HOME
The Info List - Vanaprastha


--- Advertisement ---



Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
(Sanskrit: वनप्रस्थ) literally means "giving up worldly life".[1] It is also a concept in Hindu
Hindu
traditions, representing the third of four ashrama (stages) of human life, the other three being Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya
(bachelor student, 1st stage), Grihastha
Grihastha
(married householder, 2nd stage) and Sannyasa
Sannyasa
(renunciation ascetic, 4th stage).[2] Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
is part of the Vedic ashram system, which starts when a person hands over household responsibilities to the next generation, takes an advisory role, and gradually withdraws from the world.[3][4] This stage typically follows Grihastha
Grihastha
(householder), but a man or woman may choose to skip householder stage, and enter Vanaprastha directly after Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya
(student) stage, as a prelude to San yasa (ascetic) and spiritual pursuits.[5][6] Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
stage is considered as a transition phase from a householder's life with greater emphasis on Artha
Artha
and Kama
Kama
(wealth, security, pleasure and sexual pursuits) to one with greater emphasis on Moksha
Moksha
(spiritual liberation).[4][7]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Discussion 3 Literature 4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

Etymology[edit]

Part of a series on

Hinduism

Hindu History

Concepts

Worldview

Hindu
Hindu
cosmology Puranic chronology Hindu
Hindu
mythology

God / Highest Reality

Brahman Ishvara God in Hinduism God and gender

Life

Ashrama (stage)

Brahmacharya Grihastha Vanaprastha Sannyasa

Purusharthas

Dharma Artha Kama Moksha

Liberation

Atman Maya Karma Samsara

Ethics

Niti shastra Yamas Niyama Ahimsa Asteya Aparigraha Brahmacharya Satya Damah Dayā Akrodha Ārjava Santosha Tapas Svādhyāya Shaucha Mitahara Dāna

Liberation

Bhakti
Bhakti
yoga Jnana yoga Karma
Karma
yoga

Schools

Six Astika
Astika
schools

Samkhya Yoga Nyaya Vaisheshika Mimamsa Vedanta

Advaita Dvaita Vishishtadvaita

Other schools

Pasupata Saiva Pratyabhijña Raseśvara Īśvara Pāṇini
Pāṇini
Darśana Charvaka

Deities

Trimurti

Brahma Vishnu Shiva

Other major Devas / Devis

Vedic Indra Agni Prajapati Rudra Devi Saraswati Ushas Varuna Vayu

Post-Vedic Durga Ganesha Hanuman Kali Kartikeya Krishna Lakshmi Parvati Radha Rama Shakti Sita

Texts

Scriptures

Vedas

Rigveda Yajurveda Samaveda Atharvaveda

Divisions

Samhita Brahmana Aranyaka Upanishad

Upanishads

Rigveda: Aitareya Kaushitaki

Yajurveda: Brihadaranyaka Isha Taittiriya Katha Shvetashvatara Maitri

Samaveda: Chandogya Kena

Atharvaveda: Mundaka Mandukya Prashna

Other scriptures

Bhagavad Gita Agama (Hinduism)

Other texts

Vedangas

Shiksha Chandas Vyakarana Nirukta Kalpa Jyotisha

Puranas

Vishnu
Vishnu
Purana Bhagavata Purana Nāradeya Purana Vāmana Purana Matsya Purana Garuda Purana Brahma
Brahma
Purana Brahmānda Purana Brahma
Brahma
Vaivarta Purana Bhavishya Purana Padma Purana Agni
Agni
Purana Shiva
Shiva
Purana Linga Purana Kūrma Purana Skanda Purana Varaha Purana Mārkandeya Purana

Itihasas

Ramayana Mahabharata

Upavedas

Ayurveda Dhanurveda Gandharvaveda Sthapatyaveda

Shastras and Sutras

Dharma
Dharma
Shastra Artha
Artha
Śastra Kamasutra Brahma
Brahma
Sutras Samkhya
Samkhya
Sutras Mimamsa
Mimamsa
Sutras Nyāya Sūtras Vaiśeṣika Sūtra Yoga
Yoga
Sutras Pramana
Pramana
Sutras Charaka Samhita Sushruta Samhita Natya Shastra Panchatantra Divya Prabandha Tirumurai Ramcharitmanas Yoga
Yoga
Vasistha Swara yoga Shiva
Shiva
Samhita Gheranda Samhita Panchadasi Stotra Sutras

Text classification

Śruti
Śruti
Smriti

Timeline of Hindu
Hindu
texts

Practices

Worship

Puja Temple Murti Bhakti Japa Bhajana Yajna Homa Vrata Prāyaścitta Tirtha Tirthadana Matha Nritta-Nritya

