Exclusive to Vedic Management Centre by U. Mahesh Prabhu
Was Prince Siddhartha justified in leaving his wife and children to become Lord Buddha? Was it right for Adi Shankaracharya, as a young boy, to leave his widowed mother to become a renunciate? Narendranath’s family was in abject poverty when he chose to be a renunciate and became Swami Vivekananda. How can people who haven’t lived life of a householder guide those who live normal life? Questions like these often arise every time there is a discussion about the great gurus of India and those who join their monastic traditions. People who are attached to the material world often question the value of such renunciation altogether.
According to Vedic teachings, human beings pass through five stages, or Ashrams, in life, namely: Baalya (infancy), Brahmacharya (learning), Grihastha (householder) and Vanasprastha (hermitage/retirement) and Sannyasa (Renunciation).
Sannyasa, however, can be taken up by individuals at any stage of life, if they have the calling as well as the qualifications to do so. It can be adopted even at the stage of Brahmacharya to skip Grihastha and Vanasprastha. Sannyasa is a state in which the individual works towards letting go all the six detrimental qualities (Arishadvargas) in oneself, namely, Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (infatuation), Mada (ego) and Matsarya (envy) for the greater good and truth – Paramartha.
By this definition, none of those qualify to be called as a Sannyasi, who are driven by Arishadvargas even if they call themselves Guru, Swamis or yogis.