Āraṇyaśāstra (Aranyasastra) may generally refer to the Āraṇyaka (Aranyaka) scriptures in the tradition of the Veda and Brāhmaṇa (Brahmana) texts. In Mahābhārata (Mahabharata), King Pānḍu (Pandu), being cursed by Sage Kimindaka, decided to follow vairāgya vrata (vairagya vrata, vow and practice of a recluse or ascetic) and go to vānaprastha (vanaprastha; the phase of life when people, leaving all domestic and material concerns behind, go to the forest and live like sages). Since vānaprastha is to be practiced in araṇya (aranya; forest), so according to the codes of vānaprastha, the austere practices of living by fruits, wearing valkala (ascetic garbs made of wood-bark), performing the rites of agnihotra, and getting the body accustomed to the extremities of summer and winter — as performed by Pāṇdu, had been referred to as Āraṇyaśāstra in Mahābhārata.

[See  Āraṇyaka]