Vanaprastha: Communing with Nature

Vanaprastha is a Sanskrit term translated as “retiring to the forest.” Vana means “forest” and prastha means “going to.”

American philosopher and academic John G. Messerly notes how retreat, reflection, and nature have present an ancient and enduring fellowship:

A reader sent me a beautiful description of the tranquility he finds walking in and communing with nature. It seems my friend has become a forest dweller in the Hindu tradition! I think that if we don’t find peace in this way, we probably won’t find it anywhere, for many seers and sages have found something vastly preferable in nature and solitude.

Here on the same topic is one of my intellectual heroes, Will Durant.

We suspect that when our fires begin to burn low, we shall want the healing peace of uncrowded mountains and spacious fields. After every idea has had its day with us and we have fought for it not wisely or too well, we in our turn shall tire of the battle, and pass on to the young our thinning fascicle of ideals. Then we shall take to the woods; we shall make friends of the animals; we shall leave the world to stew in its own deviltry, and shall take no further thought of its reform.

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