[Advaita-l] Srimad ParamahaMsa ParivrAjakAchAryavaryavarya

jaldhar at braincells.com jaldhar at braincells.com
Sat Jul 16 02:39:44 EDT 2022

On Thu, 14 Jul 2022, Jaldhar H. Vyas via Advaita-l wrote:

> On Mon, 11 Jul 2022, KAMESWARARAO MULA via Advaita-l wrote:
>> Briudavali which we discussed earlier. Sringeri Birudavali Guru Stotra 
>> starts with "Srimad ParamahaMsa ParivrAjakAchAryavaryavarya".

Previously I had explained paramahamsa.  A related term is parivrajaka. 
All paramahamsas are (or ought to be) parivrajakas but not all 
parivrajakas are paramahamsas; this concept is used by Vaishnavas, and 
even by Buddhists and Jains too.  A parivrajaka is simply a wandering 
monk.  Brhadaranyakopanishad 4.4.22 talks about the greatness of the 
Atman and then goes on to say:

तमेतं वेदानुवचनेन ब्राह्मणा विविदिषन्ति यज्ञेन दानेन तपसानाशकेनैतमेव विदित्वा मुनिर्भवति । 
एतमेव प्रव्राजिनो लोकमिच्छन्तः प्रव्रजन्ति । एतद्ध स्म वै तत्पूर्वे विद्वांसः प्रजां न कामयन्ते 
किं प्रजया करिष्यामो येषां नोऽयमात्मायं लोक इति ते ह स्म पुत्रैषणायाश्च वित्तैषणायाश्च 
लोकैषणायाश्च व्युत्थायाथ भिक्षाचर्यं चरन्ति

"The Brahmanas seek to know it[1] by study of the Vedas, yajna, dana, 
tapas and withdrawal of the senses.  Only by knowing it one becomes a 
muni.  Only for this world[2], the pravajins[3] wander[4].  Because of 
this: The sages of old[5] did not desire sons for they thought, "what 
shall we gain through progeny when we have this world of atman?"  They 
renounced the desire for sons, for wealth and for the worlds and took up 
the practice of accepting alms.

[1] the atman

[2] The world of atman. i.e. they renounce the earth and all other 
material or heavenly worlds in favor of the atman alone.

[3] Pravajin is a variant of parivrajaka from the same etymological root.

[4] So after purifying themselves of karma by svadhyaya, yajna, etc. they 
become munis who renounce their homes (the site of ritual and social 
action) and wander from place to place living off alms in order to 
realize the atman.

[4] Narada, Sanatakumaras etc. who were manasaputras of Brahma.  Narada is 
the archetype of a Parivrajaka. One of the minor upanishads is in fact 
called Naradaparivrajakopanishad.  After refusing to take part in the 
Maithuni Srshti, he was cursed by his father Brahma, to wander through the 
worlds but he took that to be a blessing not a curse.

According to dharmashastras, a paramahamsa should only stay in one place 
for as little as three days. Historically not all were that stringent but 
even nowadays one can come across some who do move from place to place. 
There is an all-India circuit that many of them follow. At Junagadha in 
Gujarat (Sanskrit Vastrapath Kshetra) there is a tirth called Damodar Kund 
and all the Dashanami Akhadas have maths there.  The manager of one of 
them told me that sannyasis coming up from Somanath and Dwarka stop there 
on the way to Mt Abu and then further north.  Or there is the example of a 
sannyasi I met in Haridwar who had made a vow to walk from Gangasagar on 
the Bay of Bengal to Gangotri in the Himalayas and back again.

However all parivrajakas must stay in one place during Chaturmasa.  The 
Chaturmasa for sannyasis begins on Ashadha (Guru) Purnima when they do 
puja to Veda Vyasa and the Advaita parampara.  It is interpreted as four 
pakshas not four months so on Bhadrapada Purnima they resume their travels 
once again.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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