1- students - after a boy undergoes a ceremony between 8 and 12, making him a full member of the caste. The boy is taught by his guru until ages of 20 and 24.
2- Householders - the longest of the stages, lasting until middle age. Must live an active married life and apply the 3 ideals of social living. 1( observance of accepted religious duties. 2( the accumulation of wealth. 3( the enjoyment of pleasure.
- 3- Forest Dwellers/ Retirees.
- Starts when the householder's hair begins to turn gray or when his first grandson is born. Leaves home alone( or with his wife) a d lives as a hermit in the forest to lead a life of reflection and meditation. In the forest he must work to detach himself from previous life and attachments.
4- Sannyasi - when the forest dweller feels spiritually ready to leave the forest life and begin the life of an ascetic. Becomes homeless, void of material desires, attachments and possessions, including his ties with his wife if she came with him.