[Advaita-l] need for sannyasa!!!!

TONY VERMA brahman1008 at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 28 01:17:06 CDT 2005

Dear Advaitin-list Members,
I am very happy to receive your responses, on my wish to come across a Param 
Hansa Sannyasi guru.
Some responses have been full of misunderstandings, others outright 
rejection to the idea. and Few very learned responses with actual 
Let me express myself openly and clearly, It has become necessary to explain 
what I wrote in my introduction, which was done in haste, so I understand 
this may have caused confusion, but for an advanced advatin specially who 
has had a similar journey as mine, those words were enough to pick what I 
seeked and where I was Now.
Now if you would perceive me into two separate states you may understand it 
more easily…1) This one who is communicating with you now and seeking 
sannyasa is the Vyavahrik self/relative me , I  keep mentioning and the 2) 
is the Real Self Atman/Pramartha reality …..Now after 30 years of intense 
study it has to be an absolute moron who has not picked the truths of our 
scriptures and these truths not become experiential in ones being………So the 
light of atman shines and also the vyavahrik self exerts itself . In my 
introduction I stated a degree of BrahmaGyana and degree of liberation, 
which simply means that when my attention and awareness gets focused on this 
atman, non demanding, ever-present, stillness. I am In my Pramartha aspect, 
which is great , but due to my household chores and duties I have to 
constantly withdraw from this state and become outward bound, that means 
take my attention, my surti, awareness out…….and allow the vyaharika self to 
manifest and do jobs(constantly loosing sita which crosses the laskhman 
rekha gets abducted by ravana , dashana………bring the universe alive again and 
again……..so true being is lost in becoming, or simply pramartha is 
sacrificed for vyavahrika or Brahma Samadhi, brahmanada and brahmavihara is 
constantly given up for stupid outer interactions(and some one has even 
suggested to imagine I am an actor in Satya jeet movies)…. ……………No doubt 
Brahman is the underlying reality behind all manifestations , but due to 
direct contact of Maya sooner or latter it stings you(the relative self) and 
then you rush for a dose of satsanga / meditation or whatever to climb back 
into the real self of ones being.only limiting one to savikalpa samadhi. Yo 
yo like.
This is the first reason. So I am not taking sannyasa to seek Atman or 
Brahman But now see it as an absolute necessity if my relative self desires 
to know Nirvikalpa Samadhi or constant staedfastness, So in summary This 
Relative self communicating with you is already a Brahmavid but desperately 
seeking life style changes more conducive to steadfastness and brahmasiddhi.

