Of the four ashrams, the first in order is Brahmacharyashram (the stage of student life), followed by Gruhasthashram (the stage of a householder), followed by Vanprasthashram (the stage of seclusion) and then Sanyasashram (the stage of total renunciation).
On attaining omniscience, when the Tirthankar Bhagwan
(Lord Rushabhdeva) moved from place to place, His son
Bharat gathered the contemporary scholars of the four
Vedas who then planned out a social code of conduct to
encourage purity in the social customs. It was then that the
tradition of the four ashrams along with the four castes was
introduced.Thus, this effort undertaken by Bharatji greatly
facilitated those seekers who treaded the path of social
teachings as laid down by the ever-compassionate Lord,
so that they could ultimately attain liberation.
Who is a Vanprastha?
Vanprastha in the literal sense means 'to retire into the forest' or in the modern day it means ‘handing over the reins of the household and finance to the next generation, and thus gradually withdrawing from worldly activities.' Ardent seekers who take this firm committed step in their spiritual journey and truly follow the path propounded by the Tirthankars are known as Vanprastha. Initiated by Pujya Gurudevshri, on the pious day of His birth anniversary 26th September, these blessed seekers follow a specific code of conduct, laid down to help them move ahead towards their goal of Self-realisation.
Seekers wishing to embark on this journey, propounded by Bhagwan Rushabhdeva and blessed by Shrimad Rajchandraji; harbouring the goal of attaining true detachment, are bestowed with 'Vanprastha Diksha' by Pujya Gurudevshri on the auspicious day of His birth, i.e. 26th September.
Those seekers, who wish to accept Vanprastha Diksha and walk ahead on the path of self-realisation, need to refer to the code of conduct given below:
- Spiritual retreat of minimum 125 days in a year. (Please Note: It does not have to be 125 days at one stretch).
- These 125 days can include stay in the Ashram, yatras, Paryushan Parva etc. retreats taken for seva and sadhana.
- In case of an unforeseen emergency, illness etc., if you are unable to go to a separate place for a retreat, then the days, when you spend 9 hours in sadhana (swadhyay, bhakti, dhyan, etc.) at home, can be counted in your 125 days.
- Only for NRIs: The days when you spend 9 hours in sadhana-seva and wear white clothes at home, attending no social functions or business activities, along with abstinence from shopping and TV can be counted in the 125 days.
- Observe four hours of silence (or four samayiks) everyday.
- One day in a week 12 hours maun, with some form of tapa as per your capacity.
- Full morning and evening Ajnabhakti and one hour of meditation.
- Chaityavandan and Devvandan.
- Minimum 2 hours of swadhyay everyday.
- During retreat days, 9 hours of sadhana - seva daily.
- Minimum 3 sadhana bhattis in a year.
- Only for NRIs: Self Bhatti can be done as per the culture given on the Mission Website. Click here to know more.
- One besnu or 2 tunks (i.e. 2 meals in a day).
- 11 times recitation of Kshamapna.
- 500 written jaaps of the mantra - 'Sahajatmaswaroop Paramguru'.
1. Lifelong abstinence from -
- Saat Vyasan i.e. 7 addictions (gambling, alcohol, non-vegetarian food, stealing, prostitution, adultery and hunting).
- Saat Abhaksha i.e. 7 forbidden food items (fruit of banyan tree, fruit of peepal tree, fruit of peepla tree, umarda, figs, honey and butter).
3. During retreat days, observe complete celibacy and abstain from eating after sunset.
4. During retreat days, wear white clothes.
5. Only for NRIs: During summer, no eating after sunset and during winter, abstain from eating after 7:30 p.m.
Social Eligibility (not for abhyasi)
- Complete freedom from debt.
- If not, there should be someone willing to accept the responsibility of fulfilling your debt. (This must be in writing).
- During retreat days, complete abstinence from business activities (May use phone for only important and urgent matters).
- During other days, not more than 6 hours a day.
- During days other than the retreat days, not to attend marriages and social occasions other than immediate family members.
- Allowed to attend first family weddings and social occasions with complete detachment.
Only those, who have undertaken 'Vanprastha Abhyas' for minimum one year and have studied the sacred Vachanamrutji at least twice are eligible to take Vanprastha Diksha.
Come… respond to this inner calling.