Sannyasa is the last of the four stages of life. According to ManuSmriti at this stage man renunciates his family and the world and adopts Bairagya. The motto of his life, thus, is complete detachment from worldly affairs. Sannyasa begins at the of 50 years. So what do a man do after renouncing everything! Hindu Dharma answers, that after 50 years his spiritual quest begins. In Hinduism an ascetic is a person who has no desires and ambitions. He exists without even thinking about his existence. He is completely devoted to the God and only aspires for attaining Holy bliss.
As a sanyasi a man will have no belongings and his only goal will be to attain moksha. In the Bhagavat Gita this is how Lord Krishna describes sannyasa: - "The giving up of activities that are based on material desire is what great learned men call the renounced order of life. And giving up the results of all activities is what the wise call renunciation." There are several ways in which sanyasis can lead their life. They can practice yoga, meditate or take part in other forms of Bhakti traditions like praying to a particular god or goddess they believe in. all they are looking for at this stage of life is becoming one with the Supreme Power of the universe.
Though the concept of Sannyasa is not alien to other religions yet there are fundamental differences. The Buddhist monks are equivalent to Hindu sanyasis. While the former resides in an abbey or monastery the latter is all-alone. He is a wanderer. The sanyasi is all-alone in finding the way that will unite him with the Divine. Hence the concept of monasticism is quite prevalent in Hinduism.
Sannyasa can be further divided into 4 types.
This springs from true wisdom.
- This is born out from a craving for self-realization by studying holy texts.
- This is dawned upon man`s deathbed.
- When people resort to Sannyasa to escape from grief, suffering and misfortune.
Sannyasa Dharma, in a way, also prepares man for his death