[Advaita-l] Knowledge, renunciation and varNASrama rules - Is sanyasa ashrama sweekaram a must

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Fri Aug 27 02:04:52 CDT 2010

Hari OM, Varadaraja ji,

On Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 11:36 PM, Varadaraja Sharma <
rishyasrunga at rediffmail.com> wrote:

> Again it is not a question of recognition of maharishi for me but the
> question of RECOGNITION OF SANYASA. It is a fact that maharishi tonsured his
> head and discarded yagnopavita. My understanding goes that even if ramana
> maharishi had not tonsured his head and not discarded his yagnopavita, why
> should not we consider his state as that of sanyasa as in the case of jada
> bharatha. Sthitha vairagya, I understand is central to sanyasa and that was
> there for both ramana and jada bharatha in spite of IGNORABLE BAHYA

Recognition of saMnyAsa may come across decades for someone who doesn't have
bAhya lakshaNas. However, such a person may not even care for recognition.
What I find interesting is that though Bhagavan didn't take to saMnyAsa
dIkshA, he did follow the strict rules of saMnyAsa. Without those strict
rules, I don't know if anyone would have recognised him as a saMnyAsi, its
all hypothesis now. And in that hypothesis, with yaj~nopavita, he would
still be seen as a brAhmaNa 'by all' and would be bound by nitya karma.

I agree with you when you say agnyanis should not do a copy cat of these
> mahapurushas. Like paundraka vasudeva made a copy of shanka and chakra of
> bhagawan he did not dare to copy nilakantha by consuming halahala visha.

The issue is a little tricky, would you agree? If the Maharshi had not given
up his yaj~nopavita, etc, how would aj~nAnis following him know what is
important? Its a fact that the masses follow the few great sages as they
lived their lives! That said, as we have a point of argument now whether
saMnyAsa is a must or not for j~nAna, we would have even gone on points such
as leaving home, continuing karma, etc, also being okay, perhaps. So IMHO
even as an ideal for masses, the sages should take to traditional living in
as much possible.

> Yes renunciation is a must. Regarding leaving one’s home, the first of the
> order in traditional sanyasa, the kuticaka sanyasi remains at home.
>  Although, on sthitha vairagya, he becomes parivrajaka leaves his home and
> wanders thereafter.

The kuTicaka also has the yaj~nopavita and shikhA. I do not know how much of
this is applicable for Advaita Vedanta tradition; most of it has been
discussed on this list itself some years back and is in the archives. As I
understand, there are different ways to categorize a saMnyAsi based on
sources referred to. I'd stick to what our tradition subscribes to.

> And yes, the tradition must have the j~nAni to follow the strict rule of
> saMnyAsa. But unfortunately that’s not the rule although we live amidst such
> exceptional gnaynis even today.

Circumstantially, institutional tie up works against the saMnyAsi's
following strict rules. Times have changed immensely too. I do not know if
someone like a Ramana Maharshi would get enough bhikshA from grihasta homes
to maintain his body today in many places!

--Praveen R. Bhat
/* Through what should one know That owing to which all this is known!
[Br.Up. 4.5.15] */

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list