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After being a householder and experiencing the sorrow, happiness and
joy and learning the true significance of all these, man has to retire
into the forest, when he reaches the age of 45 or 50, leaving the house
he has built and the place where he lived. If his wife is alive then,
he has to take her consent and entrust her to the care of the son or her
parents or take her also with him and treat her like a brother himself
being immersed in Brahmacharya. There is a great change even in diet.
He has to eat roots and fruits and drink only milk. Things should not
be baked full but only up to a third. Rice should not be used much. If
it is not possible to arrange diet for oneself on these lines, he can
visit the village near-by and collect food by begging. But he has to bring
the food into the forest and eat it there, in his own habitation. He has
to give to his dependents the same food that he takes, for they cannot
prepare food they prefer, or get it supplied. If they do not relish it,
they have to be content with milk and fruits only, for, he must not change
his routine for satisfying others. However troublesome it may be, the
discipline should not be modified, or given up. This is to be specially
noted. He cannot have any worship, or alms giving or any such duties.
Even if he gives food or articles to others, it cannot be regarded as
alms or Dana. He cannot also receive as Dana anything from others. He
must have the same pure Love towards all in equal measure. Discarding
old clothes once a year, he must don new clothes, in the Aswija month.
The chandrayanavratha is the most important of the Vaanaprastha vrathas.
During the month, he must eat for the first fifteen days, every day a
morsel less and for the remaining fifteen, a morsel more every day. He
has to take only conjee on the New and Full Moon days. In the rainy season,
he must do Thapas standing in the rain; in winter, he must wear wet clothes
while engaged in Thapas. Performing such asceticism systematically, he
has to bathe three times a day. The various Upanishadic statements are
to be studied, their meanings understood and experienced. If such a Vanaprastha
falls victim to any disease, the diet routine has to be cancelled and
he has to live on air and water; he shall walk on and on, in the north-eastern
direction until he dies. On the other hand, if he has no bodily disease
and if he is hale and hearty, he will experience, after he has adopted
the above disciplines, the spontaneous Dawn of True Knowledge. By means
of this Knowledge, he will attain Moksha.