Varnashrama: Hindu System of Caste and Stage of Life

Hindu caste system

is a way of (categorizing the society and the stage of life. In Hindus the social system division is called varna and the stages of life is called ashrama. In Hindu caste system there are 4 castes namely Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. There are

4 varnas

namely Brahmacharya, Grihasta, Vanaprasta and Sannyasa and

4 ashrams

namely Brahmacharya, Grihasta, Vanaprasta and Sannyasa. Let us know more details about this in these article.

The Four Varnas:

Varna refers to Vedic term for categorization of the society based on the qualities and type of work. In Bhagadvad gita (4.13) the four varnas in the society is described as:

  • Brahmins:

    This category includes teachers, scholars, and priests

  • Kshatriyas:

    Kings, rulers, soldiers come in this category

  • Vaishyas:

    In this category cattle herders, merchants and all types of agriculturists come

  • Shudras:

    Laborers, artisans and craftsmen come under this category

All the classes are important for smooth working of a society.

The Four Ashrams:

Ashrams means the shelter. It is also the stages of the human life. Four ashrams are as follows:


This stage of life is the stage of learning. It is the life of celibacy. In this stage the child is sent to spiritual master or teachers to learn how to lead life happily and successfully. Mostly first 25 years of life is called life of Bramacharya.


This is the second stage of life where the person marries according to the religious principles and allowed to have sex for progeny. In this stage of householder one should earn and give charity. Life from 25 to 50 years is called the stage of Grihasta stage.


This is stage when the person becomes serious in realizing God. He leaves the family life and goes to Vana or forest or sacred place to seek self-realization. The wife accompanies in the Vanaprasata. Generally the stage of 50 to 70 years is Vanaprasta.


The last stage of the life is called Sannaysa. The person leaves even wife and takes to the life of renunciation. In this stage the person is completely self realized and gets ready to go back to God. Above 75 years to end of life the person is the stage of Sannyasa.

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