[Advaita-l] Knowledge, renunciation and varNASrama rules

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Aug 19 14:39:52 CDT 2010

> Does this further mean that for a kshathriya sanyAsa is paradharma

Dear Sri Varadaraja Sharma,
If it is Soka-moha-pUrvakam, saMnyAsa is paradharma for anybody and everybody,
whether brAhmaNa or not. Another point to remember is that bhikshAcaryA is not
the definition of saMnyAsa. If it were, every beggar and vagabond would have to be
honored as a saMnyAsI. A saMnyAsin is expected to support his life through bhikshA,
but everybody who lives by begging is not a saMnyAsin.

In the first chapter of the gItA, arjuna does not say, "I will renounce all and everything,
including my wives and children and brothers and kingdom." He only says, "I will not
fight, because I don't like the prospects of this war." That is more a case of cold feet
at the last minute than a case of true renunciation. Part of the message of vedAnta is
that one cannot and should not run away from one's duties merely because they are
too daunting. One can only lay them aside if one develops true detachment from all
that binds us mentally and emotionally to this world. It can be a very long process -
bahUnAM janmAnAm ante - at the end of many repeated cycles of rebirth. That is
why an AcArya is so absolutely necessary at every step for jnAna to rise and arjuna
was very fortunate in this respect!

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