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Sannyasa

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"Sanyasi" redirects here. For the motion picture, see Sanyasi (1975 film)
Sanyasi (1975 film)
Sanyasi is a 1975 Hindi film directed by Sohanlal Kanwar, and starring Manoj Kumar and Hema Malini as leads.- Synopsis :Ram : In a gorgeous place stays a sanyasi - a religious minded young man who runs away from the wedding nupitals....



Sannyasa (Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

: सन्यास) is the order of life of the renouncer within the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 scheme of āśramas, or life stages. It is considered the topmost and final stage of the ashram systems and is traditionally taken by men or women at or beyond the age of fifty years old or by young monks
Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya is one of the four stages of life in an age-based social system as laid out in the Manu Smrti and later Classical Sanskrit texts in Hinduism. It refers to an educational period of 14–20 years which starts before the age of puberty. During this time the traditional vedic sciences are...

 who wish to renounce worldly and materialistic pursuits and instead dedicate their entire life towards spiritual pursuits. In this phase of life, the person develops vairāgya, or a state of dispassion and detachment from material life. He renounces all worldly thoughts and desires, and spends the rest of his life in spiritual contemplation. One within the sannyasa order is known as a sannyasin (male) or sannyasini (female).

During the sannyasa phase of life, a person may be said to abandon fire (Agnihotra
Agnihotra
Agnihotra is a Vedic yajña performed in orthodox Hindu communities. It is mentioned in the Atharvaveda and described in detail in the Yajurveda Samhita and the Shatapatha Brahmana . The Vedic form of the ritual is still performed Nambudiri Brahmins of Kerala and by a small number of Vaidiki...

, allowed to the householder stage of life, the Grihastha
Grihastha
Grihasthya refers to the second phase of an individual's life in the Vedic ashram system. It is often called 'the householders life' revolving as it does around the duties of maintaining a household and leading a family-centred life.-Usage:...

 ashram). It means that during sannyasa ashram, the person may choose not to cook, perform fire rituals or take heat from fire. In practice, however, Sannyasis generally do various services and partake in sacred rituals to set an example for others. Sannyasa focuses only on the self and spirituality and not even the gods (as abandoning fire suggests). Symbolically, a sannyasi casts his physical body to fire by wearing saffron
Saffron (color)
Saffron is a color that is a tone of golden yellow resembling the color of the tip of the saffron crocus thread, from which the spice saffron is derived.The first recorded use of saffron as a color name in English was in 1200...

 robes at the moment of taking up sannyasa itself, thus freeing his soul, while yet alive. Hence, sannyasis are not cremated after death (as most Hindus are) but may instead be buried.

Etymology


in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 means "renunciation" or "abandonment". It is a tripartite compound of
{{copy edit|date=April 2011}}
"Sanyasi" redirects here. For the motion picture, see Sanyasi (1975 film)
Sanyasi (1975 film)
Sanyasi is a 1975 Hindi film directed by Sohanlal Kanwar, and starring Manoj Kumar and Hema Malini as leads.- Synopsis :Ram : In a gorgeous place stays a sanyasi - a religious minded young man who runs away from the wedding nupitals....



Sannyasa (Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

: सन्यास, {{IAST|sannyāsa}}) is the order of life of the renouncer within the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 scheme of āśramas, or life stages. It is considered the topmost and final stage of the ashram systems and is traditionally taken by men or women at or beyond the age of fifty years old or by young monks
Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya is one of the four stages of life in an age-based social system as laid out in the Manu Smrti and later Classical Sanskrit texts in Hinduism. It refers to an educational period of 14–20 years which starts before the age of puberty. During this time the traditional vedic sciences are...

 who wish to renounce worldly and materialistic pursuits and instead dedicate their entire life towards spiritual pursuits. In this phase of life, the person develops vairāgya, or a state of dispassion and detachment from material life. He renounces all worldly thoughts and desires, and spends the rest of his life in spiritual contemplation. One within the sannyasa order is known as a sannyasin (male) or sannyasini (female).

