Then Baba explained that in the olden times, during the Vedic period, there was the system of four stages of life. It started with Brahmacharya, a period of 25 years, which was for the students of the Gurukul, the Home of the Master. They lived with the Master and learned all arts and sciences while strictly learning the art of Meditation and self control, through complete training of the mind.
When they completed that they were welcomed back into their family life and had to live the life of a householder for the next 25 years. This was the period when the person had to face the challenges of life and the tests of family life. All that they learned at the Home of the Master were put to acid test and that helped them to mature into deeper seekers of the Wisdom.
Then after completing 50 years, they were ready to go to the Third Ashram called Vana Prastha, or the forest life. At that time the householder had to give up every tie with the family and possessions, and retire into seclusion of the forests. For the next 25 years, they were supposed to be immersed in the contemplation of the Divine Reality, detached as they were from all that is worldly and attachments to the family and dear ones.
Finally at 75 they were ready for the final and the 4th Ashram called Sannyas, or State of equanimity. They lived a full 100 years as the most virtuous soul sharing the bliss of the Divine life.