Agony of the soul (?) etc

Swami Vishvarupananda omkar at GIASDL01.VSNL.NET.IN
Thu Jan 9 04:25:05 CST 1997

There has been an ongoing discussion about manasa sannyasa versus 'proper'
sannyasa. Being a sannyasi myself, let me add my opinion here:

Jaldhar Vyas writes:
> Being in samsara leads to sukha and dukha and the only
> way to be away from sukha and dukha is to take literal sannyasa ashrama.

Gummuluru Murthy writes:
>I believe that a person can be
>completely free from all shackles right in the middle of a city,
>surrounded by family. In my view, there is no need of sannyasa ashrama
>for nirapeksha

Vidyasankar Sundaresan writes:
>The Jabala Upanishad says, "yadahareva
>virajet, tadahareva pravrajet" - one should renounce, the moment one
>attains vairAgya. In other words, go beyond the stage of nirapekshA to the
>stage of complete vairAgya and then sannyAsa. It is virtually impossible
>to be acting, however desirelessly, and have complete vairAgya at the same
>time. Why else did Yajnavalkya, that foremost of Upanishadic r.shis,
>renounce his wives and go away to the forest?

I can't fully agree with either of these. Yes, complete vairagya is
attained in stages and a person can be called a true sannyasi only, when he
is unshakably established in that state. This state can be reached with a
little less difficulty by someone living in an Ashram than by someone
engaged in the world, due to the environment which is conducive to his
efforts (though even an Ashram can bring its very own challenges to
detachment). But this does not mean, that it is *impossible* to attain
complete detachment in the world while engaging in all one's duties.

On the other hand I cannot agree, that sannyasa diksha should only be
received by those who have already achieved complete vairagya, or who are
undisturbed by sukha and duhkha. In my opinion, to them it no longer makes
any difference, where they live and what duty is assigned to them, and
whether they are clothed as sannyasis or otherwise. They are needed by
others in the world as well as in Ashrams.
Taking sannyasa diksha is a vow by the soul to make the attainment of true
sannyasa its one-pointed goal and devote all its energies to this endeavor
alone, and that is -- apart form environmental influences -- one aspect
that makes it easier for the sannyasi to attain that goal: His daily life
is centered around this endeavor, while a person living in the world has to
center the outer 'practical' life around the world and live in an
environment oriented towards outer values.

The point I am trying to make is, that we cannot draw universal guidelines.
Many saints attained realization while being grihastas, while many saints
left the world at moments seen as opportune or inopportune by onlookers
(e.g. while being bound to family duties), in order to achieve what they
found impossible to attain while living in the world. And then there are
many others who would have achieved more on the spiritual path by leaving
the world and taking sannyasa, even though desires were still gnawing at
them, than by remaining in the world and becoming forgetful of their once
high inspirations, while there are still others who may be wasting their
lives in Ashrams because they are cheating themselves about spiritual
attainment or spiritual effort, when they are merely or mostly parasites in
an organisation and would have progressed more had they led a more
productive life in the world. ... Etc., etc.

Every soul is its own way to God. Everyone brings with him different
preconditions from other lives. One has been a grihasta a million times and
another repetition of the same experience would be a sad waste of a
precious human birth, another one has not learned his lessons in this world
fully, a third one has been reborn just to complete the last leap of his
journey, or even just to demonstrate the way to others. How can the blind
we are -- not able to judge even our own state of this very moment --
decide what is right or wrong for whom and who may be able to attain what
in which way? I believe that whoever sincerely strives for realization with
heart and soul, in whatever circumstance life may have put him, will find
the necessary inner guidance to do what is right for him. It is the effort
we make that is all important.

Greetings and Om,
Swami Vishvarupananda

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