The Four Ashrams, or Stages, of Life



i read Yogananda's autobiography in the early '70's and have been meditating ever since. Love to read Swami Kriyananda's books too. My worldly duties seem to have ended....children grown....their Mom is off on her own live in a cave. My question is, "what to do, when all that is left is the "search" for God??

i am not at all wealthy, but have little interest in financial concerns, realizing my responsibility to support myself others as possible.

if i were in India, i would be in a cave

—chip arpin, usa


Dear Chip,

As you may remember from “Autobiography of a Yogi,” Master talks about the 4 ashrams or stages of life: the young student, the householder with family responsibilities, the mature person whose responsibilities are lessening and who begins to withdraw, and final sannyas, or renunciation.

It’s a beautiful flow that takes into account the changing patterns of life and how to fulfill your dharma, or spiritual duty, each step of the way to find God.

So for you personally, it would be good to see what you can detach from, what you still need to be responsible for, and make a deeper effort with your meditation and attunement with Master. It doesn’t matter if we are in a cave or in the market place. We will find God when we’ve finished our karma, have made the divine search our top priority, and completely surrendered to God and Guru.

May your search be blessed,

Nayaswami Devi