Ashrama-dharma is meant for releasing the prisoners of matter
The conditioned souls under material bondage are prisoners of matter, and therefore self-realization is the ultimate aim of life. The whole system of ashrama-dharma is a means to detachment. One who fails to assimilate this spirit of detachment is allowed to enter into family life with the same spirit of detachment. Therefore, one who attains detachment may at once adopt the fourth order, namely, renounced, and thus live on charity only, not to accumulate wealth, but just to keep body and soul together for ultimate realization. Household life is for one who is attached, and the vanaprastha and sannyasa orders of life are for those who are detached from material life. The brahmacari-ashrama is especially meant for training both the attached and detached.
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