[Advaita-l] Dharma

Navin Rajaram navinr at moschip.com
Thu Nov 25 07:54:45 CST 2004

Hari Om,

Raghavendra, my thoughts on your email on dharma.

But are we not in agreement that a householder follows dharma while a sannyasi renounces it?

I would say that the sanyasi and householder are both upholding dharma 
in their own way. Who is a Sanyasi, by the way? According to Sri 

"When a man has fulfilled the duties and obligations of that stage of 
life in which he is born, and his aspirations lead him to seek a 
spiritual life and to abandon altogether the worldly pursuits of 
possession, fame, or power, when, by the growth of insight into the 
nature of the world, he sees its impermanence, its strife, its misery, 
and the paltry nature of its prizes, and turns away from all these -- 
then he seeks the True, the Eternal Love, the Refuge. He makes complete 
renunciation (Sannyâsa) of all worldly position, property, and name, and 
wanders forth into the world to live a life of self-sacrifice and to 
persistently seek spiritual knowledge, striving to excel in love and 
compassion and to acquire lasting insight. Gaining these pearls of 
wisdom by years of meditation, discipline, and inquiry, he in his turn 
becomes a teacher and hands on to disciples, lay or professed, who may 
seek them from him, all that he can of wisdom and beneficence. "

This does not belittle a householder's position in any way. However, a 
householder cannot uphold religion and its values while still staying a 
householder. This again follows very clearly from what Sri Vivekananda 

"That King of Sannyasins (Shri Ramakrishna) can never be preached by men 
of the world. The latter can never be perfectly sincere; for he cannot 
but have some selfish motives to serve. If Bhagavân (God) incarnates 
Himself as a householder, I can never believe Him to be sincere. When a 
householder takes the position of the leader of a religious sect, he 
begins to serve his own interests in the name of principle, hiding the 
former in the garb of the latter, and the result is the sect becomes 
rotten to the core. All religious movements headed by householders have 
shared the same fate. Without renunciation religion can never stand. "

To speak on the part of the householder, there is no greater scripture 
than the Gita that glorifies his role. Not everyone can renounce at once 
and true renunciation comes only after understanding the secret of work. 
Therefore, a householder's role as a Karma yogi cannot be understated at 
all. He is also a upholder of dharma who keeps the wheel of society 
turning but for his own good, he should understand that neither is he 
the doer nor should he have desire/attachment towards the fruits of his 
actions. Sri Krishna states that the Sankhya philosophers propound the 
yoga of knowledge while the Yogis advocate the yoga of work. Both are 
equally held dear by HIM and when performed dilligently,both lead to 

To conclude, the sanyasi is not renouncing dharma, he is only renouncing 
his role that is centred around material ideals of the world. This, he 
does to devote himself in greater capacity towards the pursuit of 
spiritual insight, using which he may propel the others to achieve the 
same end. A householder is at a stage where he is still beginning to 
understand the nature and secret of work in this universe. His eventual 
goal would be to find such a sanyasi and strive in the same way. Both of 
them are vital spokes in the wheel.

Hari Om,

Raghavendra N Kalyan wrote:

>In the discussions on the recent events related to the arrest of the Sankaracharya of Kanchi, there were statements made to the effect that the Sankaracharya was an upholder of dharma. Jaldhar for instance says that he was a paragorn of asthika values. He was called one of the leaders of sanatana dharma, which of course implies that he is an upholder of dharma. Similarly, the kanchi-sathya website (given by one of the members) also mentions a quote from Kausalya to Sri Rama asking him to uphold dharma which inturn protects him, with the hidden implication that since the AchArya followed dharma, it would protect him in turn. (I hope I didn't misinterpret this). 
>Now, my question is not in anyway related to the arrest of the AchArya. It is related to dharma. The acharya was a sannyasi and was regarded as the upholder of dharma. But are we not in agreement that a householder follows dharma while a sannyasi renounces it? Renunciation not in the sense that the sannyasi follows adharma, but in the sense that he has renounced the world and dharma is also a part of tthe world. More generally, should a sannyasi renounce dharma or should he uphold it? Or does a sannyasi have his own dharma? (which appears a bit odd considering that he is a "sannyasi"). 
>Win a castle  for NYE with your mates and Yahoo! Messenger 
>want to unsubscribe or change your options? See:
>Need assistance? Contact:
>listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list