[Advaita-l] Importance of sannyAsa for study of VedAnta

Sanjay Srivastava sksrivastava68 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 27 07:28:55 CDT 2005

On 9/27/05, Sri Bhaskar wrote:

> If the term saNyAsI means person with ochre clothes, shaven head &
> danda-kamaNdalu..then most of us who are gruhasthA-s should immediately
> quit vEdAnta chintana & adhyayana..is it not:-)) Are we going against
> shAstra vachana & AchAryOpadEsha then??

Some AchAryas actually hold this view. I remember visiting devAnanda
swami of uttar kashi in my college days and he maintained that study
of vedAnta by gruhasthas would give them pApa. He would discourage his
gruhastha students from coming to his vedAnta classes that typically
started at 3:00 AM in the morning and were finished by sunrise.The
only exception he made was for Gita which he taught in the evenings
and considered appropriate for everyone.

> First of all, question needs to be
> answered here is what is the purpose behind *studying* vEdAnta??  the aim
> of vEdAnta adhyayana/brahma jignAsa is obviously Atma jnAna..

Late paramAchArya of Kanchi and previous shringeri AchArya held that
the  study of vedanta by gruhasthas would at best give them some punya
but not brahma-jnAna. Apparently, there are others who do not take
such charitable view.

> *antyAshrami* is the only eligible aspirant to do shAstrAdhyayana, then it
> should be concluded that ONLY saNyAsin-s are eligible for brahma
> jnAna...but shankara says in chAndOya shruti bhAshya even gruhasTha-s
> (householders) are also eligible for brahma/Atma jnAna.

And therefore later AchAryas such as Swami Vidyaranya had to clarify
that even a brahma-jnAni cannot be a jivanmukta unless he takes up

> saNyAsa, here
> IMHO, does not mean mere external appearance, it is the mental state in
> which the mind unattached to everything, self controlled, void of all
> desires & tribulations (asakta bhuddhi sarvatra, jitAtma vigataspruhaH,
> naishkarmyasiddhiM praraMAM saNyAsEna adhigacchati says lord in gIta).

True that the mental state, and not the physical appearance is the
essence of sannyAsa. However it does not follow that physical
appearance is dispensable.


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