Meditationtime Forum Post
Date: Posted 5 years before May 17, 2017
MiBeloved 5 years ago
For information about the Eastern Tradition of Sannyasa, one may get a snap-shot of it on this Wiki page:
Please keep in mind that like everything else coming out of India, various people use various definitions but for anything there are standard definitions. Sannyasa is defined clearly in several of the Scriptures from India. There is even a minor Upanishads which defines what a person should do after taking sannyasa
Know however that there are basically two ways of taking sannyasa.
1. Taking the vow before having sexual intercourse.
2. Taking the vow after getting carnal experience.
If one takes the vow from youth when one’s material body did not have any sexual experience, that is called naishtika brahmachari sannyasa which means lifelong celibacy.
If one takes the vow after having carnal experience in any way, then that is the inferior type of sannyasa. This is because one’s mind was smeared with carnal knowledge in the present life.
Basically taking sannyasa is a vow not to become involved in reproducing bodies. In ancient India, sex was linked to reproducing bodies. It was not linked to pleasure as it is in the developed countries today.
In fact in many of the stories in the Puranas, there are tales of the ancient kings who had to get permission from their ritual priests before they could have sex with their spouses. In Manu Samhita there are strict regulations about when a man can have sex with his wife, and it centers around her reproductive cycle and the time when her body would be fertile for begetting children.
People who in those days were involved in sex for pleasure were considered to be shudras, which were the lowest caste in those societies. Of course these ideas are antiquated and restrictive to our modern value system, but that was the system and there were rules given in Manu Smrti and other books about this.
The reason for celibacy in yoga practice is the realm one can attain if one is celibate. Certain heavenly worlds, like the one named Satyaloka or Brahmaloka cannot be attained by a person who is not celibate. This is because a non-celibate condition in the subtle body makes it impossible to shift that body into a state which is compatible with existence in those places.
Celibacy in yoga has to do with the objective of the yogi. It is different to celibacy for religious status in an organization.
In terms of the word sannyasa, it is a combination of the Sanskrit prefix sam and the word nyasa. Sam means well done or complete. Nyasa means renunciation.
There are two paths of life in the Vedic system. One is called pravritti marga. The contrary one is called nivritti marga.
Pra is a prefix means extra or enthusiasm for. Vritti means cultural activities and interest in the material world.
One who is enthusiastic about social activities in this world is on the path of pravritti marga.
Nivritti is the opposite. That is the path of shutting down the vritti or cultural activities in this world. When a person takes sannyasa he is taking the path which is hostile to social association, the path of nivritti marga.
Buddha for instance was having sex experience and then all of a sudden he decided to take sannyasa. He did this after a charioteer explained to him what the monks of his time used to do. Buddha became hostile to social life. Do you know that he abandoned his wife and his infant son and never resumed his responsibilities for them? One word used to describe him is Tathagata. This is two words tatha and gata, which means a person who went out of the social life. Gataa is gone or having left.
You may hear speakers say that Buddha realised that yoga austerities were unnecessary but did any of these speakers say why Buddha did not resume his family responsibility, if that was really the case. Buddha was the extreme of taking sannyasa after having carnal knowledge.
People follow Buddha and even lecture on Buddha, for instance Rajneesh used to do that, but Buddha gave up sex completely and every monk who lived in his shelter while he was alive had to do likewise. Are you aware of this or are you just grabbing some of his philosophy and running off with it while you have a totally anti-Buddha lifestyle?
Examples of persons who took sannyasa before having carnal knowledge were Swami Vivekananda, Swami Yogananda, Swami Yogeshwarananda, Swami Rama of Himalayan Institute, Swami Satchidananda.
An example of a person who took sannyasa after having carnal knowledge was Swami Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada.
Once a person takes sannyasa vow, he gets a danda which is a rod. And he is allowed to wear the saffron color. He is permitted to tie his dhoti in a special way and to wear a saffron cloth across his body in a specific way. Other persons cannot wear their garments in that way. In fact the householders are usually restricted to wearing white dhotis which are tied in a specific way. A householder cannot at any stage wear a saffron dhoti. It is not permitted in the lineages. A sannyasi also uses special mantras which others are never given or allowed to recite.
In addition originally there was no allowance for women to take sannyasa.
Someone asked me recently for permission to take sannyasa.
Well first of all I cannot give formal permission because on the material side I have not taken sannyasa. Some years ago I was given sannyasa in the astral world by Swami Shivananda, but that has to do with my astral body not with my physical body. My physical body has carnal knowledge and so in the real complete sense it cannot take sannyasa.
The rules for the physical body are different to those for the subtle body in terms of sannyasa commitment.
I can however advise someone that if he or she desires to take sannyasa, then he or she must consider forgoing physical sexual intercourse at least. One has to stop this activity if one wants to take sannyasa.
One’s whole idea about sex as we consider it in the West has to be dumped if one is serious about this. One has to see sex as being linked to reproduction and the responsibility for raising progeny. If you can get this into your head in a sincere way, then you can at least adopt the vow of sannyasa on your own.
