Showing posts with label Ascetic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ascetic. Show all posts


    Hinduism - A Philosophy, Religion, Way Of Life, And Identity

    The difference between philosophy and religion in Hinduism is not as obvious as it is in modern Western culture. 

    • The terms "philosophy" and "religion" have no clear counterparts in Sanskrit, Hinduism's holy language. 
    • Anvikshiki-vidya is the closest synonym for "philosophy" ("science of examination"). 
    • Only the Nyaya school of philosophy, which deals with logic and dialectics, uses the similar word tarka-shastra ("discipline of reasoning"). 
    • To describe what we understand by "philosophical inquiry," modern pundits use the phrase tattva-vidya-shastra ("discipline of knowing reality"). 

    Sanatana-dharma The Sanskrit word dharma, which meaning "jaw" or "standard," captures the idea of "religion" (with many other connotations). 

    • Sanatana-dharma ("eternal law") is a Hindu term that relates to the Western concept of philosophia perennis. 
    • For Hindus, philosophy is more than just abstract knowledge; it is a metaphysics with moral consequences. 
    • To put it another way, whatever one's theoretical conclusions about reality are, they must be put into practice in everyday life. 
    • As a result, philosophy is usually viewed as a way of life rather than a meaningless exercise in logical thought. 

    Furthermore, Hindu philosophy (and Indian philosophy in general) includes a spiritual component. 

    • All philosophical systems accept the presence of a transcendental Reality and believe that a person's spiritual well-being is based on how he or she interacts with that Reality, with the exception of the materialist school known as Lokayata or Carvaka. 
    • As a result, Hindu philosophy is closer to the spirit of ancient Greek philosophia ("love of knowledge") than to the modern academic field of conceptual analysis, which goes by the name of philosophy but isn't especially concerned with life-enhancing insight. 
    • Ontology (which deals with the categories of existence), epistemology (which is concerned with the knowledge processes by which we come to know what there is "in reality"), and logic (which defines the rules of rational thought) are all areas of rational inquiry that have preoccupied Western philosophers since the time of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle (which seeks to understand beauty). 

    Hindu philosophy, like Christian philosophy, is deeply concerned with humanity's ultimate spiritual destiny. 

    • As a result, it is often referred to as atma-vidya ("science of the Self") or adhyatmika-vidya ("spiritual science"). 
    • Though sophisticated self-critical systems seem to be the result of the period following the birth of Buddhism in the sixth century B.C.E., the ancient Rig Veda contains the first philosophical musings or intuitions of Hinduism. 

    Six systems are traditionally differentiated, which are referred to as "viewpoints" or "visions" (darshana, from the verbal root drish "to see"). 

    • This statement alludes to two important aspects of Hindu philosophy: Each system is the result of visionary-intuitive processes as well as logical thought, and each system is a unique viewpoint from which the same reality is seen, implying a stance of tolerance (at least in theory, if not in practice). 
    • And that same Truth is what has been passed down by word of mouth (and esoteric initiation) as the ultimate or transcendental Reality, whether it is referred to as God (ish, isha, Ishvara, all meaning "ruler"), the Self (atman, purusha), or the Absolute (brahman). 

    The Vedic revelation (shruti), especially the Rig-Veda, is a major element of Hindu philosophy, and tradition refers to it. 

    • The Hindu philosophers had to defer to, or at least pay lip service to, the ancient Vedic legacy in order to establish their separate schools inside the orthodox fold. 
    • Purva-Mimamsa (which proposes a philosophy of sacrificial ritualism), Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta (which is the nondualist metaphysics espoused especially in the Upanishads), Samkhya (whose main contribution concerns the categories of sacrificial ritualism), Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta (which is the nondualist metaphysics espoused especially in the Upani (which is primarily a theory of logic and argument). 
    • I'll provide a short overview of each school and its connection to the Yoga heritage. 


    The Purva-Mimamsa ("Earlier Inquiry") school is so named because it analyzes the "earlier" two parts of the Vedic revelation: the early Vedic hymnodies and the Brahmana texts that explain and deepen their sacrifice rites. 

    • It is opposed to the Uttara Mimamsa ("Later Inquiry"), which is represented by the Upanishads' nondualist doctrines. 
    • The Mimamsa-Sutra of Jaimini gave the Purva-Mimamsa school its unique shape (c.200300 B .C.E.). 
    • In line with Vedic ritualism, it expounds the art and science of moral conduct. 
    • Its main point is the idea of dharma, or virtue, as it relates to an individual's religious or spiritual destiny. 

    The ethical authorities (dharma-shastra) are in charge of defining and explaining the secular applications of dharma. 

