The spiritual tradition of India talks about four stages (or ashrams) of life. Although the demands of a particular lifetime may lead us in directions different than those described, inwardly we may feel these stages affecting how we live and think.
The first stage: In this stage of life the individual is exploring life as a student, gaining an understanding of himself and his relationship to God before pursuing his life’s dharma, or right action.
The second stage: In this stage the individual is fully engaged in outward activity and in serving the Divine through marriage, family life, and engaging in a profession or business.
The third stage: This stage of life comes after the activities of family, professional and business life have at least somewhat subsided. It can be a time to explore how to serve the Divine in a deeper way.
The fourth stage: This is a time to focus deeply on the most meaningful aspect of life – our relationship with the Divine.
The 4th Stage of Life – Inspiration and Resources
Here are offered ways to understand this important time of life, based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, and through the inspiration of Swami Kriyananda. We hope you will find these offerings helpful.
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Or contact Parvati Hansen at the Janaka Foundation office at 530-478-7695.
The Yogic Lifestyle, by Nayaswami Devi
Nayaswami Devi ends this recent article on the Yogic Lifestyle with a quote from Paramhansa Yogananda. It is one that is particularly important in understanding the end of life from a yogic perspective. Yogananda says, “While millions are thinking they are approaching old age, death, and oblivion, we (yogis) know we are approaching eternal life, eternal youth, eternal wisdom, and eternal protection.” Read the article.
The Final Exam an article by Swami Kriyananda
Break the Hypnosis of Age by Nayaswami Janakidevi
Clarity Magazine, Winter 2011
Turning 72: The Fourth Stage of Life by Nayaswami Janakidevi, Clarity Magazine, Summer 2004, – Janakidevi and her husband Byasa live at Ananda Laurelwood in Oregon.
Ananda House at Laurelwood – assisted living for devotees
Embracing Change by Nayaswami Parvati