Grahasta Ashram - Arya Samaj Florida Inc.

Arya Samaj Florida
March 23, 2014
The Four Ashrams
Pt. Chan Singh
The Four Ashrams
According to Vedic philosophy, the human life span is divided into four
stages known as ‘ashrams’. The word ashram means shelter implying
that the person takes shelter successively in each of the four stages
during his life’s journey. These ashrams are Brahmacharya, Grahasta,
Vanaprastha and Sannyaasa. The Vedas define a specific purpose for
each ashram and offer specific instructions to be followed in each
ashram. The overall movement from ashram to ashram facilitates the
merging of the jivatma (individual soul) with the paramatma (universal
soul or God), which is the purpose of life.
Brahmacharya Ashram
The first ashram, Brahmacharya, is the student phase of life when the
individual is supposed to immerse himself or herself in learning the craft
or trade in preparation for later life. Children leave their homes and live
with the Guru at the Ashram/Gurukul where they are prepared to enter
the next ashram.
Brahmacharya Ashram
Before leaving home, the child performs the Yajyo-paveetam (Janeau)
Om yajyo-paveetam paramam pavitram
prajaa-pater yat sahajam purastaat
aayushyam agryam prati-muncha shubhram
yajyo-paveetam balam astu tejah
0 Student! This divine cord is supremely pure and has been existing
with God since the beginning. This cord inspires a new life-style, and
motivates you to go forward. Wear this beautiful cord, and cultivate
emotional strength and luster in your personality.
Brahmacharya Ashram
Om yajyo-paveetam asi yajyasya twaa
You are now inducted into a new life-style of sacrifice and study. With
this chord, I bind you to a life of sacrificial discipline.
Although there may be a few Gurukuls existing today, the educational
system has changed. Today students have many gurus, and they
generally do not live in Gurukuls. Some college students do live in
dorms, which is similar to the living quarters of the Gurukul.
Brahmacharya Ashram
Children at the Gurukul
Brahmacharya Ashram
Today children attend modern classes.
Grahasta Ashram
Grahasta (meaning householder) ashram is the stage of family
life. It begins with marriage and proceeds to raising a family. It
involves earning a living through the skills acquired during
Brahmacharya ashram. It encourages the enjoyment of a
material life. The householders have the responsibility of
bringing up their children in the same way that their parents
brought them up. The householder needs to perform his
religious duties as well.
Grahasta Ashram
Na loka-vrittam varttate
vritti-hetoh kathan-chana
ajihmaam ashat_haam shuddhaam
jeeved braahmana jeevikaam (Manu 4:11)
The householder must never, for the sake of earning a living, follow the
immoral ways of the world. Let him live the life of a man of Vedic
Wisdom - straightforward, honest and pure.
Satya-dharmaa'rya vritteshu
shauche chai'vaa'ramet sadaa
shishyaan'shcha shishyaad dharmena
vaag baahoo'dara sanyatah (Manu 4:175)
Let the householder always delight in truthfulness, in (obedience to)
Dharmic Law, in conduct worthy of an Arya, and in purity. Let him
instruct his children according to Dharma. Let him keep his speech,
arms and stomach under control.
Grahasta Ashram
Pari-tyajed artha-kaamau
yau syaataam dharma varjitau
dharmam chaapi a-sukho'darkam
loka vikrushtam eva cha {Manu 4:176)
Let the householder avoid the acquisition of wealth and the
gratification of desires if they are opposed to Dharma. Let him
also avoid anything that supposedly conforms to Dharma but
causes pain or is offensive to humanity.
Grahasta Ashram
Marriage – early stage of Grahasta Ashram
Grahasta Ashram
Marriage – early stage of Grahasta Ashram
Grahasta Ashram
Om sam chen nayaatho aasvinaa, kaamina sam cha
aksathah, Sam vaam bhagaaso. Agmata sam chitaani
samu vrataa.
0 bride and groom, God has united the two of you to make a loving
pair. May you be united in your thoughts and desires. May you be
united in your actions, and may you together achieve glory.
Grahasta Ashram
The Grahasti provides housing for the family.
Grahasta Ashram
Care for children from conception to college
Grahasta Ashram
One of the responsibilities of the grahasti is to take care of
the child until he/she graduates from college; however, in
Vedic society, the responsibility continues until the child gets
married and becomes a Grahasti like the parents.
Grahasta Ashram
Parents work to provide for the family.
