Knowledge and Action

The Contemplative Life For the sannyasi, knowledge alone is the means and nothing else. sannyasa taken for the pursuit of knowledge is called vividisha sannyasa (vividisha-desire to know until the knowledge takes place). Just because the person is a sann yasi in terms of an order, does not mean he has knowledge. He does not have the knowledge as long as he has the notion, "I am the doer". In this case, sannyasa means the karma-sannyasa or the renunciation of action. It is the life -style accepted by the society and sanctioned by the sruti or the Vedas. It is an order, an asrama and therefore it is at par with other asramas such as grhastha, vanaprastha, etc.The Contemplative Life

The sannyasi commits himself to knowledge and he is not interested in anything else such as comfort, security etc.. He just wants to pursue knowledge to gain liberation. A person with such a commitment can take sannyasa; he can renounce acti on. There is a provision in our society for such a person. He is not obliged to the family, nor is he obliged to the society. He has been released from the obligation by the family, society, etc.. The society supports him. Here, there is a commitment and the commitment makes the person. Here is the person who is saintly. The very colour of the cloth of a sannyasi is the colour of the flame. Flame means light. Light means knowledge. He commits himself to the pursuit of knowledge to the exclusion of everything else. That is why, when a sannyasi is received, the following mantra is usually chanted, "Not by action, nor by progeny, nor by wealth, but by renunciation, some (mahatmas) reached immortality".

So sannyasa really means the renunciation of the three types of desires commonly entertained by a man. One is the desire for wealth and security. Another is the desire for progeny, family, etc.. And the third is the desire for loka or the other wor ld which can be fulfilled by performance of certain rituals, specified by the Veda. It is by the renunciation of these three types of desires that one is ready to pursue the knowledge of the Self that is immortality.

Knowledge is the only means to liberation or freedom, because bondage is false and liberation is an accomplished fact. If bondage were real, you cannot do anything about it. What is real, will never come to extinguish itself and what is unreal, does not h ave a real existence. If the bondage were real, you cannot do anything about it. What is real, will never come to extinguish itself and what is unreal, does not have a real existence. If the bondage were real, there is no way of release from it, nor would it be a problem because a real thing cannot create a problem. If the bondage is something inbetween, i.e. neither real nor unreal, it must be purely due to ignorance and error and so knowledge settles the issue. That is what Lord Krishna says in the Gita and that is in conformity with the sruti which says, "That Thou Art". You already are that which you are seeking. So there is no choice in knowledge. So tyagena, by renunciation, really means by knowledge. But knowledge is pssible only if the mind is free frm all the other desires.

Commitment to knowledge means swadhyaya, learning and pravacana, teaching. These are not really two things; they are one only. You pursue knowledge for your own sake and later on, if some one approaches yoou and seeks to know what it is all about, you can teach. This is the contemplative life.