Examiner: On your path, do you expect that after a certain amount of time the disciple will achieve enlightenment? I think traditionally a disciple is taught for twelve years, and then he graduates or something.Sri Chinmoy: Our Indian spiritual institutes have four orders of life; four different stages we call it. After childhood the first twelve years is student life. Then the seekers enter another phase. They accept earthly life and become householders. Then after twelve years they go into the forest to lead the spiritual life most seriously, and after twelve years of that they become renunciates. First student life, then householder's life, then proper spiritual life, then renunciation-life. But I feel that everything can be done in one life. There is no need to separate them in this way. If you can pray and meditate soulfully, you don't have to go through these traditional four stages of life.
Sri Chinmoy, Philosophy, religion and yoga, Agni Press, 1980