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When To Go On Vanaprastha As Per Hinduism?

Vanaprastha, forest dwelling stage, is the penultimate ashrama of life prescribed by sacred texts in Hindu religion. So when is the ideal time to go on Vanaprastha as per Hinduism?
Vanaprastha Ashrama stage of life comes after grihastha ashrama (householder) stage and before sannyasa (recluse) in Ashrama Dharma of Sanatana Dharma.

One can enter Vanaprastha Ashrama either directly from Brahmacharya Ashrama or after grihastha ashrama.

According to Hindu Shastras, it is said that the suitable time is when one has wrinkles, grey hair or when one has seen one’s first grandchild.

The daily duties of Vanaprastha person are describe in the sutras.

Women are allowed to enter Vanaprastha on their own or along with husband or other family members.

A man may or may not take his wife with him for Vanaprastha. There is no rule which states that a woman should follow her husband to the forest.

In the Vanaprastha stage of life, a person should live a life similar to that of a hermit. The attire should be minimal and suffice of necessities only; his diet should be moderate; and a regular detailed study of Upanishads should be carried out. He should perform the five mahayajna or major rituals.

It is understood from Hindu scriptures like Mahabharata, Ramayana and Puranas, that many kings and royal personages entered into Vanaprastha Ashrama.

In the Mahabharata, Satyavati, Ambika and Ambalika went to the forest to lead a life of austerity.

After the battle of Kurukshetra, King Dhritarashtra along with his wife Gandhari entered the Vanaprastha ashrama. They were followed by Kunti, Vidura and Sanjaya.

In the Aranya Kanda of Ramayana, Sage Valmiki describes the persons who were practicing this ashrama. They were Vaikanas, Valkilyas, Smprahsala, etc. These are sage who underwent rigid vows like surviving on water only or followed all the dictums of performing penance under dire circumstances. On detail observation, one can only see a thin line of between vanaprastha ashrama and the last ashrama of Sannyasa.