    • There have been many well-known Jaiminis, and the author of the Sutra must be differentiated from the sage who was a Vyasa student during the Bharata war. 
    • Mimamsa philosophers, or mimamsakas, see ethical conduct as an unseen, exceptional power that shapes the world's appearance: 
      • Action affects the quality of human life in both this incarnation and future incarnations since humans are inherently active. 

    Bad acts (activities that violate the Vedic moral code, which is believed to reflect the global order itself) result in negative life circumstances, while good actions (actions that follow the Vedic moral code) result in favorable life circumstances. 

    • The goal of leading a morally sound life is to enhance one's quality of life in the present, the afterlife, and future incarnations. 
    • Because the person has free will, he or she may utilize good acts to accrue positive consequences and even cancel out bad ones. 
    • The fact that the fundamental Self is transcendental and everlasting ensures free choice. 
    • Unlike Vedanta, the Mimamsa tradition believes in many fundamental selves (atman). 
    • These are considered inherently unconscious and only become aware in the presence of a body-mind. 

    For the Mimamsa philosophers, awareness is always I-consciousness (aham-dhi). 

    • Although some members of this school began to believe in a Creator God in the fourteenth century, there is no God above and beyond those numerous everlasting and omnipresent Selves. 
    • Because the Self is said to lack both awareness and joy, the early mimamsakas naturally considered the liberation goal sought by other schools to be unappealing. 
    • The eighth-century philosopher Kumarila Bhatta and his disciple Prabhakara were opposed to this viewpoint. 
    • They both taught that abstaining from forbidden and simply optional acts, as well as diligent execution of prescribed actions, inevitably result in the separation of the Self from the bodymind—that is, freedom. 
    • They saw the Self as awareness, but they didn't completely grasp the metaphysical consequences of their viewpoint. 

    Yoga methods have no place in Mimamsa, which extols the concept of obligation for the sake of duty. 

    • "As a philosophical perspective of the world, it is startlingly inadequate," said Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a former president of India and a renowned scholar, of this school of thought. 
    • Nothing in such a religion can "touch the heart and make it shine." However, since Poorva-Mimamsa was one of the cultural influences faced by the Yoga tradition, it must be included here. 
    • Though Poorva-Mimarnsa was important in the development of logic and dialectics, this school of thinking would scarcely be considered philosophical by Western standards. 

    Apart from Jaimini, Kumarila, and Prabhakara, Mandana Mishra (ninth century c.E.) is the most notable thinker of this school, which has a fairly extensive literature. 

    • He subsequently converted to Shankara's Advaita Vedanta school and took the name Sureshvara. 
    • In the fourteenth-century Shankara-Dig-Vijaya, a fictitious biography of Shankara, the tale of the electrifying meeting between Shankara and Mandana Mishra is recounted. 

    According to tradition, the youthful Shankara, who had taken up renunciation, came to Mandana Mishra's magnificent home just as the renowned scholar of Vedic ritualism was about to begin one of his rituals. 

    • Shankara, who lacked the customary hair tuft and the holy thread across his breast, irritated him. 
    • Mandana Mishra, quite proud of his knowledge, challenged the guest to a discussion after a torrent of nasty comments, which Shankara accepted quietly and not without pleasure. 
    • They decided, as was usual at the time, that whomever lost the argument would adopt the winner's lifestyle.
    • Their intellect and wit duel attracted huge groups of academics and lasted many days. 

    Ubhaya Bharati, Mandana Mishra's wife (who was really Sarasvati, the Goddess of Learning in disguise), was named umpire. 

    • She quickly proclaimed her husband's loss, but quickly countered that Shankara had only beaten half of the battle; for his victory to be complete, he needed to vanquish her as well. 
    • She slyly pushed the young renouncer to a sexuality debate. 
    • Shankara requested an adjournment without losing his cool, so that he might familiarize himself with this field of expertise. 
    • Shankara took advantage of the fact that the monarch of a neighboring country had recently died and utilized his yogic abilities to enter the body and reanimate it. 
    • He returned to the palace to the joyful exclamations of the king's family. 

    Shankara enjoyed and explored for a while the pleasures of sexual love among the deceased king's wives and courtesans in the spirit of Tantra. 

    • According to tradition, he became so engrossed in his new life that his followers had to sneak into the palace to remind him of his previous existence as a renouncer. 
    • Shankara regained his real identity and skillfully dropped the king's corpse before returning to his argument with Mandana Mishra's wife. 
    • Of course, he triumphed. Mandana Mishra said that he was a Shankara student, prompting his wife, Ubhaya Bharat!, to disclose her real identity. 
    • Shankara's win is often seen as a triumph of his better nondualist metaphysics against Purva-less Mimamsa's complex philosophy. 
    • Although this is true, it was mainly a victory of yogic experientialism over intellectualism. 


