Householder (and related topics)

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Fri Aug 15 06:57:12 CDT 1997

I welcome Shri Giri back into the discussions after his self-imposed

Sannyasi vs grihastha debate seems to be as intense as the free-will vs
pre-ordained debate. This is the second or third time go-around for
this topic.

Shri Giri states emphatically that sannyasi ashrama (an actual taking
up of the vows of sannyasa) is necessary for realizing (attaining)
Brahman. He quotes Shri Shankara and other post-Shankara advaitin
writings to support that view.

I differ from Shri Giri's view and of other proponents on this matter.
As may be noted from the archives, I am of the view that maanasika-
sannyasa (mental renunciation) is the only way for Brahman realization,
be he/she a grihastha or a sannyasi. It has nothing to do with the
actual sannyasi ashrama or taking the vows of sannyasa. Just as a
grihastha can completely renunce everything even while being a
grihastha, a sannyasi, while wearing an ochre robe may be burdened
with all sorts of bindings. What is important is mental
renunciation, not sannyasa ashrama.

These views were expressed before on this List and they can be seen
in the archives. [I congratulate the List-owner Shri Ravi for
arranging the archives in such an easily-retrievable, efficient

I like to make further the following points.

1. All our R^shis are grihasthas and they are all realized souls.
Although this is not a numbers game, for every sannyasi (here, I
mean a person who has taken external sannyasa) who is a jnani,
there is at least one grihastha who is a jnani. Thus, being a jnani
is not reserved for people who have taken the vows of sannyasa.

2. Further, I ask Shri Giri and other proponents of that particular
line of thought to show me an *upanishhadic* statement which
categorically says so (that sannyasa ashrama is a pre-requisite
for being a jnani).

3. In my view, sannyasa ashrama is a more recent social phenomenon
in Indian society (compared to the more antiquity of Indian thought).
I suspect sannyasa ashrama is not prevalent (may be not even existent)
in the Vedic times. Jnanis are more prevalent in the vedic times than
in the more recent times.

Gummuluru Murthy
Yadaa sarve pramucyante kaamaa ye'sya hr^di shritaah
atha martyo'mr^to bhavatyatra brahma samashnute   Katha Upanishhad II.3.14

When all the desires that dwell in the heart fall away, then the mortal
becomes immortal, and attains Brahman even here.

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