SECONDLY …I am born in a Sanatana tradition, and it is my ardent wish to 
complete its entire tradition, I was born of my parents, I was then born 
again via upnaynam and now I wish to complete the cycle by having third and 
last birth.  I am ready for now I can say with dedication “om bhur sanyastam 
maya” om bhuva sanyastam maya” “Om svaha sanyastam maya”
I am ready for laya and believe me its not because of any compulsion, or 
rejection or depression or escapism…it is an automatic response to my 
prarabdha…may be one day I could tell you my story.
The treasure of atman shines blooming and my dear Dakshinamurti urges me 
on…..on... on…..
Third……one has to live ones philosophies. Other wise he is a fake………..one 
has to follow ones inner promptings, one has to follow ones 
pragna…………………………..and mine all points to sannyasa as a necessary step to 
bloom into completion, by choice, wish, scriptural authority  and out of 
cheer need to progress further….……Plus I wish to post some other views 
besides mine.
The Ideal of Sannyasa
Swami Sivananda Saraswati
Sannyasa is a term which is used to denote the formal dedication and 
renunciation of all objective acts, whether they are psychical or physical. 
There can be two types of renunciation, the renunciation which precedes the 
knowledge of truth and that which is simultaneous with the knowledge of 
truth. The one we call vividisha sannyasa and the other vidvat sannyasa. 
Naturally, the former kind implies an earnest desire, a longing for the 
knowledge of the cause, the supreme cause of renunciation.
What is it that fires up in the aspirant the spirit of renunciation? It is 
the instinctive feeling of the presence of something which is different from 
what he perceives through the senses. This is the characteristic of the 
renunciation of the person who has not yet attained knowledge. In a person 
who has attained the knowledge of truth, renunciation is not instinctive; it 
is a deliberate act of the consciousness. But in the case of the aspirant 
who has not yet realized the truth, renunciation is instinctive, and this 
instinct arises in him on account of purvapunya, the result of past 
meritorious deeds accelerated by satsanga, the company of the wise and the 
good persons. It is this that rouses the spirit of renunciation in him.
Discriminative understanding
Every kind of renunciation, if it is spiritual, is preceded by viveka or 
discriminative understanding, because renunciation is the effect of 
vairagya, and we know that vairagya1 is caused by viveka.2 There cannot be 
true vairagya without viveka. Renunciation has no value at all if it is 
caused by some frustration or failure in life. It becomes long-lasting only 
when it is caused by a correct perception of truth. That is why the great 
rishis have said that viveka should precede vairagya and only after that 
will the other necessary qualifications be acquired by the aspirant. After 
acquiring all these qualifications, one must approach a preceptor for the 
knowledge of the truth. We call all these qualifications together the 
sadhana-chatushtaya,3 the fourfold equipment of the spiritual aspirant, and 
of these four equipments vairagya is one, and it is the cause of 
Now what does one renounce? We talk of renunciation. But what is it that is 
to be renounced? What is the object that is not conducive to one’s 
practising spiritual sadhana?4 What is the condition or state which is to be 
abandoned? This can be known only if you analyze your experience properly. 
Most of the people lack the capacity of this analysis. You are somehow or 
other caught up in the meshes of life and you confuse all kinds of 
experiences together. You take things for granted. The objects which the 
senses make you perceive, the knowledge which you attain through the senses, 
is taken by you as the basis of everything in this world. You build the 
edifice of life on sense-experience.
Implications of experience
Now let us take the position of the ordinary man, the person who takes 
sense-experience for granted and considers them to be the only truth. I am 
only directing your mind from the lower experiences to the implication of 
those experiences. There are several deeper facts implied in our ordinary 
experience. We perceive this world, and this perception is a universal fact. 
Everyone of us knows that there is a perception of what we call the physical 
world, but a few of us are capable of entering into the implications of this 
There is a physical body. Man visualizes that body, and on account of the 
grossness of the mind, he takes that body to be as it is, as it presents 
itself to the physical senses, and consequently he develops a particular 
attitude towards it, an attitude of love or an attitude of hatred. Sometimes 
an attitude of indifference is developed by him. But the spiritual aspirants 
who are endowed with true viveka do not take things for granted, and are 
capable of entering into the meaning of experience.
In every experience we will find that certain fundamental factors are 
involved. What are those? First, there is a body. Let us take for granted 
that there is a body. And how is the body made known to us? This body is 
made known to us through the external indriyas,5 the karanas,6 organs of 
senses, and these senses are animated by the mental consciousness. The 
intelligence that is present in the mind is the ultimate cause of our 