    The many-branched school of Uttara-Mimamsa ("Later Inquiry"), also known as Vedanta ("Veda's End"), takes its name from the fact that it arose from the study of the "later" two portions of Vedic revelation: the Aranyakas (forest treatises composed by hermits) and the Upanishads (esoteric gnostic scriptures composed by sages). 

    • Both the Aranyakas and the Upanishads teach the absorption of archaic rites via meditation, which is a metaphoric reworking of the old Vedic legacy. 
    • The Upanishadic doctrines, in particular, gave birth to the Vedanta tradition's whole consciousness technology. 
    • The Upanishads (of which there are over two hundred books), the Bhagavad-Gita (which is accorded the holy rank of an Upanishad and may date from c. 500-600 B.C.E. ), and the Vedanta Brahma-Sutra of Badarayana (c. 200 C.E.) make up the Uttara-Mimamsa school's (Vedanta) literature. 

    Vedanta is the pinnacle of metaphysics. 

    Its many sub-schools all teach one form or another of nondualism, in which Reality is seen as a one, homogenous totality. 

    Sureshvara (the former Mandana Mishra) articulates the basic concept of Vedantic nondualism in the following stanzas from the Naishkarmya-Siddhi ("Perfection of Action-Transcendence"): 

    • The failure to see the single Selfhood [of all things] is [spiritual] ignorance (avidya). 
    • The experience of one's own self is the foundation of [such ignorance]. 
    • It is the beginning of the world's transformation. 

    The emancipation (mukti) of the ego is the elimination of that [spiritual ignorance].

    • The illusion of [there being a separate] self is shattered by the fire of correct knowledge (jnana) originating from magnificent Vedic words. 
    • Because action is not incompatible with ignorance, it does not [eliminate it]. 
    • Action does not eliminate illusion since it originates from ignorance. 
    • Because it is the polar opposite of ignorance, right understanding [alone] can eliminate it, just as the sun is the polar opposite of darkness. 

    One gets scared and flees after mistaking a tree stump for a thief. 

    • Similarly, a misguided individual superimposes the Self on the buddhi [i.e., the higher intellect] and other [aspects of human identity], and then acts [on the basis of that erroneous belief]. 
    • Advaita Vedanta turned the previous Vedic ritualism on its head. 
    • It is a gospel of gnosis, which is the liberating perception of the transcendental Reality, rather than cerebral or factual knowledge. 
    • Shankara (c. 788-820 C.E.) and Ramanuja (c. 788-820 C.E.) were the two greatest exponents of Vedanta. 
    • The former was successful in building a cohesive philosophical framework out of Upanishadic ideas, and is mainly responsible for Hinduism's survival and Buddhism's expulsion from India. 

    Ramanuja, on the other hand, came to the Advaita Vedanta tradition's rescue when it was on the verge of becoming dry scholasticism. 

    • His concept of the Divine as encompassing rather than transcending all characteristics aided the public push for a more devotional Hindu faith. 
    • Many other Vedanta gurus, like Shankara and Ramanuja, have significant ties to the Yoga tradition. 
    • Samkhya has moved toward intellectualism in later times as a result of its focus on discriminative knowledge rather than meditation, while Yoga has always been vulnerable to straying into simple magical psychotechnology. 
    • The Samkhya philosophy has been the most dominant school of thinking within Hinduism, second only to Vedanta, and Shankara saw it as his primary foe. 
    • The Sage Kapila, who is attributed with authorship of the Samkhya-Sutra, is believed to have established Samkhya. 
    • Despite the fact that a teacher with that name existed during the Vedic Era, the Samkhya-Sutra seems to have been written according to certain 


    The Samkhya ("Enumeration") tradition, which includes a wide range of schools, is mainly concerned with enumerating and explaining the major kinds of existence. 

    In Western philosophy, this method is known as "ontology," or "science of being." 

    • Samkhya and Yog are closely related in their metaphysical concepts, and they originally constituted an unified pre-classical school. 
    • However, while Sankhya's disciples utilize discernment (viveka) and renunciation as their primary methods of salvation, yogins primarily use a combination of meditation and renunciation. 
    • Sankhya is often mistakenly described as the theoretical component of Yoga practice. 
    • As late as the fourteenth or fifteenth century C.E., each traditions had their own unique ideas and practical scholars. 

    The Samkhya alluded to in the six darshanas is the school of ishvara Krishna (c. 350 C.E. ), creator of the SamkhyaKarika. 

