Sanyas is neither tailor made nor barber made! This garment is of the mind. Saffron cloth is a mere fence around a barren field unless the field is well enriched and cultivated. Sanyas has to be taken and not given.

From the root ‘ Nyasam’ ( leaving, dropping) came the word sanyas. For a mature seeker , this dropping or renouncing is as easy and painless as a fruit renouncing the flower. Yet it is painful to those that are not fully matured for it.

The pain of losing beautiful marbles is sharp in a six year old, but not in a mature father. He smilingly lets go. Attachments, likes and dislikes drop from him easily. A mature seeker longs for sanyas. He rejects all limited experiences .and is impatient to reach out for the supreme. There is a strange urgency of search where the ephemeral is dropped without a trace of pain.

Ochre robes represent fire. Fire protects as well as destroys. It is a bird cage that protects it from prowling predators, but forbids the bird from straying out into dangerous territory. It saves him from his own subjective outflow into distracting temptations. Like a uniform represents the presence of the government in a police officer, so also ochre robes declarethe protecting presence of the Lord for the wearer . It protects a sanyasi from indulging in immoral and unholy thoughts and deeds. So also , it demands a respectful distancing from the social order that he has renounced. Sanyas is sanctioned only for mature seekers who have already gone through a subjective transformation and are capable of leading a life of selfless service.

Sanyas, at any age , by any gender, is a willing outcome of a disenchantment from the false and finite to the search for the true and the infinite.

Prarthna Saran, President Delhi Chinmaya Mission can be contacted at


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