Householder Vs Jnani

Giri gmadras at ENGR.UCDAVIS.EDU
Mon Aug 18 18:40:52 CDT 1997

On Mon, 18 Aug 1997, Nanda Kumar wrote:

> So my question is, if the Householder truly wishes Liberation, has no ties
> to bind him, has no desires, what exactly prevents him from taking up
> Sanyaasin and become a wandering ascetic, which after all is the ideal
> environment for Moksha?

        This is a good question and Adi Shankara (oh no, Not again) says
why a person who has internal sannyas _may_ still be a householder. See
4.19-20 of Bhagavad Gita Bhashya (BGB). It is in the archives of this
list or you can check my home page,

        As Vidya and Rama (not them, again) pointed out in their mails, this
should be used for exceptions and not as a rule. Such cases are extremely


        Regarding sannyasa etc., the chapter 5 of BGB is on external
sannyas. What Shankara means by renunciation is both external and
internal. Anyway, enough has been posted on this topic.

        Regarding sannyasa as an asrama, please read the many sannyasa
upanishhads which speak so highly of external sannyas. Also look into
dharma sastras (many written around 800-600 BC) on sannyasa dharma.

        For those who have emailed me regarding citing Adi Shankara (both
positively and negatively), I have only one thing to say : For me, His
interpretation of Shruti is Shruti itself (though technically it is
Smriti) and He can never be wrong (whether it is on free will, sannyasa,
self-control or one of the thousand topics). Yes, one may call me a cult
follower and having blind faith. That's fine by me _only because_ both
Shankara uses logic and reason to arrive at conclusions, not by
handwaving. And, I have spent nights just in awe of His brillance, both in
His stotras like saundryalaharii and in His bhashyas.
        However, if you point out that Shankara is right, but my
interpretation of what He says is wrong, I will be more than willing to
listen. In fact, I will be grateful.


        For those who were offended by my postings on householder, I am
sorry and apologize. It is never my intention to hurt anyone's feelings,
and I just say what I intrepret Shankara and His lineage's teachings. I
never claimed only my analysis of Shankara is right.

        But it does not matter too much. Wherever we are born in, whatever
we do for a living is controlled by two things : our sanchita and
prarabdha karma besides Lord's will and grace. Endowed with free will, we
have the ability to proceed in the right direction now (agami karma). And
if we put forth our best efforts, whatever station and position of life we
are in _and_ whatever country one is in, to uphold our dharma, practice
self-control, reduce our desires and dedicate, devote, ourselves to the
Lotus feet of Ishvara, we would attain enough mental purification to
perceive Ishvara's grace at all times and places. At this stage, let Him
decide whether we are eligible for jnana or not depending on not whether
we took sannyas, but on whether we have offered the best to Him --
ourselves. namaste.

AUM shaantiH

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