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As I've heard,according to the Vedas, sannysa, the fourth Vedic ashrama, is to follow vanaprastha, the 3rd Vedic ashrama, and meant to attain moksha. Thus, the right definition of snnyasa seems to be the renunciation of the world, and so a true sannyasin is expected to be lost in deep meditation in a solitary mountain cave or a dense-forest retreat till death. Nevertheless, Adi Shankara, Vivekananda, etc. Great sannyasins are known Not to have renounced the worldly life. Vivekananda also defined sannyasa as ' the love of life ' and thus justified a sannyasin's stay among worldly people, leading a worldly life and enjoyment of almost all pleasures of life. Thus, I feel most confused. I'm curious to know the Right Vedic definition of sannyasa.

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  • Related: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/32052/647
    – TheLittleNaruto
    May 15 at 2:06
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    Your 'question' is filled with your own opinion and is more aimed at asking 'am I right'? Not aware of Vivekananda ever defining sannays as you say, nor am I aware that 'great sannyains are known NOT to have renounced the world'. Please edit your question and not your opinions. References to sannyas can be found in Brahma Sutras 3.4.17-20; Mahanarayana Upanishad 78.12; Chandogya Upanishad 2.23.1-2 and 5.10.1; Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.22; Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.11; Jabala Upanishad 4; Also see the Gita. May 15 at 5:16
  • Adi Shankara, Vivekananda, etc. Great sannyasins are known Not to have renounced the worldly life. Thanks for the links. Nevertheless, by the Vedic definition of sannyasa, I meant a statement that's in harmony with the Vedic ' References to sannyas '.
    – Prakash RP
    May 16 at 3:33
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This is what is defined in the Sannyasa Upanishad:

Verse

अथातः संन्यासोपनिषदं व्याख्यास्यामो योऽनुक्रमेण संन्यस्यति स संन्यस्तो भवति। कोऽयं संन्यास उच्यते । कथं संन्यस्तो भवति । य आत्मानं क्रियाभिर्गुप्तं करोति मातरं पितरं भार्यां पुत्रान्बन्धूननुमोदयित्वा ये चास्यर्त्विजस्तान्सर्वांश्च पूर्ववद्वृणीत्वा वैश्वानरेटिं निर्वपेत्स-र्वस्वं दद्याद्यजमानस्य गा ऋत्विजः सर्वैः पात्रैः समारोप्य यदाहवनीये गार्हपत्ये वान्वाहार्यपचने सभ्यावसथ्ययोश्च प्राणापानव्यानोदानसमानान्सर्वान्सर्वेषु समारोपयेत्।सशिखान्केशान्विसृज्य यज्ञोपवीतं छित्त्वा पुत्रं दृष्ट्वा त्वं यज्ञस्त्वं सर्वमित्यनुमन्त्रयेत्। यद्यपुत्रो भवत्यात्मानमेवेमं ध्यात्वा- ऽनवेक्षमाणः प्राचीमुदीचीं वा दिशं प्रव्रजेच्च।चतुर्षु वर्णेषु भिक्षाचर्यं चरेत्।पाणिपात्रेणाशनं कुर्यात् औषधवदशनमाचरेत्। औषधवदशनं प्राश्नीयात् । यथालाभमश्नीयात्प्राणसंधारणार्थं यथा मेदोवृद्धिर्न जायते । कृशो भूत्वा ग्राम एकरात्रं नगरे पञ्चरात्रं चतुरो मासान्वार्षिकान्ग्रामे वा नगरे वापि वसेत् । पक्षा वै मासो इति द्वौ मासौ वा वसेत् । विशीर्णवस्त्रं वल्कलं वा प्रतिगृह्णीयान्नान्यत्प्रतिगृह्णीयाद्यद्यशक्तो भवति क्लेशतस्तप्यते तप इति । यो वा एवं क्रमेण संन्यस्यति यो वा एवं पश्यति किमस्य यज्ञोपवीतं कास्य शिखा कथं वास्योपस्पर्शनमिति । तं होवाचेदमेवास्य तद्यज्ञोपवीतं यदात्मध्यानं विद्या शिखा नीरैः सर्वत्रावस्थितैः कार्यं निर्वर्तयन्नुदरपात्रेण जलतीरे निकेतनम्। ब्रह्मवादिनो वदन्त्यस्तमित आदित्ये कथं वास्योपस्पर्शनमिति । तान्होवाच यथाहनि तथा रात्रौ नास्य नक्तं न दिवा तदप्येतदृषिणोक्तम्। सकृद्दिवा हैवास्मै भवति य एवं विद्वानेतेनात्मानं संधत्ते ॥

Meaning in English

Now we shall expound the Upanishad on renunciation. He who in due order (of the stages of life) gives up (the primary inclinations such as the desire for wealth, etc.,) becomes one who has renounced (worldly life). What is this called renunciation ? How does one renounce ? One who guards himself by the (following) activities, who has (for his renunciation) the approval of mother, father, wife, sons and kinsmen should assemble all the officiating priests known to him and as before (with their approval) perform the Vaishvanara sacrifice (for the welfare of all people). He shall (after partition) give away all his wealth to the officiating priests. For the priests are the singers (of the Vedic hymns, deserving the gift). The (five) vital airs, Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana, shall be (symbolically) placed in all the sacrificial vessels over the (five) sacred fires, the ahavaniya, garhapatya, anvaharyapachana, sabhya and avasathya. Shaving off his hair along with the tuft, snapping the sacred thread and seeing his son, he shall consecrate (himself) with the mantras ‘You are the god Brahma, you are the sacrifice, you are everything’. If he has no son he should consecrate himself thus and not minding (anything) proceed as a mendicant monk eastward or northward.