Meditation and Charity

Tapa Dhyana Dāna

Yoga

Sadhu Yogi Asana Hatha yoga Jnana yoga Bhakti
Bhakti
yoga Karma
Karma
yoga Raja yoga Kundalini Yoga

Arts

Bharatanatyam Kathak Kathakali Kuchipudi Manipuri Mohiniyattam Odissi Sattriya Bhagavata Mela Yakshagana Dandiya Raas Carnatic music

Rites of passage

Garbhadhana Pumsavana Simantonayana Jatakarma Namakarana Nishkramana Annaprashana Chudakarana Karnavedha Vidyarambha Upanayana Keshanta Ritushuddhi Samavartana Vivaha Antyeshti

Ashrama Dharma

Ashrama: Brahmacharya Grihastha Vanaprastha Sannyasa

Festivals

Diwali Holi Shivaratri Navaratri

Durga
Durga
Puja Ramlila Vijayadashami-Dussehra

Raksha Bandhan Ganesh Chaturthi Vasant Panchami Rama
Rama
Navami Janmashtami Onam Makar Sankranti Kumbha Mela Pongal Ugadi Vaisakhi

Bihu Puthandu Vishu

Ratha Yatra

Gurus, saints, philosophers

Ancient

Agastya Angiras Aruni Ashtavakra Atri Bharadwaja Gotama Jamadagni Jaimini Kanada Kapila Kashyapa Pāṇini Patanjali Raikva Satyakama Jabala Valmiki Vashistha Vishvamitra Vyasa Yajnavalkya

Medieval

Nayanars Alvars Adi Shankara Basava Akka Mahadevi Allama Prabhu Siddheshwar Jñāneśvar Chaitanya Gangesha Upadhyaya Gaudapada Gorakshanath Jayanta Bhatta Kabir Kumarila Bhatta Matsyendranath Mahavatar Babaji Madhusudana Madhva Haridasa Thakur Namdeva Nimbarka Prabhakara Raghunatha Siromani Ramanuja Sankardev Purandara Dasa Kanaka Dasa Ramprasad Sen Jagannatha Dasa Vyasaraya Sripadaraya Raghavendra Swami Gopala Dasa Śyāma Śastri Vedanta
Vedanta
Desika Tyagaraja Tukaram Tulsidas Vachaspati Mishra Vallabha Vidyaranya

Modern

Aurobindo Bhaktivinoda Thakur Chinmayananda Dayananda Saraswati Mahesh Yogi Jaggi Vasudev Krishnananda Saraswati Narayana Guru Prabhupada Ramakrishna Ramana Maharshi Radhakrishnan Sarasvati Sivananda U. G. Krishnamurti Sai Baba Vivekananda Nigamananda Yogananda Ramachandra Dattatrya Ranade Tibbetibaba Trailanga

Society

Varna

Brahmin Kshatriya Vaishya Shudra

Dalit Jati

Denominations Persecution Nationalism Hindutva

Other topics

Hinduism
Hinduism
by country

Balinese Hinduism Criticism Calendar Iconography Mythology Pilgrimage sites

Hinduism
Hinduism
and Jainism / and Buddhism / and Sikhism / and Judaism / and Christianity / and Islam

Glossary of Hinduism
Hinduism
terms Hinduism
Hinduism
portal

v t e

Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
(वनप्रस्थ) is a composite word with the roots vana (वन) meaning "forest, distant land",[8] and prastha (प्रस्थ) meaning "going to, abiding in, journey to".[9] The composite word literally means "retiring to forest".[1] Widgery[10] states that Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
is synonymous with Aranyaka (Sanskrit: आरण्यक) in historic Indian literature discussing four stages of human life. Discussion[edit] Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
is part of the ancient Indian concept called Chaturashrama, which identified four stages of a human life, with distinct differences based on natural human needs and drives. The first stage of life was Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya
(bachelor student) lasting through about 25 years of life, the second stage was Grihastha (married householder) and lasted through about 50 year age.[11] Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
represented the third stage and typically marked with birth of grandchildren, gradual transition of householder responsibilities to the next generation, increasingly hermit-like lifestyle, and greater emphasis on community services and spiritual pursuit.[11][12] The Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
stage ultimately transitioned into Sannyasa, a stage of complete renunciation and dedication to spiritual questions. Vanaprastha, according to Vedic ashram system, lasted between the ages of 50 and 74.[citation needed] Nugteren[4] states that Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
was, in practice, a metaphor and guideline. It encouraged gradual transition of social responsibility, economic roles, personal focus towards spirituality, from being center of the action to a more advisory peripheral role, without actually requiring someone to actually moving into a forest with or without one's partner.[4] While some literally gave up their property and possessions to move into distant lands, most stayed with their families and communities but assumed a transitioning role and gracefully accept an evolving role with age.[4] Dhavamony[13] identifies Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
stage as one of "detachment and increasing seclusion" but usually serving as a counselor, peace-maker, judge, teacher to young and advisor to the middle-aged. Hindu
Hindu
traditions respected freedom and personal choice. While Grihastha
Grihastha
and Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
stages of life were recommended, they were not a requirement. Any Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya
may, if he or she wants, skip householder and retirement stage, go straight to Sannyasa
Sannyasa
stage of life, thereby renouncing worldly and materialistic pursuits and dedicating their lives to spiritual pursuits.[12] Literature[edit]

