of all the four stages. It’s important to note that not all Hindus strictly follow this path. In fact, there is a considerable diversity in how individuals approach their spiritual journey within the religion. These stages mentioned in Hindu texts is the traditional framework of life provided to us. It completely depends on the individual to pursue this up to the possible extent.

About Author

2 thoughts on “Success and Discipline Through 4 Stages of Life in Hinduism

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five + eight =