[Advaita-l] Knowledge, renunciation and varNASrama rules

Varadaraja Sharma rishyasrunga at rediffmail.com
Mon Aug 16 08:58:10 CDT 2010

Radhe Krishna
Shriman Venkatesh Murthy, Radhe Krishna
As regards matter of initiation to sanyasa, what matters is what is prescribed in shasthras. If shasthras allow initiation of sanyasa ashrama to non dvijas and sthris, so be it.  The sampradaya is woven around and is sustained by shasthras.  The history and tradition is that even if some leading light of the sampradaya speaks of something that is not in tune with shasthras, the same is shunned by the diaspora whosoever may be the leading light.  From the reading of Shriman Vidaysankar's post on the topic, I understand shasthras allow sanyasa for sthri shudradi vyaktis.  Having said that, I still have doubts on specifics.
	In my earlier post, I referred to an interview given by Jagadguru Shrimad Bharathi Tirtha MahaswaminaH which is very close to the topic under the URL : http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j16/difference.asp?page=1.  I am surprised that whereas in the mail I have received this has been displayed but in the archives, it has not been.  I could not comprehend the inconsistency.
I remember the thaithriya upanishat mantra : “na karmaNa na prajaya dhane na thyage naike amrutatvama nasuH” .  I understand this    -   to get sanyasa one has to renounce karmas, wealth and bandavyam. I may be corrected if I am wrong. Whereas dvija males can renounce all these, I fail to understand, when sthri shudradi vyaktis have not even adhikara for performance of vaidika karmas, wherein the question arise of renouncing them. I do not question the deductions arrived at on the basis of bhashya but would like to clear doubts / misunderstanding on specifics in this regard.
I have heard even knowledgeable people interpretting Bhagawan discouraging Arjuna not to take up sanyasa as one of kshathriya not eligible for the Sanyasa Ashrama.  The discussion on this aspect in fact went on like even Adya Acharyal has restricted sanyasa only for brahmanas.  Latter on the discussions took a turn that Sureshvaracharya in his varthikas had interpreted the shastras to mean that sanyasa ashrama is available for dvija males.  (was it an explicit and restrictive opinion by Sureshvaracharya?)  In another thread, Shriman Jaldhar Vyas, although not elaborated had indicated that sthri shudradi vyaktis are entitled for sanyasa.  And now Shriman Vidyasankar, by invoking shankara bhashya on Jabala Upanishad has deduced that sthri shudradi vyaktis are also entitled for sanyasa ashrama.
	That being the journey so far travelled. Shriman Vidyasankar has opined that  “to say this saMnyAsin was born a SUdra, that one is a woman," etc. is merely being a fool and exhibiting his ignorance of the true tradition of saMnyAsa”.  Without prejudice to choice of his language, I still feel had the sentence been “to say this saMnyAsin was born a SUdra, that one is a woman," etc. is exhibiting his ignorance of the true tradition of saMnyAsa”, the opinion may not look excessive.

Radhe Krishna

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