Ashtottaram 24



ॐ संन्यासित्वभूम्यै नमः

(Sanyāsam: Renunciation, dispassion)

The path of Sanyasa is beset with many difficulties. But it is full of joy and bliss and is smooth for the man of firm determination, patience, and fortitude.

There is a misunderstanding among Hindus that sanyāsam means leaving everything and sitting in a cave with eyes and nose closed. But the actual meaning is dispassion towards materials and relationships which become bondage and the cause for saṃsāra (cycle of birth and death). It is okay to possess materials but one should not be possessed by them.

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Of the four stages of life, technically called the 'āsramas' (brahmacharya, gruhastham, vānaprastham, and sanyāsam), it is the fourth. In sādhana chatushṭayam (four-fold spiritual discipline), sanyāsam is the second one. It's natural for the wise with enlightenment to feel dispassion about the material world and it comes with Self-knowledge which leads to liberation.

There are four types of sanyāsam: 1) Vairāgyam (dispassion) 2) Jnāna sanyāsam 3) Jnāna vairāgyam, and 4) Karma sanyāsam. In vairāgyam, there are three types: Kartrutva tyāgam, sanga tyāgam and phala tyāgam. Sanyasis are of six types: 1) Kutīchaka 2) Bahudaka 3) Hamsa 4) Paramahamsa 5) Turīyata, and 6) Avadhūta.

Sanyāsam: Renunciation, dispassion. Flickr

Sanyāsam: Renunciation, dispassion. Flickr

During the Kurukshetra war, Arjuna showed vairāgyam to kill his family members, relatives, friends, and teachers. Lord Sri Krishna taught him the karma sanyāsam through the Bhagavadgīta. For Arjuna's doubt whether doing one's karma is greater or sanyāsatvam is greater. Sri Krishna answered that 'one should perform according to his mental maturity, own duty and circumstances; and that one path doesn't fit all.

' Many pundits wrote commentaries on the Bhagavadgīta in thousands of different ways based on their own understanding and sometimes based on political, social, and other agendas.

Sanyāsitvam teaches that the external world we see, which has form, and name, is bound to be destroyed in time and nothing is eternal except our Self (Soul) which happens to be Parabrahman. The one who recognizes take sanyāsatvam no matter what stage of life, he or she is in. The ochre robe the sanyāsis wear is merely symbolic and represents the dispassion of the person who took that oath.

Since the body is the temple and it is the only vehicle we have to accomplish the goal of liberation, sanyāsis take food only enough to sustain their bodies. We see these sādhus wearing orange clothes in every village, town, and city throughout India, especially in places like Riṣhikesh, Kāshi, and Haridwar. People offer food to them with utmost respect knowing that this sanyāsis have renounced their families and every material thing in order to pursue their goal of liberation through vairāgyam.

Our motherland which practices dispassion and renunciation is none other than 'Sanyāsitva Bhūmi.'

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