Vānaprastha (Sanskrit: वानप्रस्थ) literally meaning “way of the forest” or “forest road”, is the third stage in the varnasrama system of Hinduism

It represents the third of the four ashramas (stages) of human life, the other three being Brahmacharya (bachelor student, 1st stage), Grihastha (married householder, 2nd stage) and Sannyasa (renunciation ascetic, 4th stage)

Vānaprastha is part of the Vedic ashrama system, which starts when a person hands over household responsibilities to the next generation, takes an advisory role, and gradually withdraws from the world

This stage typically follows Grihastha (householder), but a man or woman may choose to skip householder stage, and enter Vānaprastha directly after Brahmacharya (student) stage, as a prelude to Sannyasa (ascetic) and spiritual pursuits

Vānaprastha stage is considered as a transition phase from a householder’s life with greater emphasis on Artha and Kama (wealth, security, pleasure and sexual pursuits) to one with greater emphasis on Moksha (spiritual liberation)