During the sannyasa phase of life, a person may be said to abandon fire (Agnihotra
Agnihotra
Agnihotra is a Vedic yajña performed in orthodox Hindu communities. It is mentioned in the Atharvaveda and described in detail in the Yajurveda Samhita and the Shatapatha Brahmana . The Vedic form of the ritual is still performed Nambudiri Brahmins of Kerala and by a small number of Vaidiki...

, allowed to the householder stage of life, the Grihastha
Grihastha
Grihasthya refers to the second phase of an individual's life in the Vedic ashram system. It is often called 'the householders life' revolving as it does around the duties of maintaining a household and leading a family-centred life.-Usage:...

 ashram). It means that during sannyasa ashram, the person may choose not to cook, perform fire rituals or take heat from fire. In practice, however, Sannyasis generally do various services and partake in sacred rituals to set an example for others. Sannyasa focuses only on the self and spirituality and not even the gods (as abandoning fire suggests). Symbolically, a sannyasi casts his physical body to fire by wearing saffron
Saffron (color)
Saffron is a color that is a tone of golden yellow resembling the color of the tip of the saffron crocus thread, from which the spice saffron is derived.The first recorded use of saffron as a color name in English was in 1200...

 robes at the moment of taking up sannyasa itself, thus freeing his soul, while yet alive. Hence, sannyasis are not cremated after death (as most Hindus are) but may instead be buried.

Etymology


{{IAST|Saṃnyāsa}} in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 means "renunciation" or "abandonment". It is a tripartite compound of
{{copy edit|date=April 2011}}
"Sanyasi" redirects here. For the motion picture, see Sanyasi (1975 film)
Sanyasi (1975 film)
Sanyasi is a 1975 Hindi film directed by Sohanlal Kanwar, and starring Manoj Kumar and Hema Malini as leads.- Synopsis :Ram : In a gorgeous place stays a sanyasi - a religious minded young man who runs away from the wedding nupitals....



Sannyasa (Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

: सन्यास, {{IAST|sannyāsa}}) is the order of life of the renouncer within the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 scheme of āśramas, or life stages. It is considered the topmost and final stage of the ashram systems and is traditionally taken by men or women at or beyond the age of fifty years old or by young monks
Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya is one of the four stages of life in an age-based social system as laid out in the Manu Smrti and later Classical Sanskrit texts in Hinduism. It refers to an educational period of 14–20 years which starts before the age of puberty. During this time the traditional vedic sciences are...

 who wish to renounce worldly and materialistic pursuits and instead dedicate their entire life towards spiritual pursuits. In this phase of life, the person develops vairāgya, or a state of dispassion and detachment from material life. He renounces all worldly thoughts and desires, and spends the rest of his life in spiritual contemplation. One within the sannyasa order is known as a sannyasin (male) or sannyasini (female).

During the sannyasa phase of life, a person may be said to abandon fire (Agnihotra
Agnihotra
Agnihotra is a Vedic yajña performed in orthodox Hindu communities. It is mentioned in the Atharvaveda and described in detail in the Yajurveda Samhita and the Shatapatha Brahmana . The Vedic form of the ritual is still performed Nambudiri Brahmins of Kerala and by a small number of Vaidiki...

, allowed to the householder stage of life, the Grihastha
Grihastha
Grihasthya refers to the second phase of an individual's life in the Vedic ashram system. It is often called 'the householders life' revolving as it does around the duties of maintaining a household and leading a family-centred life.-Usage:...

 ashram). It means that during sannyasa ashram, the person may choose not to cook, perform fire rituals or take heat from fire. In practice, however, Sannyasis generally do various services and partake in sacred rituals to set an example for others. Sannyasa focuses only on the self and spirituality and not even the gods (as abandoning fire suggests). Symbolically, a sannyasi casts his physical body to fire by wearing saffron
Saffron (color)
Saffron is a color that is a tone of golden yellow resembling the color of the tip of the saffron crocus thread, from which the spice saffron is derived.The first recorded use of saffron as a color name in English was in 1200...

 robes at the moment of taking up sannyasa itself, thus freeing his soul, while yet alive. Hence, sannyasis are not cremated after death (as most Hindus are) but may instead be buried.

