Stages of Life in Yoga Shastras

The Yoga Shastras describe Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa as four stages of yogic life.

The first stage of yogic life is brahmacharya during studentship. In this stage as students we learn, understand and develop the knowledge & skill in order to fulfil our aspirations in future life with security and stability.

We enter into grihastha or family life in broader sense social life after studentship. We make every possible effort to maintain and nurture the family for which we shoulder the responsibility to lead an acceptable social life utilizing the knowledge & skill we have acquired in student life.

Then we enter into stage of retirement which is vanaprastha from social perspective in human life. Consequent upon retirement after a certain age, we accelerate our effort to understand dharma, to propagate and expand the concept of dharma by becoming a philosopher and thinker. We complement this effort by the knowledge and experience gained by our spiritual practices.

Having sufficiently expanded and developed our own understanding of dharma, we enter into the fourth stage of life, sannyasa which is meant for dedicating the qualities and virtues we have acquired towards the growth of humankind and inspiring others to attain inner freedom. Sannyasa is not escaping from life; rather it is running into life with greater wisdom, understanding and perception.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda


About drmcpanda

Dr. Mahesh Chandra Panda, M.B.B.S.,M.D. Date of Birth:29.02.1948 Retd. (29.02.2008) Chief District Medical Officer Bargarh Orissa India
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Stages of Life in Yoga Shastras

  1. Vinod Varma says:

    Great explanations for various stages of life mapped into present context. Especially Sanyasa is often confused with state of helplessness and inaction. As you have rightly pointed out, it is not about dejection or inaction but rather action in full spirit without getting hooked on its outcome.

  2. Though ideally these were the stages previously delineated. Presently all stages may overlap. One can remain a Brahmachari, Grihasthi, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa, through out life. In fact these are state of mind though these are the predominant time we spend in corresponding stages of life. One should be a mix of all states and enjoy all states of mind through out life to be in a happy state. All states are in fact very important and give different type of pleasure. One can transcend through these states at different times of day in one day. One can be a student, grihasthi and sanyasi at same time and at different times in same day.

    Karma Yoga of Gita by Lord Krishna teaches the same in perfect way.

  3. V Nageswar Rao says:

    Dear Sir,

    Thank You Very Much to make me aware about the Stages of Life in Yoga Shastras. Though I known about all these Stages of Life, but not as systematic as you have mentioned. Every Stage of Life is important for one another to lead a successful and meaningful life for any one. The Development/Improvement of life depends and is interlinked between stage to stage concerns/ precautions/ environment and disciplinary way of life planned by the Particular Individual for him/her self and also the Knowledge, Attitude, Thinking Process and Practical Experience of the Person.It’s also equally important and depends on the time to time guidance and support received/provided by the parents, well wishers/friends.

    Thanking You,
    With Regards
    Bhubaneswar Odisha

  4. Dr.Binod Bihari Naik says:

    Respected Sir,

    Now-a-days due to more desire in life for comfort and merry making no bodies reach their field of destination and feel incomplete and at last engulfed in repentance. They do not know or no access to Yoga Shastras, then how they cultivate or reap its fruits and enjoy the zest of life. Realization and liberation are beyond their hope. In this conjecture & crucial period your present script may show an eye catching path & inspire to modern one to begin, plough and plug in the field of life. My suggestion here it would be much better if Yoga Shastras will be regular basis in educational curriculum to make healthy & hearty nation. Further I put an example of sweet home to simplify & graphical understanding of stages of life in Yoga Shastras. Sweet home provides comfort and relaxation; so also yoga shastra imparts realization & liberation in one’s life. Erection of sweet home is monument where imagination & emancipation are fruitful for better peaceful life and devoid of natural calamity. Hence everybody learns & senses from it is that the mansion by foundation is Brahmacharya for erection, by wall is Grihastha for protection, by ceiling is Vanaprastha for save, and by space within is Sannyasa for bliss. So to learn magic of life in yoga shastra is love; love is God.

    Thanking You,
    Your Divine Brother
    Dr.Binod Bihari Naik
    Bargarh Odisha

  5. All 4 stages are applicable for a grihastha. A Sanyasi may not have Grihastha or Vanaprastha stages. Sometimes it is not in sequence, Mahatma Gandhi has mentioned in his Autobiography about his Bramhacharya in Grihastha stage. Though it is the first stage/foundation of yogic life, now-a-days Bramhacharya is rarely followed by students who are influenced by globalisation and accessible electronic media.

  6. Madhusudan Mahunta says:


    The article ‘Stages of Life in Yoga Shastras’ posted by you on 17-10-2012 signifies/ describes the real truth of human life. Everybody should follow, adopt and learn such principles for leading the happy and prosperous life. This is the theme of human life.

    Madhusudan Mahunta
    Bargarh Odisha

  7. Kedarnath Sahu says:

    Respected Sir,

    Really your article always enlightens the Human being. By this article you enlightened us about our lifestyle to lead in a smooth way.

    Kedarnath Sahu
    Science Teacher
    Sohela Bargarh Odisha

  8. Umesh Chandra Panda says:

    Respected Dear Elder Brother,
    The article on ‘Stages of Life in Yoga Shastras’ is most influential and leads a man into a perfect position in his own life.

  9. Rajesh Kumar Panda says:

    Respected Dear Kaka,
    The fact narrated by you is really admiring and well established.
    Thank U,
    Yours lovingly,

  10. Chandresh says:

    Very wonderfully defined the stages.
    Thanks for providing such a great knowledge to us.

  11. Jitendriya Badhei says:

    Dear Sir,
    This is ashram vyabastha that everyone should know.The tradition what u think about varna vyabastha. Is it running from rigved time or after that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s