knowledge of the existence of an external object.
Here we have to make an analysis not only of the nature of the external 
object, but of our own self. The knower of the object and the object that is 
known, both of these have to be analyzed; and curiosity enough, we will find 
that when we try to analyze the nature of the object, we will be taken 
backwards to the perceiver of the object. That is to say, the nature of the 
object cannot be known without a correct understanding of the nature of the 
knower. Why is it so? Because constitution of the knower very much 
influences the constitution of the object that is known.
The subject who looks at a particular object outside, is not merely a silent 
witness thereof. He infuses certain characteristics into that object. In 
other words, he modifies it to a certain extent. That is why he has got a 
certain distinct attitude towards an object. There are certain attitudes 
which we develop towards the object. They cause us to like or dislike the 
object. These attitudes are not universal. They are changing even in the 
very same person under different circumstances. This shows that the 
attitudes which we develop towards the external objects of this world are 
not present in the objects as such, but somewhere else.
Basis of knowledge
Where are these attitudes present? These attitudes, if not present in the 
objects, must be present in the process of knowledge by which we are able to 
know the external objects; but wherefrom does this process of knowledge 
arise? It must have a basis; and that substance which is the basis of the 
process of knowledge through which we know the external objects is our own 
Self. If knowledge is to proceed from the Self, the Self should be of the 
nature of knowledge, because a conscious result cannot proceed from an 
unconscious cause.
The process of knowledge is consciousness, and, therefore, the basis of the 
process is consciousness itself. This is what we understand. If the nature 
of the object, or, to put it in a better way, the objectness of the object, 
is given to it by the process of knowledge, and if that process of knowledge 
is inherent in the Self, which is now proved to be the truth, we have to 
direct our attention to the Self and not to the external objects which are 
not real in themselves. So here, when we say that there is nothing real in 
the object, we must understand clearly what we mean by it.
There are two characteristics of an object—its existence and its outward 
characteristic. Now, existence is not to be negatived. Because God is 
present everywhere, God is Satchidananda,7 pure Consciousness which is 
existence, and this is identical with vishaya-chaitanya.8 As God is 
universal in nature, He must be the underlying reality of the external 
objects also. So, when we deny the natural characteristic of the external 
objects, we are not to deny in them the fundamental reality which is vishaya 
Renunciation of the non-eternal
The objects have also nama-rupa,9 and these are relative in nature. This 
fact the viveki10 understands very clearly. In some this knowledge arises 
instinctively, on account of past meritorious deeds; in others it arises on 
account of deep study; in some others still it arises on account of company 
of sages; but it must arise in every spiritual aspirant. The moment this 
consciousness arises in him, he is automatically drawn away from the shadowy 
forms of the objects, the vestures in which they are embedded.
To use an analogy of the Upanishads, as one removes the pith of the munja 
grass for the purpose of performing the ritual and separates it from the 
stalk in which it is encased, so is the action of the viveki. He separates 
the pith of the Infinite from the object and the subject which he casts off 
as the outer shell. But when he casts off the outer shell, does he throw 
away something of existence? For people feel that if everything is God, 
there is nothing to renounce. What is renunciation then? The doubter does 
not understand the fact that nothing real is to be renounced, only that 
which is apparent, that which does not last long, that which is non-eternal, 
alone has to be renounced. The eternal is never reached through the 
non-eternal. So he who is intent upon the realization of the eternal cares 
not for the non-eternal.
Unreality of the relative characteristic
It is the objective character of experience that is called the universe. The 
universe as such is not unreal, the individual as such is not unreal, but 
the relative characteristics which are presented to the sense-consciousness 
are not real. It is one’s taking for granted the realities of these relative 
factors that is the cause of bondage. Man is bound up by the notion of the 
reality of sense-experience. The process of transmigration is caused by your 
attaching yourself to some one or other particular form of experience. It is 
good if you identify yourselves with all the forms in the world, but this is 
not possible. For the moment one identifies oneself with the universe, one 
has practically no consciousness of any particular object. One ceases to be 
a social being, for the time being, and rises above individuality.
All these factors are brought before the mind of the viveki when he analyses 
the nature of God, the nature of the world, the nature of the soul and the 
relation among these, and he goes beyond the apparent forms which shroud him 