Etymology


{{IAST|Saṃnyāsa}} in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 means "renunciation" or "abandonment". It is a tripartite compound of {{IAST
Copulative a
The copulative a is the prefix ha- or a- expressing unity in Ancient Greek, derived from Proto-Indo-European *, cognate to English same ....

 has "collective" meaning, ni- means "down" and {{IAST|āsa}} is from the root {{IAST|as}}, meaning "to throw" or "to put", so a literal translation would be "laying it all down". In Dravidian languages, "sannyasi" is pronounced as "sanyasi" and also "sannasi" in colloquial form.

Types


There are a number of types of sannyasi in accordance with socio-religious context. Traditionally there are four types of forest hermits with different stages of dedication. In recent history, two distinct orders are observed "ekadanda" (literally single stick) and "tridanda' (triple rod or stick) saffron robed monks,. Austerities and attributes associated with the order, as well as expectations will differ in both.

Lifestyle and goals


The sannyasi lives a celibate life without possessions, practises yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

 meditation — or in other traditions, bhakti
Bhakti
In Hinduism Bhakti is religious devotion in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine.Within monotheistic Hinduism, it is the love felt by the worshipper towards the personal God, a concept expressed in Hindu theology as Svayam Bhagavan.Bhakti can be used of either...

, or devotional meditation, with prayers to their chosen deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 or God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

. The goal of the Hindu Sannsyasin is moksha
Moksha
Within Indian religions, moksha or mukti , literally "release" , is the liberation from samsara and the concomitant suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and reincarnation or rebirth.-Origins:It is highly probable that the concept of moksha was first developed in...

 (liberation), the conception of which also varies. For the devotion oriented traditions, liberation consists of union with the Divine, while for Yoga oriented traditions, liberation is the experience of the highest samādhi
Samadhi
Samadhi in Hinduism, Buddhism,Jainism, Sikhism and yogic schools is a higher level of concentrated meditation, or dhyāna. In the yoga tradition, it is the eighth and final limb identified in the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali....

 (enlightenment). For the Advaita tradition, liberation is the removal of all ignorance and realising oneself as one with the Supreme Brahman
Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

.

Within the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

, sannyasa is described by Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 as follows:

"The giving up of activities that are based on material desire is what great learned men call the renounced order of life [sannyasa]. And giving up the results of all activities is what the wise call renunciation [tyaga]." (18.2)


Sanskrit and Indic scholar Barbara Stoler Miller translates chapter 18, verse 2 as follows:

"Giving up actions based on desire, the poets know as renunciation; relinquishing all fruit of action,
learned men call relinquishment.


"Disciplined action and relinquishment are spiritually more effective than renunciation."


Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi , born Mahesh Prasad Varma , developed the Transcendental Meditation technique and was the leader and guru of the TM movement, characterised as a new religious movement and also as non-religious...

's translation of verse 3, Chapter 5 of the Bhagavad-Gita, says:

"Know him to be ever a man of renunciation who
neither hates nor desires; free from the pairs
of opposites, he is easily released from
bondage, O mighty-armed."

Renunciation in Dharma Literature


The Dharmasūtras and Dharmaśāstras give a number of detailed rules regarding at what stage of life a person may renounce, who is entitled to renounce, and what their legal and social standing is following renunciation.

When can a person renounce?


