This life stage begins when one passes the responsibilities of running a household over to the next generation. One goes from being a householder and being engaged in family life to a more introspective and meditative stage of life. Initially, one will act as a wise elder, providing advice and guidance to those in need. As time passes, he/she will gradually withdraw from the world to live a more spiritual and solitary life. It is also possible to enter vanaprastha straight from the brahmacharya (student) life stage.
The transition to this stage marks a profound shift in the goals of the person. From being focused on the material pursuits of wealth and pleasure, the yogi now looks inward toward moksha (spiritual liberation), Self-realization and unity with the Divine.