Vanaprastha, Vānaprastha, Vana-prastha: 23 definitions


Vanaprastha means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi, Hindi, biology. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

Alternative spellings of this word include Vaanprasth.

In Hinduism

Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

[«previous next»] — Vanaprastha in Vaishnavism glossary
Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ).—Retired family life, in which one quits home to cultivate renunciation and travels from holy place to holy place in preparation for the renounced order of life; the third order of Vedic spiritual life; A retired householder. A member of the third spiritual devision of life, according to the Vedic social system of four āśramas.

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhajana-rahasya - 2nd Edition

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ) refers to:—A member of the third stage of life (āśrama) in the varṇāśrama system; retired life which entails freedom from family responsibilities and the acceptance of spiritual vows. (cf. Glossary page from Bhajana-Rahasya).

Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Vanaprastha in Purana glossary
Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ).—(House-holder in the forest). One of the four stages of life. (See under Āśrama).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ).—A sādhu: fit for Śrāddha feeding;1 duties of: living on fruits and roots; clothing with skins and barks of trees; bathing morning and evening; performance of homa; life in forest;2 the third order of life.3

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 32. 26; III. 7. 317; 9. 70; 15. 16 and 35.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 8. 176; Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 9. 18-23. Matsya-purāṇa 225. 3.
  • 3) Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 1. 30.

1b) The third āśrama;1 adopted by Yayāti after Pūru's coronation; living on fruits and roots and always in peace, having conquered his mind and anger, was engaged for 1,000 years in offering oblations to Pitṛs and Devas and in fire rites and entertaining guests; performed penance feeding on water alone for 3 years, on air for a year, in the midst of fire for another year and standing on one leg for six months; reached heaven.2

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 59. 25; 104. 23.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 35. 1-2, 13-17; 40. 1, 4 and 7.
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Arthashastra (politics and welfare)

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Indian Ethics: Individual and Social

Vanaprastha (वनप्रस्थ), or “life in the forest” refers to the third of the four Āśramas (“stages of life”).—The division of one’s life into the four āśramas (e.g., Vanaprastha) and their respective dharmas, was designed, in principle at least, to provide fulfilment to the person in his social, moral and spiritual aspects, and so to lead to harmony and balance in the society.

Arthashastra book cover
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Arthashastra (अर्थशास्त्र, arthaśāstra) literature concerns itself with the teachings (shastra) of economic prosperity (artha) statecraft, politics and military tactics. The term arthashastra refers to both the name of these scientific teachings, as well as the name of a Sanskrit work included in such literature. This book was written (3rd century BCE) by by Kautilya, who flourished in the 4th century BCE.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Source: Shodhganga: The saurapurana - a critical study (dharma)

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ) or Vānaprasthin refers to the third of the four “stages of life” (aśrama), according to the 10th century Saurapurāṇa: one of the various Upapurāṇas depicting Śaivism.—From the times of the most ancient dharmaśāstras the number of āśramas has been four:—Brahmacarya, Gṛhastha, Vānaprastha and Sannyāsin.—When he sees that his head has grey hair and that there are wrinkles on his, body he resorts to the forest i.e. he becomes a vānaprastha.

In the twentieth chapter of the Saurapurāṇa the duties of the Vānaprasthas and the Sannyāsa are described. Vānaprastha or secluded
life in the forest is a stage preparatory to the final stage of renunciation. This life is characterised by severe discipline in the matters of food, dress and other physical comforts. The Vānaprasthi lives on fruits and roots, engage in performing pañcayajñas, worship the guests thinking them to be Śiva. The bare ground serves as bed. Skin and Kuśa grass serve as clothing. He has to bath thrice a day, has to worship Śiva daily and meditate on the Lord. He has to study and observe penance with perfect equanimity. Those twice-born who live as such in the third stage of life gets liberation. This is a stage of transition from the life of a householder to that of the Sannyāsin; and it is a period of probation entitling one to enter a state of complete renunciation.

Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Vanaprastha in Shaktism glossary
Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ) refers to a either a (forest-dwelling) Gṛhastha or a (solitatry) Brahmacārin, according to the 16th century Śaivāgamaparibhāṣāmañjarī, a compendium of extracts from the Siddhāntāgamas written by Siddhāntin Vedajñāna.—[...] The recognized observances (āśrama) are that of the householder [i.e., gṛhasta], the mendicant monk (bhikṣu), the brahmacārin and the forest dwelling ascetic, but this basic list is qualified by dichotomies within each of the observances and, moreover, by categories that are superimposed on the aforementioned four:... [...] The vānaprastha can be a gṛhastha who retires [to the forest] with his wife or, on the contrary, be a solitary brahmacārin. Worth noting in this context the special praise for the state of the gṛhastha which is considered to be the best as the gṛhastha can sustain equally well the role of brahmacārin and the vānaprastha.

Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Yoga (school of philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Vanaprastha in Yoga glossary
Source: ORA: Amanaska (king of all yogas): A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation by Jason Birch

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ) refers to a “forest-dweller”, according to the Yogayājñavalkya.—The Amanaska’s description of the ideal place in which to practise Yoga is based on four standard characteristics; it should be isolated, solitary, clean and beautiful. Similar descriptions are found in Tantric traditions. [...] The themes of isolation, solitude, cleanliness and beauty are also found in many yoga texts which postdate the Amanaska’s second chapter. For example, Yogayājñavalkya 1.32: “[The forest-dweller (vānaprastha)] should perform the sacrificial rites in fire according to the [Vedic] injunctions [and dwell] with or without his wife in a remote place in a forest which has fruit, root vegetables and water”.

Yoga book cover
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Yoga is originally considered a branch of Hindu philosophy (astika), but both ancient and modern Yoga combine the physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga teaches various physical techniques also known as āsanas (postures), used for various purposes (eg., meditation, contemplation, relaxation).

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Vanaprastha in Shaivism glossary
Source: HAL: The function of the Vṛṣasārasaṃgraha in the Śivadharma corpus

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ) refers to one of the Six Āśramas referred to by Kauṇḍinya in his comments on Pāśupatasūtra 3.1.—The system of the four Brahmanical Āśramas also survived practically intact during the time of the Tantric and non-Tantric manifestations of Śaivism and Vaiṣṇavism The editor of the Trivandrum edition of the Pāśupatasūtra gives a list in explanation of the phrase ‘Six Āśramas’ [e.g., Vānaprastha]. This interpretation is probably based on Kauṇḍinya ad Pāśupatasūtra 1.6 and 4.18 (“the paths of the householder, the chaste student, the forest-dweller, the mendicant, and the heretic are wrong paths”).

Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

[«previous next»] — Vanaprastha in Hinduism glossary
Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्‍थ): The third stage of the dvija's life, when he is required to relinquish worldly responsibilities to his heirs and retires to the woods with his wife for an anchorite's life. A person who is living in the forest as a hermit after giving up material desires.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[«previous next»] — Vanaprastha in Jainism glossary
Source: Jaina Yoga

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ) refers to the third of the four stages of a layman (āśrama) according to Cāmuṇḍarāya (940–989 A.D.) in his Caritra-sāra. The vānaprastha is one who has not taken the vow of nudity but wears one piece of cloth and engages in moderate asceticism. (This would perhaps correspond to the ailaka layman of later times). Cāmuṇḍarāya, who was a Digambara Jain, has taken over the Hindu concept of the four āśramas, which, following Jinasena, he terms brahmacārin, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and bhikṣu.

According to Medhāvin (fifteenth century) the vānaprastha—here equivalent to a kṣullaka—is also styled apavāda-liṅgin and the bhikṣu (as) utsarga-liṅgin.

General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Biology (plants and animals)

[«previous next»] — Vanaprastha in Biology glossary
Source: Google Books: CRC World Dictionary (Regional names)

Vanaprastha in India is the name of a plant defined with Acacia intsia in various botanical sources. This page contains potential references in Ayurveda, modern medicine, and other folk traditions or local practices It has the synonym Mimosa caesia L. (among others).

Example references for further research on medicinal uses or toxicity (see latin names for full list):

· Flora Caroliniana (1788)
· Species Plantarum (1753)
· Species Plantarum.
· A Numerical List of Dried Specimens (5250)

If you are looking for specific details regarding Vanaprastha, for example side effects, health benefits, chemical composition, pregnancy safety, diet and recipes, extract dosage, have a look at these references.

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This sections includes definitions from the five kingdoms of living things: Animals, Plants, Fungi, Protists and Monera. It will include both the official binomial nomenclature (scientific names usually in Latin) as well as regional spellings and variants.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Vanaprastha in Marathi glossary
Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

vanaprastha (वनप्रस्थ).—n S The woods or wilderness as a place of retirement and seclusion for the Brahman of the vānaprastha or hermit order. (The word, although signifying generally Wilderness-place, obtains the special application above shown.)

