Vanaprasthashrama (वानप्रस्थाश्रमः)

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Introduction

MW

वानप्रस्थ m. (fr. वन-प्रस्थ) a Brahmana in the third stage of life (who has passed through the stages of student and householder and has abandoned his house and family for an ascetic life in the woods ; See. आश्रम), hermit, anchorite A1 past. Mn. MBh. etc. RTL. 362

वानप्रस्थ m. ( scil. आश्रम)the third stage of a Brahman's life , forest-life MBh. R. Hariv.

Vānaprastha, as, m. (fr. vana-prastha), a Brāhman of the third order who has passed through the stages of student and householder and has left his house and family for the woods, (see āśrama); a hermit, anchorite; a class of supernatural beings; the tree Bassia Latifolia; the Palāśa tree, Butea Frondosa.

--Vānaprastha-dharma, as, m. the law or duty of a Vānaprastha.

--Vānaprasthāśrama (ºtha-āśº), as, am, m. n. the Āśrama or order of a Vānaprastha.

Apte

वानप्रस्थः [vānaprasthḥ], [वाने वनसमूहे प्रतिष्ठते स्था-क]

A Brāhmaṇa in the third stage of his religious life;

Benfey

vānaprastha, i.e. vana-pra -stha + a, m.

1. The Brāhmaṇa of the third order, who lives in woods, a hermit, Man. 6, 87.

2. The name of two particular trees.

Capeller

वानप्रस्थ 1 m. a Brahman of the third order, hermit, anchorite.

वानप्रस्थ 2 a. relating to a hermit;

m. the third stage of a Brahman's life (also °प्रस्थ्य n.).

Macdonell

वानप्रस्थ vāna-prastha, m. (betaking oneself to forest-uplands; vanaprastha), Brāhman of the third order (who has retired from domestic life to the forest), hermit;

a. relating to the forest hermit;

m. (sc. āśrama) third stage of a Brāhman's life, forest life;

-prasth-ya, n. condition of a hermit.

Shabda Sagara

m. (-स्थः)

1. The Bra4hmana of the third order, who has passed through the conditions of student and householder, and has left his house and family for lonely meditation in woods and wilds; the hermit, the anchoret.

2. A tree, (Bassia latifolia.)

3. The Pala4sha-tree, (Butea frondosa.) E. वन a wood, अण् aff., वान a solitude in the woods, &c., प्रस्थ who goes forth to, from स्था to stay, with प्र prefix, and क aff.

Shabda Kalpadruma

तृतीयाश्रमः । इति विश्वमेदिन्यौ ॥ * ॥ पुत्त्र- मुत्पाद्य वनवासं कृत्वा अकृष्टपच्यफलादि भक्ष- यित्वा ईश्वराराधनं करोति यः स वानप्रस्थः । अथर्व्वशिरसोपेतो वेदान्ताभ्यासतत्परः । यमान् सेवेत सततं नियमांश्चाप्यतन्द्रितः ॥ कृष्णाजिनी सोत्तरीयः शुक्लयज्ञोपवीतवान् । अथवाग्नीन् समारोप्य स्वात्मनि ध्यानतत्परः ॥ अनग्निरनिकेतः स्यान्मुनिर्मोक्षपरो भवेत् । तापसेष्वव विप्रेषु यात्रिकं भैक्षमाहरेत् ॥ गृहमेधिषु चान्येषु द्बिजेषु वनवासिषु । ग्रामादाहृत्य वाश्नीयादष्टौ ग्रासान् वने वसन् ॥ प्रतिगृह्य पुटेनैव पाणिना सकलेन वा । विविधाश्चोपनिषध आत्मसंसिद्धये जपेत् ॥ विद्याविशेषान् सावित्रीं रुद्राध्यायं तथैव च । महाप्रस्थानिकञ्चासौ कुर्य्यादनशनन्तथा ॥ अग्निप्रवेशमन्यद्बा ब्रह्मार्पणविधौ स्थितः ॥ ये तु सम्यगिममाश्रमं शिव- माश्रयन्त्यशिवपुञ्जनाशनम् । ते विशन्ति पदमैश्वरं परं यान्ति चैव जगतोऽस्य संस्थितिम् ॥” इति कूर्म्मपुराणे उपविभागे २६ अध्यायः ॥ अन्यत् विष्णुपुराणे ३ अंशे ९ अध्याये द्रष्टव्यम् ॥