History

Jamison and Witzel state[14] early Vedic texts make no mention of life in retirement, or Vanaprastha, or Ashrama system, unlike the concepts of Brahmacharin and Grihasthi which can be distinguished.[15] The earliest mention of a related concept in Rig Veda is of Antigriha (अन्तिगृह, like a neighbor) in hymn 10.95.4, where the context and content suggests the elders did not go into forest, but continued to live as part of extended family, with outwardly role, in ancient India.[14] In later Vedic era and over time, Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
and other new concepts emerged, while older ideas evolved and expanded. The concept of Vanaprastha, and Sannyasa, emerged about or after 7th Century BC, when sages such as Yājñavalkya left their homes and roamed around as spiritual recluses and pursued their Pravrajika (homeless) lifestyle.[16] The Dharmasūtras and Dharmaśāstras, composed about mid 1st millennium BC and later, place increasing emphasis on all four stages of Ashrama system, including Vanaprastha.[17] The Baudhayana Dharmasūtra, in verses 2.11.9 to 2.11.12, describes the four Ashramas including Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
as "a fourfold division of Dharma". The older Dharmasūtras, however, are significantly different in their treatment of Ashramas system from the more modern Dharmaśāstras, because they do not limit some of their Ashrama rituals to the three varnas – Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas.[17] The newer Dharmaśāstra
Dharmaśāstra
vary widely in their discussion of Ashrama system including Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
in the context of classes (castes),[18] with some mentioning it for three, while others such as Vaikhānasa Dharmasūtra including all four.[19] Olivelle[19] posits that the older Dharmasūtras present the Ashramas as four alternative ways of life and options available, but not as sequential stage that any individual must follow.[17] Olivelle also states that Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
along with the Ashrama system gained mainstream scholarly acceptance about 2nd century BC.[20]

Spectrum of views

Numerous ancient and medieval texts of India discuss the four stages of a human being. Each offers different perspective. Some are strict and literal, while others discuss the concept in contextual and metaphorical terms. For example, Manusmriti offers elaborate prescriptions for drastic kind of renunciation, describing in verse 6.21 what the retiree in the forest should eat.[4] In contrast, the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
suggests Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
is a symbolic metaphor and declares that a king may achieve the "object of Vanaprastha" by certain actions, without retiring into the forest. For example, Shanti Parva (the Book of Peace) of the Hindu
Hindu
Epic, states,[21]

That king, O Yudhishthira, who rescues from distress, to the best of his power, his kinsmen and relatives and friends, attains to the object of the Vanaprashtha mode of life. That king who on every occasion honours those that are foremost among men attains the object of the Vanaprashtha mode of life. That king, O Partha, who daily makes offerings unto all living creatures including men, attains to the object of the same mode of life. That king, who grinds the kingdoms of others for protecting the righteous, attains to the object of the Vanaprashtha mode of life. That king who engages in battle with the resolve of protecting his kingdom or meeting with death, attains to the object of the Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
mode of life. — The Mahabharata, Shanti Parva, Section LXVI [21]

Markandeya Purana
Markandeya Purana
suggests that a householder, after he has taken care of his progeny, his parents, his traditions and cleansed his mind is ready to enter the third stage of life, or Vanaprastha. He must lead a frugal life during this stage, sleeping on floor, eating only fruits and bulbs. The more he gives up the worldly delights, the closer he gets to the knowledge of his spirit, and more ready he is for the last stage - the Sanyas Ashram, where he renounces everything and focuses entirely on spiritual pursuits.[22] Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
appears in many major literary works from ancient India. For example, many chapters of the Hindu
Hindu
Epic Ramayana, just like the Mahabharata, build around hermit-style life in a forest (Vanaprastha).[23] Similarly, the Abhijñānaśākuntalam
Abhijñānaśākuntalam
(Shakuntala play by Kalidasa) revolves around hermit lifestyle in a forest. Many of the legendary forest hermitages, mentioned in various Sanskrit works, later became sites for major temples and Hindu
Hindu
pilgrimage.[24] Narada Parivrajaka Upanishad
Upanishad
identifies four characteristics of a Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
stage of life as Audumbara (threshold of house, woods), Vaikhanasa (anchorite), Samprakshali (cleansing rituals) and Purnamanasa (contented mind).[25] Nigal[11] states Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
stage to be a gradual evolution of a "family man" to a "society man", from one seeking "personal gain" to one seeking a "better world, welfare of his community, agapistic altruism". See also[edit]