up in this relative world. This analysis has to be made by every spiritual 
aspirant. It is very difficult to make it, and even if it is made once, it 
is difficult to maintain it for long.
Steadiness in Yoga comes and goes. No person can be sure of his capability 
to remain in the state of Yoga continuously. As long as the body is there, 
the mind will be brought down by some karma of the past. That is why 
Prajapati11 says to Indra12 that, as long as the body is there, pain will be 
there, belief in the reality of the world will be there; but when the person 
becomes disembodied, he is freed from all pains and pleasures. Becoming 
disembodied is transcending the consciousness of the body.13
It is not merely the death of the body that is meant here. Whether the body 
lives or not, the liberated one has no consciousness of it; he is immortal. 
Therefore, whether one has got a body or not is not what matters. Whether 
there is consciousness of body or not is what is important. Here we make a 
distinction between jivanmukti14 and videhamukti.15 This difference is made 
from the point of view of the world, because to the jivanmukta,16 his state 
is equal to videhamukti, for he is not in the world.
Spirit of Renunciation
The process of the understanding of the difference between the objectivity 
in the universe and the infinite spirit in it is the background of all acts 
of renunciation. If you wish to understand what true renunciation is, it is 
enough if you understand one statement of the Chandogya Upanishad; and from 
that you will also understand what the nature of God is. That is a grand 
statement made by Sanatkumara.
The Infinite is called Bhuma by Sanatkumara. Bhuma means completeness, 
plenitude. He takes the mind of Narada,17 step by step, from the lower to 
the higher, and explains that the Infinite is bliss. It is not merely the 
reservoir of bliss. It is bliss itself. But what is the Infinite? This 
question arose in the mind of Narada. What is Bhuma?
Sanatkumara then gives a very beautiful description of it. “Where one sees 
nothing else, where one hears nothing else, where one understands or knows 
nothing else, that is the state of Bhuma.” And what is this world? We see 
something else, hear something else, understand something else. Everywhere 
there is duality. This is the characteristic of the world. The complete 
opposite of it is Bhuma. In the Bhuma the universe is not physical. Here it 
is physical. There the universe is eternal. Here it is changing. Here it is 
objective. There it is infinite or absolute.
Sanatkumara further adds, “Where one sees something else, hears something 
else, or understands something else, i.e., something other than the Self, 
that is the small, the painful, the perishable.” That is why the world is 
called duhkhalayam,18 asaswatam,19 by Sri Krishna. The world is not Bhuma 
and for the same reason it is painful. Everything in this world is pain. 
Even the highest pleasure of this world is pain only to the viveki–only to 
the viveki, not to all. For even the highest pleasure is only a 
manifestation of the sattva guna.20
So even the highest pleasure is not even a drop of the Brahmic bliss. It is 
less than Brahma-bliss, for it is distorted through sattva guna, which is 
influenced by rajas and tamas. They lie in ambush like a hooded cobra. The 
moment the excitement of nerves which causes the appearance of sattva is 
over, rajas and tamas come, and the result is pain.
Play of deception
Patanjali21 gives various reasons why there is only pain in this world. One 
of them is the rotation of the gunas in individual experience. There is 
never only sattva. When a particular quality comes to the forefront, you 
experience only that, and behind it are present the other qualities. Behind 
tamas are sattva and rajas. Behind rajas are sattva and tamas. Behind sattva 
are rajas and tamas.
So the pleasure of this world is only a reflection of the supreme 
consciousness through the medium of sattwa, which is a characteristic mode 
of prakriti,22 changing every moment. The modes of prakriti are changing; 
therefore, the pleasure of this world must be changing. Not only are they 
changing, they are false in their essential nature. They are deceptive and 
tantalizing. Like the currents of water seen in a mirage, are the values of 
experiences in this world.
When you try to know the nature of the pleasures of the world, you become 
aware of the foolishness by which you are misled. You think that you have 
obtained pleasure. Vidyaranya in the Panchadasi describes how man’s 
pleasures are only his foolishness. “O fool, do not think that you are happy 
in this world by possessing objects. Try to understand what that happiness 
When an object is obtained, what happens? Has anybody stopped and thought 
over this matter? Temporarily the mind ceases to function. It is very 
difficult to understand this point. Man does not ponder over that matter, 
for he has identified himself with the mind. He thinks that the mind is 
himself. He cannot therefore analyze the mind. But through the grace of God 
if you are enabled to analyze the mind, you will discover that its happiness 
does not lie in objects, but in a condition of the mind.
Mind derives bliss from atma
The mind goes outward to the object in search of pleasure. At that time 
there is pain, for the mind thereby is straying away from truth; and when 
the object is attained, the mind ceases to function, and it rests on its 