Bhagavata Purana

Just as Brahmacharya is a preparation for the life of the Grhastha, similarly, Vanaprastha is a preparation for the final stage of Sannyasa. It is said that, after discharging all the duties of a householder, one should retire to the forest or a solitary country place and begin to meditate in solitude on higher spiritual things. At this stage, one is free from social bonds and the responsibilities of life and has ample time for study of scriptures.[1]

The Bhagavata Purana, Skanda 7, Chapter 12, explains the code of conduct prescribed for Vanaprasthas.[2] They are as follows:

  • A Vanaprastha should not eat the product of cultivation (eg. rice, wheat) or anything (like fruits, roots etc.), which though not a product of tillage, ripened before time. He should not partake of food cooked on fire. He should subsist on what is ripe or cooked by rays of the Sun.

न कृष्टपच्यमश्नीयादकृष्टं चाप्यकालतः । अग्निपक्वमथामं वा अर्कपक्वमुताहरेत् ॥ १८॥[3] na kr̥ṣṭapacyamaśnīyādakr̥ṣṭaṁ cāpyakālataḥ । agnipakvamathāmaṁ vā arkapakvamutāharet ॥ 18॥

  • He should prepare charu (an oblation of rice, barley and pulse boiled for offering to deities and pitrs) and Purodasha (boiled rice rounded into a cake for offering to different deities) of corn, wild growth (Nivara) and of a permanent nature. And when he procures new and fresh eatables, he should reject the old ones (stored by him).

वन्यैश्चरुपुरोडाशान् निर्वपेत्कालचोदितान् । लब्धे नवे नवेऽन्नाद्ये पुराणं तु परित्यजेत् ॥ १९॥[3] vanyaiścarupuroḍāśān nirvapetkālacoditān । labdhe nave nave'nnādye purāṇaṁ tu parityajet ॥ 19॥

  • It is just for the preservation of the sacred fire that he should take shelter in a house or cottage or a cave in mountains. He himself should bear exposure to snow, wind, fire, rain and heat of the Sun.

अग्न्यर्थमेव शरणमुटजं वाद्रिकन्दराम् । श्रयेत हिमवाय्वग्निवर्षार्कातपषाट् स्वयम् ॥ २०॥[3] agnyarthameva śaraṇamuṭajaṁ vādrikandarām । śrayeta himavāyvagnivarṣārkātapaṣāṭ svayam ॥ 20॥

  • The Vanaprastha with matted hair (on the head) should wear (without shaving) the hair on his body, moustaches, beard and nails and dirt (not properly washed). He should take with him kamandalu (a pot of water), deer-skin, staff, bark-garments and utensils of fire worship. The sage should thus wander in the forest for twelve, eight, four, two or one year ie. to that length of time which the mind does not get troubled through the (severity of) austerities.

केशरोमनखश्मश्रुमलानि जटिलो दधत् । कमण्डल्वजिने दण्डवल्कलाग्निपरिच्छदान् ॥ २१॥

चरेद्वने द्वादशाब्दानष्टौ वा चतुरो मुनिः । द्वावेकं वा यथा बुद्धिर्न विपद्येत कृच्छ्रतः ॥ २२॥[3]

keśaromanakhaśmaśrumalāni jaṭilo dadhat । kamaṇḍalvajine daṇḍavalkalāgniparicchadān ॥ 21॥

caredvane dvādaśābdānaṣṭau vā caturo muniḥ । dvāvekaṁ vā yathā buddhirna vipadyeta kr̥cchrataḥ ॥ 22॥

  • If (after the period of stay in the forest) he finds that, owing to ill health (diseases) or old age, he is incapable of pursuing his courses of duties (as a Vanaprastha) or prosecuting his studies in philosophy, he should adopt the vow of fasting, etc. (If he is capable, he should become a Sannyasi - a recluse).

यदाकल्पः स्वक्रियायां व्याधिभिर्जरयाथवा । आन्वीक्षिक्यां वा विद्यायां कुर्यादनशनादिकम् ॥ २३॥[3] yadākalpaḥ svakriyāyāṁ vyādhibhirjarayāthavā । ānvīkṣikyāṁ vā vidyāyāṁ kuryādanaśanādikam ॥ 23॥

  • (Before beginning the fast) he should withdraw and deposit the sacred fires (eg. ahavaniya and others) within his Self. He should renounce the notions of 'I' and 'Mine', and should merge the constituents of his body in their own causes (viz. the sky, air and other three elements).