    • Ishvara Krishna taught that Reality is multiple, not single, in contrast to Vedanta and the older Samkhya schools described in the Mahabharata epic. 
    • On one hand, there are numerous changeable and unconscious forms of Nature (prakriti), and on the other, there are countless transcendental Selves (purusha), which are pure Consciousness, omnipresent, and everlasting. 
    • When examined more carefully, plurality seems to be irrational. 
    • If innumerable Selves are all omnipresent, they must also be endlessly intersecting one another, making them logically identical. 

    While Shankara's nondualism is the most academically beautiful, Ramanuja's qualified nondualism may satisfy both reason and intuition the best. 

    • Ishvara Krishna went on to say that Nature (prakriti) is a huge composite or multidimensional structure produced by the interaction of three main forces: the dynamic characteristics, the material qualities, and the spiritual qualities (guna). 
    • The term guna literally means "strand," yet it has a lot of other meanings. 
    • The word signifies the irreducible ultimate "reals" of the universe in Yoga and Samkhya metaphysics. 

    The three kinds of gunas are believed to mirror the energy quanta of modern physics. 

    • Sattva, rajas, and tamas are the three gunas. 
    • They are at the root of all physical and psychological processes. 
    • Their distinct characteristics are described as follows in the Samkhya-Karika: The [three kinds of] gunas are of the natures of joy, joylessness, and dejection, and have the functions of enlightening, activating, and limiting, respectively. 
    • They outnumber each other, and their actions are interconnected, productive, and cooperative. 
    • Sattva is said to be uplifting and enlightening. 
    • Rajas is energizing and dynamic. 
    • Tamas is passive and oblivious. 

    Like a lamp [made up of many components that together create the single phenomenon of light], the action [of the gunas] is purposeful. 

    • Just as atoms are matter-energy, the gunas are Nature. 
    • They are collectively responsible for the vast diversity of natural forms that exist on all levels of existence, with the exception of the transcendental Selves, who are pure Consciousness. 
    • We can best explain the gunas by the general idea of two opposites and the middle term between them, or as Hegel's thesis, antithesis and synthesis, which are manifested in nature by light, darkness, and mist; in morals by good, bad, and indifferent, with many applications and modifications, according to German Sanskritist Max Muller. 
    • The gunas are in a condition of equilibrium in the transcendental dimension of Nature, known as prakriti-pradhdna ("Nature's basis"), according to the Samkhya-Karika. 

    Mahat, which literally means "great one" or "great principle," is the first product or evolute to emerge in the process of development from this transcendental matrix to the diversity of space-time forms. 

    • Because of its brightness and intelligence, it is also called as buddhi ("intuition" or "cognition"), which means "greater knowledge."
    • But, in fact, mahat (like other elements of Nature) is completely unconscious, and it simply symbolizes a highly refined form of matter-energy. 

    Its "light" of intellect is derived from transcendental Self-Consciousness. 

    • The principle of individuation, ahamkara ("I-maker"), arises from the mahat, or buddhi, and ushers in the difference between subject and object. 
    • The lower mind (manas), the five cognitive senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing), and the five conative senses all emerge as a result of this existential category (speech, prehension, movement, excretion, and reproduction). 
    • The ahamkara principle is also responsible for the five subtle essences (tanmatra) that underpin sensory capabilities. 
    • The five gross material elements (bhuta), namely earth, water, fire, air, and ether, are produced by them in tum. 
    • As a result, Classical Samkhya acknowledges twenty-four different types of material existence. 

    There are innumerable transcendental Self-monads outside the guna triad and its products, which are unaffected by Nature's ramifications. 

    • The closeness of the transcendental Selves (purusha) to the transcendental matrix of Nature triggers the whole evolutionary process. 
    • Furthermore, the procedure is for the release of those Selves who, for some inexplicable and erroneous reason, identify themselves with a specific body-mind rather than their inherent state of pure Consciousness. 
    • The Samkhya tradition's psychocosmological evolutionism is intended to help people transcend the world rather than understand it. 
    • It is a practical framework for individuals who seek Self-realization and come across many levels or types of existence while practicing meditation. 


    The Vaisheshika ("Distinctionism") school of thought is concerned with the distinctions (vishesha) that exist between things. 

    Liberation is achieved via a comprehensive knowledge of the six fundamental types of existence, according to the teachings:

    l. The ninefold substance (dravya): earth, water, fire, air, ether, time, space, thought (manas), and Self (atman)

    2. quality (guna), which is divided into twenty-three categories, including color, sensory impressions, magnitude, and so forth. 