He may receive alms from (people of the) four castes. He should eat from the vessel of his hands. He shall consider food as medicine. He should take food as medicine (i.e. in great moderation). He should eat as and when he gets (food, without discontent and not asking for more, like Oliver Twist) for bare sustenance and in such a way that there is no increase of fat. Having grown lean he may shelter one night in a village, five nights in a town; he may reside during the four rainy months in a village or town. (Interpreting) fortnights as months, he may reside (in a fixed abode) for two months. If he is unable to endure (heat or cold) he may accept as gift a tattered garment or bark dress. He shall not accept any other. For penance is to suffer pain (with equanimity). What then is the sacred thread, the tuft and the ceremonial sipping of water to one who thus renounces in the prescribed manner and who thus views it (in the correct perspective) ? To him (the questioner) is this reply. This is his sacred thread (namely) that he meditates on the Atman; the (practice of) Brahma-vidya is the tuft; that he quenches his thirst with the vessel of his belly accomplishes (the ceremonial) duty with water that is present everywhere. His residence is at the bank of (a reservoir of) water. When the sun has set, how can he (ceremoniously) sip water ? As (he touches water) during day, so at night; (for) he has neither night nor day. (The enlightened ascetic is above the restrictions of time). This has been said by the Vedic sage (in a mantra): ‘To him there is (only) one (time), the day.’ He who knows thus realizes the Atman through this (renunciation).

Hindi Meaning

अब संन्यास उपनिषद् का वर्णन करते हैं। क्रमानुसार नश्वर जगत् का परित्याग कर देने वाला विरक्त ही संन्यासी होता है। (प्रश्न) संन्यास किसे कहते हैं? संन्यासी किस तरह का होता है ? (उत्तर) संन्यासी वह है,जो आत्मा के उत्थान हेतु माता-पिता, स्त्री-पुत्र, बान्धव आदि के द्वारा अनुमोदित पूर्व में कही क्रियाओं का परित्याग कर देता है; जो हमेशा की तरह ऋत्विजों को नमन-वंदन करने के पश्चात् वैश्वानर यज्ञ सम्पन्न करता है। इस पुनीत अवसर पर यजमान अपना सभी कुछ दान कर दे तथा ऋत्विज् सम्पूर्ण सामग्री को पात्रों समेत हवन कर दे। संन्यासी द्वारा आहवनीय, गार्हपत्य, दक्षिणाग्नि इन तीनों अग्नियों तथा सभ्य (वैदिक कालीन अग्नि) एवं आवसथ्य (स्मृतिकालीन अग्नि) को प्राण, अपान, व्यान, उदान एवं समान पाँचों वायुओं में आरोपित करना चाहिए। शिखा (चोटी) सहित सभी केशों का मुण्डन करा देना चाहिए। यज्ञोपवीत को त्याग दे एवं पुत्र को देखकर इस तरह कहे कि तुम यज्ञ रूप हो, सर्वस्वरूप हो। यदि पुत्र न हो, तो वह अपनी आत्मा को ही लक्ष्य करके उपदेश देकर पूर्व अथवा उत्तर दिशा की ओर गमन कर जाए। चारों वर्णों (ब्राह्मण, क्षत्रिय, वैश्य एवं शुद्र) से भिक्षा स्वीकार करनी चाहिए। हाथ रूपी पात्र में भिक्षा ग्रहण कर भोजन करना चाहिए। भोजन को औषधि के समान ग्रहण करना चाहिए अर्थात् मात्र प्राण रक्षा की दृष्टि से आहार लेना चाहिए और जो कुछ प्राप्त हो जाए, वही ग्रहण करना चाहिए, जिससे चर्बी की वृद्धि न हो। इस प्रकार क्षीणकाय होकर गाँव में एक रात्रि एवं नगर में पाँच रात्रि तक निवास करना चाहिए। चातुर्मास (वर्षा के मास) में एक ही गाँव अथवा नगर में रुक जाना चाहिए या फिर पक्ष (पखवारा) को ही मास समझकर दो महीने तक निवास करना चाहिए। फटे वस्त्र अथवा वल्कल वस्त्र ही धारण करना चाहिए, अन्य वस्त्रों को ग्रहण न करे। इस तरह क्लेश सहना ही तप-तितिक्षा है। जो इस क्रम से संन्यास धारण करता है, उसके लिए यज्ञोपवीत क्या है? शिखा क्या है? आचमन किस तरह का है? इन सभी का उत्तर इस प्रकार है- आत्मा का ध्यान ही संन्यासी का यज्ञोपवीत है। विद्या ही उसकी शिखा (चोटी) है। सर्वत्र स्थित जल के लिए उदर (पेट) ही संन्यासी का पात्र है तथा जलाशय का तट ही उसका आश्रय-स्थल है। इसी प्रकार का ब्रह्मवादी भी होता है। उसके लिए सूर्य के अस्ताचल की ओर गमन करने पर आचमन किस तरह का है? इस प्रश्न का उत्तर इस प्रकार है-उस (संन्यासी) के लिए रात्रि एवं दिन दोनों ही एक जैसे हैं। उसके लिए न रात्रि होती है, न दिन होता है। जो (संन्यासी अथवा साधक) अपनी आत्मा के अनुसंधान में सतत लगा रहता है, विद्वज्जनों के अनुसार उसके लिए सदैव दिन ही है ॥

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