Did any ascetic (sannyAsi) ever regret taking up ascetic life and decided/desired to go back to the life of a householder (gRhasta)? (voluntarily, without any force, and also not due to being defeated in philosophical debates with mImAmsakas, for example).

If yes, what are the reasons given by the ascetic for going back (or desiring to go back) to the life of a householder? (Even if the going back is just a desire and not actually implemented). Is there also any criticism of sannyAsa Ashrama by a sannyAsi (in the context of comparison with gRhasta Ashrama)?

  • Many.. during modern times.
    – Narasimham
    Oct 3 at 17:39
  • Yes, there is one sanyasi who returned to gruhasthashram upon orders of his Guru, because his wife wanted a putra. He was father of one of maratha saints (not sure eknath or jayadev) @Rickross
    – mar
    Oct 3 at 18:27
  • 1
    Search for Vidhyabhushana in Google. He was swamiji, left that role, the married, didn't like married life, left wife...messed up big time. Great singer though, amazing voice.
    – Kanthri
    Oct 3 at 20:05
  • @Rickross - It was father of Saint Dnyaneshwar. Oct 10 at 17:01

From Daksha Smriti's first Chapter:

He, who after having adopted the life of a householder, becomes a religious student again, is neither a Yatin nor a Vanaprastha but he is divorced from all the A'sramas. (9)

A twice-born person should not live, even for a day, without following any order. If he lives without following an order, he is required to perform a penitential rite. (10)

He, who, divorced from an order, engages himself in recitation, or in ' the performance of Homa, or in making gifts, or in Vedic study, does not reap the fruit thereof, (11)

The three orders should be followed in due succession, and not in a reverse course. There is none more sinful than he who follows them in a reverse order. (12)

Thus it is clear that it is sinful to move among the orders in the reverse way and hence it is a sin to return to the order of householders (Grihasta Ashrama) after becoming an ascetic (Sannyasi). Such people are considered as fallen. So it is highly unlikely that any Sannyasi, aware of these laws, would have ever done that.


Yes, there is one famous case of a sannyasi casting away his asceticism and become householder again on order of his Guru. The sannyasi was father of well known 13th-century Indian Marathi saint - Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj and his name was Vitthalapant. Sant Dnyaneshwar was a saint, poet, philosopher and yogi of the Nath Vaishnava tradition.

The brief story - Vitthalapant the father of Sant Dnyaneshwar married to Rukminibai but he had a strong desire to go to Kashi and become a Sanyasi. He was therefore, often asking the permission of his wife to let him be a sanyasi or ascetic. But as she was strongly attached to samsara she was refusing his wish. So one morning Vitthalapant went out by saying that he was going to the river for bathing and left home heading straight-away to Kashi leaving behind his wife and family. In Kashi he became a disciple of Shri Ramanandswami and observed celibacy and became a monk. Ramanandswami initiated him into sannyas, . He lied to his guru that he is single and dont have any wife or children. But in time Ramanandswami came to realize that Vitthalapant indded is a married person and he has given a false account of himself. Thus Ramanandswami ordered him to cast away his "Sanyasa" and begin his family life (Grihastha-shram) again.

After reaching Kashi Ramanandaswami called his disciple Chaitanyashram and placed all the facts before him, when he confessed everything and expressed his sorrow for having given a false account.Thereupon Swamiji reprimanded and ordered him to cast away his "Sanyasa" and begin his family life (Grihastha-shram) again. Vithalpant had no other go but to obey the orders of his Guru and he returned along with his wife and father-in-law to Alandi immediately after taking the orders of his Guru. - Hindupedia

Vitthalapant was initiated as a sannyasin by his spiritual teacher, Rama Sharma,[24] who is also called Ramananda, Nrisimhashrama, Ramadvaya and Shripad in various sources. (He was not Ramananda, the founder of the Ramanandi Sampradaya.)[25] When Ramashrama discovered that Vitthalapant had left his family behind to become a monk, he instructed Vitthalapant to go back to his wife and perform his duties as a householder. Wikipedia

So Vitthalapant the father of Sant Dnyaneshwar became householder again on order of his Guru , renouncing his sanyasa.


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