आत्मन्यग्नीन् समारोप्य सन्न्यस्याहंममात्मताम् । कारणेषु न्यसेत्सम्यक् सङ्घातं तु यथार्हतः ॥ २४॥[3] ātmanyagnīn samāropya sannyasyāhaṁmamātmatām । kāraṇeṣu nyasetsamyak saṅghātaṁ tu yathārhataḥ ॥ 24॥

  • A self-controlled man should merge the cavities in his bodies (eg. eyes, ears, nostrils) into the sky (the element-the mahabhuta called akasha), his exhalations (vital-breaths) into the air, the temperature of his body into the fire, (fluids like) blood, phlegm and pus into the water and the rest (hard substances like bones, muscles etc.) into the earth - thus assigning them each to its respective origin. (Thus he should merge his gross body).

खे खानि वायौ निश्वासांस्तेजस्यूष्माणमात्मवान् । अप्स्वसृक्श्लेष्मपूयानि क्षितौ शेषं यथोद्भवम् ॥ २५॥[3] khe khāni vāyau niśvāsāṁstejasyūṣmāṇamātmavān । apsvasr̥kśleṣmapūyāni kṣitau śeṣaṁ yathodbhavam ॥ 25॥

  • He should consign his speech along with the organ of speech to the Fire, even his hands and handicraft to Indra, his feet along with (the power of) locomotion to Vishnu, the organ of pleasure (along with the power of procreation) to Prajapati (deity presiding over procreation).

वाचमग्नौ सवक्तव्यामिन्द्रे शिल्पं करावपि । पदानि गत्या वयसि रत्योपस्थं प्रजापतौ ॥ २६॥[3] vācamagnau savaktavyāmindre śilpaṁ karāvapi । padāni gatyā vayasi ratyopasthaṁ prajāpatau ॥ 26॥

  • (He should merge) the organ of defecation and act of excretion in mrtyu (the deity of death) directing these organs to their proper places (viz. the deities presiding over those particular organs); his auditory sense along with (its object), sound into (deities presiding over) cardinal points; and his tactual organ along with its tactility to the atman or wind deity.

मृत्यौ पायुं विसर्गं च यथास्थानं विनिर्दिशेत् । दिक्षु श्रोत्रं सनादेन स्पर्शमध्यात्मनि त्वचम् ॥ २७॥[3] mr̥tyau pāyuṁ visargaṁ ca yathāsthānaṁ vinirdiśet । dikṣu śrotraṁ sanādena sparśamadhyātmani tvacam ॥ 27॥

  • Oh Raja, he should deposit his eyes (eye-sight) and the colours and forms (the objects of the eye) with the Sun deity, the tongue or its objects of taste such as sweet, bitter etc in water (or deity Varuna), and the olfactory sense along with objects ie. various smells, with the Earth.

रूपाणि चक्षुषा राजन् ज्योतिष्यभिनिवेशयेत् । अप्सु प्रचेतसा जिह्वां घ्रेयैर्घ्राणं क्षितौ न्यसेत् ॥ २८॥[3] rūpāṇi cakṣuṣā rājan jyotiṣyabhiniveśayet । apsu pracetasā jihvāṁ ghreyairghrāṇaṁ kṣitau nyaset ॥ 28॥

  • He should merge his mind along with its desires and objects in the Moon-deity, the intelligence and the objects to be grasped by it in the highest deity Brahma. He should consign actions with self-consciousness to deity Rudra through whose instrumentality the activities actuated by the notions of 'I-ness' and 'Mine-ness' proceed. He should merge his chitta (reason, heart) along with sattva in kshetrajna (hiranyagarbha) and vaikarika ahamkara along with gunas in the Supreme brahman.

मनो मनोरथैश्चन्द्रे बुद्धिं बोध्यैः कवौ परे । कर्माण्यध्यात्मना रुद्रे यदहंममताक्रिया । सत्त्वेन चित्तं क्षेत्रज्ञे गुणैर्वैकारिकं परे ॥ २९॥[3]

mano manorathaiścandre buddhiṁ bodhyaiḥ kavau pare । karmāṇyadhyātmanā rudre yadahaṁmamatākriyā ।

sattvena cittaṁ kṣetrajñe guṇairvaikārikaṁ pare ॥ 29॥

  • He should then dissolve the earth into water, absorb water into fire, fire into the air and the air into the ether. The ether or akasha is to be merged intot the principle called ego (aham), that into Mahat (the principle of cosmic intelligence), and that into te unmanifested Prakrti and that unmanifest Pradhana into Paramatman (the Supreme being).