substratum, the Self, and unconsciously tastes the bliss of the Self. The 
mind thinks that the objects give happiness. It does not know the existence 
of the Self. It thinks that it has possessed the object and that the 
pleasure underlies the object. Consequently it concludes wrongly that 
pleasure is the result of the possession of an external object.
“When the mind turns to the Self, naturally it experiences the bliss of the 
Self.” Suppose you are able to make the mind consciously turn to the Self, 
you will be permanently happy, without any resultant sorrow. Yoga bestows on 
man permanent happiness by arousing that antarmukha vritti deliberately and 
consciously. By viveka the mind should be educated properly. Without 
education it will not understand the truth. It will not yield to any kind of 
force, for it is very subtle. It has to be educated properly and made to 
understand that the pleasures which it experiences in this world are 
derived, even in this world, from the Self alone. Then the mind will rest in 
the atma alone and not in the objects.
Need of sannyasa
There is however the illusion which covers the eye of the Self, on account 
of which it directs itself to externality. The aspirant must open his 
internal eye and dispel this illusion.
For the sake of this understanding, the aspirant casts aside his attachment 
to all the objects of this world, and also to the actions connected with 
them. This is sannyasa, which means systematically and perfectly setting 
aside all things, perfectly abandoning all that is the cause of bondage, 
i.e., actions directed to the satisfaction of the individual self. So, 
renunciation is the abandonment of objects connected with this process. 
“Sannyasa is the relinquishment of ego-centric processes.”
Selfish actions are performed on account of the craving that is present in 
the mind for worldly pleasures. This must be completely abandoned, as 
Nachiketas23 did. Every guru is like that guru of Nachiketas, Yama, and 
every aspirant should be like Nachiketas. Nachiketas was offered the most 
tempting things of this world, but he cast them all aside and said, “Can I 
become immortal by these?” Maitreyi also put the same question. “Even if I 
become a ruler of the world, one day the world will come to an end, and I 
will also come to an end.”
“And what next?” This question will arise. And this question can be answered 
only by the declaration that I have quoted just now, the declaration made by 
Sanatkumara that the Infinite alone is bliss. The moment you understand the 
nature of the Infinite, renunciation automatically follows. This is vidwat 
sannyasa.24 The spirit of renunciation comes in when the truth is realized. 
If the Self is real, all else must be unreal. Now this kind of renunciation 
can come to a person only in an advanced stage.
Process of sadhana
In some persons vairagya dawns early, but others get it through nishkama 
karma.25 That is why Shankaracharya has prescribed three processes of 
sadhana for the realization of the Self. One is nishkama seva.26 One has to 
serve the guru and do all things that the guru commands him to do, without 
grudging, and without using his own intellect. When the guru orders a 
certain thing to be done, the disciple should obey him implicitly. Such an 
obedience to the guru is necessary. This is the spirit of nishkama karma, 
karma done not for the pleasure of the person doing it, but because it is 
the, command of the guru. Then the impurities of the mind, kama,27 krodha,28 
lobha,29 moha,30 etc., are removed.
Thereafter one must take to upasana31 or contemplation on the ishta-devata32 
(the second stage). Here vikshepa33 of the mind is removed. It is no longer 
distracted. One has to proceed through these two stages first. Japa34 also 
comes under upasana. After these two processes are undergone, the sadhaka35 
is asked to equip himself with the sadhana-chatushtaya. Vairagya comes only 
then, and when one is fully established in the sadhana-chatushtaya, he is 
fit to hear and ponder the Mahavakyas.36
The result
One must examine the nature of this world and recognize the fact that it is 
impermanent and also realize that the permanent cannot be attained through 
the impermanent.
Spiritual realization is the result of supreme renunciation, renunciation 
extending up to Brahma Loka.37 From Brahma down to a blade of grass, you 
should not have attachment to anything, for all these are non-self. When you 
center yourself in the one Consciousness, automatically everything flows to 
you. All objects of the world will come to you of their own accord. The atma 
is the center. Everything in this universe is nothing. When, as Christ has 
put it, you seek first the kingdom of God, all else will be added unto you; 
if you know that One Being, everything will be known by you. When you 
realize That, you have realized everything. You become immortal. This is the 
supreme blessedness, which everyone should achieve. This is the supreme 
Once that bliss of Brahman is tasted, there is no fear or desire. Fear 
exists on account of desire, and desire completely vanishes when the light 
of the Self dawns. Sannyasa follows perception of truth. Therefore, let us, 
try to withdraw our attention from the fleeting phenomena of this universe, 
and recognize the presence of the Eternal in these fleeting phenomena, and 
adore it to the best of our ability, through worship, service and 

