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Worldwide Sanatana Dharma Community
Yogis for Peace
Calendar Veda Loka
23 April
2024 year

5121 years of Kali Yuga,
28th Mahayuga
7th Manvantara
The era of Manu Vaivasvata
boar Kalpa
first day of 51 years
of the great
Worldwide Sanatana Dharma Community / Our Tradition / Greatness of the sanyasi path
Greatness of the sanyasi path

“Sannyasis are religious leaders, the pillars of Sanatana Dharma.”

Sadguru Shivaya Subramuniya Swami

Sannyasi’s World

Sannyasi are the standard of spiritual life, the salt of the Earth, and the stronghold of Dharma. Sannyasa is another world in the midst of the human world. So is any monkhood. A monk’s (sannyasi’s) life is a special, blessed, great destiny, and a big merit. In Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism, the tradition of monkhood (sannyasa) is a rich internal culture of contemplation, ascetic life, philosophical learning, intensive yoga practice, and daily worship through a life of service to people. One who has made a decision to become a sannyasi, chooses the path of renunciation from the world, the path of incessant spiritual practice (Sadhana), Seva, and of selfless service to God, Guru lineage, and the Holy Dharma.

How one becomes a Sannyasi monk

A future Sannyasi first practices for some time as a Grihastha, Brahmachari, Or Karma sannyasi. Then his karma gets purified and his merit becomes mature, and his mind starts to see very clearly all the falsehoods and illusions of this world, all the limitations and sufferings of samsara, and a spirit of devotion to the path of liberation and renunciation from Samsara is born in him. Then, one day, the disciple asks his mentoring monk about the path of Sannyas. The monk describes this path to him in detail, inspiring him. Then the disciple asks his Guru for blessings to enter the Sannyasi path. The Guru warns him that the Sannyasi path is not an easy one and that it will require daily effort and endeavor, advising to think twice before taking it. The Guru virtually tries to discourage the disciple, describing the difficulties of the Sannyasi path and the life of renunciation full of asceticism, humility, and self-denial that is associated with it. But in fact, he thus tests the strength of the disciple's motivation, and sincerely wishes him to take this path.

If the disciple does make such a decision, and if the guru sees no serious limitations, he gladly gives his blessings for such a path.

Then the Sannyasi candidate has examinations required for Sannyasi disciples. Following that, he comes to his Guru's ashram, takes the Refuge, receives initiation (Diksha), and takes the initial vratas of the Brahmachari monk.

The Guru gives him a mantra, а spiritual name, a Brahmachari’s robe, endows with the initial vratas, and hands over sacred objects: a sadhu’s rudraksha bead, a mala, etc. Mentor monks teach him the basics of meditation and yoga.

Life and training in the ashram

Next 12 years, he patiently learns the art of being a sadhu. Living in the ashram, a spiritual laboratory and workshop, he learns the mysteries of yoga, tantra, and meditation (which are usually inaccessible to people immersed in the daily bustle of the world), blessed by the Guru and experienced mentor monks.

At that time, he begins to understand that being a Sannyasi is both a feat and the most normal and ordinary thing to do.

He learns to tame his mind, to control his desires and prana. He learns self-discipline, humility, selflessness, concentration, meditation, and contemplation.

He studies from his Guru the culture, ethics, and mythology of Dharma, the philosophy of Vedanta. He also studies Ayurveda and Hatha Yoga, Tantrism theology and metaphysics, theurgy and liturgy of Sanatana Dharma.

He learns to distinguish between Dharma and Adharma even in little things, to be attentive in his walk, to debate, to justify his viewpoint of the truth.

He becomes part of a large monastic family, the monastic order of spiritual seekers.

He learns how to wear monk’s vestments and to work with his emotions. He attends daily congregations to listen talks of his Guru and of other wise monks. He meditates in his cell, cooks in the cook-room, works in the garden, chops wood, studies scriptures, writes philosophical treatises, passes exams, attends yoga classes, celebrates special days devoted to the deities and saints of his lineage.

He learns humility, control of desires, inner purity of thought, and obedience.

He recites mantras daily, makes prostrations in temples and performs Parikrama (clockwise circumambulations of the temples). He travels the world to places of pilgrimage, takes part in philosophical disputes discussing scriptures, and prays daily to deities during collective practices.

