Episode # 115 – Who is a real “Sanyasin”? An excerpt from the “Brihadaranyaka Upanishad”!!!

In the previous episode, we had continued on the discussion on why we should ensure detachment from our worldly affairs and why we should substitute our attachment towards Bhagawan instead. We’ve witnessed in due course of the last episode as to why we’re performing the “Nitya-Karma Anushtaana” regularly without fail. We had also done a small introspection within ourselves yesterday as to why aren’t we thinking about and spending time for Bhagawan every passing day. We’re totally occupied with our office works, family commitments and other personal things all through the day and eventually we do not have even a single minute to the person who has given us all what we have today. It is Bhagawan who has gifted us with a good job with a good earning. It is Bhagawan who has gifted us with a good family and with sufficient (three) meals a day. If such is the case, isn’t it our duty to pay our respects and thanksgivings to Bhagawan amidst our busy schedules during the day? This is what we’ve to introspect within ourselves as we move on further. 

This is exactly the same thing that Sage Yagnyavalkya explains in the “Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad” too. In today’s episode let us witness this beautiful accord as we re-establish the point on the significance of why we should educate ourselves to view the “Deham” and “Atma” as separate entities and not as one. As Sage Yagnyavalkya prepares to enter into the “Sanyaasa-Ashrama” after a certain number of years, he has to completely renounce his “Grihastha-Ashrama”. Sage Yagnyavalkya had two wives and he had to make sure that both of them aren’t facing any difficulty when he was away from them. Thus, Sage Yagnyavalkya takes all the little property that he had under his possession, splits it equally amongst his two wives, hands it over to them and is about to leave. Sage Yagnyavalkya says to both his wives thus, “It is time now that I’ve to leave. Hence, use this property and continue leading your lives happily without any problems.” 

Saying thus, Sage Yagnyavalkya becomes a full-fledged “Sanyasin”. Now that we’re talking about the “Sanyaasa-Ashrama”, we should also understand what exactly is “Sanyasa” and who can become a “Sanyasin”. A “Sanyasin” is a person who attains that highest level of maturity to completely renounce himself or herself for the benefit of the world. There should not be any sort of personal attachment for this person whatsoever. Many of us mistake this high level of spiritual maturity in innumerable wrong ways. For instance, we think that a “Sanyasin” is someone who just “runs” away from home because of some fighting with the spouse or parents. This is not real Sanyasa-Ashrama” because, if the same person wakes up the next day morning, he / she would immediately start thinking about the spouse or parents at home and would go back to see them. Whereas a real “Sanyasin” is a person with extreme levels of “Vairagya” or “Willpower”, not to think about home at any point in time, once he / she has come out officially. In other words, a “Sanyasin” should completely renounce his / her family and home and should selflessly work for the world for the well-being of all living beings equally. 

Moving on thus, Sage Yagnyavalkya officially announces his complete renunciation from home and is about to start off. The first wife gleefully accepted whatever share of property he gave. However, the second wife refused to accept. She instead asked Sage Yagnyavalkya a counter question thus, “Oh Sage! Tell me one thing – You’re giving me this property to me, isn’t it? Will I be able to attain “Moksha” with this property?” As Sage Yagnyavalkya heard this from his wife, he was surprised. He replied back thus, “You would not be able to attain “Moksha” with this property for sure. This is just for you to lead your life happily and peacefully in this world, and not beyond this!” Annoyed with this reply, his wife replied thus, “Oh Sage! You’re going into the Sanyasa-Ashrama, but you’re extremely selfish. You’re only thinking of you attaining “Moksha”, however, you’re not thinking of your wife attaining “Moksha”. Aren’t your wives, your responsibility? Isn’t it your duty to make sure that your wives too attain “Moksha” along with you? Hence, I do not need this worldly property from you. If you’re able to give me the property that would enable me to attain “Moksha”, please give me!” 

Hearing thus from his wife, Sage Yagnyavalkya was startled. He didn’t understand what to reply back to his wife. Now how is Sage Yagnyavalkya going to react to this? Let’s wait for an absorbing and an important answer in the next episode from Sage Yagnyavalkya! Stay tuned! 🙂 


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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