In both Sanyaas and Vairagya you let go of materialistic stuff and don't remain connected to physical pleasure. Are they same or there are any subtle differences between them?

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    In simple terms Vairagya means loosing interest in worldly affairs but you may not be necessarily away from the daily and friends or your house. While in case of Sanyas, people generally leave their families and property and stay secluded or in company of other Sanyasi's and spend time worshipping God.
    – Aby
    Mar 29, 2019 at 7:45
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    As per what I understand, Tyaga is an act of detachment, Vairagya is the feeling of detachment and sannyasa is attitude of detachment. None of them talks about going away rather inspires one to see the same God in all by seeing which you will be more interested in Rama than Drama(more interested in Self than the changing world). Mar 29, 2019 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


According to the sanskritdictionary.com, the word 'vairagaya' means

वैराग्यम् [विरागस्य भावः ष्यञ्] : Absence of worldly desires or passions, indifference to the world, asceticism

Whereas 'Sannyasa' means

संन्यासः - Complete renunciation of the world and its possessions and attachments, abandonment of temporal concerns

So generally 'VairAgya' is taken as something mental and sannyasa is taken generally as both mental and physical. In otherwords, sannyAsa is a Ashrama (One of the four stage of life,) while Vairagya is possible while one is staying in any Ashrama or stage of life. There are also different types if sannyasa like Abhaduta, bahudaka, kutichaka, hamsa and Paramahamsa etc.Each is generally associated with accepting some external sign or 'linga' of sannyasa. Dasanami sannyasa started by Achaya Adi Sankaracharya is associated with renouncing three desies: for child (putra-eshaNA, for wealth (vitta-eshaNA) and for fame (loka-eshaNa).

It is advised:

yad ahareva virajet, tad ahareve pravrajet : take sannyasa on the very day when you acquire vairagya. (Yajnavalkopanishad 1)

Pantanjali in His Yoga-Sutra defines 'yoga' as 'chitta-vritti-nirodha' and lays huge importance on Vairagya :

YS 1.12, "abhyāsa-vairāgyabhyāṁ tannirodhaḥ" meaning chitta-nirodha or Yoga is possible by practice and VairAgya.

Sri Krishna in Gita however defines sannyasa as

He who sacrifices the fuits of karma is a sannyasi. He is a sannyasi who has no hatred or desire (5/3).

On the otherhand,, He also mentions that

mind can be controlled by practice and 'vairagya'(dispassion) (6/35).

So according to Sri Krishna, Vairagya and Sannyasa in real sense are two sides of the same coin. He gives the maximum importance to Vairagya repeatedly and indirectly discourages external sannyasa.

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