The earliest Dharmasūtras evince a very disapproving attitude towards renunciation. The author of the earliest stage of the Baudhāyana Dharmasūtra, for example, is critical of renunciation because ascetics do not reproduce. The birth of a son was necessary for a twice-born man to repay his spiritual debt to his ancestors. Because a Vedic student (snātaka), having completed his education, is required to start a family as a householder, Baudāyana states that only the householder's āśrama exists for him. At the time Baudāyana was composed, the āśramas were most likely permanent states of life chosen after one finished his time as a snātaka, not the sequential life stages they would later become.

The {{IAST|Vasiṣṭha}} and Āpastamba Dharmasūtras represent a transition from the disapproval of the idea of various āśramas (including that of the ascetic) expressed in Baudāyana and Gautama to the acceptance of the āśrama system and gradual efforts to incorporate it into the framework of texts on dharma. Those efforts culminated in the form of the aśrama system found in the {{IAST|Manusmṛti}}; by the time that text was composed, the āśramas had taken the form of sequential temporary stages which would allow one to pass from Vedic studentship to householder to forest-dwelling hermit to renouncer. Thus, Manu and Yājñavalkya after him are able to stipulate that a renouncer must have paid his triple-debt as a householder before renouncing the world. However, Yājñavalkya differs from Manu and {{IAST|Viṣṇu}} over whether passing through the āśrama of the vanaprastha is necessary. Manu 6.33 and {{IAST 96.1 state that one should renounce from the forest-dwelling hermit's āśrama, while Yājñavalkya 3.56 states that one may renounce from the householder's āśrama, provided he has paid the triple debt (to his ancestors, the Vedic sages, and the gods).

Who may renounce?


Although the question of which {{IAST|vaṛṇa}} renunciation is allowed to is not dealt with explicitly in dharma literature, it was understood that the āśrama system, including the āśrama of renunciation, was only open to dvija
Dvija
Dvija is one of the members of the first three varnas in Hindu Dharma. Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas are included in Dvija.The first birth is physical. The second occurs when one uptakes fulfilling a role in society...

 men. Accordingly, when speaking of the rules for renouncers, Dharmaśāstra texts only directly address twice-born men. For instance, when Manu speaks of the qualities of a renouncer or the conditions under which he renounces, the person being spoken of is outrightly specified a "a Brahmin" or "that twice-born man".

Nevertheless, Dharmaśāstra texts themselves attest to the fact that people besides twice-born men, that is, Śūdras and women, did renounce, even if the texts only mention such renouncers to castigate them. One must ask why Yājñavalkya 5.115 and {{IAST|Viṣṇu}} 2.235 would place a fine on feeding a Śūdra ascetic at a festival, or why Manu 8.363 would place a fine on conversing with a female renouncer, if such individuals did not exist in the first place.

Legal and social status of renouncers


In renouncing the world, the ascetic becomes, for all religious and social purposes, dead. A ritual death is, in fact, part of the rite of renunciation itself. The ascetic is no longer bound to perform the Vedic rites enjoined upon twice-born men; he leaves his family behind to live a homeless life. This state of being ritually dead is reflected in the laws relating to ascetics found in the Dharmaśāstras. Laws pertaining to renouncers are closely connected to and overlap with laws relating to the dead. Thus, {{IAST|Viṣṇu}} 6.27 states that when a debtor dies, renounces the world, or is in a far-off country for over twenty years, his male progeny should settle his debts. Nārada 13.24 allows the brothers of a renouncer to partition amongst themselves any inheritance he may have received from his father, except for a portion of money which should go to his "widow". Nārada 12.97 allows a wife to remarry if her husband disappears or dies, or becomes a renouncer, a eunuch, or an outcaste. Some texts, however, require that a man have provided financially for his wife and children before renouncing. Relatedly, Nārada 1.7 states that if a renouncer dies in debt, all the merit produced by his spiritual practice goes to his creditors.

Thus, renunciants are not only socially dead but legally dead as well. Like any dead person, they cannot enter into new contractual agreements. {{IAST|Kauṭilya}} provides a clear expression of this in the Arthaśāstra when he states that transactions cannot be completed by dependents and renouncers (3.1.12). Nārada 1.159-169 includes renouncers among those who cannot be questioned as witnesses in a court case.