    3. take action (karma)

    4. universality (samanya or jati)

    5. the specific (vishesha) Yoga particularly refers to the school of Patanjali, the author of the Yoga-Sutra, among the six schools of Hindu philosophy. 

    • This school, also known as Classical Yoga, is regarded a relative of ishvara Krishna's Samkhya school.  

    • Both are dualist ideologies that teach that the transcendental Selves (purusha) are fundamentally different from Nature (prakriti) and that the former is eternally unchanging, while the latter is always changing and therefore unsuitable for long-term pleasure. 

    6. inherence (samavaya), which refers to the logical connection that must exist between wholes and pieces, or substances and their characteristics, and so on. 

    Kanada, the author of the Vaisheshika-Sutra, who flourished about 500 or 600 B.C.E., established the Vaisheshika school. 

    • Kanada seems to be a nickname, literally meaning "particle eater." 
    • Although some Sanskrit sources say that the term immortalizes the fact that this great ascetic lived on grain particles (kana), it is likely that it alludes to the kind of philosophy he developed. 
    • Both readings may be accurate. Kanada's school of thinking has an enigmatic beginning. 

    Some academics believe it is a descendant of the earlier Mimamsa school, while others view it as a continuation of the materialist tradition, and yet others believe it has its origins in a schismatic branch of Jainism. 

    • The Vaisheshika school is similar to the Nyaya system, with which it is usually associated, in terms of general direction and metaphysics. 
    • Both of these systems are the closest to what we think of as philosophy in the West. 
    • They contributed to Indian thinking for a long time, but neither school has remained dominant. 
    • The Vaisheshika school is almost extinct, while the Nyaya school has just a few adherents, most of whom live in Bengal. 


    The Nyaya ("Rule") school of thought was founded by Akshapada Gautama (c.500 B.C.E. ), who lived during a period of intense debate between Vedic ritualism and such heterodox developments as Buddhism and Jainism—an era in which critical thinking and debating were at an all-time high, similar to that of Greece. 

    One of the first efforts to establish sound logic and rhetorical principles was his. 

    • Gautama's moniker, Akshapada, suggests that he had a tendency of gazing down at his feet (perhaps while being immersed in thought or in order to purify the ground while walking). 
    • He is credited with writing the Nyaya-Sutra, which has been the subject of many comments. 
    • Vatsyayana Pakshilasvamin's commentary (c. 400 C.E.) is the earliest surviving commentary, written at a period when Buddhism was still dominant in India. 

    Bharadvaja's or Uddyotakara's Nyaya-Varttika is another excellent commentary, with a good subcommentary by Vacaspati Mishra, who also wrote on Yoga. 

    • Around 1200 C.E., Nyaya began flowering, marking the start of the so-called Nava-Nyaya era (or "New Nyaya"). 
    • In order to live properly and pursue meaningful objectives, Akshapada Gautama began with the realization that we must first define what constitutes right knowledge. 
    • He developed sixteen categories considered essential for anybody wanting to discover the truth, in keeping with the Indic flare for categorization. 
    • These topics include the acquisition of genuine knowledge (pramana), the nature of doubt, and the distinction between discussion and simple bickering. 

    The Nyaya school's metaphysics is of particular importance. 

    • There are several transcendental Subjects, or Selves, according to Nyaya's disciples (atman). 
    • The ultimate actor underlying the human mind is each infinite Self, and each Self enjoys and suffers the consequences of its acts in the limited universe. 
    • God is seen as a unique atman in Classical Yoga, and he is the only one who is aware. 

    The Nyaya thinkers advocated the pursuit of freedom (apavarga) as the greatest aim in life, despite the fact that the human Selves are all regarded unconscious, like in the Mimamsa school. 

    • Of course, their opponents did not miss an opportunity to point out the impossibility of a freedom that would result in a rocklike, insentient life. 
    • The fact that Nyaya followers sought spiritual shelter in Shaivism's religious doctrines demonstrates how little they believed in their own metaphysics. 
    • Between Nyaya and Yoga, there are many places of interaction. 
    • The NyayaSutra describes yoga as a state in which the mind is in touch with the Self alone, resulting in mental balance and a lack of sensitivity to physical discomfort. 

    Vatsyayana Pakshilasvamin said that yogins may see distant and even future occurrences while addressing different kinds of perception, a talent that can be developed by consistent practice of meditative focus. 

    • The word apavarga refers to liberation, and it is also used in the Yoga-Sutra (2. 1 8) to contrast it with the concept of world experience (bhoga). 
    • Another interesting similarity is that both Nyaya and Classical Yoga follow the sphota theory. 
    • The everlasting connection between a word and its sound is referred to by this phrase. 

