[Advaita-l] RE: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 45, Issue 23

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Jan 29 20:50:43 CST 2007

On Mon, 29 Jan 2007, K.Sankarasubramanian\(Finance/TVS-E\) wrote:

> I have a query to pose to the learned members here.. Is there any
> compulsion in the sastras for everyone to get into Sannyasa Ashrama ?

Sannyasa is only for two types of people.  Those who wish to clear their 
lives of all distractions from the goal of moksha and those who are 
already liberated and no longer consider themselves bound by social 

> Can we not get Moksha without going through the Sannyasa Ashrama ?

No.  First of all no one "gets" Moksha.  Eternal freedom is the true state 
of reality.  The goal of Vedanta is to break the ignorance of that truth. 
Second, think about what moksha means; it is the identity of ones self 
with everything.  How can a person who believes that put on a suit and tie 
and go to the office every day?  How can he say this is my money and 
posessions but not these?  How can he say this is my family but those are 

Taking sannyasa is a way of strengthening the knowledge of Vedantic 
truth for the first type of person in my answer to your first question. 
For some enlightened souls who have gathered spiritual merit over many 
lifetimes--the second type, formal investiture into sannyasa might not be 
necessary but renunciation of the world inevitably follows anyway. 
Maharshi Yajnavalkya is a good example of this.

> If
> Sannyasa Ashrama is a compulsion, what about ladies ? Pl let me know if
> there is any such Sannyasa Ashrama for ladies.

It is rare but not unknown.  Near Junagadh in Gujarat is a tirth called 
Damodar Kund which I visited on my last trip.  Across the road from it, 
there is an old Shivalaya which has several vrndavans (tombs of Sannyasis) 
in it.  On one there was a portrait of a woman who had some of the 
accessories of a monk (trishula, danda, bhasma etc.) but was wearing a 
white sari instead of the typical robes.  Underneath it said Swami Narmada 
Giri and the date of her Mahasamadhi which I forget right now but it was 
sometime in the 1930s.  The Mahant of the place didn't really know much 
about her and at that time there was nobody else around I could ask.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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