Other rules pertaining to ascetics hinge on the spiritual power they were believed to have acquired through their austerities. The {{IAST|Bṛhaspatismṛti}}, at 1.27, warns the king to have a proxy, and specifically someone schooled in the three Vedas, hear cases involving ascetics and others skilled in sorcery. Since ascetics were believed to have supernatural powers, incurring the anger of the losing party to such a case would have been viewed as potentially threatening to a king's life. What is more important to the larger discussion of ascetics and Ancient Indian law, however, is the acknowledgment that cases could and sometimes did involve ascetics, despite their legally and socially dead status.{{Citation needed|date=June 2010}}

Monasticism


Unlike monks in the Western world, whose lives are regulated by a monastery or an abbey and its rules, some Hindu sannyasis are loners and wanderers (parivrājaka). Hindu monasteries (matha
Matha
A matha ) is a term for monastic and similar religious establishments of Hinduism and Jainism. A matha is usually more formal, hierarchical, and rule-based than an ashram.-Advaita Mathas:...

s) never have a large number of monks living under one roof. The monasteries exist primarily for educational purposes and have become centers of pilgrimage for the lay population. Ordination into any Hindu monastic order is purely at the discretion of the individual guru, who should himself be an ordained sannyasi within that order. Most traditional Hindu orders do not have women sannyasis, but this situation is undergoing changes in recent times.

Danda as spiritual attribute


In the Varnashrama System or Dharma of Sanatana Dharma, the 'danda
Danda
In the Devanāgarī script, the danda is a punctuation character. The glyph consists of a single vertical stroke. The character can be found at code point U+0964 in Unicode. The "double danda" is at U+0965 . ISCII encodes danda at 0xEA....

' (Sanskrit; Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

: दंड, lit. stick) is a spiritual attribute and axis mundi
Axis mundi
The axis mundi , in religion or mythology, is the world center and/or the connection between heaven and Earth. As the celestial pole and geographic pole, it expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet...

 of certain deities such as Bṛhaspati, and holy people such as sadhu
Sadhu
In Hinduism, sādhu denotes an ascetic, wandering monk. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa , the fourth and final aśrama , through meditation and contemplation of brahman...

s carry the danda as an austerity and marker of their station as a mendicant renunciate or sannyasi.{{Citation needed|date=June 2010}}

Sannyasa Upanishads


Of the 108 scriptures (or "Upanishad
Upanishad
The Upanishads are philosophical texts considered to be an early source of Hindu religion. More than 200 are known, of which the first dozen or so, the oldest and most important, are variously referred to as the principal, main or old Upanishads...

s") of the Muktika
Muktika
The Muktikā refers to the canon of 108 upaniṣadas of the Advaita school enumerated in the Muktikopaniṣad, the 108th of which is the Muktikopaniṣad itself...

, 23 are considered Sannyasa Upanishads.
They are listed with their associated Veda – ṚV
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, SV
Samaveda
The Sama veda , is second of the four Vedas, the ancient core Hindu scriptures. Its earliest parts are believed to date from 1700 BC and it ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rigveda...

, ŚYV, KYV, AV
Atharvaveda
The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

 (as found in the Upanishad
Upanishad
The Upanishads are philosophical texts considered to be an early source of Hindu religion. More than 200 are known, of which the first dozen or so, the oldest and most important, are variously referred to as the principal, main or old Upanishads...

):
  1. {{IAST|Brahma}} (KYV)
  2. {{IAST|Jābāla}} (ŚYV)
  3. {{IAST
    Shvetashvatara Upanishad
    The Shvetashvatara Upanishad is one of the older, "primary" Upanishads. It is associated with the Krishna Yajurveda. It figures as number 14 in the Muktika canon of 108 Upanishads...