    The notion is that the letters y, o, g, and a, or even the whole term yoga, cannot adequately express our understanding of the phenomenon known as "Yoga." 

    • Over and above these letters or sounds, there is an everlasting idea, the essence of a thing, which "bursts out" (sphuta) or exposes itself spontaneously in our mind upon hearing a sequence of sounds, leading to understanding of the object so indicated. 
    • A last point of connection is that a Nyaya follower is also known as yauga, which means "one who does Yoga." It's unclear what this designation conceals. 

    Hindu philosophy is divided into six schools, which is rather arbitrary. 

    • Many other schools, particularly those connected with sectarian movements, have played an important role in the development of Indian philosophy at one point or another. 
    • It's important to remember that Yoga impacted most of these methods and traditions, but it did so more as a loose collection of ideas, beliefs, and practices than as Patanjali's philosophical framework (darshana).


    You may also want to read more about Kundalini Yoga here.

    You may also want to read more about Yoga here.

    You may also want to read more about Yoga Asanas and Exercises here.

    You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

    Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

    Yoga And The Path Of Renunciation



      Tapas symbolizes a more mystical, shamanic spirituality. 

      Unlike Yoga, which emphasizes the attainment of meditative states and self-transcendence, tapas concentrates on the development of inner strength, visionary experiences, and magical abilities. 

      • This method relies heavily on the development of willpower. 
      • Yoga, on the other hand, represents a more sophisticated approach to development spiritual and psychospiritual orientation. 
      • For example, Samnyasa recognizes the necessity for volition transcendence, which is a manifestation of the egoic self. 

      Nonetheless, many aspects of tapas have made their way into the yogic tradition, and the common image of the yogin or yogini is that of a thaumaturgist, or ascetic who works miracles. 

      • Yoga, on the other hand, is closer in spirit to another tradition, that of worldly renunciation (samnyasa), which first emerged as a respectable goal to pursue in the Post-Vedic Age. 
      • Suddenly, or so it seems, an increasing number of residents of towns and cities departed to spend the remainder of their lives in the wilderness, generally alone but sometimes with their wives. 

      Samnyiisins, Or Practitioners Of Samnyiisa, Are The Renouncers.

      The prefixes sam (representing the concept of "unity," akin to the Greek synor the Latin com and ni denoting "down"), as well as the verbal root as, make up the term samnyasa (meaning "to cast" or "to throw"). 

      • As a result, it denotes the "throwing down" or "laying aside" of all worldly worries and attachments. 
      • Although renunciation may be defined as a way of life, it cannot be practiced in the same way that austerities or meditation can. 
      • It is, first and foremost, a way of life. 
      • As a result, the renouncing tradition may be described as anti-technological: It seeks to leave everything behind, including all ways of searching, if pursued diligently enough. 

      Joachim Friedrich Sprockhoff, a German indologist, correctly defined renunciation as "a phenomena on the edge of our life," comparing it to other edge-of-life experiences like death or old age. 

      • Renunciation is a reaction to the realization that human life, and cosmic life in general, is either morally inferior or entirely unreal. 
      • In either scenario, the renouncer aspires to achieve a higher condition of being, which is associated with Reality. 
      • Renunciation may have at least two forms, depending on whether the world is seen as illusory or just morally unacceptable (but yet based in the Divine). 

      On One Side, There Is REAL Renunciation, And On The Other, There Is Symbolic And Albeit Pretentious Renunciation.

      The former view sees renunciation as a straightforward abandoning of everyday life: the renouncer abandons everything-wife, children, property, job, social respectability, worldly aspirations, and any care for the future. 

      In metaphorical words, the latter viewpoint sees renunciation as mainly an interior act: the voluntary letting go of all attachments and, in the end, the ego itself. 

      • Throughout the long history of Indian spirituality, both systems have had their supporters. 
      • The oldest account of an effort to reconcile the two paths may be found in the Bhagavad-Gita (3.3ff.). 
      • Thus, Krishna, the God-man, taught Prince Arjuna the difference between simple abandoning and true inner renunciation, emphasizing the latter. 
      • Krishna clarified to 1 Arjuna, who was perplexed about the distinction between renunciation of deeds and renunciation in action, that he taught both ways in the past. 

      The Yoga of Wisdom (jnana-yoga), which Krishna associates with samnyosa, is one route; the Yoga of Action is another (karma-yoga). 

      Both, he stressed, led to the ultimate objective, but he thought the Yoga of Action was superior. 

      • He stated, "He who does not hate or want will be recognized as a renouncer forever." (5.3a) (5.3b) (5.3c) (5.3d) (5.3e But, 0 strong-armed [Arjuna], renunciation is impossible to achieve without Yoga. 

