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1. Brahmacharya – The Celibate Student:
Brahmacharya is the stage of life being a student. In the traditional Indian system of study, a child, once he had become a Brahmachari, would live and learn from his guru all that was essential for him to become a productive and thinking human being.
2. Grihastha – The Married Family Man:
In this stage the man has to perform his duties as a member of society and become a positive provider to his family, his community and his society at large. He must be usefully and ethically employed. He must earn wealth and use his service for the larger good.
3. Vanaprastha – The Hermit in Retreat:
This is stage of a man when his duty as a householder comes to an end. The Vanaprastha ashram is semi-retirement. At this age, he should give up all physical, material and sexual pleasures, retire from his social and professional life. Gradually letting go of the ties that bind him being the society elder who is willing to share the knowledge and wealth he has earned for the benefit of others. No wonder, this third ashrama in now a days nearly out of date.
4. Sannyasa – The Wandering Recluse:
The last stage, Sanyas, involves looking inwards and completely liberating oneself from all worldly appetites and desires. In this ashram, a man must prepare himself for the next journey out of his body and thus reject anything that constrains his release and liberation. In this stage, a man is supposed to be totally devoted to God. . He is virtually merged with God, all his worldly ties are broken, and his sole concern becomes attaining moksha, or release from the circle of birth and death. When he dies, the funeral ceremonies (Pretakarma) are performed by his son and heir.
What About Women?:
Keep busy doing constructive things for your self-improvement and for the benefit of others, for whoever in the God’s kingdom must attempt to do good for others every day. If you follow this pattern, you will feel the mood-dispelling joy of knowing you are advancing, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
When you leave this world, objects resources will be left behind; but every good that you have done will go with you. Wealthy people who live in heartlessness, and people who never help others, do not attract wealth in their next life. But those who give and share love, whether it is a lot or little, will attract prosperity.