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Sannyasa Dharma
Date: Sun Aug 23 1998 - 17:38:37 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,
I would like to add a few more thoughts on " Sannyasa Dharma."
Anbil Ramaswamy
SANNYASA  is the fourth stage of  an Ascetic - (Solitaire )

This means 'Samyak Nyasa' - 'Total detachment' from worldly pleasures
including the bare necessities to subsist. This is the last 'Ashrama'. 

A Sannyasi  does not aspire to be recognized as somebody who matters - The
wish of the Sannyasi is just to be a ' persona non grata'- one who exists
almost without giving any thought to his being -  with no desire for name or
fame or recognition.

" He no more cares whether his body falls or remains than does a cow what
becomes a garland that someone has hung around her neck -  for the faculties
of his mind are now at rest in the holy power, the essence of bliss".1

"Business, family, secular life, the beauties and hopes of youth and the
success of maturity have now been left behind, Eternity alone remains. And, so
it is to that - and, not to the tasks and worries of their life, already gone
which came and passed like a dream - that the mind is turned"- 2 

"The Sannyasi has his spirtual eye on goods that men can't give and cares
little for anything that men can take away. . Therefore, he is beyond the
possibility of either seduction or threat  - 3 

 Sannyasa is of four kinds:
' Vidvat'- born out of real wisdom and is spontaneous  
' Vividisha'- springing from a  yearning for  self-realization through study
of the Scriptures and practicing the rigours prescribed
' Aatura '  upon one's deathbed  when there is no hope in living further,  and
' Markata ' - embracing Sannyasa as an escape from great misery,
disappointment or misfortune  that one is not able to face in worldly

No one is encouraged to become a ' Sannyasi' unless one has gone through one's
natural impulses through the three previous Ashramas. He who runs away from
marriage (Grihastashrama)  is no better than a coward deserting the battle

The student's attention is directed ' inward ', preparing  for life ahead. 

In Grihasta and Vanaprasta attention is directed ' outward '  - Grihasta
supporting the entire society, 

The Vanasprasta shares his expriences for the good of others. 

The Sannyasi is again ' inner directed '. Having contributed to society and
having received from society what he needed, he prepares himself for the final
Sannyasa means renunciation not of life alone but of Kama, Artha and even
worldly Dharmas. 

Sannyasa may be deemed a second phase of Brahmacharya.
The first was a preparation for life; the second a preparation for death. 

While Brahmacharya and Grihasta show the ' Pravritti  Marga ' (towards the
world) , Vanaprasta and Sannyasa indicate the ' Nivritti Marga' (away from the
world) through introspection and renunciation.

While ' Varna' is determined by past ' Karma', Ashrama is determined by the
stage of maturity displayed by individuals in viewing the goals of life.

"Varnas stress human nature ;  Ashramas stress human nurture" - 4 
1. Zimmer,p.157-158
2.. ibid,p.44
3.. Kirk,p.54
4.. Organ,p.54