      The yogic sage (muni) approaches the Absolute without delay. 

      • (5.6) He whose self has become the Self of all beings, even though he is active, is not defiled. 
      • Yoked in Yoga, with the self cleansed, tamed, and the senses conquered-he whose self has become the Self of all beings, even though he is active, is not defiled. 
      • (nine) "I do nothing whatever," reflects the yoked one, the knower of Reality, "even as he sees, hears, touches, smells, eats, walks, sleeps, talks, excretes, grasps, opens and closes [his eyes], and thinks "the senses dwell in the sense objects." (5.8-9) He who acts, entrusting [all] deeds to the Absolute and abandoning attachment (sanga), is unaffected by sin (papa), just as a lotus leaf is unaffected by water. 
      • (5) 1 0 The traditional Hindu authorities, appropriately worried about the rising attitude of global surrender, supported the symbolic interpretation of renunciation. 

      The Religious Establishment Would Have Had Little Reason For Concern If The Eremitic Life In Woods Or Caverns Had Only Appealed To The Elder Generation. 

      However, the concept of escaping the world drew in a large number of middle-aged people, as well as young males (and, more rarely, women). 

      • We are informed that their rejection of material life resulted in the abandonment of families, farms, and kingdoms. 
      • The sociocultural causes of this tendency are unknown; some academics have attributed it to the peninsula's hot, dry environment, although this appears oversimplified. 

      In terms of psychohistory, the ideal of literal relinquishment represents what I've referred to as the "mythical" (verticalist) version of Yoga elsewhere II. 

      In contrast, the life-positive sa m nyiisa ideal offers a more holistic approach. 

      Mythic Yoga is based on a dramatic and sudden rupture with the established order of things: 

      • Either one abstains from all mundane actions and ideas and devotes one's life to contemplation of the supramundane Reality, or one participates in regular life and reaps the uncertain benefits of an earthly existence. 

      There Can Be No In-Between State For A Mythic Yoga Practitioner. 

      He or she must choose between the transcendental and conditional selves, between God and the world, between eternal pleasure and everyday misery. 

      • The more integral world view of Tantrism, Sahajayana, and particularly Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga, on the other hand, holds that the limited universe is a manifestation of the Divine and therefore not just sorrowful but also a source of pleasure. 

      King Brihadratha is shown as suffering from severe existential ennui in the MaitriiyanfyaUpanishad (I. 2ff. ), a book in the legendary 'Yoga tradition from the years immediately before the Common Era.' 

      When he said, 

      "What good is the enjoyment of desires in this foul-smelling, pithless body, which is a conglomerate of bone, skin, muscle, marrow, flesh, semen, blood, mucus, tears, rheum, feces, urine, wind, bile, and phlegm-what good is the enjoyment of desires in this foul-smelling, pithless body, which is a conglomerate of bone, skin, muscle, What good is the pleasure of wants in this body, which is plagued by lust, wrath, greed, delusion, fear, despair, jealousy, separation from what is loved, union with what is unloved, hunger, thirst, senility, death, illness, sorrow, and the like? "

      We can observe that everything is perishable, such as the gnats, mosquitoes, and other insects, as well as the grass and trees that grow and decay. 

      What about these, for example? 

      There are the big ones, strong warriors, some of whom were rulers of empires like Sudyumna, Bhuridyumna... and monarchs like Maruna, Bharata, and others, who sacrificed their vast riches and went on from this world to the next in front of their whole family. 

      The Social Fabric And Established Order Were Obviously Challenged By Radical Abandonment Of Conventional Existence.

      As a result, Hindu lawgivers opposed what they saw as immature renunciation, instead proposing the alternative societal ideal of the phases of life (ashra­ ma)-studentship (brahmacarya), householder stage (garhastya), forest-dweller lifestyle ( vana­ prasthya), and ultimately complete renunciation. 

      Renunciation was completely sanctioned in this new hierarchical structure, but only after a person had fulfilled his or her tier duties as a householder (grihastha, from griha "home" and stha "to abide").

      There were two degrees of renunciation identified. 

      • The first is vana-prasthya ("forest-dwelling"), which is the stage of the hermit who performs esoteric ritualism in the seclusion of the forest. 
        • He is referred to as a "forest inhabitant" (vana-prastha). 

      • The second level, samnyasa, entails abandoning even the forest dweller's sedentary lifestyle and sacrifice ritualism in favor of a life of perpetual roaming. 

      These two lifestyles before the modern tradition of retiremeot, but the Hindu faith gave elderly people—at least in theory—a dignity that is denied to them by our own Western culture by turning the twilight of an individual's life into a holy chance. 