अप्सु क्षितिमपो ज्योतिष्यदो वायौ नभस्यमुम् । कूटस्थे तच्च महति तदव्यक्तेऽक्षरे च तत् ॥ ३०॥[3] apsu kṣitimapo jyotiṣyado vāyau nabhasyamum । kūṭasthe tacca mahati tadavyakte'kṣare ca tat ॥ 30॥

  • Having thus realised the atman as identical with Paramatman, and nothing but indestructible consciousness and becoming free from the notion of duality (with the faith that there is no independent absolute thing other than Hari), he should cease to function ike fire that has consumed its own source (fuel).

इत्यक्षरतयाऽऽत्मानं चिन्मात्रमवशेषितम् । ज्ञात्वाद्वयोऽथ विरमेद्दग्धयोनिरिवानलः ॥ ३१॥[3] ityakṣaratayā''tmānaṁ cinmātramavaśeṣitam । jñātvādvayo'tha virameddagdhayonirivānalaḥ ॥ 31॥

Mahabharata

Rajadharmanushasana Parva, Shanti Parva

तत्रारण्यकशास्त्राणि समधीत्य स धर्मवित्।12.60.5 (61.5)[4]

In the Vanaprashthashrama (tatra), a person knowledgeable in dharma upholds the duties of Vanaprastha by studying the Aranyaka shastras.[5]

Uma Shankara Samvada, Anushasana Parva, Mahabharata.

गृहवासं समुत्सृकज्य निश्चित्यैकमनाः शुभैः। वन्यैरेव तदाहारैः वर्तयेदिति च स्थितिः।।13.208.47

भूमिशय्या जटाश्मश्रुचर्मवल्कलधारणम्। देवतातिथिसत्कारो महाकृच्छ्राभिपूजनम्।।13.208.48

अग्निहोत्रं त्रिषवणं नित्यं तस्य विधीयते। ब्रह्मचर्यं क्षमा शौचं तस्य धर्मः सनातनः। एवं स विगते प्राणे देवलोके महीयते।।13.208.49[6]

One who wishes to enter the Vanaprasthashrama should, having decided with single-mindedness, stop living in the house and move into a forest and live on the best food available in the forest. This is the rule given by shastras for him.

Sleeping on the floor, growing hair, beard and mustache, wearing cloths made of animal-skin or bark, honouring deities and guests, observing worship of deities even if it requires one to endure difficulties - these are the rules of a Vanaprastha.

He is required to perform agnihotra and bathe thrice every day. Brahmacharya, kshama and shaucha are his sanatana dharmas. The one who does these, such a vanaprastha gets established in devaloka after giving up his life.[7]

Manusmrti

When should one take to Vanaprasthashrama ?

गृहस्थस्तु यथा पश्येद्वलीपलितं आत्मनः । अपत्यस्यैव चापत्यं तदारण्यं समाश्रयेत् । । ६.२ । ।

When the householder notices his wrinkles and greyness, and sees his child's child, then he should retire to the forest.[8]

संत्यज्य ग्राम्यं आहारं सर्वं चैव परिच्छदम् । पुत्रेषु भार्यां निक्षिप्य वनं गच्छेत्सहैव वा । । ६.३ । ।

Having given up cultivated food and all his belongings, he shall repair to the forest, either making over his wife to his sons, or along with her.[8]

अग्निहोत्रं समादाय गृह्यं चाग्निपरिच्छदम् । ग्रामादरण्यं निःसृत्य निवसेन्नियतेन्द्रियः । । ६.४ । ।

He shoud live by keeping the Agnihotra and its related equipments with himself and controlling his senses.[9]

मुन्यन्नैर्विविधैर्मेध्यैः शाकमूलफलेन वा । एतानेव महायज्ञान्निर्वपेद्विधिपूर्वकम् । । ६.५ । ।

The same Panchamahayajnas that have been prescribed for the householder should be offered by him according to the rules with various kinds of pure food fit for hermits or with herbs, roots and fruits.[8]

वसीत चर्म चीरं वा सायं स्नायात्प्रगे तथा । जटाश्च बिभृयान्नित्यं श्मश्रुलोमनखानि च । । ६.६ । ।

