[Advaita-l] need for sannyasa!!!!
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
recommendations. I FROM THE BOTTOM MY HEART WANT TO THANK YOU ALL.
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
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
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
..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)
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
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.
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
may be one day I could tell you my story.
The treasure of atman shines blooming and my dear Dakshinamurti urges me
one has to live ones philosophies. Other wise he is a fake
has to follow ones inner promptings, one has to follow ones
..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
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.
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 ones
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
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 objectits 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 ones 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 vivekionly 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 mans
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
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
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
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
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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