Avadhoota & Paramahamsa (fwd)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Aug 13 09:22:46 CDT 2001

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: RAMASWAMY BALU <jsrswamy at hotmail.com>
> To: listmaster at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2001 17:51:04 +0530
> Subject: Avadhoota & Paramahamsa
>    What is the difference between an Avadhoota and Paramahamsa?  Do both
> the terms represent a Brahma Gnani?

Both terms are similar in that they refer to those sannyasins who have
totally abandoned all conventions of society.

Avadhuta litrally means "cast off".  Just as we would throw away old and
wornout clothing without a second thought, the avadhuta casts off all the
social norms.  Bhagawan Dattatreya is said to be the founder of the
avadhuta marga.  An example of an avadhuta is the Bhagavata Purana is
Bharat who was called Jadabharata because people thought he was insane.

Hamsa means swan or goose.  Poetically, the hamsa is supposed to have the
power to spereate amrit from water.  Swami Vidyaranya explains that the
Paramhansa is the highest grade of Sannyasi.  A paramhamsa has no danda or
kesari robes or othr signs of sannyasa, not even a begging bowl, he
receives bhiksha in his hands.  He has no mantra or shastra except Omkar.
He avoids the company of worldly people and doesn't stay in one place for
more than three days.  Whereas other sannyasis are vividisha or still
seeking Brahman, the paramhamsa is a vidwan, a knower of Brahman or in
other words, a jivanmukta.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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