He should cloth himself in animal skin or a bark garment and bathe both in the morning and evening. He should adorn matted locks, beard, hair and nails.[9]

यद्भक्ष्यं स्याद्ततो दद्याद्बलिं भिक्षां च शक्तितः । अम्मूलफलभिक्षाभिरर्चयेदाश्रमागतान् । । ६.७ । ।

He should make the bali offering and give alms out of what he obtains as his food as per his capacity. And he should honour those who come to his hermitage with water, roots, friuts and alms. (atithi satkara)[8]

स्वाध्याये नित्ययुक्तः स्याद्दान्तो मैत्रः समाहितः । दाता नित्यं अनादाता सर्वभूतानुकम्पकः । । ६.८ । ।

He should always be engaged in Vedic study, control his senses, be friendly with everyone, keep the mind steady, always give dana but not accept and always have compassion towards all living beings.[9]

वैतानिकं च जुहुयादग्निहोत्रं यथाविधि । दर्शं अस्कन्दयन्पर्व पौर्णमासं च योगतः । । ६.९ । ।

He should always perform the Vaitanika Agnihotra and also the ishtis on Amavasya and Paurnima.[9]

ऋक्षेष्ट्याग्रयणं चैव चातुर्मास्यानि चाहरेत् । तुरायणं च क्रमशो दक्षस्यायनं एव च । । ६.१० । ।

He shall also perform the nakshatra yaga, chaturmasya, uttarayana and dakshinayana yaga in the proper order.[9]

वासन्तशारदैर्मेध्यैर्मुन्यन्नैः स्वयं आहृतैः । पुरोडाशांश्चरूंश्चैव विधिवन्निर्वपेत्पृथक् । । ६.११ । ।

By gathering the grains prescribed for Munis that grow in Vasanta (spring) and Sharad (autumn) himself, he should make Charu (cakes) and Purodasha (boiled cakes) as per the rules and perform the yagas.[9]

देवताभ्यस्तु तद्धुत्वा वन्यं मेध्यतरं हविः । शेषं आत्मनि युञ्जीत लवणं च स्वयं कृतम् । । ६.१२ । ।

Having performed the homa towards the deity with the sacred offering, he should partake the left over.[9]

स्थलजाउदकशाकानि पुष्पमूलफलानि च । मेध्यवृक्षोद्भवान्यद्यात्स्नेहांश्च फलसंभवान् । । ६.१३ । ।

He should eat vegetables growing on land and water and flowers, fruits, roots and oil extracted from the fruits of pure trees.[9]

वर्जयेन्मधु मांसं च भौमानि कवकानि च । भूस्तृणं शिग्रुकं चैव श्लेश्मातकफलानि च । । ६.१४ । ।

He shall avoid honey, meat, cabbage, mushrooms, the fragrant grass, the pot-herb and the shleshmantaka fruits.[8]

त्यजेदाश्वयुजे मासि मुन्यन्नं पूर्वसंचितम् । जीर्णानि चैव वासांसि शाकमूलफलानि च । । ६.१५ । ।

In the month of Ashvina, he shall throw away the formerly-gathered hermit's food as also the worn out clothes and the herbs, roots and fruits.[8]

न फालकृष्टं अश्नीयादुत्सृष्टं अपि केन चित् । न ग्रामजातान्यार्तोऽपि मूलाणि च फलानि च । । ६.१६ । ।

He shall not eat anything produced by ploughing, even though it may have been thrown away by some one; noe such flowers and fruits as are grown in villages, even though he be in distress.[8]

अग्निपक्वाशनो वा स्यात्कालपक्वभुगेव वा । अश्मकुट्टो भवेद्वापि दन्तोलूखलिकोऽपि वा । । ६.१७ । ।

He may eat by cooking the food on fire or eat the ripened seasonal fruits, or by crushing them on a stone or biting them with his teeth.[9]

He may be one living on food cooked by fire (one whose food consists of vegetables and rice cooked by fire), or one eating only what ripens in its own time (seasonal); He may use the stone for grinding (ie. his food may consists of flour obtained by grinding grains) or (ie. nuts that ripen in their own season and which have a kernel beneath a hard crust which have to be broken with stone and the inner kernel eaten.) or he may use his teeth as the mortar (ie. the outer crust of nuts may be removed with the teeth. However, this ought not to be done even though the nut may have been cleaned or he shall eat in such a way that his teeth may serve the purposes of the mortar, in the thumping and removing of chaff.[8]