However in terms of doing so in the astral body, that is near impossible. Only a siddha can do that. The astral body is a prostitute and therefore unless one can wean it from its pleasure craving, sannyasa for it would be impossible.
I can say this much however that in my view, and this is my opinion. You can say that I said it.
The only way to be a sannyasi in the subtle body is to become a son-child of a great deity or of a great yoga guru. If you are a son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, those two persons, then it would not be possible for you to be interested in having sex with anybody. Children just do not have sex because their profile has no need for it.
If you cannot reach such deities, then if you become a son-child of say Swami Yogeshwarananda, then there you will not have any need for sex and you can be a sannyasi.
There is no other way to do this because a limited spirit in these worlds does not have the power to resist sex to the absolute degree especially if you find yourself in the heavenly world. Buddha did it because he is a personality of Godhead. He is a divine being who descended to our level. He was never an ordinary entity who was evolving. Those persons can resist sex absolutely if they so desire, not others.
I explained this because of my personal experience in this matter.
For me the only way I could get out of the sex game is to assume a position behind Lord Shiva as his child-son or go near to Srila Yogeshwarananda.
Actually, believe it or not, there was a time around 1984 when Swami Kirtanananda called me to his private house in New Vrindavan. This was his residence house near the Palace of Gold which he built for Swami Bhaktivedanta. He said to me,
“I need you to go to Cleveland. I need someone to run the preaching center there. Take sannyasa and go there.”
I did not reply to him because I could not do it. I had children already and two mothers of my children were dependent on me. Soon after that I escaped from New Vrindavan and went to Missouri but soon after I went back to South America.
The truth about this request of Kirtanananda Swami was that he was in a fix because of some criminal activities which the US legal authorities were investigating. He wanted to set up certain things before he would be arrested and so he was pushing me to take charge of the Cleveland temple. No one knew about this, except for me and him.
I did not want the position for reasons of my own.
Now once a person takes sannyasa that person is not to fall back to sex life again. Otherwise the scriptures say that that person will see hell hereafter. In fact in the Vedic system if a person fell back into sex from sannyasa the way to absolve it was to drown one’s body in the Ganges River. But it is said that a person who takes sannyasa and who goes back to sex again in that life, is like a dog who has vomited up a meal and then who licks it up and eats it thereafter.
Falling from sannyasa is a major disgrace in India. Therefore one should not take it whimsically.
To give you some idea of the extremeness of taking sannyasa listen to this. A sannyasi is not supposed to sit with or directly speak to women, even to his own mother and sister. There should be no passing of sex energy between him and women. In the ancient system homosexuality was not considered. It was taboo.
The sannyasi had to always be with a brahmachari assistant who was a celibate male child or young adult male who assisted him for whatever he needed. For instance he would not have his clothes washed by a woman or touched by a woman.
There is a story in the Chaitanya Caritamrta which nicely shows these extreme positions. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went on pilgrimage in South India. Because he was a sannyasi he was escorted by a brahmacari assistant but the little fellow once went off with some gypsy women.
After they got back to North India, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu banished the youth and subsequently, the little guy killed himself in Ganges. Even though the little guy was not a sannyasi as yet, still because he associated with women, he was banished. That is how strict it used to be. One mishap with women, even a mishap of being with them even not having intercourse and you were finished.
There is also the case of the master of the Advaita Vedantis, the one and only Adi Shankara. When he was in a debate with a married pundit, he defeated the pundit but the pundit’s wife challenged him to answer questions about conjugal love.
Shankara was floored because he had no carnal knowledge in that body. He then asked for some time to prepare his explanation. Because he was a siddha who descended, a literal divine being, he left his body in samadhi under the care of his disciples and entered into the recently dead body of a prince, had sex with the prince’s wife and concubines and then came back and defeated the pundit in talks about amorous love.
And, mind you, this is the person who is the original advocate of advaita or oneness. Talk about becoming one with others!
In this rare case, we see an example how someone got sex experience without getting it through the physical body and thus he did not break his physical celibacy vow. If you think you are equal to Shankara then see if you can do something like that.
We see though that in the history of the lineages many of the sannyasis fell down because of their association with women especially the ones who migrated to Western countries.
Swami Rama of the Himalayan Institute who is one of my yoga gurus and who has helped me considerably fell down and made a child and then sent the mother and child to India for several years. Later on this Swami had to run from the USA because two women disciples sued him in US court. He escaped having to deal with their charges that he had irresponsible sex with them.
I mention this not to criticize him but to explain the history of sannyasa and how it is not supported properly in the Western societies. I am still taking kriya instructions from Swami Rama on the astral planes because he mastered certain kriya and know them in great detail, for instance the Agnisara practice which is vital if one wants to bring one’s subtle body into siddha status. He fell down, disowned his son for years, had sex with some of his women disciples while he was in America, but still he is my guru, still I take advice from him, still I respect him as a superior, as a siddha. I am still his spiritual son in our relationship.
If you are attached to sex and women and cannot give up sex of womanly association, then sannyasa is not for you. That is plain and simple.