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

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Fri Aug 27 07:06:49 CDT 2010

Hari OM, Varadaraja ji,

On Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 4:35 PM, Varadaraja Sharma <
rishyasrunga at rediffmail.com> wrote:

Thanks for pointing out what you perceived are discrepancies in my response,
having taken them out of your own context in which I replied. Nonetheless, I
just intend to clarify those. I also wish to submit that I'm not
knowledgeable enough to answer your questions on Jada Bharatha. If you
recall my first response, I only wanted to comment on Ramana Maharshi. For
the other doubts you've raised, may be the thread will continue as earlier.

> In your first post you said :
> ...
> Is this not saMnyAsa even in the traditional sense?
The very idea of my saying this tells you that Ramana Maharshi was *not* a
traditional saMnyAsi of a dashanAmi order. I hope there's no dispute there.
The word 'sense' here indicates that even in the traditional sense of the
word, he followed the ritual of throwing his yaj~nopavita, etc. Thats all.
Then we went on an offshoot of what if he did not do what he did, etc, which
is all hypothesis.

> In the next post you said :
> I don't even know what mental saMnyAsa is. Some may say that physical
> saMnyAsa does not mean vairAgya,

The term 'mental saMnyAsa' could be found in this very list if you dig the
archives. Some people do opine that saMnyAsa could be mental. I'm not one of
those and I don't know what it is or how it could be, so it was an advanced
response rather, if such a Q popped up on it. And so also it has been argued
on this very list about whether physical saMnyAsa guarantees vairAgya. So
the answer too was in advance. Apologies if added to confusion on what I was

> Now you say :
> though Bhagavan didn't take to saMnyAsa dIkshA,
Nothing that I said earlier changes due to this. Though Bhagavan didn't take
dashanAmi dIkshA, he did live his life similar to a dashanAmi saMnyAsi. So
his life speaks volumes of it. Thats all this means. I fail to see why you
would find it contradictory!

Let me repeat in toto, Sir: Maharshi left home, threw his yaj~nopavita,
tonsured his head, lived on bhikshA, wore minimal clothing. That, to me, is
living like a traditional saMnyAsi. However, he didn't take saMnyAsa dIkshA
in the dashanAmi order.

However, such a person may not even care for recognition.
> Without those strict rules, I don't know if anyone would have recognised
> him as a saMnyAsi
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> Shriman, in the outset I told that I am a novice.  From a conservative
> background, tradition means much more to me too. I too stick to tradition.
>  The bare fact is I am trying to understand tradition from what I know which
> for sure I do not know is correct or not correct.
> Before putting out the inconsistencies I perceived (shriman I say clearly
> perceived – I do not want to be emphatic) going through what you said, let
> me explain how and why I raised the issue at the first place
> In the very first post of Shriman Vidyasankar, the discussion went on like
> :
> Shriman Venkatesh Murthy :
> Adi Sankara says sanyasa asrama is must for brahmasamstha. Other asramas
> people commit sin if they do not perform duties . But these duties will not
> allow them to be Brahmasamstha. They cannot be Brahmasamstha. Only Sanyasi
> can be Brahmasamstha.
> Shriman Vidyasankar :
> That is correct. Ideally, only the saMnyAsin can be truly brahma-nishTha
> Now I go in the reverse direction.
> I presumed ( from what I heard from sishtaal) that Bhagawan Ramana and Jada
> Bharatha are brahmanishtas.
> If that is so, ideally they should be sanyasi

Why so? Wouldn't you say that whats ideal is a rule, to which exceptions are
possible? In any case, I too look forward to Vidyasankar ji's response to
this. AFAIK, Ramana never claimed to be traditional, (again, in the true
sense of the word) nor did he recommend traditional study as such. For
example, there is an opinion that the only work he recommended, other than
maybe Yoga Vashistha, was Tripura Rahasya. I don't know of anyone in the
tradition that recommends *only* Tripura Rahasya.

> Shriman, to your question, “I don’t know what mental sanyasa is” what ever
> you have said prior to that IMHO is the answer.  i.e inspite of knowing that
> bhagawan ramana was not ritually initiated into sanyasa, yourself having
> asked, “Is this not saMnyAsa even in the traditional sense?”
> Having said, “is this not saMnyAsa even in the traditional sense?”, I do
> not understand why you need to make an observation as to, “though Bhagavan
> didn't take to saMnyAsa dIkshA”.  Shriman,I, in a way consider the first and
> second expression of your goodself as putting my doubts in different words.
I've already replied this above. I hope you don't see any contradiction
there. If you do, I'm not sure I have much of clarification to offer and I
offer advance apologies.

> Regarding your observation, we have a point of argument now whether
> saMnyAsa is a must or not for j~nAna. Here I want to be emphatic about two
> things.
> 1.      That my query is not as to whether saMnyAsa is a must or not for
> j~nAna rather it is “By sanysa ashrama, what is insisted is ritually
> initiated sanyasa ashrama sweekaram or the fact of being in a state of
> sanyasa by a person bestowed with sadana sampath”.

Traditionally, as I know, it is saMnyAsa with the ritually initiated dIkshA,
etc, not just sAdhana saMpatti. More knowledgeable persons may be able to
provide a better answer.

> 2.      Argument takes between two knowledgeable people. I am not one.

Nor am I. As I said, I just wanted to get into the Ramana Maharshi angle,
but perhaps I got carried away.

> However, such a person may not even care for recognition.
> Without those strict rules, I don't know if anyone would have recognised
> him as a saMnyAsi
> Just above these observations, was that of mine, “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.” I hope my usage of the word, “recognition
> of sanyasa” might have prompted you to say above.

Perhaps so. When its said 'we', it has a wide scope, though its subjective.
The 'we' you have in mind and I have in mind could be different. Then again,
what the tradition says may not be either of the 'we's! :)

> In my sanka, I considered two mahapurushas viz., bhagawan ramana and Jada
> Bharatha. And I observed that you altogether ignored jada bharatha.  I do
> not know if jada bharatha upakhyana is outside the perimeter of Advaita
> tradition.  If that is so, my apologies.

As said earlier, I responded only on seeing Ramana Maharshi's name
mentioned. However, I wonder if you see pUrva janma saMskAra playing any
role at all in realization of Maharshi & Jadabharata. If so, does that angle
help you at all?

> Again, Shriman, I am very much thankful for the pains you have taken to
> clear my doubts with your knowledge.
Thanks for indulging me in it, though I have been of no help.

> Regarding your observation, Circumstantially, institutional tie up works
> against the saMnyAsi's following strict rules, Shriman, I altogether agree
> with you, but it would be better to address this as a separate issue.
> I do wish that you'd seen this as just a plain simple response to your
saying "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."

I do realize my limitations to answer the initial sequence of doubts you'd
raised, which was not my purpose anyway, and shift back to not blocking the
earlier flow of this thread. Thanks.

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

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