 > 2) Acharya himself discusses what are the necessary
>prerequisites in  the context of explaining the word "atha" in the 1st
>suutra.  This is repeated almost in  similar words in
>vivekachuuDaamani verses

I don't know where Ramakrishnan B. got his information
regarding the present Sringeri AchArya's prohibition
of the study of the BSB except under a Guru. But it
does feel like the traditional view.

As for H.H.Chandrashekhara BhAratI's teaching that the
study of VedAnta (specifically the BSB) by a
non-sannyAsin will not result in Brahman-realization,
I read in H.H's biography "The Saint of Sringeri", in
the Chapter on "Soft and Firm" (H.H. was soft in the
sense that He never contradicted anyone, yet firm in
the sense that He always held his stand). According to
H.H, the only motive for a householder studying the
BSB is "curiosity". Here is the dialogue:

A gentleman who had made a fairly careful study of Sri
Shankara Bhagavatpada's Bhashyas came to His Holiness.

G: At the beginning of the commentary on the Brahma
Sutras, our Acharya in interpreting the word "atha"
(Then) has mentioned that a person becomes competent
to enter upon the study of Vedanta only after he has
secured the four qualifications known as Viveka
(Discrimination), Vairagya (Detachment), Samadishatka
(Six courses of training), and Mumukshutva (Yearning
for liberation). Is it even so?

H.H: You say that it is so mentioned by our Acharya
and yet you ask me, "Is it even so?" What do you mean
by it?

G: Does our Acharya mean that such like myself who are
in worldly life are not qualified for study of

H.H: Is that not the meaning of the Bhashya?

G: Is it then wrong for us to study it?

H.H: How came you to doubt it?

G: We have taken so much pains to study it. Is it all

H.H: Nothing is ever wasted. Every voluntary effort
will have its own effect.

G: If there is such an effect, how can we be called

H.H: Why? Who told you that an action done by an
incompetent person had not any effect?

G: What will be that effect?

H.H: Did not Sambuka engage himself in a penance for
which he was not competent and did he not get its
fruit at the hands of Sri Rama?

[When Sambuka, a non-Brahmin, began performing a
penance that could only be performed by a Brahmin, Sri
Rama punished him.]

G: Why? He only punished him for it.

H.H: Punishment was the fruit.

G: Does it mean then that if one engages himself in an
action beyond his competency he will be punished? This
is really no fruit.

H.H: Why not? It is as much an effect.

G: If so, does it not amount to saying that if a
person without the four prescribed qualifications
takes up the study of the Vedanta it is quite wrong?

H.H: What doubt is there? That is why the Sastras say
"saMnyasya shravaNaM kuryAt.h" "Study the Vedanta
after taking Sannyasa".

G: Does it not tantamount to expressly prohibiting
householders from a study of Vedanta?

H.H: Not necessarily so. The four qualifications are
imperatively necessary for those who want to know
Brahman. You do not want to know Brahman; you want
only to know what the book says. It is only curiosity
that impels you to look into it and not any other
motive. Your reading will not lead to knowledge of
Brahman. It may help you to understand a few of the
thoughts; it may familiarise you with such terms as
Maya, Atma and so on which are met with frequently in
such books. And the impressions so got may be somewhat
useful when really you acquire the competency. That is
all. For this, one may read it.


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