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The Ashram system
|Ashram or stage||Age (years)||Description||Rituals of transition|
|Till 24||The male child would live with his family till the age of 5. He would then be sent to a Gurukul (house of the guru) and typically would live with a Guru (teacher), acquiring knowledge of science, philosophy, scriptures and logic, practicing self-discipline and evangelicalism, learning to live a life of dharma (righteousness).||Upanayana at entry.|
|24-48||The ideal householder life is spent in enjoying family life, carrying out one's duties to family and society, and gainful labor. The man in this ashram has to shoulder responsibilities of the other three ashrams.||Samavartana at entry. Other rituals of Hindu marriage later.|
|48-72||After the completion of one's householder duties, one gradually withdraws from the world, freely shares wisdom with others, and prepares for the complete renunciation of the final stage.|
|72-demise||One completely withdraws from the world and starts spiritual pursuits, the seeking of moksha (freedom from the cycle of rebirth), and practicing meditation to that end.|
stages of life
(aims of life)
|Saisava||0–2 years||No moral codes during this period|
|Balya||3–12 years||Brahmacharya||Dharma||Vidyarambha, Learning of alphabet, arithmetic, basic education according to varna|
(13 - 19)
|Kaishora||13–15 years||Brahmacharya||Dharma and Moksha|
|Tarunya||16–19 years||Brahmacharya||Dharma and Moksha|
(20 - 59)
|20–29 years||Brahmacharya or Grihastha||Dharma, Artha and Moksha|
|30–59 years||Grihastha||Dharma, Artha and Kama and Moksha|
|60–79 years||Vanaprastha||Dharma and Moksha|
|80+ years||Sanyasa||Dharma and Moksha|
- Flood, Gavin. Olivelle, Patrick. 2003. The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. Malden: Blackwell. pg. 277.
- Chakkarath, p. 39.
- Rama, p. 467.
- J. Donald Walters (1998), The Hindu Way of Awakening: Its Revelation, Its Symbols, an Essential View of Religion, Crystal Clarity Publishers, pp. 154–, ISBN 978-1-56589-745-8, retrieved 12 July 2013
- Kriyananda, p. 154.
- Ashrama, Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
- Friedlmeier, Chakkarath, Schwarz (2005), Culture And Human Development, Psychology Press, ISBN 1-84169-568-8
- Kriyananda, Swami (1998), The Hindu Way of Awakening, Crystal Clarity Publishers, ISBN 1-56589-745-5
- Rama, Swami (1985), Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita, Himalayan Institute Press, ISBN 0-89389-090-1