More And More Of Less And Less

Off The Cuff Utterances

"when you reverse the course of grihasta,
you will enter the next phase"

Part - 1

After the phases of learning and applied living, the third phase emerges in one's life. Presumably the phases are so exclusive and unique in their design and function. While the brahmacharin learns the knack of survival in the world, the grihastin actually applies his learning and lives his life in the world. But up comes the next phase which demands the grihastin to turn to a whole new phase called vanaprasta.

Disciple : But how can turning off a TV be related to this phase ?
Master : Simply because of the fact you decided to withdraw from
watching TV, you enter the vanaprasta phase !

Vanaprasta is all about withdrawal from the world. As grihastin, you participate in life's events and as a vanaprastin you withdraw from the same life. They both are contrasting each other in a direct manner. While turning on the Tv can be compared to grihastin, turning it off is about being vanaprastin. They complement each other and cannot exist without each other.

Disciple : Whats the age group meant for this phase ?
Master : Chronologically speaking, it is between 40 to 60 !
Disciple : What is the literal meaning of the word?
Master : Vanaprasta means 'withdrawal into jungle' !
Disciple : Why with draw into jungle ?
Master : It was a way of keeping away from the
world during the gangetic civilization when the
vedic proposals to the common man was in peak practice !
Disciple : The vedas were composed during that period ?
Master : Much ahead, but people started using it during the
gangetic civilization at a more intense pace !
Disciple : Which period the gangetic civilization belong to ?
Master : 3500 to 5000 years ago and Vedas were apparently
composed even before that !

The subtler understanding of the vanaprasta ashrama needs a practical mind, which is more centered in the present than some glorious past. The relevance of the vedic statements in to day's context of living remains as important as the days when they were composed. In the present day's context, vanaprasta phase is practiced throughout the day and night, every time you withdrew from some activity.

Disciple : But I dont seem to withdraw from anything ?
Master : Not really. You withdraw all the time from many things !
Disciple : Im surprised to hear this, because I always wondered
how renunciation or withdrawal will ever happen in my life ?
Master : You need not wonder because its always happening
to you in your life daily. Just that you dont notice that well !

The varna ashramas are like a cyclical process. The wheels of this phases will spin forever in a man's life till the day he liberates himself from all the ashramas. This wheel of transformational phases, itself can cause bondage. The best way to break the shackles of this wheel of phases is to understand their functionalities well and apply them in your life fully with awareness. Soon you would find yourself grown out of all the phases.