सद्यः प्रक्षालको वा स्यान्माससंचयिकोऽपि वा । षण्मासनिचयो वा स्यात्समानिचय एव वा । । ६.१८ । ।

He should collect food for sustaining a day, one month, 6 months or a year.[9] (just enough to serve for the day[8])

नक्तं चान्नं समश्नीयाद्दिवा वाहृत्य शक्तितः । चतुर्थकालिको वा स्यात्स्याद्वाप्यष्टमकालिकः । । ६.१९ । ।

Having collected food, he may eat once either at night or in the morning; he may also fast for a day eat on the next day in the evening or fast for three days and eat in the evening on the fourth day.[9]

Two meals having been prescribed for the man's ordinary purposes, the present text lays down the dropping of one of these meals for the Vanaprastha. The sense is that as age goes on advancing, the man should go on dropping the meal times one by one. The fourth meal time is to be computed in the same manner as the eighth: Three days having elapsed, if one eats in the evening of the fourth day, he comes to be regarded as eating every eighth time.[8]

चान्द्रायणविधानैर्वा शुक्लकृष्णे च वर्तयेत् । पक्षान्तयोर्वाप्यश्नीयाद्यवागूं क्वथितां सकृत् । । ६.२० । ।

He should live by the rules of Chandrayana Vrata during the shuklapaksha and the krshnapaksha or he should eat boiled barley gruel once (either in the morning or evening) on full-moon day and new moon day.[8][9]

पुष्पमूलफलैर्वापि केवलैर्वर्तयेत्सदा । कालपक्वैः स्वयं शीर्णैर्वैखानसमते स्थितः । । ६.२१ । ।

Or he may always subsist only on flowers, roots and fruits which have ripened in their own season and fallen down spontaneously - keeping firm in the ways of life prescribed in the Vaikhanasa institutes.

Jack-fruit and some other fruits are ripened by means of fire also and it is with a view to exclude these that this epithet has been added. However, fruits ripened by means of fire are not forbidden for the householder.[8]

ग्रीष्मे पञ्चतपास्तु स्याद्वर्षास्वभ्रावकाशिकः । आर्द्रवासास्तु हेमन्ते क्रमशो वर्धयंस्तपः । । ६.२३ । ।

Gradually increasing his austerities, during summer he shall keep five fires (he shall heat himself with five fires - he shall kindle four fires close to himself on his four sides and shall expose himself to the Sun at the head), during the rains, he shall have the sky for his shelter (ie. he shall live in a place where the rain falls, and he shall not hold the umbrella or any such thing to ward off the rain), and during the winter he shall keep wet clothes (ie during the two seasons of hemanta and shishira).[8]

उपस्पृशंस्त्रिषवणं पितॄन्देवांश्च तर्पयेत् । तपश्चरंश्चोग्रतरं शोषयेद्देहं आत्मनः । । ६.२४ । ।

He should bathe thrice, please the deities and ancestors and performing severe austerities he should emaciate his body.[9][8]

अग्नीनात्मनि वैतानान्समारोप्य यथाविधि । अनग्निरनिकेतः स्यान्मुनिर्मूलफलाशनः । । ६.२५ । ।

Having contained the agnihotra fire into himself as per the instructions in the shastras, he should give up the shrautra fire and home and taking to silence (meaning keeping his speech under control for, the one who has his speech under control is called keeper of the vow of silence)[8] should live on fruits and roots (this serves to exclude all other kinds of food; he shall not eat even nivara and the other wild grains).[9]

अप्रयत्नः सुखार्थेषु ब्रह्मचारी धराशयः । शरणेष्वममश्चैव वृक्षमूलनिकेतनः । । ६.२६ । ।

He should maintain brahmacharya, sleep on the ground, not go after objects of pleasure and having given up attachment to his residence, he should live under the tree.[9]

He shalll make no effort to obtain things that give pleasure; eg. troubled by heat, he shall not move into the shade and troubled by cold, he shall not kindle fire. If however, his sufferings are removed by such natural causes as the falling of the sun's rays and the like - this is not forbidden. This rule refers to seasons other than the rains; because special rules have been prescribed with special reference to this latter season.

