Birth-24 years: Brahmcharyashram

24-48 years: Grihasthashram

48-72 years: Vanprashthashram

72- Till death: Sanyasashram

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashrama_(stage)

I have also read in various Hindu books for an age of accepting the Sanyasashram is 72 years. One can not accept it before the arrival of this age. But Adi Shankaracharya brake down the rule. What is the reason behind this decision of Shankaracharya?

  • He already had a life of only 32 years predestined, so how could he waste time waiting for 72 years
    – user14995
    Apr 12, 2018 at 3:58
  • Did they know in advance about his age of life? Apr 12, 2018 at 4:06
  • Sannyasa can be taken at an any age.
    – user9969
    Apr 12, 2018 at 4:28
  • so wikipedia is your scriptural source? Apr 12, 2018 at 4:37
  • 1
    Since Aadi Sankara was pre destined to live only 32 years, he accepted Sanyasa along with Brahmacharya. The four Ashramas are for the common people who are in the bindings of Maya and not for awakened souls, who can take Sanyasa when they feel they are ready to propogate their doctrine. Apr 12, 2018 at 6:20

1 Answer 1


Sannyasa ashram can be taken up by person who has control over his senses and who longs for vairagya with undivided attention.

The following is the speech between Narada and Brahma in NARADA PARIVRAJAKA UPANISHAD OF ATHARVANAVEDA

That Brāhmaṇa who is a celibate, who has under control his tongue, sexual organ, stomach, and hand may become a sannyāsin without undergoing the ceremony of marriage. Having known samsāra as one without sāra (or essence) and not having undergone any marriage on account of the desire to know the sāra (or essence of God), they become sannyāsins on account of the practice of the supreme vairāgya. The characteristic of pravṛṭṭi (path) is the performance of karma; that of nivṛṭṭi is jñāna. Therefore placing jñāna in the forefront, the wise man should take up sannyāsa.

So if a person is good enough to take sannyasa ashram by having control over his senses then there is no need to look into age limits and based on this Adi Shankaracharya didn't break any rules.

The rules and age guidelines are for people who are born with senses flailing around and needs marriage to get them under control and desire vairagya.

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