Grahasta Ashram
Although there could be stressful periods during all the
ashrams, the Grahasta Ashram could be the most stressful;
however, it could also be very rewarding.
Vanaprastha Ashram
Vanaprastha indicates the departure from material possessions. The person
lives with the family, in society, but in a withdrawn manner. The man
no longer takes part in the commercial activities and the woman
leaves the running of the household to her daughter-in-law. People
in this ashram play the role of mentors. The social activities become
religious in nature. Celibacy is again advocated. The person is in
this world but not of this world. The process of detachment from
possessions, desires and relations begin in this stage.
Om aa nayai'tam aa rabhaswa sukritaam
lokam api gach-chhatu prajaanan
teertwaa tamaansi bahudhaa mahaanti
ajo naakam aa kramataam triteeyam (Ath 9:5:1)
Bring your mind away from the responsibilities of married life and
commence this new discipline of Vaanprasth. Knowing your true
destination of Mukti, go to the ashram of other virtuous Vaanprasth
souls. Crossing over in various ways the mighty forms of darkness,
let your deathless soul ascend to the third stage of life –Vaanprasth,
wherein there is no pain and stress.
Vanaprastha Ashram
Om bhadram ich-chhanta rishayah swar vidas
tapo deekshaam upa-nishedur agre
tato raashtram balam ojash cha jaatam
tad asmai devaa upa sam namantu (Ath
The earlier Rishis, desiring the state of blessedness, sat
down and practiced austerity and consecration and
ultimately discovered bliss. From this arduous discipline
was born kingship over their self, strength and luster. For
this reason, let Vaanprasthi souls bow to that man who
has resolved to practice the austere discipline of
Vanaprastha Ashram
The Senior Citizen (Vanprashta) retires and spends
time with family.
Vanaprastha Ashram
Grandparents enjoy quality time with grandchildren.
Vanaprastha Ashram
Mother and daughter-in-law spending quality time together.
Vanaprastha Ashram
Grandpa spends time with grandson
Sannyaasa Ashram
The final stage is Sannyaasa or renunciation. The
individual leaves society to spend the remaining part of
his or her life in solitude, meditating and contemplating on
God. This is a very severe step, and once upon a time
was the norm. Hinduism propounds that religious and
ethical values decline from age to age and hence it is not
surprising that today this stage of life finds few takers.
Om yatra brahma vido yaanti
deekshayaa tapasaa saha
vaayur maa tatra nayatu
vaayur praanaan dadhaatu me
That Realm of Bliss where-in the knowers of the Veda
enter with the consecration and arduous discipline of
Sannyaas - to that Realm may Vaayu lead me, bestowing
unto me the ability to breathe in a regulated manner.
Sannyaasa Ashram
Om yatra brahma vido yaanti
deekshayaa tapasaa saha
sooryo maa tatra nayatu
chakshus sooryo dadhaatu me
sooryaaya swaahaa
That Realm of Bliss where-in the knowers of the Veda enter
with the consecration and arduous discipline of Sannyaas - to
that Realm may Soorya lead me, bestowing unto me the ability
to perceive reality.
Sannyaasa Ashram
Om yatra brahma vido yaanti
deekshayaa tapasaa saha
chandro maa tatra nayatu
manash chandro dadhaatu me
chandraaya swaahaa
That Realm of Bliss where-in the knowers of the Veda enter
with the consecration and arduous discipline of Sannyaas to that Realm may Chandra lead me, bestowing unto me the
ability to think logically.
In Vedic philosophy, there exists a universal soul known as
'paramatma', which is another way of describing God. Each
living being also has a soul known as 'jivatma'. The objective
of existence is to try to merge the jivatma with the
paramatma. This is known as moksha or salvation. The four
ashrams prepare a person to undertake the process in a
controlled but directed manner.
Sannyaasa Ashram
The Sannyasi joins religious discourses.
Sannyaasa Ashram
The Sannyaasi joins religious discourses.
Sannyaasa Ashram
The Sannyaasi goes on Pilgrimages.
Sannyaasa Ashram
Sannyaasa Ashram
Sannyaasa Ashram
Become a Swami
Many of us do not participate in all the Ashrams. The majority of
us remain in the Grahasta ashram until we depart the human
body. However, there are some noble souls who go from the
Bhramacharya stage directly to Sannyaas. Swamiji Dayanand
Saraswati is such a noble soul.
Various sources, including “Arya Sanskaar Pradeep” by the
illustrious Dr. Satesh Prakash, were referred to in preparing this

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