Pursuit of Self Knowledge in ancient India

People were introduced to Self knowledge either during the course of the Study of Vedas, in one's childhood or through listening to the stories of Mahabharata, Ramayana or the Puranas. In adult life even though the majority may not have been pursuing Self Knowledge actively the various religious activities, culture and lifestyle in general, was designed to drive one towards a search for the truth at some point. For example, the third stage in a person's life, which is vanaprastha or living in a forest, was meant to devote most of the time at one's life, along with the spouse, towards this quest and finally commit oneself fully in the fourth stage or sannyasa, the stage of renunciation. And if the person wants to study the Upanishads then go to the Himalayas or Kasi, where the environment was ideal for gaining spiritual knowledge.