Ashrama the order(s) of human life prescribed by Manusmrti, which is also known as Chaturashrama. It refers to the four distinctive phases of a person's life in ancient India: Brahmacharya, Garhasthya, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa. Brahmacharya: After the sacred thread ceremony (Upanayana), the young boy was assigned to a guru to study the scriptures. He had to stay with his guru and serve him during this period. Garhasthya: After completing his education, the young man left his preceptor's house with his blessings and entered family life. This entailed marriage, procreation, maintaining relatives and performing religious duties. Vanaprastha: At the mature age of approximately fifty, after completing most of his duties as a family man, generally after the birth of grandsons, the man was supposed to retire to a forest and pass the time praying, worshipping, serving guests and living on alms. Sannyasa: After the age of approximately seventy years, the man was supposed to cast off all worldly po ssession and turn into a recluse. At present these orders are rarely followed. [Anjalika Mukhopadhyay]