     (KYV) "The Faces of God"
  4. {{IAST|Āruṇeya}} (SV)
  5. {{IAST|Garbha}} (KYV)
  6. {{IAST|Paramahaṃsa}} (ŚYV)
  7. {{IAST
    Maitrayaniya Upanishad
    The Maitrayaniya Upanishad or the Maitri Upanishad belongs to the Maitri or Maitrayaniya shakha of the , though some texts assign it to the . It figures as number 24 in the Muktika canon of 108 Upanishads under the name of the Upanishad, which is included there as a Upanishad, associated with...

     (SV)
  8. {{IAST|Maitreyi}} (SV)
  9. {{IAST|Tejobindu}} (KYV)
  10. {{IAST|Parivrāt}} ({{IAST|Nāradaparivrājaka}}) (AV)
  11. {{IAST|Nirvāṇa}} ({{IAST|ṚV}})
  12. {{IAST|Advayatāraka}} (ŚYV)
  13. {{IAST|Bhikṣu}} (SYV)
  14. {{IAST|Turīyātīta}} (SYV)
  15. {{IAST|Sannyāsa
    Sannyasa
    Sannyasa is the order of life of the renouncer within the Hindu scheme of āśramas, or life stages. It is considered the topmost and final stage of the ashram systems and is traditionally taken by men or women at or beyond the age of fifty years old or by young monks who wish to renounce worldly...

    }} (SV)
  16. {{IAST|Paramahaṃsaparivrājaka}} (AV)
  17. {{IAST|Kuṇḍika}} (SV)
  18. {{IAST|Parabrahma}} (AV)
  19. {{IAST|Avadhūta}} (KYV)
  20. {{IAST|Kaṭharudra}} (KYV)
  21. {{IAST|Yājñavalkya}} (SYV)
  22. {{IAST|Varāha}} (KYV)
  23. {{IAST|Śāṭyāyani}} (SYV)

Noted sannyasins



{{Expand section|date=March 2008}}
  • Sri Pada Sri Vallabha Swamy (approx 788 – 820)
  • Adi Shankara
    Adi Shankara
    Adi Shankara Adi Shankara Adi Shankara (IAST: pronounced , (Sanskrit: , ) (788 CE - 820 CE), also known as ' and ' was an Indian philosopher from Kalady of present day Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of advaita vedānta...

     (approx 788 – 820)
  • Sri Nrusimha Saraswati Swamy (approx 14th Century)
  • Swami Ramanuja (1017-1137)
  • Madhvacharya
    Madhvacharya
    Madhvācārya was the chief proponent of Tattvavāda "Philosophy of Reality", popularly known as the Dvaita school of Hindu philosophy. It is one of the three most influential Vedānta philosophies. Madhvācārya was one of the important philosophers during the Bhakti movement. He was a pioneer in...

     (apporx 1238 - 1317)
  • Jayathirtha (approx 1365 - 1388)
  • Vyasathirtha (1460–1539)
  • Vadirajatirtha
    Vadirajatirtha
    Sri Vadirajatirtha , traditionally 1480 - 1600, a Haridasa, is said to have been a Shivalli Tulu Brahmin and native of the village of Hoovinakere, near Kumbhashi in Kundapura taluk, Udupi District in Karnataka state...

     (1480–1600)
  • Raghavendra Swami
    Raghavendra Swami
    Raghavendra Theertha was a Hindu saint and philosopher who served as the head of the Sri Mutt in Kumbakonam from 1624 to 1636. He wrote a commentary Sudha Parimala on the Nyaya Sudha, an exposition of Dvaita philosophy...

     (1595–1671)
  • Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
    Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
    Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a Vaishnava saint and social reformer in eastern India in the 16th century, believed by followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism to be the full incarnation of Lord Krishna...