Ashrama_(stage) Brahmacharya Grihastha Sannyasa

References[edit]

^ a b vanapastha Koeln University, Germany ^ RK Sharma (1999), Indian Society, Institutions and Change, ISBN 978-8171566655, pages 28, 38-39 ^ Ralph Tench and William Sun (2014), Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility: Perspectives and Practice, ISBN 978-1783507955, page 346 ^ a b c d e f Albertina Nugteren (2005), Belief, Bounty, And Beauty: Rituals Around Sacred Trees in India, Brill Academic, ISBN 978-9004146013, pages 13-21 ^ Sahebrao Genu Nigal (1986). Axiological approach to the Vedas. Northern Book Centre. p. 112. ISBN 81-85119-18-X.  ^ Manilal Bose (1998). "5. Grihastha
Grihastha
Ashrama, Vanprastha and Sanyasa". Social and cultural history of ancient India. Concept Publishing Company. p. 68. ISBN 81-7022-598-1.  ^ Saraswathi et al (2010), Reconceptualizing Lifespan Development through a Hindu
Hindu
Perspective, in Bridging Cultural and Developmental Approaches to Psychology (Editor: Lene Arnett Jensen), Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195383430, page 280-286 ^ vana Koeln University, Germany ^ prastha Koeln University, Germany ^ Alban G. Widgery (1930), The Principles of Hindu
Hindu
Ethics, International Journal of Ethics, 40(2): 232-245 ^ a b c Sahebrao Genu Nigal (1986). Axiological approach to the Vedas. Northern Book Centre. pp. 110–114. ISBN 81-85119-18-X.  ^ a b What is Hinduism? (Editors of Hinduism
Hinduism
Today), Two noble paths of Dharma, p. 101, at Google Books, Family Life and Monastic Life, Chapter 10 with page 101, in particular, ^ Mariasusai Dhavamony (1982), Classical Hinduism, ISBN 978-8876524820, page 355 ^ a b Jamison and Witzel (1992), Vedic Hinduism, Harvard University Archives, page 47 ^ JF Sprockhoff (1981), Aranyaka
Aranyaka
und Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha
in der vedischen Literatur, Neue Erwägungen zu einer alten Legende und ihren Problemen. Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens und Archiv für Indische Philosophie Wien, 25, pages 19-90 ^ JF Sprockhoff (1976), Sannyāsa, Quellenstudien zur Askese im Hinduismus I: Untersuchungen über die Sannyåsa-Upanishads, Wiesbaden, OCLC 644380709 ^ a b c Barbara Holdrege (2004), Dharma, in The Hindu
Hindu
World (Editors: Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby), Routledge, ISBN 0-415-21527-7, page 231 ^ Olivelle translates them as classes over pages 25-34, e.g. see footnote 70; while other authors translate them as castes ^ a b Patrick Olivelle (1993), The Ashrama System: The History and Hermeneutics of a Religious Institution, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195344783 ^ Patrick Olivelle (1993), The Ashrama System: The History and Hermeneutics of a Religious Institution, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195344783, page 94 ^ a b KM Ganguli (Translator), Santi Parva The Mahabharata, Section LXVI, pages 211-214 ^ B.K. Chaturvedi (2004). Markandeya Purana. Diamond Pocket Books. p. 55. ISBN 81-288-0577-0.  ^ M Chatterjee (1986), The Concept of Dharma, in Facts and Values (Editors: Doeser and Kraay), Springer, ISBN 978-94-010-8482-6, pages 177-187 ^ NL Dey, The Geographical Dictionary of Ancient and Medieval India at Google Books, W Newman & Co, pages 2, 7, 9, 15, 18, 20, 30, 52, etc ^ KN Aiyar (1914), Thirty Minor Upanishad, Madras, page 135, OCLC 23013613

Further reading[edit]

Walter Kaelber (2004), Āśrama, in The Hindu
Hindu
World (Eds: Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415772273, Chapter 17 Patrick Olivelle (1993), The Ashrama System: The History and Hermeneutics of a Religious Institution, Oxford University Press, OCLC 466428084

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Vanaprastha

Fo

.