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Regarding Sannyasa
by Swami Krishnananda

The Basic Proposition is that the Universe is an All-Comprehensive Integrated Organism in Which Everything is Contained Everywhere in Every Form in the Same Way as the Organism of the Human Body Operates as a Living Total Entity.

  1. Sannyasa is a consummating process in the development of life through the preceding stages of Brahmacharya, Grihastha and Vanaprastha, these stages being the maturity of the content of consciousness until it reaches a universal gamut in the stage of Sannyasa. Hence all these four stages are necessary even as all the stages in the process of education are necessary.
  2. A Sannyasin can live anywhere except in his own house or even in the vicinity of his house. The more distant the place of living, the better.
  3. Nowhere is it suggested that a Sannyasin should lead a life of indulgent comfort, but he should be provided with the necessities required for helping others spiritually and to maintain his creature comforts. Grihasthas do not give donation foolishly, because they know the value of the donation which will benefit them also. Else, who will give donation? Necessary facility is different from unnecessary comfort.
  4. The benefit which the householder donor receives by taking care of a Sannyasin cannot be regarded as a barter system. No Grishtha is under compulsion to give a donation because donations are made out of voluntary freewill. Unnecessary donations are unthinkable. Every householder knows what is good for him and he has intelligence enough to understand what he does. No Sannyasi is expected to demand donation from anyone, because it should come from the donor voluntarily and of his own accord. Even if the donation does not come, the Sannyasin will not be perturbed because the Power of God on which a Sannyasin rests will take care of him in every way. Punya which the donor earns is not a business benefit but a spiritual protection that he receives spontaneously from the Above.
  5. No Sannyasin requires a bungalow to live for himself. The buildings erected for facilitating the spread of knowledge by way of lectures, teachings and publications of spiritual messages cannot be considered as irreverent attachments of an easy and cozy life of anyone. There is a psychological difference between facilities provided for the performance of public good even by a Sannyasin and irrelevant excesses in the way of living. It does not mean however that every Sannyasin is above the pressure of personal attachment and excessive comfort, though there are Sannyasins who are indeed great persons whose very thought will vibrate in the world of peace and solidarity.
  6. Karma and Bhakti can be fused together in the same way as love and action can mean one and the same thing. There is no question here of superiority and inferiority. The Sannyasin can also be a Karmayogin or Bhaktiyogin in the state of inner communion with God Almighty.
  7. You are right that Sannyasins cannot live if there are no Grihasthas, but no Sannyasin is expected to exploit a Grihastha. The Grihastha is supposed to feed the Sannyasin out of the facilities he has which he can easily share without diminishing his own needs. Where the donor is not fit enough to give a donation, he need not give a donation.
  8. Any Administrative System, social or political, requires a blend of spirituality and Trishul, as you have put it. The universe is both trancendental and empirical. The empirical side takes care of phenomenal existence and spiritual meditations take one to the transcendent Absolute. A true Sannyasin performs his greatest duty not only to one's own country but to the whole world in his widespread comprehensive outlook of all life taken together. The Sannyasin truly is not a human individual but an embodiment of the power of the cosmos in some degree. You are right that even the Sannyasin should look to the duty of maintaining physical peace in the world together with the tasks he undertakes to spread mental peace and spiritual enlightenment among human beings. The earth and the heaven should go together. The Sannyasin treads the earth but keeps his head in the heavens.
  9. A Sannyasin may abandon connection with company of people and live a life of seclusion and deep meditation utterly independent and accepting nothing from anyone. God will take care of that person. The all-seeing Universal Eye of God can work miracles beyond ordinary human comprehension.