Sanyas Ashram Vs Grahastha Ashram According To Scriptures For Moksha Or Liberation

Updated On: 9-Sep-2022

Most of us will be having a question should i take sanyas (Sanyas Ashram) or should i live a family life (Grahast Ashram). There are lot of people who want to take sanyas and go to Himalayas. Is it that easy to be a monk ? Should I Leave my family to become a sanyasi ? Lets see what Bhagavad Gita has to say about taking sanyas.

Bhagavad Gita - Chapter 9 Verse 17
pitāham asya jagato mātā dhātā pitāmahaḥ
vedyaṁ pavitram oṁkāra ṛik sāma yajur eva cha

Meaning of the above sloka:
Of this universe, I am the Father, Mother, Sustainer and the Grandfather. I'm additionally the purifier, the objective of information, the sacred syllable Om. I am the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, and the Yajur Veda.

Bhagavad Gita - Chapter 14 Verse 4
sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya
mūrtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ
tāsāṁ brahma mahad yonir
ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā
Meaning of the above sloka:

It ought to be figured out that all types of life, O child of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.

Conclusion : It is extremely evident that we are the god's children.

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 18, Verse 66
sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma shuchah
Meaning of the above sloka:

Abandon all kinds of dharmas and solely surrender unto Me alone. I shall liberate you from all evil responses. Don't bother.

All on, Shree Krishna had been asking Arjun to do two things concurrently — engage his mind in devotion, and engage his body in fulfilling his material duty as a fighter. He therefore wanted Arjun not to give up his Kshatriya dharma, but to do devotion alongside with it. This is the principle of karm yog.

Now, Shree Krishna reverses this instruction by saying that now's no need to fulfill indeed material dharma. Arjun can renounce all material duties and simply surrender to God. This is the principle of karm sanyās. Then, one may question that if we give up all our material dharmas will we not get sin ? Shree Krishna tells Arjun not to worry; he'll clear him from all sins, and liberate him from material subsistence.

To comprehend this instruction of Shree Krishna, we need to understand the term dharma. There are actually two kinds of dharmas — material and spiritual dharma. These two kinds of dharma are grounded upon two different understandings of the character.

When we identify ourselves as the body - Serving the physical parents, fulfilling the liabilities to society, nation, dharma as a Brahmin, Kshatriya etc. are each physical dharma. This is also called Apara dharma or Material dharma.

When we identify ourselves as the soul, we've no material designations of Ashram(status) and Varna( social class). Everything we see as pure soul. Our one and only dharma becomes loving spiritual service to God

If one leaves the material dharma it's considered a sin due to dereliction of duty. But if one leaves material dharma and takes the refuge of spiritual dharma, it isn't a sin. The Shrimad Bhagavatam states:

Bhagavad Gita - 11.5.41
devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṝṇāṁ
na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan
sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam
Meaning of the above sloka:

This verse explains that for those who do not surrender to God, there are five debts towards—

  • Celestial gods
  • Sages
  • Ancestors
  • Humans
  • Living beings

The varnashrama system includes various procedures for releasing ourselves from these five kinds of debts. However, when we surrender to God, we are automatically released from all these debts. just as by watering the roots of a tree, all its branches, leaves,fruits and flowers automatically gets the water. Similarly, by fulfilling our duty to God, we automatically fulfill our duty to everyone.

Hence, there is no sin in renouncing material dharma if we are properly situated in spiritual dharma. In fact, the ultimate goal is to engage completely and wholeheartedly in spiritual dharma. The Shrimad Bhagavatam states:

Srimad-Bhagavatam - (11.11.32) [v38]
ājñāyaivaṁ guṇān doṣān
mayādiṣṭān api svakān
dharmān santyajya yaḥ sarvān
māṁ bhajeta sa tu sattamaḥ
Meaning of the above sloka:

I have given many instructions regarding the performance of bodily dharma within the Vedas. But those that realize the shortcomings in these, and renounce all prescribed duties, to easily engage in my devotional service, I consider them to be the best devotee or sadhaks.

Within the Ramayan, we read how Lakshman renounced all material duties to accompany Lord Ram inside the forest. Lakshman said:

Ramayana- [v39]
guru pitu mātu na jānahu kāhū
kahahu subhāū nātha patiyāū
more sabahiñ eka tumha swāmī
dinabhandhu ura antarayamī
Meaning of the above quote:

Please believe me my Lord, I don't know any father, mother, teacher etc. For me, you're the savior of the fallen and also the knower of the every one's heart. You're my Master and my everything.

Similarly, Prahlad said:

Skanda Purana - Verse
mātā nāsti pitā nāsti nāsti me svajano janaḥ |
Meaning of the above quote:

I don't know any mother, father, or relative "God is everything to me".

Bhagavad gita advises you only to avoid Attachment. It doesnt tell to hate people. The purpose of sanysa is to escape from the cycle of birth and death. Sanyas is not to escape from your duties. only people who have no desire can be a sanyasi or a true monk. A karmayogi can become a true sanyasi by doing nishkam karm yog(Performing duties without expecting any fruit for the action).

In Bhagavad Gita 18.2 says that - Leaving material desired activities is what great men call renounced life or sanyasa. Giving up the results of the action is called renunciation or “Tyaga”.

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 6, Verse 1
anashritah karma-phalam karyam karma karoti yah
sa sannyasi cha yogi cha na niragnir na chakriyah
Meaning of the above quote:

Those who perform prescribed duties without asking the results of their conduct are genuine yogis and sanyasi( renunciates), not those who have simply desisted performing rictuals such as Agnihotra yajna or abandoned physical conditioning.