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Sanyasa (pronounced sanyaas) symbolises the conception of the mystic life in Hinduism where a person is now integrated into the spiritual world after wholly giving up material life. One who walks this path is known as a sannyasi, sannyasin or sanyasi. The sanyasi lives without possessions, practices yoga meditation and prays to his/her conception of God in the hopes of ultimately achieving samadhi (enlightenment) and, subsequently, moksha (liberation).
This word is generally used to denote a particular phase of life. In this phase of life, the person develops Vairagya or a state of determination and disillusionment with material life. He thus, renunciates all worldly thoughts and desires, and spends the rest of his life in spiritual contemplation. It is the last in the four phases of a man, namely, Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha , and finally Sanyasa, as prescribed by Manusmriti for the Dhwija castes, in the Hindu system of life.
A sannyasi may not marry, live a householder life, breed children, or work for wages. In ancient times, they lived in caves, huts, ruined buildings, or empty houses, and always away from towns and villages. More recently, some sects have formed communities and live in ashrams or monasteries.
Orthodox Hindus will generally not accept the claims of followers of Shri Gurudev Mahendranath to be sannyasins of the Adinath lineage and may even find this claim insulting. The reason for this is that according to tradition, true initiates of the Adinath lineage must first renounce the world as sannyasi and receive the Sannyas mantra before acceptance into the Adinath lineage. However, Shri Mahendranath purposefully created a new Nath lineage for householders who he intended to be referred to simply as Naths rather than Adinaths, did not bestow the sannyas mantra, and subsequently denounced the use of the term Adinath by his initiates for precisely this reason.
- Adityanath (2002). Nath FAQ (http://www.mahendranath.org/faq.mhtml). Retrieved Oct. 20, 2004.
- Wikipedia (2004). Sanyasa (http://www.wikipedia.org/Sanyasa). Retrieved Oct. 16, 2004.