     (1486–1533)
  • Totapuri
    Totapuri
    Ishwar Totapuri affectionately known as "Nangta Baba" , born likely in Punjab, India, was a parivrajaka who is said to have followed the path of the Advaita Vedanta, which is often disputed due to the meager information that exists on Totapuri.By the time he arrived at Dakshineswar Temple in...

     (1780-?)
  • Ramakrishna
    Ramakrishna
    Ramakrishna , born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay , was a famous mystic of 19th-century India. His religious school of thought led to the formation of the Ramakrishna Mission by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda – both were influential figures in the Bengali Renaissance as well as the Hindu...

     (1836–1886)
  • Swami Vivekananda
    Swami Vivekananda
    Swami Vivekananda , born Narendranath Dutta , was the chief disciple of the 19th century mystic Ramakrishna Paramahansa and the founder of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission...

     (1863–1902)
  • Sri Vasudevananda Saraswati Swamy (1854–1914)
  • Sree Narayana Guru (1855–1928)
  • Sri Aurobindo
    Sri Aurobindo
    Sri Aurobindo , born Aurobindo Ghosh or Ghose , was an Indian nationalist, freedom fighter, philosopher, yogi, guru, and poet. He joined the Indian movement for freedom from British rule and for a duration became one of its most important leaders, before developing his own vision of human progress...

     (1872–1950)
  • Swami Sivananda
    Swami Sivananda
    Swami Sivananda Saraswati was a Hindu spiritual teacher and a proponent of Yoga and Vedanta. Sivananda was born Kuppuswami in Pattamadai, in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. He studied medicine and served in Malaya as a physician for several years before taking up monasticism...

     (1887–1963)
  • Swami Chinmayananda (1916–1993)
  • Swami Sathyananda Saraswathi
    Swami Sathyananda Saraswathi
    Swami Sathyananda Saraswathi also known as Chenkottukonam Swamiji, was a Hindu spiritual teacher, orator, historian and religious scholar. He was the founder of Hindu Aikya Vedi, and remained its chairman until his death....

     (1935–2006)
  • Swami Sahajanand Saraswati
    Swami Sahajanand Saraswati
    Swami Sahajanand Saraswati , born in a Jijhoutia Brahminfamily of Ghazipur of Uttar Pradesh state of India, was an ascetic of Dashnami Order of Adi Shankara Sampradaya as well as a nationalist and peasant leader of India...

     (1889–1950)
  • Swami Krishnananda
    Swami Krishnananda
    Sri Swami Krishnananda Saraswati Maharaj was a Hindu saint. He was a foremost disciple of Swami Sivananda and served as the General Secretary of the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh, India from 1958 until 2001...

     (1922–2001)
  • Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
    Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
    Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada,, was a preacher of Gaudiya Vaishnavism throughout India in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He was born as Bimal Prasad Dutta in the seaside pilgrimage town of Jagannath Puri, Orissa, India...

     (1874–1937)
  • A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
    A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
    Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was a Gaudiya Vaishnava teacher and the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, commonly known as the "Hare Krishna Movement"...

     (1896–1977)
  • Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswathi(Maha Periyava) (1894-1994)
  • Swami Vishveshwaranand

See also


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  • Goswami
  • Gymnosophist
  • Neo-sannyas
  • Purvashrama
    Purvashrama
    Purvashrama , is a term used with reference to Sanyasis. It refers to the ashrama of a Sannyasi, before he is initiated into Sannyasa ....

  • Sadhu
    Sadhu
    In Hinduism, sādhu denotes an ascetic, wandering monk. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa , the fourth and final aśrama , through meditation and contemplation of brahman...

  • Vairāgya
    Vairagya
    Vairāgya is a Sanskrit term used in Hindu philosophy that roughly translates as dispassion, detachment, or renunciation, in particular renunciation from the pains and pleasures in the material world...

  • Yogi
    Yogi
    A Yogi is a practitioner of Yoga. The word is also used to refer to ascetic practitioners of meditation in a number of South Asian Religions including Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.-Etymology:...


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External links



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