message to my friends

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Thu Aug 6 16:52:30 CDT 1998

> There are at least two dozen references where Bhagavan RM supports
> mental over physical sannyasa.  Here are a few:

A large part of this discussion seems to be going at cross purposes. I
suggest that mental and physical sannyAsa need not be seen in opposition
to each other, as much as complementing each other. It does not help to
put on ochre robes and still not be truly a sannyAsin. Nor does it help to
claim that one is a sannyAsin mentally, and use that as an excuse to do as
one pleases. Those of us who see the need to emphasize the tradition of
sannyAsa are only talking of the second part. Bhagavan's words may have
been meant for the specific person asking the question, based on general
principles. Becoming a sannyAsin through physical renunciation may not
have been right for that particular person, but it may be right for
somebody else. One can neither say that everybody should renounce
physically, nor can one say that physical sannyAsa is totally unnecessary
in this world.

In Indian society, becoming a sannyAsin physically, without having the
corresponding mental renunciation, is perhaps more common nowadays, and is
probably why so many are disillusioned about the very concept of sannyAsa.
However, it seems to me that true mental sannyAsa will eventually bring
physical sannyAsa with it. How indeed, can one whose mind is constantly
turned inward continue to act? I must caution here that to the Indian
mind, to 'act' implies not just normal day to day action that all human
beings do, but an entire plethora of ritual action also.


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