The spiritual tradition of India talks about four stages (or ashrams) of life. Although the demands of a particular lifetime may lead us in directions different than those described, inwardly we may feel these stages affecting how we live and think.

  • The first stage: In this stage of life the individual is exploring life as a student, gaining an understanding of himself and his relationship to God before pursuing his life’s dharma, or right action.
  • The second stage: In this stage the individual is fully engaged in outward activity and in serving the Divine through marriage, family life, and engaging in a profession or business.
  • The third stage: This stage of life comes after the activities of family, professional and business life have at least somewhat subsided. It can be a time to explore how to serve the Divine in a deeper way.
  • The fourth stage: This is a time to focus deeply on the most meaningful aspect of life – our relationship with the Divine.

The 4th Stage of Life – Inspiration and Resources

Here are offered ways to understand this important time of life, based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, and through the inspiration of Swami Kriyananda. We hope you will find these offerings helpful.

For questions or further information, please Contact Us.

Or contact Parvati Hansen at the Ananda Janaka Foundation office at 530-478-7695.

The Yogic Lifestyle

Nayaswami Devi ends this recent article on the Yogic Lifestyle with a quote from Paramhansa Yogananda. It is one that is particularly important in understanding the end of life from a yogic perspective. Yogananda says, “While millions are thinking they are approaching old age, death, and oblivion, we (yogis) know we are approaching eternal life, eternal youth, eternal wisdom, and eternal protection.”

Growing Spiritually in Later Life,
video talk with Jyotish & Devi, June 2016

Growing Younger
Article by

Evening Hospice
Blog by Hanuman Baughman, Founder Ananda House

Death – The final exam
Video talk by Swami Kriyananda

The Final Exam
Article by Swami Kriyananda

How to Solve the Mystery of Life After Death
by Paramhansa Yogananda

Understanding Death
by Paramhansa Yogananda

Evening Hospice
by Swami Kriyananda

Break the Hypnosis of Age
by Nayaswami Janakidevi Clarity Magazine, Winter 2011

Turning 72: The Fourth Stage of Life
by Nayaswami Janakidevi, Clarity Magazine, Summer 2004, – Janakidevi and her husband Byasa live at Ananda Laurelwood in Oregon.

Ananda Astral Ascension Ceremony

Embracing Change
by Nayaswami Parvati