[Advaita-l] Sankara on sannyAsa for Steadiness in GYAna (was Re: Jivanmukti - Jnana plus Sannyasa pt 5)

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 22 00:06:52 CDT 2009

What is generally taught by advaitins is:
"For one who has attained GYAna in the householder stage, vidvat-sannyAsa is prescribed in order to steady the GYAna and achieve jIvanmukti".

Unfortunately, the above has been (intentionally?) misinterpreted, and some myths have been propagated in this thread...

Myth # 1: "sannyAsa is the only way to mukti".
Reality: One who practises karma and upAsanA may attain to Brahmaloka and achieve krama-mukti. One who attains GYAna in the householder stage may continue to live the life of a householder and achieve videhamukti on the dissolution of the body. These people attain to mukti without ever taking up sannyAsa.

Myth # 2: "All GYAnIs are sannyAsIs"
Reality: It is admitted that GYAna can be obtained in the householder stage, but that GYAna is likely to be unsteady. As already mentioned, vidvat-sannyAsa is a prescription for **jIvanmukti**.

Myth # 3: "ALL GYAnIs without exception must take up sannyAsa for jIvanmukti".
Reality: There MAY be GYAnIs whose GYAna is steady even in the householder stage, but such cases are so rare that Sankara Himself does not accept this as reasonably possible (BSB 3.4.20). Even if such cases do occur - exceptions prove the rule.


--- On Wed, 10/21/09, Shyam <shyam_md at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Dear Sarma-ji and Sunil-ji
> Pranams. Your point is well taken. However let me offer
> this perspective.
> Granted that "once upon a time" in a different yuga a
> once-in-a-kalpa Janaka may have attained jivanmukti even
> while remaining as a Kshatriya King - in fact it was so long
> ago that even Shankara, in "our" times does not give this a
> resounding affirmation. And granted that again "once upon a
> time" there were Brahmarshis and mantradrashtas like
> Vishwamitra, Vasishtas, who were perfected Sages, without
> being "sannyasis". And "once upon a time" Lord Krishna, Lord
> Rama, etc etc. Is this really meant to be of relevance to a
> serious and sincere seeker? "Once upon a time" Bhagwan
> Hanuman crossed over to Ceylon with one giant leap. Surely
> the next time one "seeks to reach" Sri Lanka, one has the
> sense to board a flight, instead of jumping into the Ocean
> from Kanyakumari shouting "Jai Shri Ram".
> The fact is perhaps one in a million like Janaka may have,
> thanks to prior-birth samskaras, been blessed with the
> felicity to maintain his vision on the Self even while
> engrossed in the affairs of His state - or so the legend
> goes. A little common sense will tell us that this is,
> simply put, impossible for a seeker for "today's" (at least
> for a few centuries now and more so today than ever before)
> householder, mired in the din of a hundred sense pleasures,
> and being riddled with a hundred different samsaric duties
> and responsibilities, to maintain an unbroken stream of
> thought all unceasingly centered on the Self to the
> exclusion of ALL other thought - in the words of the
> panchadashi 'etadekaparatvamha Brahmabhyasam' - and without
> this vasana kshaya/manonasha and jnananishta is impossible.
> And this is what both Shruti and Shankara never tire of
> emphasizing time and again.
> Humble pranams
> Shri Gurubhyoh namah
> Shyam
> --- On Wed, 10/21/09, D.V.N. Sarma <dvnsarma at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > From: D.V.N. Sarma <dvnsarma at gmail.com>
> > Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Sankara on sannyAsa for
> Steadiness in GYAna (was Re: Jivanmukti - Jnana plus
> Sannyasa pt 5)
> > To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> > Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2009, 8:35 PM
> > Has anybody any information about
> > vedic rishis like Vasishta,
> > Vamadeva, Bhrigu, Viswamitra
> > etc., taking sannyasa?
> > 
> > Yajnavalkya comes later in the upanishadic period.
> > 
> > regards,
> > Sarma.


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list