He shall make the roots of tree his dwelling. In th event of their being not available, stone-slabs, mountain-caves and such places have also been ordained for him.[8]

तापसेष्वेव विप्रेषु यात्रिकं भैक्षं आहरेत् । गृहमेधिषु चान्येषु द्विजेषु वनवासिषु । । ६.२७ । ।

One should ask for alms just enough for sustenance from brahmanas or grhastha dvijas living in the forest.[9][8]

ग्रामादाहृत्य वाश्नीयादष्टौ ग्रासान्वने वसन् । प्रतिगृह्य पुटेनैव पाणिना शकलेन वा । । ६.२८ । ।

If one doesnt obtain alms as mentioned above, he should take alms from village in a leaf or in his hands and have eight morsels of food.[9][8]

एताश्चान्याश्च सेवेत दीक्षा विप्रो वने वसन् । विविधाश्चाउपनिषदीरात्मसंसिद्धये श्रुतीः । । ६.२९ । ।

ऋषिभिर्ब्राह्मणैश्चैव गृहस्थैरेव सेविताः । विद्यातपोविवृद्ध्यर्थं शरीरस्य च शुद्धये । । ६.३० । ।

अपराजितां वास्थाय व्रजेद्दिशं अजिह्मगः । आ निपाताच्छरीरस्य युक्तो वार्यनिलाशनः । । ६.३१ । ।[10]

Following these and other codes of conduct, a vanaprastha brahmana should study the Upanishads and shrutis for atmajnana. These rules have also been upheld by rshis, brahmanas and grhasthas for increasing their vidya and tapasya as well as for purification of their body.[9] Or having fixed upon the north-easternly direction (aparajita/aishani), he shall go forward, moving straight on, intent (having concentrated himself by the rules of yoga) and living upon water and air - till the falling off of his body. (This refers to the grand journey). Having discarded his body by one of these methods adopted but the great sages, the brahmana with sorrow and fear departed, becomes exalted in the region of brahman.

The text distinctly adds the term region specially as liberation is going to be spoken as being led to from the fourth life stage.[8]

Narada Purana

वानप्रस्थाः खल्वपि धर्ममनुसरंतः पुण्यानि तीर्थानि नदीप्रस्रवणानि स्वभक्तेष्वरण्येषु

मृगवराहमहिष शार्दूलवनगजाकीर्णेषु तपस्यंते अनुसंचरंति ।। ४३-१२० ।।

त्यक्तग्राम्यवस्त्राभ्यवहारोपभोगा वन्यौषधिफलमूलपर्णपरिमितविचित्रनियताहाराः

स्थानासनिनोभूपाषाणसिकताशर्करावालुकाभस्मशायिनः काशुकुशचर्मवल्कलसंवृतांगाः

केशश्यश्रुनखरोमधारिणो नियतकालोपस्पर्शनाःशुष्कबलिहोमकालानुष्टायिनः ।।

समित्कुशकुसुमापहारसंमार्जनलब्धविश्रामाः शीतोष्णपवनविष्टं भविभिन्नसर्वत्वचो

विविधनियमयोगचर्यानुष्टानविहितपरिशुष्कमांसशोणितत्वगस्थिभूता धृतिपराः सत्त्वयोगाच्छरीराण्युद्वहंते ।। ४३-१२१ ।।[11]

Similar verse in Mahabharata (Gita Press version Shanti Parva Adhyaya 192 Pg.no.4907[5])

References

  1. Swami Sivananda (1999), All About Hinduism, Uttar Pradesh: The Divine Life Society.
  2. Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare, The Bhagavata Purana (Part III), Ancient Indian Tradition & Mythology (Volume 9), Edited by J.L.Shastri, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, P.no.971-973.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 Bhagavata Purana, Skandha 7, Adhyaya 12.
  4. Mahabharata, Shanti Parva, Adhyaya 60
  5. 5.0 5.1 Pandit Ramnarayanadatta Shastri Pandey, Mahabharata (Khanda 5-Shantiparva), Gorakhpur: Gita Press.
  6. Mahabharata, Anushasana Parva, Adhyaya 208
  7. Shastri, Ramnarayanadatta Pandey, Mahabharata Volume 6 (With Hindi Translation), Gorakhpur:Gita Press.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 8.16 8.17 8.18 Ganganath Jha (1920-39), Manusmrti (Vol.5), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 Girija Prasad Dvivedi (1917), The Manusmriti, Lucknow: Newal Kishore Press.
  10. Manusmrti, Adhyaya 6
  11. Narada Purana, Adhyaya 43