      The Tradition Of Renunciation, Like The Practice Of Asceticism, Has Been A Constant Element Of Indian Spirituality.

      Frequently, the two crossed paths. 

      Although the term samnyasa appears for the first time in the Mundaka-Upanishad (3.2.6), which is generally dated to the third or second century B.C.E. but may be older, the concept and ideal are far older. 

      • Thus, the Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad (4.4.22), considered the oldest work of the Upanishadic genre, talks of the pravrajin, a person who has "gone out" (pra + vraj "to wander"), that is, who has abandoned his or her home and is solely focused on Self-realization. 
      • The great old man of Upanishadic knowledge, Yajnavalkya, teaches a student in a famous passage: That which is above hunger and thirst, sorrow and illusion, old age and death [is the transcendental Reality]: The brahmins who know That as the actual Self conquer their desires for offspring, riches, and the worlds, and live as mendicants. 

      The want for sons is the desire for money, and wealth is the desire for the worlds; therefore, both are simply wishes. 

      As a result, a brahmin should be dissatisfied with scholarship and want to dwell [in purity] as a kid. 

      • When he has lost both his scholarship and his childlikeness, he becomes a wise man (muni). 
      • He becomes a [genuine] brahmin when he despairs of both sage-hood (mauna) and non-sage-hood (amauna). 
      • (3.5 liters) As a result, Yajnavalkya defined renunciation as the transcendence of attachment to any and all desires, including the desire for renunciation. 
      • He is also noted for voicing his concerns about the utility of asceticism elsewhere in the same scrip­ ture (3.8. 1 0). (tapas). 

      Even A Century Of Austerity,  Will Be In Vain Unless The Absolute Is First Realized. 

      This phrase encapsulates a persistent spiritual paradox: 

      • We only seek what we have already discovered in some way. 

      The parivrajaka (wandering renouncers) are divided into the following groups: 

      1. Kuticakas: 

      The term alludes to the fact that they wear a tuft, but it also has additional connotations. 

      • As a result, the word kuti may indicate "house" or "home" as well as "sexual intercourse," whereas the stem caka signifies "to shake." As a result, the kuticaka is someone who trembles while thinking of the life of a householder, particularly the allure of sexual attachment, and therefore maintains chastity. 
      • He wears a loincloth and carries a renouncer's stick and a water vessel as he travels from place to place. 
      • He meditates by chanting or reciting holy words (mantra). 

      2. Bahfidakas: 

      Their way of life is similar to the Kuticakas'. 

      • They eat eight morsels a day, which they collect "like a bee" from various locations. 
      • The name literally means "abundant water" (bahu "much," udaka "water") and alludes to the fact that these renouncers visit holy sites near rivers. 

      3. Hamsas: 

      These nomadic ascetics are called for the swans who dwell among them. 

      (Strictly speaking, hamsa refers to the male of India's wild geese species.) 

      • They do not even beg for food, instead subsisting on cow products such as pee and dung. 

      4. Paramahamsas: 

      These "supreme swans" have a more spartan manner of living. 

      • As a symbol of their complete abandonment of normal existence, they are said to spread ashes all over their bodies. 
      • Various religions prescribe various rites for them, like wearing a single loin garment and carrying a bamboo stick. 
      • The essential thing to remember about the parama-hamsas is that they are completely Self-realized creatures. 
      • The parama­ hamsas, according to certain scriptures, such as the Vaikhanasa-Smarta-Sutra, roam about naked and visit graveyards. 

      The Turiyatitas And Avadhutas Are Added To The Preceding Schema By The Narada-Parivrajaka Upanishad (about 1200 C.E.). 

      Both are adepts who have attained Self-realization. 

      • The former, whose name means "transcending the Fourth," subsist on the little amounts of food shoved into their mouths—a technique known as "cow-face" (go-mukha). 
      • The latter are equally reliant on the generosity of others. 
      • The avadhutas are distinguished by the fact that they go about nude, showing their blissful obliviousness to all differences: There is just One Reality, which is sexless. 

      Everything else has been "cast aside," as the term avadhuta implies. 

      • As can be seen, the term "renunciation" encompasses a wide range of lifestyles, ranging from the householder who simply makes an inner or symbolic renunciation to the forest dweller who continues to observe certain ritual obligations, to the naked wanderer whose way of life can be described as a form of sacred anarchy. 
      • Some of these renouncers performed one kind of Yoga or another, while others just pondered the wonder of the Self without the use of any external assistance. 
      • All of these various kinds have contributed to the rich fabric of Indian spirituality throughout millennia.