He practices concentration and self-inquiry during short solitary retreats in the Ashram or out-of-doors.

He undergoes long meditation practices in secluded retreats.

Gradually, though not without difficulty, the kleshas (obscurations) go away, the mind and desires get quiet, and faith, wisdom, purity, clarity, compassion, and awareness come about.

Completion of the study, meditation in a retreat

After 12 years, he passes examinations on Vedanta theory, the metaphysics and theology of Tantrism, and the practice of yoga. He demonstrates understanding of the philosophy and spirit of Advaita.

Upon passing the exam, he becomes qualified to receive the Sannyasi status. He is then initiated into full (purna) Sannyasa and takes lifelong vratas of non-possession, service to Dharma, and celibacy.

Now that he is a sannyasi, he takes a long (3-year) hermitical retreat. During the retreat, he undergoes profound experiences of the Nature of Mind, Samadhi, immersion in the light of the Absolute, Brahma Nirvana, and Nonduality.

He verifies from experience the illusory nature of the world, and discovers his own original divinity.

He acquires great spiritual power and becomes wise in spirit.

Life as service to God and Dharma

Having finished the retreat and received his Guru's blessing, he chooses one of the following paths: to live in an ashram; to become a missionary monk who brings the light of divine compassion to the people on Earth; to wander about preaching the Dharma to those who needs it, or to go for a long seclusion in a retreat as a hermit.

He himself becomes a strong Sadhu, Tapasvi, a learned Spiritual Master capable of guiding lay practitioners to enlightenment.

He devotes himself to the service to God, Dharma, and to those avid for the Dharma of Liberation.

He shows people the holy path to Liberation and Enlightenment.

He is full of love and compassion for people and for the sinful world of Maya which is lost in samsaric affairs.

He gives his all to this service and becomes a conductor of the will of his Guru’s lineage, the saints, and the gods.

Such a life of love for others, selflessness, and compassion makes him a pure vessel, a conductor of the Divine, and this raises him to the next stage.

Attainment of perfection

Through successful Sadhana and Seva, he purifies his most subtle karmas and forever closes the gates of Samsara. He gets rid of the karma of the future lives meant to be spent in hells, preta worlds, animal worlds, human worlds, the worlds of asuras, Gods of samsara, and other worlds.

He walks the path of the perfect beings (Siddhas), omniscient Rishis, and Gods.

His soul hovers in the heavenly realms, or in the unfathomable worlds of eternity and infinity of the impersonal Absolute Brahman, Who is devoid of name and form. Meanwhile, the body of the follower leads the unremarkable life of an “ordinary” monastic monk.

Using his power of meditation, the follower creates himself an immortal illusory body in the guise of a deity, and travels in this body through all the worlds of the Universe, immersed in a Samadhi.

He visits the heaven, the worlds of dakinis, apsaras, spirits, asuras, and other universes.

The gates of Gods and Siddhas are opened before him. He communicates with siddhas, gods, devas, and dakinis. He manifests divine wisdom and power. He leaves the karma path and enters the dimension of play (lila). He sees the whole world with its conventions, sufferings, and attachments as a small puddle. Saints nod at him approvingly with a smile, perceiving his spiritual path. In the state of a long Samadhi he immerses into the space of the Absolute’s light and never leaves it again, remaining in Sahaja Samadhi. He stays in the Divine Light, and the Absolute Brahman Himself is his home. Gods come down to welcome and bless him. He conquers Samsara within himself, transforms all his karma into light, purifies all the ignorance that causes all souls to suffer and be reborn. He becomes "Brahma Nishtha", or stable in the knowledge of the Absolute, a true Dharma man. He attains liberation and enlightenment, breaks the cycle of birth and death, becomes a Jnani, an enlightened sage. He is like a Jivanmukta, who is liberated in his lifetime, wandering playfully through the universe until the end of the Kalpa, being in union with the Absolute. In the next cycle of creation, he becomes a Deity – the ruler of a Pure Land, a new Brahma the Creator, or god Indra.

He becomes a divine immortal Metamind, a perfect Cosmic Soul, a Siddha Purusha.

Hail such a sannyasin!

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