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From: Jagan Mohan Naidu (light_at_neotown.com)
Date: Wed Jan 27 1999 - 20:48:07 PST
Bhagavatas, I presume it is necessary to add at the beginning that, being new to this list, and of not being a scholar in various Sri-Vaishnavite literature like many of the Bhaktas here, I might be wrong in many ways. But I take the liberty of expressing my opinions and thoughts freely and without guilt in view of the fact that you all might be understanding. The Sannyasi On 25 Jan 1999 20:36:20 -0000 Thiru Mani Varadarajan <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: Mani:-)According to our tradition, a brAhmaNa, even after becoming Mani:-)a sannyAsi, retains many of the duties that are incumbent Mani:-)on his being a brAhmaNa. Thiru Mani has rightly said, but between the lines I can read: even after becoming a Sannyasi, retains MANY of the duties... A Brahmana, becoming a Sannyasi, doesn't have to give up every duty that his earlier ashrama has ordained for him. True renunciation is not achieved by complete abstinence from all the duties of the world. It is but a state of mind reflected in the works. Afterall renunciation of various previously held responsibilities and duties is for substituting them with perpetual thought and love of Bhagavan. In the other ashramas, concern and care for the family, animals and the Sannyasi, Guru, and the essential sacrifices to gods, ancestors etc have to be performed. When all these duties are fulfilled, irrespective of the varna, a person accepts Sannyasa or renunciation. But some duties stay on. But this doest and should not be interpreted as follows: That Sannyasins have distinction of Varna. Varna is for distinction in the combination of the Gunas that make up one's mind. Now if we hold on to caste as being formed only by birth, we may conclude that there can be a Brahmin Sannyasi, a Kshatriya Sannyasi and likewise. But when we retrospectively inspect, we may find that Sannyasi Ashrama is freed from all Karma (refer Chap. 18, verse 49 of the Bhagavad Gita), family ties, duties of the brahmacharya ashrama, the grihasta ashrama (including offering of pinda to ancestors), etc. and ultimately the duties of heroism, courage in battle, leadership (BhagavadGita Ch.18:43), farming, cowprotection, labour and service to others (verse 44). Thus he transcends varna also. Therefore Sannyasins don't have varna although they may retain some of the most important duties and promises. Mani:-)None of the Alvars were sannyAsis. They are beyond "varNa" Mani:-)(let us use this term instead of "caste") in the sense that Mani:-)irrespective of their physical origin, they are to be treated Mani:-)with the utmost respect because they are parama-bhAgavatas, Mani:-)exemplifying the highest level of sainthood. Furthermore, Mani:-)according to our tradition, _all_ bhAgavatas are to be given Mani:-)the utmost respect, irrespective of their caste, varNa, or Mani:-)physical origin. One acharya states that even wondering about Mani:-)the jAti of a bhAgavata is an offense. Rightly and Best said. But why none of the Azhwars are not Sannyasins? This sentence depends on how Sannyasa Ashrama is defined. If some Bhakta might be kind enough to explain in Vaishnavite terms, what constitutes the Ashrama of Sannyasa, we might clear this point. After all the Azhwars, preoccupied with love and the agony of separation having renounced all the material joys cannot but be called Sannyasins for they have no other greater joy or duty than to glorify Bhagavan, his name and his pastimes. Jagan:-)> 3. Sanyassins are the cream of the society. They are superior to Jagan:-)> brahmins and they are the real teachers Mani:-)There is no such division between sannyAsis and brAhmaNas. Mani:-)They refer to two different things; one is ASrama, the other Mani:-)is varNa. Today, most of our sannyAsis are brAhmaNas. If there is no division between Sannyasins and Brahmanas (who might be a brahmachari or a Grihasta), in the spiritual hierarchy, is there a union (always)? perhaps I am misunderstood. May I put it this way: In Ashramas, the Sannyasa is the superior ashrama, In Varna, the Brahmana is the superior varna. And in general, a Grihasta Brahmana is lower in hierarchy and offers respects to a Sannyasi irrespective of the Sannyasi's caste. And the (true) Sannyasi commands the respect of all the other ashramites and varnites irrespective of his caste. This is because he has transcended all the differences and is situated in the Sattwic guna, and free from karma. Thus was my intention to convey. This is purely my own intrepetation and I know that I might be grossly wrong. Mani:-)the rituals of the karma kANDa are extremely important, are Mani:-)must be practiced by those who have had the samskAras of Mani:-)upanayana, etc. Mani:-)Please do not condemn cermonies and rituals; such worship is Mani:-)recommended by the Lord himself and commanded by the SAstras, Mani:-)which are nothing but His word. What I meant by the karma kanda are the sacrifices and rituals performed merely and only for the attainment of heaven, worldly gifts like good children etc and for the appleasement of various gods and demigods. The rituals and ceremonies , I agree are a essential part of our tradition and should be performed only for the pleasure of Bhagavan. Adiyen Jagan Mohan.