The Way of the Sannyasin
A sannyasin is a Hindu ascetic who has reached the heights of mystical knowledge. The consciousness of such a person is unwaveringly fixed upon the spiritual dimension of life, and nothing within life circumstance has the power to deflect him or her from this one-pointed orientation. Retreating from civilization normally accompanies this, coupled with a profound renunciation of all that is considered desirous and worldly. Given this, the Way of the Sannyasin is a path rarely to be followed. When it does occur, it normally begins later in life, after the duties of the personality have fully run their course. Historically, this is the Eastern definition of a sannyasin.
Today, however, there are a growing (though still small) number of people who have entered into a modernized rendition of the Way of the Sannyasin. The inner call of today’s sannyasin remains the same, but he or she is no longer compelled to retreat from the thralldom of contemporary society. The modern sannyasin no longer withdraws from the outer world. Instead, he or she is fully immersed in service to humanity while simultaneously engaged in an inner withdrawal. Sometimes called the process of “right abstraction” the sannyasin has learned to consciously withdraw to the apex of consciousness, while at the same time remaining fully attentive to the external needs of human civilization.
As in times of old, the contemporary sannyasin must be free from the binding forces that are typically part and parcel of societal life. To enter the Way of the Sannyasin, emotional and physical desires must be transcended, and the personality’s interpersonal yearnings can no longer hold sway. It is to stand free, whilst remaining surrounded; it is to work within the deep and subjective realms of the soul, while simultaneously rendering external service to human need; it is to be liberated from the karmic binds that limit life, and thus bring forth the soul’s love and wisdom, unencumbered.
Living the life of the sannyasin requires that the personality be largely infused by the soul. A profound sense of detachment must also govern the mind and heart of such a disciple. The Way of the Sannyasin is therefore difficult, and few there are who will choose to travel through its narrow gate. Viewed from a multiple incarnational perspective, each of us will one day arrive at the antechamber to the Way of the Sannyasin. A choice must then be made.