--- OR ---

vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ).—m (S) The Brahman 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 or anchorite. 2 also vānaprasthya n S The āśrama or order of the hermit-Brahman.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ).—m The Brâhman in the third stage of life-the hermit.

context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit dictionary

[«previous next»] — Vanaprastha in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ).—[vāne vanasamūhe pratiṣṭhate sthā-ka]

1) A Brāhmaṇa in the third stage of his religious life; तपसा कर्षितोऽत्यर्थं यस्तु ध्यानपरो भवेत् । संन्यासीह स विज्ञेयो वानप्रस्थाश्रमे स्थितः (tapasā karṣito'tyarthaṃ yastu dhyānaparo bhavet | saṃnyāsīha sa vijñeyo vānaprasthāśrame sthitaḥ) ||

2) An anchorite, a hermit.

3) The Madhuka tree.

4) The Palāśa tree.

Derivable forms: vānaprasthaḥ (वानप्रस्थः).

--- OR ---

Vanaprastha (वनप्रस्थ).—a. retiring into a wood, leading the life of a hermit.

-sthaḥ a wood situated on a tableland.

Vanaprastha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms vana and prastha (प्रस्थ).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Vanaprastha (वनप्रस्थ).—n.

(-sthaṃ) A wood situated on table land.

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Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ).—m.

(-sthaḥ) 1. The Brahmana 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 Palasha-tree, (Butea frondosa.) E. vana a wood, aṇ aff., vāna a solitude in the woods, &c., prastha who goes forth to, from sthā to stay, with pra prefix, and ka aff.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ).—i. e. vana-pra -stha + a, m. 1. The Brāhmaṇa of the third order, who lives in woods, a hermit, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 6, 87. 2. The name of two particular trees.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ).—1. [masculine] a Brahman of the third order, hermit, anchorite.

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Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ).—2. [adjective] relating to a hermit; [masculine] the third stage of a Brahman's life (also prasthya [neuter]).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Vanaprastha (वनप्रस्थ):—[=vana-prastha] [from vana > van] m. or n. (?) a forest situated on elevated or table land, [Mahābhārata]

2) [v.s. ...] Name of a place, [Rājataraṅgiṇī]

3) [v.s. ...] mfn. retiring into a forest, living the life of an anchorite, [Monier-Williams’ Sanskrit-English Dictionary]

4) Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ):—[from vāna] m. ([from] vana-prastha) a Brāhman 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 āśrama), hermit, anchorite (mentioned by Megasthenes under the name ὑλόβιοι), [Āpastamba; Manu-smṛti; Mahābhārata] etc., [Religious Thought and Life in India 362]

5) [v.s. ...] a class of supernatural beings, [Monier-Williams’ Sanskrit-English Dictionary]

6) [v.s. ...] Bassia Latifolia or Butea Frondosa, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

7) [v.s. ...] mfn. relating to a Vānaprastha

8) [v.s. ...] m. ([scilicet] āśrama) the third stage of a Brāhman’s life, forest-life, [Mahābhārata; Rāmāyaṇa; Harivaṃśa]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ):—[vāna-prastha] (sthaḥ) 1. m. A brāhman of the 3rd order; a hermit; the Palās tree; and Bassia latifolia,

[Sanskrit to German]

Vanaprastha in German

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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Hindi dictionary

[«previous next»] — Vanaprastha in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Vānaprastha (वानप्रस्थ) [Also spelled vaanprasth]:—(nm) the third of the four stages ( [āśrama] ) of life prescribed by tradition for a caste Hindu—the stage of abandoning worldly things; hence —[āśrama; vānaprasthī] (nm and a).

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Kannada-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Vanaprastha in Kannada glossary
Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Vanaprastha (ವನಪ್ರಸ್ಥ):—[noun] a forest in a highland.

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Vānaprastha (ವಾನಪ್ರಸ್ಥ):—

1) [noun] the third of the four stages in a brāhmaṇa’s life, which is to be spent in a forest, being away from his children, worldly possession, etc.

2) [noun] a brāhmaṇa is this stage of life.

3) [noun] the tree Butea frondosa of Papiionaceae family.

4) [noun] the tree Madhuca indica ( = Bassia latifolia) of Sapotaceae family.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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